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1. INTRODUCTION TO SOIL MATERIALS
1.1 Definitions
Soil:
• uncemented or weakly cemented accumulation of mineral and organic particles and
sediments found above the bedrock, or
• any unconsolidated material consisting of discrete solid particles with fluid or gas in
the voids
Rock:
• indurated (consolidated by pressure or cementation ) material requiring drilling,
blasting, brute force excavation
The dividing line between soil and rock is arbitrary; the same material may sometimes be either
classified as “very soft rock” or “very hard soil”, depending on who classifies the material or
what the application is. To a geologist “our” soil is drift or unconsolidated material.
Whereas we are concerned with soil to the depth of bedrock, soil scientists (pedology) and
agricultural scientists (agronomists) are concerned with only the very uppermost layers of soil.
Soil Mechanics: (ASTM) the application of the laws and principles of mechanics and hydraulics
to engineering problems dealing with soil as an engineering material.
Geotechnical Engineering: the application of civil engineering technology to some aspect of the
earth, therefore including soil and rock as engineering materials. It combines the basic physical
sciences, geology, pedology with hydraulic, structural, transportation, construction,
environmental and mining engineering.
Soil mechanics is a subset of geotechnical engineering.
1.2 Origin of Soils
Soil is a three phase system of:  solid particles
 pore fluid
 pore gas
Most solid particles are mineral fragments that originated from the disintegration of rocks by
physical or chemical action, often referred to as weathering.
Physical Weathering: erosion due to freezing & thawing, abrasion from glaciers, temperature
changes, and the activity of plants and animals.
Chemical Weathering: decomposition due to oxidation, reduction, carbonation, and other
chemical processes.
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
2
Exceptions: Peat (organic) and shell deposits
Soils at a particular site can be:
 Residual or weathered in place (most common in tropical locations), or
 Transported by the action of:
Glaciers (glacial)
Moving water (fluvial)
Wind (aeolian)
Settling out in salt water (marine)
Settling out in fresh water (lactustrine)
Due to gravity movement downslope (colluvial)
(most common in temperate regions)
1.3 Main Types of Soils
Granular: gravel, sand, (silt)
Cohesive: (silt), clay
Organic: marsh soil, peat, coal, tar sand
ManMade: mine tailings, landfill waste, ash, aggregates
Soils can vary from 10
2
to 10
3
mm in diameter.
Naturally occurring soils are usually a mixture of two or more of the above components.
(e.g., siltysand, clayeysilt, clay with gravel)
In addition, the void space between the slid particles may be filled with either pore fluid gas.
1.4 The Unique Nature of Soil Material
• highly variable
 properties vary widely from point to point within the soil mass
 more heterogeneous rather than homogeneous
 large variations over small distances
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
3
• nonlinear stressstrain response
• nonconservative (i.e. inelastic)
 soils “remember” what has happened to them in the past
 stress history is very important
 soil behaviour is quite different whether normally consolidated or
overconsolidated (CivE381)
• anisotropic
 different properties in different directions
 primarily a result of depositional and loading history
• mulitphase system (soil, water, and air)
• empirical application in design
 empirical  based on experience – what we can see / what we can measure
 good design  combination of art, science and common sense
The behavior of soil in situ is often governed by soil fabric, weak layers and zones, and other
defects in the material. It is therefore essential that the successful geotechnical engineer
develops a feel for the soil behavior.
Generally we idealize the behavior using applied mechanics concepts, and then apply
engineering judgement (based on our own experience and the experience of others) to come up
with a final solution.
Because the soil is so complex, it is difficult to deal with as an engineering material. It is
necessary to be able to CLASSIFY CLASSIFY the soil based on ENGINEERING BEHAVIOUR ENGINEERING BEHAVIOUR.
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
4
2. MASS  VOLUME RELATIONSHIPS AND DEFINITIONS
2.1 Soil System
Soil normally consists of a two or three phase system:
1) Solid mineral particles
 quartz, feldspars, carbonates, mica / clay minerals, organic matter,
 plus garbage, tailings, slag, etc.
2) Pore fluid
 normally water
 could be oil, bitumen
 could be leachate
3) Pore gas
 normally air
 could be methane (landfill, pipeline)
 often excess CO
2
in tropics, radon
2.2 Phase Diagram
For quantifying the properties of a soil, a series of definitions and terminology has developed to
describe the three phase system – best illustrated with the use of a phase diagram.
• provides an easy means to identify both what is know and the relationship between known
and desired quantities
• we usually measure the total volume V
T
, the mass of water M
W
, and the mass of solids M
S
• we may then calculate the rest of the values and the mass volume relationships that we need.
Most relationships are independent of sample size and are often dimensionless.
Solid
Water
Air
M
W
M
S
M
T
V
A
V
W
V
S
V
V
V
T
M
A
=0
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
5
2.3 Volumetric Relationships
Void Ratio, e:
[1]
V
V
= volume of voids
V
S
= volume of solids
• Expressed as a decimal
• Typically:
Sands 0.4 < e < 1.0 very loose sand e ≈ 0.8
Clays 0.3 < e < 1.5 soft clay e > 1
organic clays e > 3
• Empirically determined that much of soil behavior is related to e
As e decreases density increases
As e decreases strength increases
As e decreases permeability decreases
Porosity, n:
[2]
V
V
= volume of voids
V
T
= volume total
• Expressed as a decimal or percentage (usually decimal)
By substituting equation [1] into [2] we can show that:
[2a]
and
[2b]
e.g., for a very loose sand with e=0.8,
S
V
V
V
e ·
T
V
V
V
n ·
e 1
e
n
+
·
n 1
n
e
−
·
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
6
Degree of Saturation, S:
[3]
V
W
= volume of water
V
V
= volume of voids
• Expressed as a percentage
• Tells us the percentage of the total volume of voids that contain water
• Range is from 0 to 100%
S = 0 % soil is completely dry
S = 100 % soil is saturated (i.e. pore spaces are completely filled with water)
2.4 Mass Relationships
Density, ρ ρ:
• Expressed as g/cm
3
, kg/m
3
or Mg/m
3
(=g/cm
3
)
Density of Solids, ρ ρ
S
:
M
S
= mass of solids
V
S
= volume of solids
[4]
Density of Water, ρ ρ
W
:
[5]
M
W
= mass of water
V
W
= volume of water
Bulk Density(also termed moist, wet, or total density), ρ ρ:
[6]
M
T
= mass total
V
T
= volume total
(%) 100
V
V
S
V
W
× ·
S
S
S
V
M
· ρ
C 4 at m / Mg 0 . 1 cm / g 0 . 1
V
M
o 3 3
W
W
W
· · · ρ
T
T
V
M
· ρ
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
7
Saturated Density, ρ ρ
sat
:
S = 100%, therefore V
A
= 0
[7]
Similar to bulk density except that the sample must have S = 100%
e.g. saturated soil below the water table
Dry Density, ρ ρ
d
:
S = 0%, therefore M
W
= 0
[8]
Buoyant (Submerged) Density, ρ ρ’:
[9]
2.5 Weight Relationships
The relationships just defined in terms of masses (or densities) can be expressed in terms of
weights and are called unit weights.
Unit Weight, γ γ:
[10]
g = acceleration due to gravity = 9.81 m/s
2
• typically expressed in kN/m
3
e.g. if ρ = 2100 kg/m
3
,
γ = 2100 kg/m
3
× 9.81m/s
2
=20601kg⋅m =20.6 kN / m
3
s
2
⋅m
3
T
T
sat
V
M
· ρ
T
S
d
V
M
· ρ
W SAT
ρ − ρ · ρ′
g × ρ · γ
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
8
2.6 Basic Tests
Moisture Content, w:
ASTM D2216
[11]
• Expressed as a percentage
• The amount of water present in a soil relative to the mass of dry soil.
• See Bowles Experiment #1, pages 1517.
Specific Gravity, Gs:
ASTM D854
[12]
• Note that the Canadian Foundation and Engineering Manual (1992) terms this ratio as the
relative density of the solid phase with respect to water and uses the symbol D
r
.
• See Bowles Experiment #7, pages 7178
• Defined as the weight of soil divided by the weight of an equal volume of water at 20
o
C
• Gs is found using a sample of soil and a pycnometer, which gives the average specific
gravity of the materials from which the soil particles are made.
• Typically 2.6 to 2.8 for the solid minerals in soil
• Often Gs < 1 for organic particles
2.6 Useful Relationships
[13]
[14]
set S = 1 for ρ
sat
set S = 0 for ρ
d
(%) 100
M
M
w
S
W
× ·
W
S
W
S
Gs
ρ
ρ
·
γ
γ
·
Gs w S e ·
w
S
e 1
eS G
ρ
,
_
¸
¸
+
+
· ρ
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
9
2.7 Typical Values
TABLE 1. Summary of typical values of porosity, void ratio, water content, saturated density
and saturated unit weight.
