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# Soil Shear Strength

## Compressive strength Tensile strength Shear strength

Strength of Civil engineering materials
Concrete

## Rate of compression – 140 kg/cm2/minute

15 cm x 15 cm x 15 cm
Strength of Civil engineering materials
Concrete
Strength of Civil engineering materials
Steel
Shear strength failure
 The safety of any geotechnical structure is dependent on
the shear strength of soil.
 If the soil fails, a structure founded on or in it can collapse,
endangering lives and causing economic damage.

## North Klang Valley

Expressway (Nov 2003)
Example
Massive slope failure at Bukit
Antarabangsa on 4th December 2008

## There were three people dead and

15 injured. 2,000 residents in the
vicinity have been evacuated
•Block A at Highland Towers
collapsed on 11 December 1993
•48 dead bodies with 30bags of
human flesh
Setiawangsa landslide on 29 /12/2012
Landslide in Taiwan (2010)
Question about shear strength of soil

## 1. What is meant by the shear strength of soils?

2. What factor affect the shear strength?
3. What are the assumptions in the Mohr-Coulomb failure
criteria?
4. What are the differences between drained and
undrained shear strength?
5. Under what conditions should the drained and
undrained shear strength parameters be used?
6. What laboratory and field tests are used to determine
shear strength?
7. How do I know what laboratory test to specify for a
project?
Question about shear strength of soil

## - Unlike other civil engineering materials such as

steel and concrete, the shear strength of soil is not
a function only of the material but is also a function
of the stress applied to it.

## - Same soil can exhibit different shear strengths

under different field and engineering conditions.
Application

## When the ground surface is

inclined, gravity produces large
geostatic stresses in the soil or
rock.

## If the stresses exceed the shear

strength, a landslide occurs
Application

## Load from a structure are transferred

to the ground through structural
foundations

## This produces compressive and shear

stress in the nearby soil.

## If the shear stress exceed the shear

strength, thus producing a shear
failure.

## This is known as bearing capacity

failure and can cause the structure to
collapse
Application

## The weight of soil behind a

retaining wall produces shear
stresses

## Its shear strength resists some of

this stress and the wall resists the
rest

## Thus, the load carried by the wall

depends on the shear strength of the
retained soil.
Application

## Tunnels in soil or weak rock normally

require linings of steel or concrete for
support

## Such linings must resist pressures

exerted by the surrounding ground,
thus keeping the tunnel from
collapsing.
Application

## Wheel loads from vehicles spread

through the pavement and into the
ground below.

## These loads produces shear stresses that

could causes a shear failure.
SHEAR FAILURE IN SOILS

Engineering Material
Shear strength is controlled by their molecular structure.
Failure of these materials requires breaking the molecular bonds that hold the
material together
Steel – very strong molecular bonds *» high shear strength
Plastic – weaker bonds *» lower shear strength

Soil
Shear strength primarily depends on interactions between the particles, not their
internal strength.
These interaction can be divided into frictional strength and cohesive strength
FRICTIONAL STRENGTH

N

## V Forces resist sliding

N  = coefficient of friction

## • Geotechnical engineers prefer to describe using effective friction

angle (’) instead of  , where:
’ = tan-1

## So, Shear strength, f = (-u) tan ’= ’tan’

FRICTIONAL STRENGTH
Factors influence friction angle ()

## Mineralogy Shape Gradation Void ratio Organic Material

(1) Mineralogy – Soil includes many different minerals. The friction angle in
Sands of pure quartz is typically 30 - 36. However, the presence of mica given
smaller ’.
(2) Shape – angular particles is much higher than rounded ones
(3) Gradation – Well graded soil have more interlocking between particles than
poorly graded
(4) Void ratio – decreasing the void ratio (eg. by compaction) increase interlocking
and give higher ’.
(5) Organic material – the presence of organic material will decrease the friction
angle.
COHESIVE STRENGTH

## Cementation Electrostatic Negative pore water Negative excess pore water

pressures pressures due to dilation

(1) Cementation – Chemical bonding due to the presence of cementing agents (CaCO3,
Fe2O3)
(2) Electrostatic – can hold particles together, forces very small
(3) Negative pore water pressures – presence in soils above ground water table. Example,
moist unsaturated sands can stand in vertical cut
(4) Negative excess pore water pressures– some soil tend to dilate or expand when sheared.
Dilation draws water into voids. When the rate of shearing is rapid than the rate at
which water can flow, large negative excess pore water pressures can develop in the soil
COHESIVE STRENGTH

