Hydration occurring in cemented paste backfill (CPB) is shown to generate matric suction through self-desiccation. This complicates determination of the water-retention curve and mechanical properties during curing, which are important in stope design, and renders problematic the use of axis-translation testing procedure to control suctions in strength testing. An alternative is to monitor suction directly during testing. To this end, a miniature tensiometer is inserted into the base of a triaxial cell. A series of unconfined and confined tests are performed on early-age (less than two weeks old) CPB. The observed behaviour is similar to that observed in weakly cemented soils, showing a distinct tendency to dilate during shearing.
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