SOIL n
(%)
e w
(%)
ρ
sat
kg/m
3
γ
sat
kg/m
3
LOOSE, UNIFORM SAND 46 .85 32 1890 18.5
LOOSE, MIXED GRAINED SOIL 40 .67 25 1986 19.45
DENSE WELL GRADED SAND 30 .43 16 2163 21.2
HARD OR DENSE GLACIAL TILL 20 .25 9 2323 22.8
SOFT CLAY 55 1.2 45 1762 17.3
STIFF CLAY 37 0.6 22 2067 20.2
SOFT ORGANIC CLAY 75 3.0 110 1426 13.9
PEAT (VERY COMPRESSIBLE) 94 17 1000 10.2
TABLE 2. Summary of specific gravities for minerals and soils.
Quartz 2.65 Sand 2.65
KFeldspars 2.65  2.57 Silty Sand 2.66  2.68
NaCaFeldspars 2.62  2.76 Silt 2.67  2.68
Calcite 2.72 Silty Clay 2.70  2.72
Dolomite 2.85 Clay 2.70  2.80
Muscovite 2.7  3.1
Biotite 2.8  3.2 Gs > 2.80  likely metals present
Chlorite 2.6  2.9 Gs < 2.70  likely organics present
Pyrophyllite 2.84
Serpentine 2.2  2.7 Average Gs for sand = 2.65
Kaolinite 2.61
a
Average Gs for well mixed soil = 2.70
2.64+/0.02
Halloysite (2 H
2
O) 2.55
Illite 2.84
a
2.60  2.86
Montmorillonite 2.74
a
2.75  2.78
Attapulgite 2.3
a
Calculated from crystal structure.
Specific Gravities of Minerals Specific Gravities of Soils
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
10
2.8 Example Problems
A saturated soil sample (S = 100%) has a water content of 42% and a specific gravity of 2.70.
Calculate the void ratio, porosity, bulk unit weight, and bulk density.
A cylinder of soil has a volume of 1.15×10
3
m
3
, a mass of 2.290 kg and Gs of 2.68. The mass of
solid obtained by drying is 2.035 kg. Calculate: ρ, γ, w
n
, e, n, and S.
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
11
3. GRAIN SIZE AND GRAIN SIZE DISTRIBUTION
3.1 Coarse Grained versus Fine Grained Soils
• convenient dividing line is the smallest grain that is visible to the naked eye
• with the Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) the division corresponds to a
particle size of 0.075 mm.
Particles larger than this size are called coarsegrained, while soils finer than this size are
called finegrained.
Table 3.1 Textural and Other Characteristics of Soils
Soil Type
Gravels, Sands Silts Clays
Grain size:  Coarse grained
 Can see individual
grains by eye
 Fine grained
 Cannot see
individual grains
 Fine grained
 Cannot see
individual grains
Characteristics:
 Cohesionless
 Nonplastic
 Granular
 Cohesionless
 Nonplastic
 Granular
 Cohesive
 Plastic
Effect of water on
engineering
behaviour:
Relatively
unimportant
(exception: loose
saturated granular
materials and
dynamic loading)
Important
Very Important
Effect of grain size
distribution on
engineering
behaviour:
Important
Relatively
Important
Relatively
Unimportant
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
12
3.2 Grain Size Distribution
We are interested in both the particle size and the distribution of the particle sizes.
Sieve tests and hydrometer tests are used to define the distribution of grain sizes.
The range of particle sizes varies from 200 mm > D > 0.002 mm (i.e. by orders of
magnitude) hence when we examine the particle size distribution we plot on a logarithmic
scale.
Classification of soils according to particle sizes varies slightly between different
classification systems.
The Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) is one commonly used classification
system.
In describing the size of a soil particle, we can use either a dimension or a name that has
been arbitrarily assigned to a certain size range. Classification from the USCS is
described below:
Type Grain Size (mm)
Boulders > 300
Cobbles 75 to 300
Gravel 4.75 to 75
Sand 0.075 to 4.75
Silt
Clay
< 0.075
Particle Size (mm)
1000 100 10 1 0.1 0.01 0.001
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
13
Particle size distribution obtained by shaking a dry sample of soil through a series of
wovenwire squaremesh sieves with successively smaller openings.
Since soil particles are rarely perfect spheres, particle diameter (or size) refers to an
equivalent particle diameter as found from the sieve analysis. We will use the U.S.
Standard Sieves. The sieve sizes are summarized in Table 3.2.
Table 3.2 U.S. Standard Sieve Sizes and their Corresponding Opening Dimension
Sieve No. Sieve Opening (mm)
3" 75
1.5" 38
0.75" 19
0.375" 9.5
#
4 4.75
#
10 2.00
#
20 0.85
#
40 0.425
#
60 0.25
#
100 0.15
#
140 0.106
#
200 0.075
Nested sieves are used for soils with grain sizes larger than 75 :m. For finer soils (silts
and clays) the hydrometer test is used.
Particle Size (mm)
1000 100 10 1 0.1 0.01 0.001
Sand
Fines (Silt, Clay)
Gravel
F M C
C
o
b
b
l
e
s
Boulders
F C
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
14
Procedure for Soil Analysis
1. A soil sample is separated by passing it through the nest of sieves.
2. Determine the weight of soil retained on each sieve.
3. Calculate the percent of weight finer than each particle size.
4. Plot the grain size distribution as Percent Finer Than as the ordinate (yaxis) versus
the log of the Particle Size as the abscissa (xaxis).
Calculation for Grain Size Analysis
Sieve
Opening
Mass of
Sieve
Mass of Sieve
and Soil
Mass
Retained
Cumulative
Mass Retained
% Cumulative
Retained
% Passing
µm g g g g
A B
Where T = total mass of dry sample
Typical Grain Size Curves
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
15
Parameters Describing the Grain Size Distribution
1. Effective particle size, D
10
:
 Denotes the grain diameter (in mm) corresponding to 10% passing by mass.
 Controls flow for coarse grain soils.
2. Coefficient of Uniformity, C
u
:
where: D
60
= grain diameter (in mm) corresponding to 60% passing by mass and,
D
10
= grain diameter (in mm) corresponding to 10% passing by mass.
(Note: if D
60
= D
10
, Cu = 1, all particles between 10% and 60% are the same size).
3. Coefficient of Curvature, Cc:
where: D
30
= grain diameter (in mm) corresponding to 30% passing by mass.
For well graded soils,
C
U
> 4 for gravel
C
U
> 6 for sand
1 < C
C
< 3
If C
U
and C
C
do not meet both of the criteria above, the soil is poorly graded.
Well graded: good representation of particle sizes over a wide range; gradation curve is
generally smooth.
Poorly graded: either excess or a deficiency of certain sizes, or most of the particles
about the same size. (i.e. uniform soil)
Gap graded: a proportion of grain sizes within a specific range is low (it is also poorly
graded).
10
60
D
D
Cu ·
60 10
2
30
D D
D
Cc ·
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
16
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
17
3.3 Density Index of Granular Soil
• Also referred to as relative density
Definition: I
D
= e
max
 e
x 100%
e
max
 e
min
where: e
max
= maximum void ratio corresponding to the loosest state,
e
min
= minimum void ratio corresponding to the densest state, and
e = void ratio of the sample.
Loosest State, I
D
= 0%, obtained by:
• Sifting or funneling dry sand into narrow rows in a box
• Gentle settling in a water column
• If very fine, dumped in a damp, bulked state and submerged from below
Densest State, I
D
= 100%, obtained by:
• Prolonged vibration at 20  30 cycles / sec under light static load in dry state
• If very uniform sand, tamped lightly after dumping thin layers
Field Measurement: STD penetration test, "N" values
• 63.5 kg (140 lb) hammer dropping 76.2 cm (30")
• Count number of blows per ft to drive 2" sampler 61 cm
I
D
0 15 35 65 85 100
Very
Loose
Loose Compact Dense Very
Dense
N 28
o
30
o
36
o
45
o
3.4 Application of Grain Size Distribution
1. Estimation of Coefficient of Permeability, k, in Sands and Gravels
An empirical correlation between PSD and permeability has been developed
k = c (D
10
)
2
cm/s
where 100 < c < 150
Developed by Hazen for uniform, loose, clean sands and gravels.
2. Frost Heave Susceptibility
Frost heaving occurs if water may be drawn towards the freezing front in soils from
below, forming lenses of ice. Whether or not water may be drawn to the freezing front is
largely governed by the pore size, which is a function of the grain size distribution of the
Introduction to Soils CivE 381
18
soil. The pore sizes may be sufficiently small to allow capillary action of the pore water
up to the freezing front, and sufficiently large to have a high enough permeability to
allow the water to migrate fast enough.
Silts combine sufficiently high suction and permeability to maximize ice lens production,
hence road base material, for example, is usually specified to have not more than 3% silt
size particles to alleviate frost heave beneath roads.
A soil is frost susceptible if > 3% pass 0.02 mm.
