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12.

8 Consolidated-Drained Triaxial Test

385

Hence,
f1

 2 e tan

1

 s1122
s1112

s3112

s3122

0.5

 45 f

(12.23)

Once the value of f1 is known, we can obtain c as


s1112  s3112 tan2 a 45 
c 

2 tan a 45 

f1
b
2

f1
b
2

(12.24)

A consolidated-drained triaxial test on a clayey soil may take several days to complete.
This amount of time is required because deviator stress must be applied very slowly to ensure
full drainage from the soil specimen. For this reason, the CD type of triaxial test is uncommon.

Example 12.2
A consolidated-drained triaxial test was conducted on a normally consolidated clay.
The results are as follows:
s3  16 lb/in.2
(sd )f  25 lb/in.2
Determine
a. Angle of friction, f
b. Angle u that the failure plane makes with the major principal plane
Solution
For normally consolidated soil, the failure envelope equation is
tf  s tan f

1because c  0 2

For the triaxial test, the effective major and minor principal stresses at failure are as follows:
s1  s1  s3  1sd 2 f  16  25  41 lb/in.2
and
s3  s3  16 lb/in.2
Part a
The Mohrs circle and the failure envelope are shown in Figure 12.24. From Eq. (12.19),
sin f 

s1  s3
41  16
 0.438


s1  s3
41  16

or
f  26

386 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil


s1

Shear stress

u
s3

s3

Effective stress failure envelope

f

B
s1
2u

s3  16 lb/in2

s1  41 lb/in2

Normal stress

Figure 12.24 Mohrs circle and failure envelope for a normally consolidated clay

Part b
From Eq. (12.4),
u  45 

f
26
 45 
 58
2
2

Example 12.3
Refer to Example 12.2.
a. Find the normal stress s and the shear stress tf on the failure plane.
b. Determine the effective normal stress on the plane of maximum shear stress.
Solution
Part a
From Eqs. (10.8) and (10.9),
s 1on the failure plane2 

s1  s3
s1  s3

cos 2u
2
2

and
tf 

s1  s3
sin 2u
2

Substituting the values of s1  41 lb/in.2, s3  16 lb/in.2, and u  58 into the preceding
equations, we get
s 

41  16
41  16

cos 12  58 2  23.0 lb/in.2
2
2

12.8 Consolidated-Drained Triaxial Test

387

and
tf 

41  16
sin 12  582  11.2 lb/in.2
2

Part b
From Eq. (10.9), it can be seen that the maximum shear stress will occur on the plane
with u  45. From Eq. (10.8),
s1  s3
s1  s3

cos 2u
2
2
Substituting u  45 into the preceding equation gives
s 

s 

41  16
41  16

cos 90  28.5 lb/in.2
2
2

Example 12.4
The equation of the effective stress failure envelope for normally consolidated clayey soil
is tf  s tan 30. A drained triaxial test was conducted with the same soil at a chamberconning pressure of 10 lb/in.2 Calculate the deviator stress at failure.
Solution
For normally consolidated clay, c  0. Thus, from Eq. (12.8),
s1  s3 tan2 a 45 

f
b
2

f  30
s1  10 tan2 a 45 

30
b  30 lb/in.2
2

So,
1sd 2 f  s1  s3  30  10  20 lb/in.2

Example 12.5
The results of two drained triaxial tests on a saturated clay follow:
Specimen I:
s3  70 kN/m2

1sd 2 f  130 kN/m2

388 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil


Specimen II:
s3  160 kN/m2

1sd 2 f  223.5 kN/m2


Determine the shear strength parameters.
Solution
Refer to Figure 12.25. For Specimen I, the principal stresses at failure are
s3  s3  70 kN/m2
and
s1  s1  s3  1 sd 2 f  70  130  200 kN/m2
Similarly, the principal stresses at failure for Specimen II are
s3  s3  160 kN/m2
and
s1  s1  s3  1sd 2 f  160  223.5  383.5 kN/m2
Now, from Eq. (12.23),
 2 e tan

1

 s11II2
s11I2

s31I2
 s31II2

0.5

 45 f  2 e tan1 c

200  383.5 0.5


d  45 f  20
70  160

Shear stress (kN/m2 )

f1

f

c

70

160

200

383.5

Normal stress, s (kN/m2 )

