Gangqiang Kong ; Yang Zhou, Ph.D ; Qing Yang ; Chengqing Wang



This paper presents a study of the mechanical properties of a synthetic transparent clay to be used in physical geotechnical models.

The manufacturing processes of a synthetic transparent clay consisting of Carbopol polymers, NaOH powder, and distilled water were briefly introduced. The transparency of the synthetic transparent clay influenced by the sample thickness and the mixture of Carbopol materials was assessed by the modulation transfer function (MTF) method.

For the synthetic transparent clay with the 0.75% Carbopol material mixture, the clear visible depth was approximately 30–40 cm. The geotechnical properties of the clay with this mixture were measured in detail. The permeability (permeability test) and thermal conductivity (thermal conductivity test) of the synthetic transparent clay with a specific U10 mixture were 5.3 × 10−7 cm/s and 0.62–0.72 W · M−1 · K−1, respectively.

These analyses demonstrated that synthetic transparent clay exhibits macroscopic geotechnical properties comparable to those of very soft clay and could be used to simulate submarine landslides.