3. Selection of Fill Material
• Used to specify material for concrete aggregate (sand & gravel), road base material
• Used to examine and develop borrow pits.
4. Geotechnical Processes
• Used to evaluate soil drainage.
• Used to examine the likely effectiveness of grouting or soil freezing techniques for
soil stabilization.
5. Design of Protective Filters
Piping ratio:
Prevents the protected soil from moving through the filter.
Ensures that the filter is large enough to improve the situation.
It may be necessary to place a number of filter materials in series to avoid piping.
5 4
) ( 85
) ( 15
to
D
D
SOIL
FILTER
<
5 4
) ( 15
) ( 15
to
D
D
SOIL
FILTER
>
NATURE OF COHESIVE SOILS
Clay Water System
“Clay” refers to both a specific sheet size ( < 2 µm) and specific minerals (sheet silicates) that are
somewhat similar to mica. The cohesive properties of natural soils are normally related to the
presence of clay minerals (e.g., kaolinite, illite, monmorillonite, chlorite and vermiculite).
 all clay mineral are negatively charged
 hydrated cations (+ve) are attracted to ve clay particles forming a double layer
The double layer (or bound water) is the main reason that the engineering behaviour of clayey
soils are strongly influenced by the presence of water.
Atterberg Limits
Since water plays an important role in the behaviour with a significant clayey fraction, a range of
water content has been defined that correlate strongly with the engineering properties of fine
grained soils. The Atterberg limits are water contents that bracket different behavioural states for
the soil.
INCREASING WATER CONTENT
w (%)
shrinkage limit, w
s
plastic limit, w
P
liquid limit, w
L
natural water content, w
n
The range of water content over which a fine grained soil behaves as a plastic is defined as the
Plasticity Index:
I
P
=
The Plasticity Index provides an important indication of soil properties and may indicate its
composition. It is used in the classification of fine grained soils.
Also define the Liquidity Index as:
I
L
=
Relationship of Mineralogy to Atterberg Limits
Clay Mineral w
L
(%)
w
P
(%)
I
P
(%)
CEC
(meq/100g)
kaolinite
illite
Na
+
 montmorillonite
Ca
++
 montmorillonite
CEC = cation exchange capacity
NOTES:
1. High w
L
= montmorillonite = trouble
2. Na
+
mont. MUCH more troublesome than Ca
++
mont.
CLASSIFICATION OF SOILS
UNIFIED SOIL CLASSIFICATION SYSTEM (USCS)
Read: “An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering”, Holtz and Kovacs pp. 4764.
ON RESERVE: UA Cameron Flr1 SciTec Reserve, CALL NUMBER: TA 710 H75 1981
1) MAIN SOIL TYPE PREFIX
COARSE GRAINED
( < 50% PASSES No. 200 SIEVE)
GRAVEL ( < 50% PASSES No. 4 SIEVE) G
SAND ( > 50% PASSES No. 4 SIEVE) S
FINE GRAINED
( > 50% PASSING No. 200 SIEVE)
SILT M
CLAY C
ORGANIC O
PEAT Pt
2) SUBDIVISIONS SUFFIX
FOR GRAVEL AND SAND
WELL GRADED (Cu > 4 and 1 < Cc < 3), CLEAN W
POORLY GRADED (Cu Ý 4 and 1 Û Cc Û 3), CLEAN P
APPRECIABLE FINES ( > 12% PASSES No. 200 SIEVE) M or C
FOR SILTS AND CLAYS (use plasticity chart)
LOW PLASTICITY (w
L
< 50%) L
HIGH PLASTICITY (w
L
> 50%) H
see Example 3.1 H&K
1
COMPACTION OF SOILS
Compaction is the densification of soil by the application of mechanical energy.
Reasons for Compaction:
Road Subgrade  strong at small deflections
 ultimate strength usually not a problem
Road Embankment  strong at ultimate strength for overall stability
Homogeneous Dam  strong and impervious
Dam Core  low permeability (relatively impervious) and usually weak
 strength derived from shells of dam
Clay Liner  low permeability (relatively impervious) for municipal and toxic solid
waste disposal
Main Factors Influencing the Compaction of Soils
1)
2)
3)
4)
2
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DRY DENSITY AND WATER CONTENT
The relationship between the dry density (or unit weight) and water content of a soil is measured
in the laboratory with the compaction test. Here a soil sample mixed to a certain water content is
compacted in a cylinder of known volume. The dry density of the soil can be computed by
measuring both the total mass of the soil and the water content.
• compact soil in layers
• for each layer, drop known mass a certain height with a specified number of blows per layer
Standard Proctor Modified Proctor
Number of Layers 3 5
Height of Fall 0.3048 m 0.4572 m
Mass of Hammer 2.495 kg 4.536 kg
Energy 593 kJ/m
3
2694 kJ/m
3
3
w
γ
d
.
.
.
.
.
8 6 10 12 14 16 18
19
18
17
Typical Compaction Curve for Silty Clay
maximum dry density ρ
d max
optimum water content w
opt
Explanation of shape:
 below w
opt
there is a water deficiency
• get
 near w
opt
the clay particles are lubricated
 above w
opt
there is excess water
• some of the compactive effort is taken by
• also water takes up spaces that could be occupied by
4
Relationship between dry density, water content and degree of saturation can be calculated viz,
Note that:
 no data points should lie to the right of the zero air void curve
 complete saturation is never achieved, even at high water contents
Source: Holtz and
Kovacs (1981)
Modified Proctor test has a greater compactive effort (CE) than the Standard Proctor.
• as CE 8,
• as w 8
•
5
w
ε % w
σ
S
t
r
e
n
g
t
h
(
k
P
a
)
200
400
600
γ
d
COMPACTION AND STRENGTH OF COHESIVE SOILS
6
COMPACTION AND PERMEABILITY OF CLAYEY SOILS
• hydraulic conductivity
decreases as moulding water
content
• huge decrease in k
• minimum k occurs 2 to 4%
above the optimum water
content
•
• if compacted wet of optimum
the method of compaction
influences k
e.g., at 4% wet of optimum,
100 times difference in k
! reason for lower k related to clay particle structure:
flocculated
dispersed
7
SOLID WASTE
Perforated Pipe
Geotextile
Gravel (16  32 mm)
Gravel (50 mm)
Geotextile
FIELD PLACEMENT OF CLAYEY BARRIER FOR WASTE CONTAINMENT
Compacted clay liners are commonly used as barriers in waste containment facilities (e.g.,
municipal solid waste landfills) to minimize the movement of contaminants from the facility.
MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE LANDFILL
! since lowest values of k achieved with kneading compaction, make great effort in the field
to repetitively knead the soil with many passes of padfoot, clubfoot or wedgefoot rollers
! kneading action breaks up clods and interclod macropores
! also compact in lifts with padfoot compactor with feet long enough to penetrate through the
lift being compacted into the underlying lift
! minimum thickness (normally) of 0.9 m (six lifts of 0.15 m) to minimize the risk of defects in a
layer having a significant impact on performance
 probability of cracks lining up is very small if compacted in more than four layers
! need to consider potential for clayleachate interaction
may not be a great problem clayey soils with low activity
! important that the liner not be permitted to:
dessicate 
freeze 
8
FIELD MEASUREMENT OF DENSITY
Having defined the necessary dry density for the soil, determined the type of compactor and
determined the lift height, it is subsequently necessary to monitor the density of the field
compacted soil to ensure that the soil is performing as expected and that contractor is performing
the work as required.
The easiest and probably most common method of determining the soil density is with the use of a
Nuclear Density Meter. Other methods include sand cone and rubber balloon tests.
Source: Bardet (1997)
Nuclear Density Meter
non–destructive
measures both moisture content and bulk density directly
gamma radiation is used for density determination
neutron radiation is used for moisture content determination
radiation is sent out from an emitter and scattered radiation is counted by a detector.
calibration against compacted materials of known density and water content is necessary
Sand Cone and Balloon Density: Steps
1. Excavate a hole in the compacted fill at the desired sampling elevation.
2. Record the mass of soil removed for the hole.
3. Determine the water content of the soil removed.
4. Measure the volume of the hole using sand cone, balloon or other method.
5. Calculate bulk density knowing Mt and Vt.
6. Calculate the dry density knowing the bulk density and the water content.
STEADY STATE SEEPAGE
TYPES OF PROBLEMS
how fast and where water flows though soils
 rate of leakage from an earth dam
 movements of contaminants in subsurface
rate of settlement of foundations
 related to how fast water flows in soils
the stability of earth structures
 water influences the strength of soils
NATURE OF FLOW
flow from A to B
 not in a straight line
 not at a constant velocity
 rather winding path from pore to pore
Flow occurs through the interconnected pores
• isolated voids do not exist in an assemblage of spheres  regardless of packing density
 gravels, sands, silts, and even most clays  probably no isolated voids  unless cemented
• some geologic materials (e.g., many crystalline rocks) have a high total porosity  most of
which are interconnected
 effective porosity n
e
 percentage of interconnected pore space
 contaminants may move very fast in fractured rock
ONE DIMENSIONAL FLOW  DARCY’S LAW
Classical experiment performed by H. Darcy in the 1850's to study the flow properties of water
through a sand filter bed.