Figure 12.25 Effective stress failure envelope and Mohrs circles for Specimens I and II

12.9 Consolidated-Undrained Triaxial Test

389

Again, from Eq. (12.24),

 s31I2
tan2 a 45 
s11I2

c 

12.9

f1
b
2 tan a 45 
2

f1
b
2

200  70 tan2 a 45 


20
b
2

20
2 tan a 45 
b
2

 20 kN/m2

Consolidated-Undrained Triaxial Test


The consolidated-undrained test is the most common type of triaxial test. In this test, the
saturated soil specimen is rst consolidated by an all-around chamber uid pressure, s3 ,
that results in drainage (Figures 12.26a and 12.26b). After the pore water pressure generated by the application of conning pressure is dissipated, the deviator stress, sd , on the
specimen is increased to cause shear failure (Figure 12.26c). During this phase of the test,
the drainage line from the specimen is kept closed. Because drainage is not permitted, the
pore water pressure, ud , will increase. During the test, simultaneous measurements of
sd and ud are made. The increase in the pore water pressure, ud , can be expressed in
a nondimensional form as
A

ud
sd

(12.25)

where A  Skemptons pore pressure parameter (Skempton, 1954).


The general patterns of variation of sd and ud with axial strain for sand and clay
soils are shown in Figures 12.26d through 12.26g. In loose sand and normally consolidated
clay, the pore water pressure increases with strain. In dense sand and overconsolidated
clay, the pore water pressure increases with strain to a certain limit, beyond which it
decreases and becomes negative (with respect to the atmospheric pressure). This decrease
is because of a tendency of the soil to dilate.
Unlike the consolidated-drained test, the total and effective principal stresses are not
the same in the consolidated-undrained test. Because the pore water pressure at failure is
measured in this test, the principal stresses may be analyzed as follows:

Major principal stress at failure 1total2:

s3  1sd 2 f  s1

Minor principal stress at failure 1total2:

s3

Major principal stress at failure 1effective2 :

s1  1ud 2 f  s1

Minor principal stress at failure 1effective2: s3  1ud 2 f  s3


In these equations, (ud)f  pore water pressure at failure. The preceding derivations
show that

s1  s3  s1  s3

394 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil

Example 12.6
A specimen of saturated sand was consolidated under an all-around pressure of 12 lb/in.2
The axial stress was then increased and drainage was prevented. The specimen failed
when the axial deviator stress reached 9.1 lb/in.2 The pore water pressure at failure was
6.8 lb/in.2 Determine
a. Consolidated-undrained angle of shearing resistance, f
b. Drained friction angle, f
Solution
Part a
For this case, s3  12 lb/in.2, s1  12 + 9.1  21.1 lb/in.2, and (ud)f  6.8 lb/in.2. The
total and effective stress failure envelopes are shown in Figure 12.30. From Eq. (12.27),
f  sin 1 a

s1  s3
21.1  12
b  16
b  sin 1 a
s1  s3
21.1  12

Part b
From Eq. (12.28),
f  sin 1 c

s1  s3
21.1  12
d  27.8
d  sin 1 c
s1  s3  21ud 2 f
21.1  12  12 2 16.82

f

Shear stress (lb/in2)

Effective stress failure envelope


Total stress failure envelope

B
B

5.2

A

12

14.3

21.1

Normal stress (lb/in2)

Figure 12.30 Failure envelopes and Mohrs circles for a saturated sand

12.10 Unconsolidated-Undrained Triaxial Test

395

Example 12.7
Refer to the soil specimen described in Example 12.6. What would be the deviator
stress at failure, (sd )f , if a drained test was conducted with the same chamber allaround pressure (that is, 12 lb/in.2 )?
Solution
From Eq. (12.8) (with c  0),
s1  s3 tan2 a 45 

f
b
2

s3  12 lb/in.2 and f  27.8 (from Example 12.6). So,


s1  12 tan2 a 45 

27.8
b  33 lb/in.2
2

1sd 2 f  s1  s3  33  12  21 lb/in.2

12.10

Unconsolidated-Undrained Triaxial Test


In unconsolidated-undrained tests, drainage from the soil specimen is not permitted during the
application of chamber pressure s3 . The test specimen is sheared to failure by the application
of deviator stress, sd , and drainage is prevented. Because drainage is not allowed at any stage,
the test can be performed quickly. Because of the application of chamber conning pressure s3 ,
the pore water pressure in the soil specimen will increase by uc . A further increase in the pore
water pressure (ud) will occur because of the deviator stress application. Hence, the total pore
water pressure u in the specimen at any stage of deviator stress application can be given as
u  uc  ud

