This paper presents the swelling behaviour of clayey materials under controlled suction imposed both by a Richards chamber and by controlling the relative humidity with concentrated saline solutions. Soil-water characteristic curves (matrix and total) were determined by the filter paper method. The materials under study belong to the Guabirotuba Formation, of Pleistocene age, in the Curitiba Basin in the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. Materials under several stages of suction of 5000–40 000 kPa were subjected to swelling tests in an oedometer press. The results indicated that the greater the suction the higher the swelling pressure. However, when swelling tests were carried out with suction variation controlled by relative humidity, in which the increase in moisture was very slow, the samples showed no swelling.

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