It was experimentally found that:
Q =
where:
Q = total volume of water collected per unit time  flow rate [ L
3
/ T ]
k = experimentally derived constant [ L / T ]
h
3
= height above datum of water rise in standpipe inserted at the top of the sand [ L ]
h
4
= height above datum of water rise in standpipe inserted at the base of the sand [ L ]
L = length of sample [ L ]
A = crosssectional area of the sample container [ L
2
]
Define gradient between any two points a and b as:
i
ab
=
where ∆h is the difference in total head between points a and b.
Therefore Darcy’s Law can be written as:
Q =
Flow per unit area is given by:
where: v is the Darcy flux
 volume of water that flows through a unit area per unit time
 units with dimensions of [ L
3
] × [ L
2
] × [ T
1
] = [ L / T ]
 same units as velocity
 often called Darcy velocity but is actually a flux
 fictitious velocity but useful
Consider the flow between points 1  2 and 3  4. Continuity of flow requires that:
Q
12
= Q
34
where: v
s
is the seepage velocity
 also termed groundwater velocity and average linearized groundwater velocity
 also fictitious quantity given tortuous flow path, but again useful quantity
and n is the porosity
e.g., for sands, n .0.3
NATURE OF HEADS
h = h
v
+ h
p
+ z
where: h
v
= velocity head
h
p
= pressure head
 height to which liquid rises in a piezometer above that point
 pore pressure u = h
p
× ã
w
z = elevation head
 vertical distance from datum to point
h = total head [ L ]
** Water flows from high total head to low total head. **
Note: Total head is always measured relative to some datum. Since flow depends on the gradient
(or change in head over a given distance) the choice of the position of datum is not important 
however, choosing a datum (and clearly defining it) is of paramount importance.
Example 1.
Example 2.
Example 3.
PHYSICAL INTERPRETATION OF DARCY’S PROPORTIONALITY CONSTANT
Reflecting back on Darcy’s experiment, the proportionality constant k may be expected to be a
function of the soil and the fluid.
k % ã
w
k % 1 / µ
k % d
2
where:
ã
w
= unit weight of water
µ = viscosity
d = mean grain diameter of sand
k = Darcy’s proportionality constant
Define k as the hydraulic conductivity
 contains properties of both the porous medium and the fluid
 units [ L / T ]
 characterises the capacity of a porous medium to transmit water at a specific temperature
 also referred to as the coefficient of permeability
 hydraulic conductivity is most frequently used in ground water or hydrogeology literature
 permeability used in petroleum industry where the fluids of interest are oil, gas and water
Darcy’s proportionality constant can be expressed as:
k = k
i
ã
w
µ
k
i
is defined as the intrinsic permeability
 contains properties of the porous medium only
 units [ L
2
]
 characterises the capacity of a porous medium to transmit any fluid
Both the unit weight and the viscosity of water can change with temperature. For practical
purposes of groundwater flow these changes are small; we ignore these effects (unless the
temperatures approach 0°C), so we treat k as a soil property, independent of other effects.
HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY
The hydraulic conductivity is influenced by a number of factors including:
 effective porosity
 grain size and grain size distribution
 shape and orientation of particles
 degree of saturation
 clay mineralogy
Approximate range in values of hydraulic conductivity (Whitlow 1995).
k (m/s)
10
2

10
1

1 
10
1

10
2

10
3

10
4

10
5

10
6

10
7

10
8

10
9

10
10

HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY AND CLAY MINERALOGY
In general, the higher the specific surface and cation exchange capacity, the greater amount of
bound water and the lower the hydraulic conductivity value.
Clay Mineral Edge View Thickness
(nm)
Specific
Surface
(km
2
/kg)
CEC
(meq/100g)
Probable k
(m/s)
kaolinite
50  2000 0.015  5 10
7
 10
10
illite
30 .08  25 10
9
 10
11
montmorillonite
3 100  100 10
10
 10
15
Why is this so?
Implications for clayey barriers for waste containment:
kaolinite
 would have to be very pure to obtain low k because of low CEC
 valuable as a pottery clay
illite
 probably best barrier clays
 fairly inactive, no interlayer expansion or contraction
 yield low k barrier if constitute about 20% of well graded soil
montmorillonite
 obtain the lowest hydraulic conductivity
 susceptible to interlayer expansion and contraction  may get huge increase in k  BAD
 most temperamental of the clay minerals
LABORATORY MEASUREMENT OF HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY
See Whitlow Sections 5.5, 5.6, 5.7
Constant Head Test Falling Head Test
FIELD MEASUREMENT OF HYDRAULIC CONDUCTIVITY
See Whitlow Section 5.9
ONE DIMENSIONAL FLOW PROBLEMS
The engineered barrier systems in modern municipal solid waste landfills provide excellent
examples of the use of one dimensional flow problems to solve seepage problems.
TWO DIMENSIONAL STEADY STATE SEEPAGE
Several assumptions are required to derive the equation governing two dimensional steady state
seepage.
• the soil is completely saturated
• there is no change in void ratio of the porous medium
• the hydraulic conductivity is isotropic
• Darcy’s law is valid
• the water is incompressible
Consider the flow of water into an element with dimensions dx and dy and unit width in the z
direction.
Continuity of flow requires that,
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Analytical solutions can be obtained to Laplace’s equation for problems involving only simple
boundary conditions.
Alternatively, either numerical or graphical solutions may be used.
e.g., finite difference e.g., flow nets
finite element
 SeepW ®
 GMS Seep2D ®
Numerical solutions may be highly dependent upon the refinement of the finitedifference grid or
finiteelement mesh. For transient analysis suitable refinement of the time step is also important.
Such numerical methods should be considered incorrect until proven correct.
Define two characteristics of flow:
1) Equipotential lines
 EP
 lines of constant total head
2) Flow lines
 FL
 lines parallel to the direction of flow
If we draw a flow net with constant head difference between EPs for flow through a
homogeneous, isotropic porous medium then:
 EP z FL
 get curvilinear squares  don’t have to all be the same size
 be able to fit circle tangent to all sides
Flow net for
Darcy’s Apparatus
To solve for the flow Q use Darcy’s law:
 calculate Q based on one square then multiply by the number of flow tubes
ÄQ = k Äh a
L
ÄQ = flow in one flow channel (per unit width)
Äh = total head drop across a pair of EPs
L = distance over which head drop takes place
a = distance between adjacent flow lines.
Common Boundary Conditions
equipotential line impermeable boundary
line of constant pressure
 sat. soil in contact with air
 h
p
= 0
 ˆ h = z
 line of variable but
known head
Steps in Drawing a Flow Net
1) Define and clearly mark a datum.
2) Identify the boundary conditions (EP, FL, LCP).
3) Draw intermediate equipotentials and flow lines.
 draw coarse mesh with a few EPs and FLs
4) Verify the coarse mesh is correct.
 Are the boundary conditions satisfied ?
 Are all flow tubes continuous ?
 Are EPs z FLs ? only if isotropic medium
 Mostly “squares” ?
5) Add additional EPs and FLs for suitable refinement of the flow net.
6) Calculate desired quantities of flow and heads.
Example: Steady State Seepage Beneath a Sheet Pile Wall
Flow Beneath a Dam
Seepage Through an Earth Dam
1
EFFECTIVE STRESS
The compressibility and strength of soils is governed by the effective stresses.
Any deformation or mobilization of shearing resistance of a soil is associated with the soil
skeleton since:
 water is incompressible
 water cannot support shear stresses
Terzaghi showed experimentally that for saturated soils:
óN = ó  u
where: σN = effective stress
σ = total stress
u = pore pressure
The effective stress principle is accurate provided that:
• point to point contact area between soil particles is small
ó = óN + u 1  A
c
A
• the compressibility of the soil particles is small and the strength of individual particles is large
Effective stress can be thought of as the force carried by the soil skeleton divided by the total area
of the soil element (including the area of pore water).
Effective stress is an empirical concept that works well.
2
CALCULATING EFFECTIVE STRESSES
• the total vertical stress σ
v
within a particular soil layer is equal to the total weight per unit area
of material above that point
where γ
i
is the bulk unit weight of layer i with thickness d
i
.
