AbstractAt present, there is a lack of good sampling technology and methods for sandy gravel soil. The sampling quality of sandy gravel soil directly affects the accuracy of important parameters such as soil shear strength, compression modulus, and compactness, and then affects geotechnical design and engineering stability evaluation. A method of sampling superficial undisturbed sands is proposed. The method uses a temporary cementing agent that enables the study of the physical-mechanical properties of sands, mitigates disturbance, and reduces the high failure rate associated with traditional sampling techniques. The mobility and volatility of menthol were investigated, and the viability of menthol as a temporary cementing agent for undisturbed sands was assessed. Based on the single-factor analysis of variance method, the effect of menthol on the change of shear stress and void ratio of sand was verified. Soils cemented with menthol were sampled and the menthol was evaporated. Computed tomography imaging was used to investigate the effect of menthol on particle movement, porosity, and the morphology of particles within sands. The results show that menthol has little effect on the porosity of the soil or the morphological indexes (size, shape, and angularity) of particles. Moreover, the porosity and morphological indexes were significantly correlated. The use of menthol is an innovation that improves current sampling methods for undisturbed sands, the design of geotechnical studies, and soil testing.

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