(12.31)

From Eqs. (12.18) and (12.25), uc  Bs3 and ud  Asd , so


u  Bs3  Asd  Bs3  A1s1  s3 2

(12.32)

This test usually is conducted on clay specimens and depends on a very important
strength concept for cohesive soils if the soil is fully saturated. The added axial stress at failure (sd)f is practically the same regardless of the chamber conning pressure. This property
is shown in Figure 12.31. The failure envelope for the total stress Mohrs circles becomes a
horizontal line and hence is called a f  0 condition. From Eq. (12.9) with f  0, we get
tf  c  cu

(12.33)

where cu is the undrained shear strength and is equal to the radius of the Mohrs circles.
Note that the f  0 concept is applicable to only saturated clays and silts.

12.18 Stress Path

417

Shear stress, or q

F
Effective stress Mohrs circle
U

Total stress Mohrs circle

U
U
a

1

s3
s3

s1

s, s, or p

ud

Figure 12.55 Stress pathplot of q against p for a consolidated-undrained triaxial


test on a normally consolidated clay

and
q 

s1  s3
sd

2
2

(12.63)

The preceding values of p and q will plot as point U in Figure 12.55. Points such as U
represent values of p and q as the test progresses. At failure of the soil specimen,
p  s3 

1sd 2 f
2

 1ud 2 f

(12.64)

and
q 

1sd 2 f
2

(12.65)

The values of p and q given by Eqs. (12.64) and (12.65) will plot as point U.
Hence, the effective stress path for a consolidated-undrained test can be given by the curve
IU U. Note that point U will fall on the modied failure envelope, OF (see Figure 12.54),
which is inclined at an angle a to the horizontal. Lambe (1964) proposed a technique to
evaluate the elastic and consolidation settlements of foundations on clay soils by using the
stress paths determined in this manner.

Example 12.9
For a normally consolidated clay, the failure envelope is given by the equation tf  s
tan f. The corresponding modied failure envelope (q-p plot) is given by Eq. (12.57)
as q  p tan a. In a similar manner, if the failure envelope is tf  c  s tan f, the
corresponding modied failure envelope is a q-p plot that can be expressed as q 
m  p tan a. Express a as a function of f, and give m as a function of c and f.

418 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil


Solution
From Figure 12.56,
s1  s3
b
2
AB
AB


sin f 
s1  s3
AC
CO  OA
c cot f  a
b
2
a

So,
s1  s3
s1  s3
 c cos f  a
b sin f
2
2

(a)

q  m  p tan a

(b)

or
Comparing Eqs. (a) and (b), we nd that
m  c cos F
and
tan a  sin f
or

a  tan1 1sin F2

f
Shear stress

tf  c  s' tan f
B
s1'  s3'
2

c

C
O
c cot f

s3
s1  s3
2

s1

Normal stress

Figure 12.56 Derivation of a as a function of f and m as a function of c and f

12.19

Summary and General Comments


In this chapter, the shear strengths of granular and cohesive soils were examined. Laboratory
procedures for determining the shear strength parameters were described.
In textbooks, determination of the shear strength parameters of cohesive soils
appears to be fairly simple. However, in practice, the proper choice of these parameters for
design and stability checks of various earth, earth-retaining, and earth-supported structures