• pore pressure is equal to: u = h
p
× ã
w
where: h
p
= pressure head
γ
w
= unit weight of water
• vertical effective stress can then be found as: ó
v
N = ó
v
 u
• horizontal effective stress σ
h
N is equal to: ó
h
N = K ó
v
N
where: K = coefficient of lateral earth pressure = ó
h
N / ó
v
N
 horizontal stresses develop from the resistance to lateral movement
 K is a function of soil type and stress history
 for conditions of zero lateral strain, K
o
is used
K
o
= “at rest” coefficient of lateral earth pressure
 K is typically between 0.3 to 0.8 for normally consolidated clays
 K is typically between 0.3 to 0.5 for normally consolidated sands
Some published correlations for K
o:
K
o
. 0.95  sin φN Brooker and Ireland (1965)
where: φ N = angle of internal friction
K
o
. (1  sin φ N) ( OCR )
sin φ N
Kulhawy and Mayne (1990)
where: OCR = overconsolidation ratio
3
Example 1
4
Example 2. Typical River Crossing with Artesian Conditions
1
CAPILLARY AND SOIL SUCTION
The concept of soil suction is fundamental when considering the mechanical behaviour of
Total suction arises from two components:
 matric suction, and
 osmotic suction
ø = ( u
a
 u ) + ð
where: ψ = total soil suction
u
a
= poreair pressure
u = porewater pressure
( u
a
 u ) = matric suction
π = osmotic suction
Matric suction is associated with the capillary phenomenon arising from the surface tension of
water.
• interaction of surface molecules causes a condition analogous to a surface subjected to tension
• the capillary phenomenon is best illustrated by considering the rise of a water surface in a
capillary tube
Consider a small glass tube inserted into water under atmospheric conditions:
wetting causes curvature
liquid meets glass tube at angle á
2
• water rises up a small tube resulting from a combination of the surface tension of a liquid and
the tendency of some liquids ro wet surfaces which they come into contact with
Vertical equilibrium of the water in the tube requires that
2 ð r T
s
cos á = ð r
2
h
c
ñ
w
g
where: r = radius of capillary tube
T
s
= surface tension of water . 73 dynes / cm  different in different liquids
α = contact angle  for any liquid, T
s
9 as temp 8
h
c
= capillary height
g = gravitational acceleration.
solve for h
c
Rs = radius of curvature ( r ÷ α)
For pure water and clean glass, α . 0, giving:
The radius of the tube is analogous to the pore radius in the soil. The smaller the pore radius, the
greater the capillary rise.
• common to assume the effective pore size is 20% of effective grain size D
10
Note that highly variable pore size and pore distribution complicate the capillary phenomenon in
soils. However, useful qualitative deductions can be made from the glass tube analogy.
h
c
(m)
Loose Dense
Coarse sand 0.03  0.12 0.04  0.15
Fine sand 0.3  2.0 0.4  3.5
Silt 1.5  10 2.5  12
Clay > 10
3
Consider several points in the capillary system that are in hydrostatic equilibrium
• weight of water column transferred to tube through the contractile skin
• for a soil with a capillary zone, this results in an increased compression on the soil skeleton
• matric suction increases the shear strength of an unsaturated soil
Reexamining the Water Table
V
A
D
O
S
E
Z
O
N
E
Contact Moisture
Partially Saturated by
Capillarity
Saturated by
Capillarity
P
H
R
E
A
T
I
C
Z
O
N
E
Ground Water
1
STRESSES IN AN ELASTIC MASS
Loading on the Surface of a Homogeneous Isotropic
SemiInfinite Mass
(a) Point Loading
Vertical Stress σ
z
=
3
3
R 2
z P 3
π
Radial Stress σ
r
=
( )
1
]
1
¸
+
−
− −
π
z R
R v 2 1
R
z r 3
R 2
P
3
2
2
Tangential stress σ
θ
=
( )
1
]
1
¸
−
+
π
−
R
z
z R
R
R 2
v 2 1 P
2
Shear stress
5
2
rz
R 2
z r P 3
π
· τ
2
(b) Uniformly Loaded Strip
Vertical stress ( ) [ ] δ + α α + α
π
· σ 2 cos sin
P
z
Horizontal stress ( ) [ ] δ + α α − α
π
· σ 2 cos sin
P
x
Horizontal stress α ν
π
· σ
p 2
y
Shear stress ( ) δ + α α
π
· τ 2 sin sin
p
xz
3
(c) Uniformly Load Circle
On axis, at depth z,
Vertical stress
( )
1
1
1
]
1
¸
,
_
¸
¸
+
− · σ
2
3
2
z
z / a 1
1
1 p
Horizontal stresses ( )
( )
( ) ( )
1
1
]
1
¸
+
+
+
ν +
− ν + · σ · σ
θ
2
3
2 2
3
2
1
2 2
r
z a
z
z a
z 1 2
2 1
2
p
For locations other than on the axis, see contour plot.
4
Increment in vertical stress (∆σ
v
= ∆q
v
) beneath a circular footing with radius R and subject to
uniform vertical pressure ∆q
s
on uniform, isotropic elastic halfspace.
5
(d) Uniformly Loaded Rectangle
Vertical stress σ
z
beneath the corner of a rectangle is given by Fadum’s chart. For points other
than the corner, σ
z
may be obtained by superposition of rectangles.
6
(e) General Shapes
Vertical stress σ
z
may be obtained by use of the Newmark chart.
(f) Linear Superposition
For linear elastic problems solutions may be added or subtracted to solve problems involving
more complex geometry.
For example:
1
SETTLEMENT OF SOILS
When soils are subjected to loads (e.g., construct a building or an embankment)
deformation will occur.
The design of foundations for engineering structures requires that the magnitude and rate of
settlement be known.
The total settlement S
T
is given by:
S
T
= S
i
+ S + S
s
where:
S
i
= immediate or distortion settlement
 normally estimated using elastic theory
 judicious selection of stiffness parameters (E, ν) over appropriate stress range
S = primary settlement in fine grained soils
 arises from the time dependent process of consolidation
 consolidation is the dissipation of excess pore pressure
 occurs because of changes in effective stress
S
s
= secondary compression
 arises from changes in void ratio at constant effective stresses
 also termed as creep
When a soil is loaded settlement occurs because of water and air squeezing out from the voids.
This results in a decrease in void ratio, and hence settlement.
2
MECHANICAL ANALOGY OF CONSOLIDATION
a) Initial conditions where:
total stress = σ
v
pore pressure = u
o
effective stress = σ
v
 u
o
= σ
o
N
b) Apply increase in total stress ∆σ with valve (V) closed. Then we
have: total stress = σ
v
+ ∆σ
pore pressure = u
o
+ ∆u
effective stress = ( σ
v
+ ∆σ )  ( u
o
+ ∆u )
= σ
v
 u
o
= σ
o
N
ˆ ∆σ
o
N = 0  no change in effective stress
 no compression of the spring
 S
T
= S
i
S = 0
c) Open valve (V). Water allowed to flow out of the sample.
ˆ ∆u 9 as t 8
as t 6 4, ∆u 6 0, then:
total stress = σ
v
+ ∆σ
pore pressure = u
o
effective stress = ( σ
v
+ ∆σ )  u
o
= σ
f
N
here, ∆σN = σ
f
N  σ
o
N = ∆σ
For real soil materials, the compression of the spring is analogous to a decrease in void ratio arising
from a change in effective stresses
Consolidation is a time dependent process since it involves the flow of water from the pores.
 consolidation is the dissipation of excess pore pressure
3
Layer 1
Layer 2
.
.
.
Layer n
∆z
1
∆z
i
∆z
2
∆z
n
∆ε
z
z
STRAIN INTEGRATION
Recall the axial deformation δ of a column with stiffness E and crosssectional area A, subject to
axial load P.
Likewise for a soil material subject to increases in effective stress, the settlement (vertical
displacement) may be found be integrating the vertical strain, viz:
where:
∆ε
z
= change in vertical strain because of a change in σN
D = thickness of compressible layer
n = number of sublayers
∆z
i
= thickness of sublayers
The number (n) and thickness (∆z
i
) of sublayers depends on the function to be integrated
4
S dz
e
e
dz
z
o
D D
· ·
−
+
∫ ∫
∆ε
∆
1
0 0
For conditions of onedimensional strain, the change in volume strain ∆ε
v
is equal to the change in
vertical strain ∆ε
z
.
BEFORE AFTER
Now, need to express the relationship between void ratio and effective stress to calculate S
because of change in σN.
5
OEDOMETER TEST
In the laboratory we can measure the change in height of a sample (and thereby calculate the
change in void ratio) for a certain effective stress. This test is called a consolidation test and is
performed in an oedometer which permits onedimensional strain.
 apply load
 initially all of the load is transferred into excess pore pressure
 drainage permitted by porous stones
 excess pore pressure will dissipate and effective stresses will increase and the soil will settle
 monitor the change in height of the sample until most of the pore pressures have dissipated
(achieve 90% consolidation)
 apply next load increment
6
Vertical Strain and Void Ratio Versus Effective Stress
Calculate the vertical strain or void ratio from the measurements of change in height of the
sample. Can either plot these results on a linear or logarithmic scale of effective stress.