• Some soils have shear strength even when the effective stress, ’
is zero.
•If a soil has both frictional and cohesive strength, the equation
becomes:
f = c’ + ’tan’
Where:
f = Shear strength
c’ = Effective cohesion
’= Effective stress on shear surface
’= Effective friction angle
Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion

 f  c   tan 

friction angle

f
cohesion c

f is the maximum shear stress the soil can take
without failure, under normal stress of .
Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion

## Shear strength consists of two

components: cohesive and frictional.

f
 f  c   f tan 
f tan  frictional
 component
c c
f 
c and  are measures or parameters of soil shear
strength.
Higher the values, higher the shear strength.

c’ = 0 =0
  
 
c c
  
•overconsolidated •Sand
clays •Inorganic silt
•Normally
consolidated clays
FRICTIONAL STRENGTH

EXAMPLE:

## Compute the shear strength at point A along surface when the

groundwater table is at level B, then compute the new shear strength
if it rose to level C. Given the unit weight of soil is 18.8 kN/m3
above water table and 19.3 kN/m3 below

c=0
 = 30
4.3 m
C
3.7 m
B
7m
A
Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope

Y
X X
Y Soil elements at

different locations
X ~ failure
Y ~ stable
Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope
The soil element does not fail if
the Mohr circle is contained
within the envelope

GL


c
Y c
c c+
Initially, Mohr circle is a point

Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope
As loading progresses, Mohr
circle becomes larger…

GL


c
Y c
c

## .. and finally failure occurs

when Mohr circle touches the
envelope
How to determine the shear strength
of soil ?

? ?
How to determine the shear strength
of soil ?

?
Determination of the shear strength of soil

## 2. Triaxial Compression test 2. Standard Penetration

test (SPT)
3. Unconfined compression
test 3. Mackintosh/JKR
probe test
4. Vane shear test
4. Dutch cone
penetrometer
5. Piezocone
Direct shear test
Direct shear test
(Max 1000 kN/m2)

Normal force
Normal stress, σ 
Area of cross section area

## Resisting shear force

Shear stress,  
Area of cross section area
Direct shear test

## • Can be performed using two test methods:

i) stress controlled
ii) strain controlled

## Stress control – the shear force is applied in equal increments

(Example: reading the displacement gauge every increment
0.01 kN/m2 of shear force)

## Strain controlled - a constant shear rate is applied

(Example: reading the shear force (proving ring) for every 5
mm displacement)
Shear stress and change
in the height of specimen
versus strain()
Example of the results of direct shear test for a dry sand

 f 
 f   ' tan  '  '  tan  
1

'

##  ult   ' tan ult   ult 

ult
' '
 tan 1  
 ' 
Test on saturated sand and clay

## • the container will be filled with water to saturate the specimens.

•A drained test will be performed and the rate of loading must be slow enough
to avoid build up of pore water pressure

• The rate of loading for clay must be much slower than sand due to its
permeability properties

Advantage and disadvantage of direct shear test

Advantage Disadvantage

## 1. Simple and quick test 1. The specimen is forced to fail

2. Most economical for along the plane of split box not to
dry and saturated sand the weakest plane
3. Very suitable to 2. Can not measure the pore
measure the angle of water pressure during the test
friction between soil
and foundation
(concrete, steel, rock,
wood)
Example

## A dry sand sample is subjected to a normal stress ’ = 20 kN/m2 in a direct

shear test. Calculate the shear force at failure if the soil sample is 10 cm x
10cm in plane and 2.5 cm in height. The strength parameters of the sand are
c’=0 and ’ = 38.

