Soils located above the groundwater table are generally unsaturated and exhibit negative pore-water pressures. A soil-water characteristic curve (SWCC) that relates the water content of a soil to matric suction is an important relationship for the unsaturated soil mechanics. The SWCC essentially shows the ability of an unsaturated soil to retain water under various matric suctions. The filter paper method is a soil suction measurement technique. Soil suction is one of the most important parameters describing the moisture condition of unsaturated soils. The measurement of soil suction is crucial for applying the theories of the engineering behavior of unsaturated soils.
In this paper, three soil samples were collected from three sites within Baghdad city in Iraq. These soils have different properties and they were prepared at different degrees of saturation. For each sample, the total and matric suction were measured by the filter paper method at different degrees of saturation. The soil samples were mixed with different percentages of Nacl salt. It was concluded that the suction increases with decrease of the degree of saturation. The relationships between the total and matric suction and the filter paper water content are approximately linear and indicate decrease of suction with increase of the filter paper water content. All soil samples exhibit unique linear relationship between the total suction and filter paper water content and matric suction. When salt exists in the soil, there is a noticeable increase in both matric and total suction.