Problems

419

is very difcult and requires experience and an appropriate theoretical background in geotechnical engineering. In this chapter, three types of strength parameters (consolidateddrained, consolidated-undrained, and unconsolidated-undrained) were introduced. Their
use depends on drainage conditions.
Consolidated-drained strength parameters can be used to determine the long-term
stability of structures such as earth embankments and cut slopes. Consolidated-undrained
shear strength parameters can be used to study stability problems relating to cases where
the soil initially is fully consolidated and then there is rapid loading. An excellent example
of this is the stability of slopes of earth dams after rapid drawdown. The unconsolidatedundrained shear strength of clays can be used to evaluate the end-of-construction stability
of saturated cohesive soils with the assumption that the load caused by construction has
been applied rapidly and there has been little time for drainage to take place. The bearing
capacity of foundations on soft saturated clays and the stability of the base of embankments on soft clays are examples of this condition.
The unconsolidated-undrained shear strength of some saturated clays can vary
depending on the direction of load application; this is referred to as anisotropy with respect
to strength. Anisotropy is caused primarily by the nature of the deposition of the cohesive
soils, and subsequent consolidation makes the clay particles orient perpendicular to the
direction of the major principal stress. Parallel orientation of the clay particles can cause
the strength of clay to vary with direction. The anisotropy with respect to strength for clays
can have an important effect on the load-bearing capacity of foundations and the stability
of earth embankments because the direction of the major principal stress along the potential failure surfaces changes.
The sensitivity of clays was discussed in Section 12.13. It is imperative that sensitive clay deposits are properly identied. For instance, when machine foundations (which
are subjected to vibratory loading) are constructed over sensitive clays, the clay may lose
its load-bearing capacity substantially, and failure may occur.

Problems
12.1 For a direct shear test on a dry sand, the following are given:
Specimen size: 75 mm  75 mm  30 mm (height)
Normal stress: 200 kN/m2
Shear stress at failure: 175 kN/m2
a. Determine the angle of friction, f
b. For a normal stress of 150 kN/m2, what shear force is required to cause failure
in the specimen?
12.2 For a dry sand specimen in a direct shear test box, the following are given:
Angle of friction: 38
Size of specimen: 2 in.  2 in.  1.2 in. (height)
Normal stress: 20 lb/in.2
Determine the shear force required to cause failure.
12.3 The following are the results of four drained, direct shear tests on a normally
consolidated clay. Given:
Size of specimen  60 mm  60 mm
Height of specimen  30 mm

420 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil

Test
no.

Normal
force
(N)

Shear
force at
failure (N)

1
2
3
4

200
300
400
500

155
230
310
385

Draw a graph for the shear stress at failure against the normal stress, and
determine the drained angle of friction from the graph.
12.4 Repeat Problem 12.3 with the following data. Given specimen size:
Diameter  2 in.
Height  1 in.
Test
no.

Normal
force
(lb)

Shear
force at
failure (lb)

1
2
3
4

60
90
110
125

37.5
55
70
80

12.5 The equation of the effective stress failure envelope for a loose, sandy soil was
obtained from a direct shear test at tf  s tan 30. A drained triaxial test was
conducted with the same soil at a chamber conning pressure of 10 lb/in.2.
Calculate the deviator stress at failure.
12.6 For the triaxial test described in Problem 12.5:
a. Estimate the angle that the failure plane makes with the major principal
plane.
b. Determine the normal stress and shear stress (when the specimen failed) on a
plane that makes an angle of 30 with the major principal plane. Also, explain
why the specimen did not fail along the plane during the test.
12.7 The relationship between the relative density, Dr , and the angle of friction, f, of
a sand can be given as f  25  0.18Dr (Dr is in %). A drained triaxial test on
the same sand was conducted with a chamber-conning pressure of 18 lb/in.2. The
relative density of compaction was 60%. Calculate the major principal stress at
failure.
12.8 For a normally consolidated clay, the results of a drained triaxial test are as
follows.
Chamber conning pressure: 15 lb/in.2
Deviator stress at failure: 34 lb/in.2
Determine the soil friction angle, f.
12.9 For a normally consolidated clay, f  24. In a drained triaxial test, the
specimen failed at a deviator stress of 175 kN/m2. What was the chamber
conning pressure, s3 ?
12.10 For a normally consolidated clay, f  28. In a drained triaxial test, the
specimen failed at a deviator stress of 30 lb/in.2. What was the chamber conning
pressure, s3 ?