Solution:

So,

## T    A  15.6  0.1 0.1  0.156kN  156N

Triaxial shear test
• Most reliable methods for determining the shear strength
parameters (c’, ’)
• provides stress-strain behaviour
• uniform stress condition
• more flexibility in loading path

## A soil specimen – 38mm in diameter and 76 mm long

- 50mm in diameter and 100 mm long
- 100mm in diameter and 200 mm long

## Compression medium – water or air

Triaxial Apparatus
Triaxial Apparatus
Types of Triaxial Tests

during

##  initial isotropic cell pressure application, and

 shearing,
there are three special types of triaxial tests
that have practical significances. They are:

## Consolidated Drained (CD) test

Consolidated Undrained (CU) test
Unconsolidated Undrained (UU) test
Types of Triaxial Tests

## deviatoric stress ()

Consolidation stage
3
3 3
3 3
3

3
Under all-around Shearing (loading)
cell pressure 3

yes no yes no

## Consolidated Unconsolidated Drained Undrained

sample sample loading loading
For unconsolidated
undrained test, in
terms of total
stresses, u = 0
Granular soils have no For normally consolidated clays,
cohesion. c’ = 0 & c = 0.
c = 0 & c’= 0
CD, CU and UU Triaxial Tests
Consolidated Drained (CD) Test
 no excess pore pressure throughout the test
 very slow shearing to avoid build-up of pore
pressure
Can be days!
 not desirable

 gives c’ and ’

## Use c’ and ’ for analysing fully drained

situations (e.g., long term stability,
very slow loading)
CD, CU and UU Triaxial Tests
Consolidated Undrained (CU) Test
 pore pressure develops during shear
Measure  ’

 gives c’ and ’

##  faster than CD (preferred way to find c’ and ’)

Consolidated Drained Test
Loose sand and normally consolidated clay Dense sand and over consolidated clay

Deviator stress
Deviator stress
Consolidated Drained Test
Consolidated Drained Test
Example

Try to understand :-

Example 10.2
Example 10.3
Example 10.4
Example of CD test

## Find the friction angle, ’ for sand sample in CD test if the

confining pressure, 3 is 19 kN/m2 and deviator stress,  = 48
kN/m2.

Answers

A) 34
B) 36
C) 38
D) 40
Example of CD test

Solution 1

 3  19kN / m 2 ;   48kN / m 2
 1   3    19  48  67kN / m 2
 1 1  sin 

 3 1  sin 
 1   3 
  sin 
1

 1   3 
1  48 
  sin    33.9  34
 86 
Example of CD test

Solution 2
 1   3 
 
  sin  2
1
  33.9
 1   3 
 
 2 

1   3
For sand, 2

c=0
1   3
2
Consolidated undrained test
Deviator stress

Loose sand
and normally
consolidated
clay

Dense sand
and over
consolidated
clay
Consolidated undrained test
Consolidated undrained test
Unconsolidated undrained test
Unconfined Compression Test

• No confining pressure, 3
Unconfined Compression Test

equation
1
qu
 f    cu
2 2

## qu = unconfined compression strength

Unconfined Compression Test
Sensitivity and Thixotropy of clay
Sensitivity is the reducing of the strength due to remolding even without
changing the moisture content.

## The degree of sensitivity can be calculated using this equation

qu (undisturbed )
sensitivit y, St 
qu ( remolded)

Type of clay St
Most clays 1 to 8
Flocculent 10 to 80
marine clay
Sensitivity and Thixotropy of clay

## Thixotropy is the increasing of the strength with time after

remolding and is kept in undisturbed state.

## But most soils are partially thixotropy

Vane Shear Test Apparatus
Torque

Spring 4
Spring 3
Spring 2
Spring 1

Degree of rotation
Cu=T / [πd2(h/2 + d/6)]
Cu Undrained shear strength of the soil
T Maximum torque at failure
h height of the vane
d diameter of the vane
Vane Shear Test At Site

## The blade is rotated at a specified rate that should not

exceed 1degree every 10sec).
Vane Shear Test At Site

Device that
measures the
required Torque

## The amount of rotation

Vane Shear Test At Site
SPT Test At Site
This is a dynamic test as described in BS1377 (Part 9)
and is a measure of the density of the soil.

## The test incorporates a small diameter tube with a cutting

shoe known as the 'split barrel sampler' of about 650mm
length, 50mm external diameter and 35mm internal
diameter.

## The sampler is forced into the soil dynamically using

blows from a 63.5kg hammer dropped through 760mm.
The sampler is forced 150mm into the soil then the
number of blows required to lower the sampler each
75mm up to a depth of 300mm is recorded. This is known
as the "N" value.

