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Automated Multi-Stage Triaxial Testing of Loose and Dense Sands

Description

The goal of this project was to develop criteria to signify when a soil specimen is just on the verge of failure when tested in a consolidated-drained triaxial test. By

The goal of this project was to develop criteria to signify when a soil specimen is just on the verge of failure when tested in a consolidated-drained triaxial test. By identifying the imminent failure of the specimen, a multi-stage triaxial test can be automated, allowing for soil strength properties to be determined from a single specimen. The purpose of identification of imminent failure of the specimen is for purposes of development of automated multi-stage test operation of a single specimen for determination of soil properties. Currently, shear strength parameters for a soil could either be calculated from at least three separate triaxial tests or a multi-stage test where each stage would end based on the operator's judgement. By developing generalized criteria that would signify failure, and therefore the need to move on to the next stage of a multi-state test, a computer program could be used to automatically end one loading stage and begin the next. This automation would allow for a wider use of multi-stage tests, which are faster and therefore less expensive to run than three standard triaxial tests. Triaxial tests were performed on loose and dense sand specimens. During standard testing, the loose sand had a friction angle of 29.61o and the dense sand had a friction angle of 38.63o. Using a zero tangent modulus as the stage-end criteria, the loose sand had a friction angle of 27.69o and the dense sand had a friction angle of 37.03o. Using the maximum volumetric strain as the stage-end criteria, the loose sand had a friction angle of 25.16o. The multi-stage shear strength parameters were reasonable compared to the single-stage test parameters, if slightly conservative. This suggests that computer automation of multi-stage triaxial tests will produce results that can be used in analysis and design by geotechnical engineers. However, more research will be required to confirm this initial assumptions for a wider range of sand gradations as well as for other soil types and testing conditions.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Volume change consideration in determining appropriate unsaturated soil properties for geotechnical applications

Description

Unsaturated soil mechanics is becoming a part of geotechnical engineering practice, particularly in applications to moisture sensitive soils such as expansive and collapsible soils and in geoenvironmental applications. The soil

Unsaturated soil mechanics is becoming a part of geotechnical engineering practice, particularly in applications to moisture sensitive soils such as expansive and collapsible soils and in geoenvironmental applications. The soil water characteristic curve, which describes the amount of water in a soil versus soil suction, is perhaps the most important soil property function for application of unsaturated soil mechanics. The soil water characteristic curve has been used extensively for estimating unsaturated soil properties, and a number of fitting equations for development of soil water characteristic curves from laboratory data have been proposed by researchers. Although not always mentioned, the underlying assumption of soil water characteristic curve fitting equations is that the soil is sufficiently stiff so that there is no change in total volume of the soil while measuring the soil water characteristic curve in the laboratory, and researchers rarely take volume change of soils into account when generating or using the soil water characteristic curve. Further, there has been little attention to the applied net normal stress during laboratory soil water characteristic curve measurement, and often zero to only token net normal stress is applied. The applied net normal stress also affects the volume change of the specimen during soil suction change. When a soil changes volume in response to suction change, failure to consider the volume change of the soil leads to errors in the estimated air-entry value and the slope of the soil water characteristic curve between the air-entry value and the residual moisture state. Inaccuracies in the soil water characteristic curve may lead to inaccuracies in estimated soil property functions such as unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. A number of researchers have recently recognized the importance of considering soil volume change in soil water characteristic curves. The study of correct methods of soil water characteristic curve measurement and determination considering soil volume change, and impacts on the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function was of the primary focus of this study. Emphasis was placed upon study of the effect of volume change consideration on soil water characteristic curves, for expansive clays and other high volume change soils. The research involved extensive literature review and laboratory soil water characteristic curve testing on expansive soils. The effect of the initial state of the specimen (i.e. slurry versus compacted) on soil water characteristic curves, with regard to volume change effects, and effect of net normal stress on volume change for determination of these curves, was studied for expansive clays. Hysteresis effects were included in laboratory measurements of soil water characteristic curves as both wetting and drying paths were used. Impacts of soil water characteristic curve volume change considerations on fluid flow computations and associated suction-change induced soil deformations were studied through numerical simulations. The study includes both coupled and uncoupled flow and stress-deformation analyses, demonstrating that the impact of volume change consideration on the soil water characteristic curve and the estimated unsaturated hydraulic conductivity function can be quite substantial for high volume change soils.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013