∆ε ∆
v v
m · ′ σ
Note that:
 m
v
is not constant
 depends on stress level
 m
v
decreases as σN increases
i.e. soil becomes stiffer
Soils are normally strain hardening
materials.
 that is to say, they become
stiffer as they are loaded
7
Vertical Strain and Void Ratio Versus Logarithm of Effective Stress
 same data as previous plot now plotted versus the logarithm of effective stress
Note that:
 apparently get a straight line
 simplifies calculations
 since log scale, still represents
strain hardening behaviour
8
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
Experimental results from an oedometer test are plotted with void ratio(e) versus the log of
effective stress (σN): “ e log σN ” plot
where: e
o
= initial void ratio corresponding to σ
ο
N
σ
o
N = initial effective stress
 current in situ effective stress
σ
p
N = preconsolidation stress
 maximum effective stress experienced by soil
C
c
= compression index
 slope of compression line on e log σN plot
 typical values: NC medium sensitive clays 0.2 to 0.5
Leda Clay 1 to 4
Peats 10 to 15
C
cr
= recompression index
 slope of recompression line on e log σN plot
 C
cr
< C
c
C
s
= swelling index
 slope of expansion line on e log σN plot
 C
s
. C
s
9
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
STRESS HISTORY OF SOILS
Soils have a “memory”, that is to say they remember the effective stresses that they have
previously experienced. Represent the stress history with the over consolidation ratio OCR,
where:
OCR =
If the current vertical effective stress is equal to the preconsolidation stress:
NORMALLY CONSOLIDATED
If the current vertical effective stress
is less than the preconsolidation
stress:
OVER CONSOLIDATED
10
Determination of σ σ
p
N N using Cassagrande’s graphical procedure:
1) Plot laboratory data on e vs log σN graph. This laboratory data must be corrected for errors
arising from sample disturbance to get the field curve.
2) Select the point of minimum radius: point A.
3) Draw a horizontal line through A.
4) Draw a tangent to the curve at point A.
5) Bisect the angle between the horizontal line and the tangent through point A.
6) The intersection of the extension of the straight line portion of the compression curve with
the bisector line is the preconsolidation stress σ
p
N.
11
Prediction of field e  log σ σN N curves with Schmertmann’s Procedure NC Soils:
1) Find preconsolidation stress σ
p
N using Cassagrande’s method.
If the soil is normally consolidated NC ( σ
o
N . σ
p
N ) then
2) extend horizontal line from e
o
to σ
p
N
3) extend the laboratory compression line to intersect with 0.42 e
o
4) connect this point with σ
p
N
12
Prediction of field e  log σ σN N curves with Schmertmann’s Procedure OC Soils:
1) Find preconsolidation stress σ
p
N using Cassagrande’s method.
If the soil is over consolidated OC ( σ
vo
N < σ
p
N ) then
2) extend horizontal line from e
o
to σ
vo
N
3) extend the laboratory compression line to intersect with 0.42 e
o
4) find C
cr
from unload  reload loop
5) from ( e
o
, σ
vo
N ) construct line parallel to unload  reload loop to find the void ratio
corresponding to σ
p
N
6) connect this point at σ
p
N with 0.42 e
o
13
Typical e  log σ σN N curves:
If consolidation tests are conducted on many samples from different depths can construct profiles
like the one shown below. This is typical of a stiffer “crust” material that has been
preconsolidated. The material below 20 m is normally consolidated.
14
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
Calculation of Primary Settlement
Two ways to calculate the change in vertical strain.
1) Elastic Model
∆ε
z
= m
v
∆σN
m
v
= coefficient of volume decrease
 must use m
v
for appropriate stress range
2) Strain Hardening Model
 use e vs log σN plot to calculate ∆e
 implicitly models strain hardening behaviour of soil
 depends on stress history
 three cases
a) for NC soil,
15
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
Effective Stress σ' (kPa)
1 10 100 1000 10000
V
o
i
d
R
a
t
i
o
e
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
b) for OC soil with σN
f
< σN
p
,
c) for OC soil with σN
f
> σN
p
,
1
5
0
10
0 50 100 150
u (kPa)
z
(m)
200 0 50 100 150
u (kPa)
200 0 50 100 150
u (kPa)
200 0 50 100 150
u (kPa)
200
CONSOLIDATION
Consolidation is an important mechanism involving the flow of water through the soil leading to
time dependent settlements.
• process of consolidation involves the dissipation of excess pore pressure.
• decrease in pore pressures result in increases in effective stresses.
• increase in effective stresses lead to settlement.
Field Behaviour Under OneDimensional (1D) Conditions
Initial Conditions Load rapidly applied, Some time after load
applied,
Long time after load
applied,
2
MECHANICAL ANALOGUE FOR CONSOLIDATION
3
Governing Differential Equation for Consolidation
Assumptions:
1. soil is saturated and homogeneous
2. water and soil particles are incompressible
3. Darcy’s law is valid
4. one dimensional strain
5. k remains constant
6. change in volume results from change in void ratio and Me/MσN remains constant
7. total stress remains constant after application.
Terzaghi’s equation of consolidation is:
∆u = excess pore pressure
t = time
z = depth below top of consolidating layer
c
v
= coefficient of consolidation
c
v
= k
m
v
γ
w
Define nondimensional parameters:
Drainage Path Ratio, Z = z / H
H = length of drainage path
Time Factor, T = c
v
t
H
2
4
substituting into the governing differential equation with σ constant for t > 0 gives:
The solution to this equation for a layer of thickness z with two way drainage (ie. Z = 2) with
boundary conditions:
at t = 0, ∆u = ∆u
o
for 0 # Z # 2
for t > 0, ∆u = 0 at Z = 0 and Z = 2
is:
( ) ∆
∆
u
u
M
MZ e
o
m
M T
·
·
∞
−
∑
2
0
2
sin
where: M = π / 2 ( 2m + 1 )
Useful to define another dimensionless parameter that represents the proportion of excess pore
that has dissipated at a particular point in the deposit, viz:
Degree of Consolidation, U
z
= e
o
 e = ∆u
o
 ∆u = 1  ∆u
e
f
 e
o
∆u
o
∆u
o
where:
e
o
= initial void ratio corresponding to σ
o
N
e = void ratio at time t, e = f(t)
e
f
= final void ratio corresponding to σ
f
N
∆u
o
initial excess pore pressure
∆u = pore pressure at time t, ∆u = f(t)
The solution to the consolidation equation can be expressed graphically as shown in Figure C1.
5
FFIGURE C2. Average degree of consolidation.
FIGURE C1.
6
SILT
CLAY
SAND
SILT
CLAY
SAND
Example: A 4 m thick layer of clay is subject to rapid application of surface load from 5 m of fill
(γ = 20 kN/m
3
). Calculate the excess pore pressure and the effective stress at the midpoint of the
clay layer: (a) initially, and (b) after 4 months.
Initially
σ
o
N = σ
o
 u
o
σ
o
=
u
o
=
σ
o
N =
Immediately after fill placement, t=0
σ =
u =
σN =
7
After 4 months
 use consolidation theory to solve for excess pore pressure after 4 months
 since silt and sand are much more permeable than clay, there is two way drainage for the clay
H = length of drainage path
Drainage Path Ratio, Z = z / H
Time Factor, T = c
v
t
H
2
Now solve for ∆u,
∆u = ∆u
o
(1  U
z
)
=
=
σ =
u =
σN =
Note:  this is at one point in the clay layer
 look at another point (B), say 0.2 m below the top of the clay
after 4 months at point B,
Z = z / H
ˆ ∆u = ∆u
o
(1  U
z
) =
σ
o
N =
σN =
8
· −
∫
∫
1
0
0
∆
∆
u dz
u dz
t
D
o
D
Since
∆σ
A
N > ∆σ
B
N
Need some way of averaging ∆u with depth to obtain the average degree of consolidation for the
entire layer.
Average Degree of Consolidation
The average degree of consolidation U for a layer is given by:
U = consolidation settlement at time t = St
total final consolidation settlement S
 assuming:
σ constant with time,
m
v
constant with depth and time
Various solutions have been obtained for the average degree of consolidation. Figure C2 gives U
for three cases where there is a linear variation in stress increment with depth.
9
SILT
CLAY
SAND
3 m
4 m
100 kPa
c
v
= 1.26 m
2
/yr
γ = 16.3 kN/m
3
w
n
= 70%, G
s
= 2.72
C
c
= 1.055
OCR = 1
Example: Find the consolidation settlement of the 4 metre thick clay deposit 4 months after the
fill is placed.
Step 1: Find the total final settlement.
S z
z i
i
n
·
·
∑
∆ε ∆
1
Use just one sublayer here.
∆ε
∆
z
o
e
e
·
+ 1
σ
o
N =
σ
f
N =
Since OCR =1 , NC soil.