## For coarse gravels the split barrel is replaced by a 60

degree cone.
SPT Test At Site
Dutch cone penetrometer Test
Dutch cone penetrometer Test
Cone Penetration Testing (CPT)
Real-Time readings in computer screen
Penetration at 2 cm/s

Sand

Clay

Buried Crust

Clay
Characteristics of the failure plane

Shear stress, f
Strength Envelope

180-2θ
θ

c 2θ
θ
A
B 3 C Normal stress, 

1
Characteristics of the failure plane

## (180-2θ) + 90 +  = 180 Large Triangle

Therefore, θ = 45 + (/2)
1   3
Sin  = DC/AC DC 
2
1  3
AC  AB  BC  c cot 
2
sin  
1  3 /2
c cot  1  3  /2
1  sin   
 tan2  45 o  
 1  sin    cos   1  sin   2
1   3    2c  
 1  sin    1  sin   cos   
 tan 45 o  
1  sin   2

2  o  o 
1   3 tan  45    2c tan 45  
 2  2
Characteristics of the failure plane

## Normal stress and shear stress on the failure plane can be

calculated using this equations.

1   3 1   3
Normal stress, n =  cos 2
2 2

1   3
Shear stress, f = sin 2
2
1- 3 Relation at Failure
1
X 3

3 1

2

2
v Stress Point
h X

 t stress point
stress point

(v-h)/2

h v  s
(v+h)/2
v h
t
2
v h
s
2
Stress Path
During loading…
Stress path
is the locus
 t of stress
points

Stress path

 s

## Stress path is a convenient way to keep track of the

progress in loading with respect to failure envelope.
Failure Envelopes

 t failure

 tan-1 (sin )

 s

## During loading (shearing)….

Example 3.1
Direct shear tests were performed on a dry, sandy soil. The
size of the specimen was 50 mm x 50 mm x 20 mm. Test
results were as given in the table.

1 90 54

2 135 82.35

3 315 189.5

4 450 270.5

## Find the shear stress parameters.

Example 3.1
Solution
Test Normal Normal Shear Shear stress
no. force (N) stress,  force at at failure, f
(kN/m2) failure (N) (kN/m2)
1 90 36 54 21.6

## = normal force / area of specimen

 = normal force x 10-3 kN/ 50 x 50 x 10-6 m2

## f = shear force / area of specimen

f = shear force x 10-3 kN/ 50 x 50 x 10-6 m2
Example 3.1
Solution

120
Shear stress, f (kN/m 2)

100
80
60
40
20
31
0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Normal stress,  (kN/m 2)

## The shear stress parameters

c = 0 dan  = 31
Example 3.2
For a normally consolidated clay, these are the results of a
drained triaxial test:
Chamber confining pressure = 112 kN/m2
Deviator stress at failure = 175 kN/m2

## (a) Find the angle of friction, .

(b) Determine the angle θ that the failure plane makes with
the major principal plane.
(c) Find the normal stress, ’, and the shear stress, f on
the failure plane.
(d) Determine the effective normal stress on the plane of
maximum shear stress.
Example 3.2
Solution

## For a normally consolidated soil, the failure envelope

equation is f = ’ tan  ( c = 0)
For triaxial test, the effective major and minor principle
stress at failure are:
3 = 112 kN/m2
1- 3 = 175 kN/m2, so, 1 = 175 + 112 = 287 kN/m2
1
Example 3.2
Solution θ
3 3

Shear Stress (kN/m2)

1
B

O 3 = 112 A 1 = 287 Normal Stress (kN/m2)
(a)
 1'3 ' 
 
AB  2  (b)
sin     0. 438
OA  1' 3 ' 
   o 26
 2    45   45   58 o
2 2
   26o
Example 3.2
(c) ’ (on the failure plane )
1'3 ' 1'3 '
 cos 2
2 2
287  112 287  112
  cos( 2x 58 )  161kN /m2
2 2

Shear stress, f
 ' '
 1 3 sin 2
2
287  112
 sin( 2x 58 )  78. 6 kN /m2
2
(d) The maximum shear stress will occur on the plane
with θ = 45.
1'3 ' 1'3 '
 cos 2
2 2
287  112 287  112
  cos( 2x 45 )  199.5 kN /m2
2 2
Example 3.3
The equation of the effective stress failure envelope for normally
consolidated clayey soil is f = ’ tan 30. A drained triaxial
test was conducted with the same soil at a chamber confining
pressure of 70 kN/m2. Calculate the deviator stress at failure.

Solution

1'  3 ' tan2  45  
 2
30 
 70 tan2  45    210 kN /m
2
 2 