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CE 3121: Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

Class 6

Shear Strength

(Direct Shear Test)

Sources:
Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual, B.M. DAS (Chapter 15)
Soil Properties, Testing, Measurement, and Evaluation, C. Liu, J. Evett

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Class Outlines
Shear strength in soils

Introduction
Definitions

Direct shear test

Introduction
Procedure
Calculation
Results and Figures
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Shear Strength
The strength of a material is the greatest

stress it can sustain


The safety of any geotechnical structure is
dependent on the strength of the soil
If the soil fails, the structure founded on it can
collapse

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Slope Failure in Soils

Failure due to inadequate


strength
atUniversity
shear interface
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- Texas Tech

Shear Failure in Soils

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Bearing Capacity Failure

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Transcosna Grain Elevator Canada


(Oct. 18, 1913)

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West side of foundation sank 24-ft

Significance of Shear Strength


Engineers must understand the nature of

shearing resistance in order to analyze soil


stability problems such as;
Bearing capacity
Slope stability
Lateral earth pressure on earth-retaining
structures
Pavement

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Shear Strength in Soils


The shear strength of a soil is its resistance to

shearing stresses.
It is a measure of the soil resistance to deformation
by continuous displacement of its individual soil
particles
Shear strength in soils depends primarily on
interactions between particles
Shear failure occurs when the stresses between the
particles are such that they slide or roll past each
other

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Shear Strength in Soils (cont.)


Soil derives its shear strength from two

sources:

Cohesion between particles (stress


independent component)

Cementation between sand grains


Electrostatic attraction between clay particles

Frictional resistance between particles (stress


dependent component)

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Shear Strength of Soils; Cohesion


Cohesion (C), is a measure of the forces that

cement particles of soils

Dry sand with no cementation


Dry sand with some cementation
Soft clay
Stiff clay

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Shear Strength of Soils; Internal Friction


Internal Friction angle (f), is the measure of the

shear strength of soils due to friction

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Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criteria


This theory states that a material fails

because of a critical combination of normal


stress and shear stress, and not from their
either maximum normal or shear stress
alone.
The relationship between normal stress and
shear is given as

s c tan f
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s shear strength
c cohesion

f angle of internal friction

Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion

Shear
Strength,S
f = f

Normal Stress, n = = g h
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General State of Stress

1
3

major principle stress

Minor principle stress


Confining stress

1
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State of Stresses in Soils


Consider the following situation:
- A normal stress is applied vertically
and held constant
- A shear stress is then applied until
failure

Normal stress n

Shear
stress 3

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Determination of Shear Strength


Parameters
The shear strength parameters of a soil are

determined in the lab primarily with two types of tests;


Direct Shear Test
Normal stress
Triaxial Shear Test
n

Shear stress 3

Soil

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Direct Shear Test


Direct shear test is Quick and Inexpensive
Shortcoming is that it fails the soil on a

designated plane which may not be the


weakest one
Used to determine the shear strength of both
cohesive as well as non-cohesive soils
ASTM D 3080

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Direct Shear Test (cont.)


The test equipment consists of

a metal box in which the soil


specimen is placed
The box is split horizontally
into two halves
Shear stress
Vertical force (normal stress)
is applied through a metal
platen
Shear force is applied by
moving one half of the box
relative to the other to cause
failure in the soil specimen

Normal stress n

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Soil

Direct Shear Test

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Direct Shear Test

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Direct Shear Test

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Shear stress

Direct Shear Test Data


Peak Strength

Residual Strength

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Direct Shear Test Data


Volume change

DH

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Direct Shear Test (Procedure)


1.Measure inner side or diameter of shear box and find the area
2.Make sure top and bottom halves of shear box are in contact and

fixed together.
3.Weigh out 150 g of sand.
4.Place the soil in three layers in the mold using the funnel.
Compact the soil with 20 blows per layer.
5.Place cover on top of sand
6.Place shear box in machine.
7.Apply normal force. The weights to use for the three runs are
2 kg, 4 kg, and 6 kg if the load is applied through a lever arm, or 10
kg, 20 kg, and 30 kg, if the load is applied directly.
Note: Lever arm loading ratio 1:10

(2kg weight = 20 kg)

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Direct Shear Test (Procedure)


Start the motor with selected speed (0.1 in/min) so that the
rate of shearing is at a selected constant rate
9.
Take the horizontal displacement gauge, vertical displacement
gage and shear load gage readings. Record the readings on
the data sheet.
10. Continue taking readings until the horizontal shear load peaks
and then falls, or the horizontal displacement reaches 15% of
the diameter.
8.

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Calculations
1.

Determine the dry unit


weight, gd

2.

Calculate the void


ratio, e

3.

Calculate the normal


stress & shear stress

Gsg w

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gd

V
;
A

Figures
Peak Stress
Shear stress, s

s3
s2
s1

N3 = 30 kg
N2 = 20 kg
N1 = 10 kg

Horizontal displacement, DH
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Shear Stress, s (psf)

Figures (cont)

(2,s2)

(3,s3)

(1,s1)

Normal Stress , psf


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Vertical displacement

Figures (cont)

Horizontal displacement

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