∆e C
c
f
o
· −
′
′
¸
¸
_
,
log
10
σ
σ
Find e
o
using: e S = w G
s
Total final consolidation settlement is:
S =
After 4 months,
Z =
T =
U =
S
t = 4 mo
= U × S =
10
How to find the Coefficient of Consolidation c
v
Using Taylor’s Method
1) Plot change in height of the sample measured during consolidation test versus the square root
of time. This is done for each load increment.
2) Fit straight line through the initial part of the compression curve.
3) The straight line is extended back to t=0 to find R
o
.
4) Draw a second line from R
o
with a slope 1.15 times larger than the line from step 2.
5) The intersection of this line with the compression curve is defined as t
90
.
6) Calculate c
v
using:
c
TH
t
T H
t
v
dr dr
· ·
2
90
2
90
1
MOHR CIRCLE IN SOIL MECHANICS
Mohr circle of stress is a graphical representation of the state of stress at a point at equilibrium.
 used extensively to plot strength results
Sign Convention:
 compressive forces and stresses are taken as positive (change in normal sign convention because
tension is rare in soil mechanics)
 positive shear stresses produce clockwise moments about a point just outside the element
 clockwise angles are positive
2
τ
σ
The stability of an existing slope can be assessed by comparing the disturbing forces (self weight)
with the strength of the soil mobilized along a potential failure surface. Consider the stresses
acting a point along the potential failure surface below.
These stresses can be plotted on the Mohr circle.
3
σ
Now suppose we want to know the stresses for this same point but oriented in a different
direction (e.g., on a potential failure plane). It is useful to define the pole of the Mohr circle.
If a line is drawn from a point on the circle (representing a state of stress) parallel to the plane on
which the stress state exists it will intersect the circle at another point on the circle which is
known as the pole, or origin of planes.
Any line drawn through the pole will intersect the circle at a point which represents the state of
stress on a plane inclined at the same orientation in space as the line.
Once the pole is known, the stresses on any plane can be readily determined by drawing a line
through the pole parallel to the plane in question; the stress on the plane will be the coordinates
where the line intersects the circle.
How to find the pole:
1) Start from a known magnitude [ie. coordinates (σ, τ) ] and orientation of stress. Go to that
point on the Mohr circle.
2) Draw a line through the point of known stress with the same orientation in space as the plane
on which those stresses act.
3) The pole is where this line intersects the Mohr circle.
4
τ
σ
Principal Stresses
 σ
1
and σ
3
are the respective maximum and minimum normal stresses on the Mohr circle
 note that the shear stress is equal to zero along the major and minor principal planes
5
τ
σ
Example1. Given:
a) Find the normal and shear stresses acting on a plane inclined at 30
o
to the horizontal.
b) Find the major and minor principal stresses.
c) Determine the orientation of the major and minor principal planes.
d) Find the maximum shear stress and the orientation of the plane on which it acts.
6
τ
σ
Example 2. Given:
a) Find the magnitude of the normal and shear stresses on the horizontal plane.
b) Find the magnitude and orientation of the principal stresses.
c) Show the orientation of the planes of maximum and minimum shear.
7
τ
σ
STRENGTH OF SOILS  MOHRCOULOMB FAILURE CRITERION
Failure or yield of a soil material occurs when the shear stresses exceed the shear strength.
Soil materials generally fail because of excess shear stresses. Uniform compressive stresses (ie. σ
1
= σ
3
) alone will only tend to change the volume of the soil. Nonuniform compressive stresses
(e.g., σ
1
> σ
3
) induce shear stresses in the soil.
The shear strength of soil is defined as the shear stress acting on the failure plane at failure.
This is commonly expressed using the MohrCoulomb failure criterion,
τ
ff
= cN + σN
ff
tan φN
where: τ
ff
= the shear stress acting on the failure plane at failure
 the shear strength of the soil
σN
ff
= the normal effective stress acting on the failure plane at failure
cN = cohesion [ M T
2
L
1
]
φN = angle of internal friction
Notes:  strength is governed by the effective stresses
 cN and φN are not unique material parameters
 vary on many factors including stress range
8
τ
σ
Consider a triaxial compression test on a medium sand.
cylinder of sand
 subject to: vertical pressure σ
1
radial pressure σ
3
 increase σ
1
with σ
3
held constant  increase σ
1
until failure
SHEAR STRENGTH OF SAND
Sands are termed as cohesionless or frictional materials since cN=0
Major factor influencing the shear strength of sands:
1. Void Ratio or relative density;
2. Pressure range of consideration;
3. Particle shape;
4. Grain mineralogy;
5. Grain size distribution;
6. Water;
7. Intermediate principal stress; and
8. Stress history.
Of these factors, void ratio is the single most important factor. Generally, the lower the void ratio
(higher density) the higher the shear strength.
Direct Shear Testing of Sands
τ
δ
δ
Dilatancy: define the angle of dilatancy
Explanation of Volume Change Behaviour for Sands
Dense Sand
If a sand is dense, the only way shearing can occur is for grains to move apart.
Therefore dense sands when sheared to failure exhibit an tendency for volume increase.
Loose Sand
If a sand is loose, during shearing the grains move closer together.
Therefore loose sands when sheared to failure exhibit an tendency for volume decrease.
τ
σ
Example: A sample of loose sand is know to have a friction angle φN = 30
o
. It is tested in direct
shear under a normal stress of 200 kN/m
2
. Determine the shear strength, the maximum shear
stress and the major and minor principal stress at failure.
Normal Stress (kPa)
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
S
h
e
a
r
S
t
r
e
s
s
(
k
P
a
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
Example: Direct shear tested were conducted on a sample of compacted sand. Determine the
peak and ultimate friction angles based on the results that were recorded.
Test 1 2 3 4
Normal force (N) 110216324432
Ultimate shear force (N) 66 131195261
Peak shear force (N) 85 170253340
τ
σ
τ
σ
SHEAR STRENGTH OF CLAY
The shear strength of clays depend on:
 the effective stresses at failure
 void ratio
 stress history
 mineralogy
Failure Envelopes for Clay
Consider the Triaxial Test
 initial effective stress σ
o
N
 apply all around cell pressure Ω
either
with drainage gives:
 consolidation OR
 volume changes
CONSOLIDATED TEST
∆u = 0
σ
1
N = σ
o
N + Ω
σ
3
N = σ
ο
N + Ω
slowly without
with drainage
drainage
DRAINED UNDRAINED
TEST TEST
∆u = 0 ∆u = ∆u
s
σ
1
N · σ
ο
N + Ω + Ζ σ
1
N · σ
ο
N + Ω + Ζ − ∆u
s
σ
3
N · σ
ο
N + Ω σ
3
N · σ
ο
N + Ω − ∆u
s
CD CU
without drainage gives:
 no volume change
UNCONSOLIDATED TEST
∆u = Ω
σ
1
N · σ
ο
N
∆σN · 0
σ
3
N · σ
ο
N
without
drainage
UNDRAINED
TEST
∆u = ∆u
s
σ
1
N · σ
ο
N + Ζ − ∆u
s
σ
3
N · σ
ο
N− ∆u
s
UU
τ
σ
τ
σ
Consolidated Drained Triaxial Test (CD Test)
 soil is allowed to consolidate to a given effective hydrostatic stress σ
c
N with full drainage
 the soil is loaded to failure very slowly so that no excess pore pressures develop
1. Changes in total stress equal the change in effective stress.
 we can draw the Mohr circle for effective stresses at failure
2. Volume of the sample is allowed to change.
 the void ratio will change during the test
Stress Path: locus of stress points on a given plane (normally the failure plane, but not always)
TSP  Total Stress Path ESP  Effective Stress Path
τ
σ
Example: A consolidated drained triaxial test was conducted on a normally consolidated clay.
The results were: σ
3
= 276 kN/m
2
(σ
1
− σ
3
)
f
= 276 kN/m
2
Determine:
a) the angle of friction φN
b) the inclination of the failure plane
c) the normal σ
ff
N and shear stress τ
ff
on the failure plane at failure
d) the normal stress σ
n
N on the plane of maximum shear stress τ
max
e) explain why shear failure did not take place on the plane of maximum shear stress.
Consolidated Undrained Triaxial Test (CU Test) With Pore Pressure Measurements
 soil is allowed to consolidate to a given effective hydrostatic stress σ
c
N with full drainage
 the drainage system is closed off
 the soil is loaded to failure relatively quickly
 since drainage is prevented, excess pore pressures develop
 the pore pressures are measured
1. Control the applied (total) stresses and measure the pore pressures.
 effective stresses can be calculated
 can draw the Mohr circle for effective stresses at failure
2. Volume of the sample is not allowed to change during shearing.
 the void ratio will NOT change during the test
∆u
s
= B ( σ
3
+ A ( σ
1
 σ
3
) )
Example: CU
Typical stressstrain and volume change versus strain curves for CD
triaxial compression tests at the same effective confining stress.
Some examples of CD analyses for clays.