Problems

421

12.11 A consolidated-drained triaxial test was conducted on a normally consolidated


clay. The results were as follows:
s3  250 kN/m2
1sd 2 f  275 kN/m2
Determine:
a. Angle of friction, f
b. Angle u that the failure plane makes with the major principal plane
c. Normal stress, s, and shear stress, tf , on the failure plane
12.12 The results of two drained triaxial tests on a saturated clay are given next:
Specimen I:
Chamber conning pressure  15 lb/in.2
Deviator stress at failure  31.4 lb/in.2
Specimen II: Chamber-conning pressure  25 lb/in.2
Deviator stress at failure  47 lb/in.2
Calculate the shear strength parameters of the soil.
12.13 If the clay specimen described in Problem 12.12 is tested in a triaxial apparatus with a
chamber-conning pressure of 25 lb/in.2, what is the major principal stress at failure?
12.14 A sandy soil has a drained angle of friction of 38. In a drained triaxial test on the
same soil, the deviator stress at failure is 175 kN/m2. What is the chamberconning pressure?
12.15 A consolidated-undrained test on a normally consolidated clay yielded the following results:
s3  15 lb/in.2
Deviator stress: (sd)f  11 lb/in.2
Pore pressure: (ud )f  7.2 lb/in.2
Calculate the consolidated-undrained friction angle and the drained friction angle.
12.16 Repeat Problem 12.15 with the following:
s3  140 kN/m2
1sd 2 f  125 kN/m2
1ud 2 f  75 kN/m2
12.17 The shear strength of a normally consolidated clay can be given by the equation
tf  s tan 31. A consolidated-undrained triaxial test was conducted on the
clay. Following are the results of the test:
Chamber conning pressure  112 kN/m2
Deviator stress at failure  100 kN/m2
Determine:
a. Consolidated-undrained friction angle
b. Pore water pressure developed in the clay specimen at failure
12.18 For the clay specimen described in Problem 12.17, what would have been the
deviator stress at failure if a drained test had been conducted with the same
chamber-conning pressure (that is, s3  112 kN/m2 )?
12.19 For a normally consolidated clay soil, f  32 and f  22. A consolidatedundrained triaxial test was conducted on this clay soil with a chamber-conning pressure of 15 lb/in.2. Determine the deviator stress and the pore water pressure at failure.
12.20 The friction angle, f, of a normally consolidated clay specimen collected during
eld exploration was determined from drained triaxial tests to be 25. The
unconned compression strength, qu , of a similar specimen was found to be
100 kN/m2. Determine the pore water pressure at failure for the unconned
compression test.

422 Chapter 12: Shear Strength of Soil


12.21 Repeat Problem 12.20 using the following values.
f  23
qu  120 kN/m2
12.22 The results of two consolidated-drained triaxial tests on a clayey soil are as follows.
Test no.

S3
(lb/in.2)

S11failure2
(lb/in.2)

1
2

27
12

73
48

Use the failure envelope equation given in Example 12.9that is, q  m  p


tan a. (Do not plot the graph.)
a. Find m and a
b. Find c and f
12.23 A 15-m thick normally consolidated clay layer is shown in Figure 12.57. The
plasticity index of the clay is 18. Estimate the undrained cohesion as would be
determined from a vane shear test at a depth of 8 m below the ground surface.
Use Eq. (12.35).
g  16 kN/m3

3m

Groundwater table

15 m
gsat  18.6 kN/m3

Dry sand

Clay

Rock

Figure 12.57

References
ACAR, Y. B., DURGUNOGLU, H. T., and TUMAY, M. T. (1982). Interface Properties of Sand,
Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, ASCE, Vol. 108, No. GT4, 648654.

ARMAN, A., POPLIN, J. K., and AHMAD, N. (1975). Study of Vane Shear, Proceedings,
Conference on In Situ Measurement and Soil Properties, ASCE, Vol. 1, 93120.

AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR TESTING AND MATERIALS (2004). Annual Book of ASTM Standards,
Vol. 04.08, Philadelphia, Pa.

BISHOP, A. W., and BJERRUM, L. (1960). The Relevance of the Triaxial Test to the Solution of
Stability Problems, Proceedings, Research Conference on Shear Strength of Cohesive Soils,
ASCE, 437501.
BJERRUM, L. (1974). Problems of Soil Mechanics and Construction on Soft Clays, Norwegian
Geotechnical Institute, Publication No. 110, Oslo.