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CN215 Soil Mechanics

School of the Environment

Semester 1 Examinations 2005-2006


Instructions to Candidates: Time allowed: TWO hours Attempt THREE questions ONLY Formula sheet provided Graph paper provided

Monday 30 January 2006 12: 00 14:00 hours

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CN215 Soil Mechanics

Question 1 a) Outline the rules governing the construction of a flow net in a hydraulically isotropic soil. (5 marks) b) Briefly explain what you understand by the terms critical hydraulic gradient and piping. (2 marks)

Figure 1 shows the cross section of a long cofferdam into which the flow can be considered as two dimensional. c) Assuming the soil to be hydraulically isotropic, sketch the flow net for the water levels shown. (8 marks) Determine the seepage into the cofferdam (per metre run), if the water level inside is maintained at excavation level and the base of the soil stratum is at a considerable depth. The permeability of the soil is 0.015m/s in every direction. (5 marks) e) Using the flow net, plot the distribution of water pressure on both the inside and outside of the sheet piling (in metre head of water). (8 marks) f) Comment on the stability of the proposed structure in terms of potential instability due to piping. (5 marks)


2.0 m

6.0 m



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CN215 Soil Mechanics

Figure 1

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CN215 Soil Mechanics

Question 2 The rectangular concrete slab shown in Figure 2 is 4 m x 6 m and rests on the surface of a soil mass. The load on the slab is 150 kPa. Using Fadums chart determine the vertical stress increase at a depth of 4 m beneath the following points a) b) c) d) Point A the centre of the slab Point B the mid-side of one 4.0 m edge Point C at a distance of 2.0 m from a corner (6 marks) (10 marks) (10 marks)

Compare the value at the centre of the slab (Point A) with the approximate method assuming a 2:1 load spread. (7 marks)

6.0 A 4.0


All dimensions are in metres Figure 2

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CN215 Soil Mechanics

Question 3 Consolidated undrained triaxial tests were carried out on two samples of clay. Each sample was isotropically consolidated (1 = 2 = 3) before the axial stress was increased. The following results were obtained (note 1 and 3 are total stresses). Sample A B a) Cell pressure (3) kPa 760 350 Deviator stress (1-3) kPa 640 350 Pore pressure kPa 350 100

Draw Mohr circles (total and effective stresses) for each test on the same graph. (16 marks) What are the undrained shear strengths for each sample. (6 marks)



Using the effective stress circles, determine the drained friction angle for each specimen. (6 marks) Using the effective stress circles, determine the shear and normal stresses on the failure planes for each sample under drained (effective stress) conditions. (6 marks)


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CN215 Soil Mechanics

Question 4 A 100mm cubical sample of sand is subjected to the forces as shown in Figure 3 below. Determine the stresses on the soil element and construct the Mohrs circle of stress. (10 marks) Using the Mohrs circle determine a) b) The magnitude of the major and minor principal stresses (8 marks) The orientation to the horizontal of the major principal stress plane (5 marks) c) The stresses on a plane at an orientation of 25 degrees anti-clockwise to the major principal stress plane. (5 marks) If the sample is at failure, what is the angle of shearing resistance of the sand? (5 marks)


4.55 kN 1.24 kN 1.24 kN

3.55 kN

Figure 3

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