Small strain elastic behaviour of unsaturated soil investigated by bender/extender element testing

Hasan, Ahmed M. (2016) Small strain elastic behaviour of unsaturated soil investigated by bender/extender element testing. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The aim of this project was to investigate very small strain elastic behaviour of soils under unsaturated conditions, using bender/extender element (BEE) testing. The behaviour of soils at very small strains has been widely studied under saturated conditions, whereas much less work has been performed on very small strain behaviour under unsaturated conditions.

A suction-controlled double wall triaxial apparatus for unsaturated soil testing was modified to incorporate three pairs of BEEs transmitting both shear and compression waves with vertical and horizontal directions of wave transmission and wave polarisation. Various different techniques for measuring wave travel time were investigated in both the time domain and the frequency domain and it was concluded that, at least for the current experimental testing programme, peak-to-first-peak in the time domain was the most reliable technique for determining wave travel time.

An experimental test programme was performed on samples of compacted speswhite kaolin clay. Two different forms of compaction were employed (i.e. isotropic and anisotropic). Compacted kaolin soil samples were subjected to constant suction loading and unloading stages at three different values of suction, covering both unsaturated conditions (s=
50kPa and s= 300kPa) and saturated conditions (s=0). Loading and unloading stages were performed at three different values of stress ratio (η=0, η=1 and η=-1 ). In some tests a wetting-drying cycle was performed before or within the loading stage, with the wetting-drying cycles including both wetting-induced swelling and wetting-induced collapse compression. BEE tests were performed at regular intervals throughout all test stages, to measure shear wave velocity Vs and compression wave velocity Vp and hence to determine values of shear modulus G and constrained modulus M. The experimental test programme was designed to investigate how very small strain shear modulus G and constrained modulus M varied with unsaturated state variables, including how anisotropy of these parameters developed either with stress state (stress-induced anisotropy) or with previous straining (strain-induced anisotropy).

A new expression has been proposed for the very small strain shear modulus G of an isotropic soil under saturated and unsaturated conditions. This expression relates the variation of G
to only mean Bishop’s stress p* and specific volume v, and it converges to a well-established expression for saturated soils as degree of saturation approaches 1. The proposed expression for G is able to predict the variation of G under saturated and unsaturated conditions at least as well as existing expressions from the literature and it is considerably simpler (employing fewer state variables and fewer soil constants). In addition, unlike existing expressions from the literature, the values of soil constants in the proposed new expression can be determined from a saturated test.

It appeared that, in the current project at least, any strain-induced anisotropy of very small strain elastic behaviour was relatively modest, with the possible exception of loading in triaxial extension. It was therefore difficult to draw any firm conclusion about evolution of strain-induced anisotropy and whether it depended upon the same aspects of soil fabric as evolution of anisotropy of large strain plastic behaviour.

Stress-induced anisotropy of very small strain elastic behaviour was apparent in the experimental test programme. An attempt was made to extend the proposed expression for G to include the effect of stress-induced anisotropy. Interpretation of the experimental results indicated that the value of shear modulus was affected by the values of all three principal Bishop’s stresses (in the direction of wave transmission, the direction of wave polarisation and the third mutually perpendicular direction). However, prediction of stress-induced anisotropy was only partially successful, and it was concluded that the effect of Lode angle was also significant.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Laboratory equipment, laboratory tests, partial saturation, stiffness, anisotropy.
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Wheeler, Professor Simon J.
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Ahmed Mohammed Hasan
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7492
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 08:29
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2016 08:13

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