τ
σ
Consolidated Undrained Triaxial Test (CU Test) With Pore Pressure Measurements
 soil is allowed to consolidate to a given effective hydrostatic stress σ
c
N with full drainage
 the drainage system is closed off
 the soil is loaded to failure relatively quickly
 since drainage is prevented, excess pore pressures develop
 the pore pressures are measured
1. Control the applied (total) stresses and measure the pore pressures.
 effective stresses can be calculated
 can draw the Mohr circle for effective stresses at failure
2. Volume of the sample is not allowed to change during shearing.
 the void ratio will NOT change during the test
Normally Consolidated
∆u
s
= excess pore pressure due to shear failure
 excess pore pressures may be (+)ve or ()ve
 occur because sample wants to change volume but not allowed to (since drainage is prohibited)
 because there is no volume change, the tendency towards volume change induces ∆u
s
 if the volume tries to decrease, water wants to squeeze out of the pores but can’t
 develop (+)ve ∆u
 NC
 effective stresses are less than the total stresses
 ESP lies to the left of the TSP
 if the volume tries to increase, wants to draw water into the pores but can’t
 develop ()ve ∆u
 OC
 effective stresses are greater than the total stresses
 ESP lies to the right of the TSP
For saturated soils, S=100%
∆u
s
= ∆σ
3
+ A ( ∆σ
1
 ∆σ
3
)
 Skempton’s pore pressure equation
For typical soft NC clay, A  1/3 to 3/4
stiff OC clay, A  1/3 to 1/2
Typical stressstrain, excess pore pressure vs. strain and ratio of major to minor principal effective
stresses for normally and overconsolidated clays in consolidated undrained triaxial compression
test.
τ
σ
τ
σ
Overconsolidated
300
200
100
300 200 100 400 500 600
τ
σ
(kPa)
(kPa)
Example: A clay soil is known to have an effective stress envelope with cN=10 kPa and φN=25E. A
series of four consolidated undrained (CU) tests were performed and the total stress Mohr circles
at failure as shown.
a) What is the excess pore pressure at failure for test #4 ?
b) Is the clay normally consolidated or overconsolidated ? Why ?
c) What is the shear strength for test #4 ?
d) What is Skempton’s A factor at failure for test #4 ?
e) What is the shear strength of a sample with σN
ff
= 500 kPa ?
f) What is the shear strength of a sample with a cell pressure σ
3
of 300 kPa ?
g) A clay was accidentally consolidated to σ
3
= 300 kPa. The technician then reduced the
cell pressure to 200 kPa without drainage and ran an undrained test. What would the
undrained strength of this clay be ?
h) What would be the pore pressure at failure for part (g) ?
300
200
100
300 200 100 400 500 600
τ
σ
(kPa)
(kPa)
Example cont’d
Some examples of CU analyses for clays.
τ
σ
Unconsolidated Undrained (UU) Triaxial Test
τ
σ
Some examples of UU analyses for clays.
Typical stressstrain and volume change versus strain curves for CD
triaxial compression tests at the same effective confining stress.
Some examples of CD analyses for clays.
τ
σ
Consolidated Undrained Triaxial Test (CU Test) With Pore Pressure Measurements
 soil is allowed to consolidate to a given effective hydrostatic stress σ
c
N with full drainage
 the drainage system is closed off
 the soil is loaded to failure relatively quickly
 since drainage is prevented, excess pore pressures develop
 the pore pressures are measured
1. Control the applied (total) stresses and measure the pore pressures.
 effective stresses can be calculated
 can draw the Mohr circle for effective stresses at failure
2. Volume of the sample is not allowed to change during shearing.
 the void ratio will NOT change during the test
Normally Consolidated
∆u
s
= excess pore pressure due to shear failure
 excess pore pressures may be (+)ve or ()ve
 occur because sample wants to change volume but not allowed to (since drainage is prohibited)
 because there is no volume change, the tendency towards volume change induces ∆u
s
 if the volume tries to decrease, water wants to squeeze out of the pores but can’t
 develop (+)ve ∆u
 NC
 effective stresses are less than the total stresses
 ESP lies to the left of the TSP
 if the volume tries to increase, wants to draw water into the pores but can’t
 develop ()ve ∆u
 OC
 effective stresses are greater than the total stresses
 ESP lies to the right of the TSP
For saturated soils, S=100%
∆u
s
= ∆σ
3
+ A ( ∆σ
1
 ∆σ
3
)
 Skempton’s pore pressure equation
For typical soft NC clay, A  1/3 to 3/4
stiff OC clay, A  1/3 to 1/2
Typical stressstrain, excess pore pressure vs. strain and ratio of major to minor principal effective
stresses for normally and overconsolidated clays in consolidated undrained triaxial compression
test.
τ
σ
τ
σ
Overconsolidated
300
200
100
300 200 100 400 500 600
τ
σ
(kPa)
(kPa)
Example: A clay soil is known to have an effective stress envelope with cN=10 kPa and φN=25E. A
series of four consolidated undrained (CU) tests were performed and the total stress Mohr circles
at failure as shown.
a) What is the excess pore pressure at failure for test #4 ?
b) Is the clay normally consolidated or overconsolidated ? Why ?
c) What is the shear strength for test #4 ?
d) What is Skempton’s A factor at failure for test #4 ?
e) What is the shear strength of a sample with σN
ff
= 500 kPa ?
f) What is the shear strength of a sample with a cell pressure σ
3
of 300 kPa ?
g) A clay was accidentally consolidated to σ
3
= 300 kPa. The technician then reduced the
cell pressure to 200 kPa without drainage and ran an undrained test. What would the
undrained strength of this clay be ?
h) What would be the pore pressure at failure for part (g) ?
300
200
100
300 200 100 400 500 600
τ
σ
(kPa)
(kPa)
Example cont’d
Some examples of CU analyses for clays.
τ
σ
Unconsolidated Undrained (UU) Triaxial Test
τ
σ
Some examples of UU analyses for clays.
τ
σ
Unconfined Compression (UC) Triaxial Test
 zero confining stress σ
3
= 0
 increase σ
1
to failure
 unconfined compressive strength, q
c
= σ
1f
 equal to the diameter of the Mohr circle
 undrained shear strength = c
u
= q
c
/ 2
 NOTE that strength of the soil is still controlled by the effective stresses
 convenient to express strength in terms of total stresses here
FIELD MEASUREMENT OF SHEAR STRENGTH
Field Vane
Standard Penetration Test (SPT)
Cone Penetration Test (CPT)
1
EARTH PRESSURES AND RETAINING STRUCTURES
Introduction
The analysis of the pressures exerted by the ground against an engineering structure has been of
paramount interest dating back to the time of Coulomb in 1776. Considerations of earth
pressures are essential to the successful design of many engineering structures including bridges,
retaining walls, tunnels; therefore, it is of concern in nearly all civil engineering projects.
The subject is a vast one with a remarkable number of publications on various aspects of
earth pressure theory and its application to real engineering situations. A wide variety of
approaches have been available to solve these problems. However, because of complexities
involved in this problem, all methods involve certain simplifying assumptions and none of them
present a rigorous representation of the soilstructure interaction at failure. Many of the accepted
analyses of the past are now being challenged as a result of a more complete understanding of the
behaviour of soils when subjected to stress and strain.
The Complexity of Earth Pressure
A glance at many of the older handbooks of civil engineering and indeed at some modern
textbooks for structural design would lead the uninitiated to believe that earth pressure can be
calculated by simple formulas comparable to those for stress and deflection of steel or concrete
members. One would be lead to conclude that the pressure exerted by the soil was unique for
each type of soil, that the pressure was the same regardless of the type of structure or the
problem, and that the pressure could be calculated with precision to two or three significant
figures. Unfortunately none of these beliefs are correct.
Earth pressure, in the broadest sense of the word, denotes forces and stresses that occur
either in the interior of an earth mass or on the contact surface of soil and structure. Its
magnitude will be determined by the physical properties of the soil, the physical interactions
between soil and structure, value and character of absolute and relative displacements and
deformations. Knowledge of the stressstrain and strength properties of soils is fundamental to
solving these soilstructure interaction problems.
Classification of Earth Pressure Problems
Earth pressure problems can be separated into three main classes of problems. First, the case of
an earth mass at rest where no deformations or displacements occur. This condition is strictly
fulfilled in the infinite half space at rest only. This case is mainly of theoretical interest; it gives
also the starting point for more practical problems. In the problems of the second group, the
horizontal forces in the earth masses are to be determined. Here we have retaining wall problems,
sheet piling, braced excavations, etc. Relative displacement between soil and structure occurs
causing the soil either to expand or to contract. In the first case (ie. soil expansion) we have an
active pressure, and in the second case (ie. soil contraction) a passive pressure. The most
common example for this group is the retaining wall yielding around the bottom or pressed
against the earth mass. There are also cases where at the same time compression and expansion in
2
different parts of the mass occur. Problems where the vertical force prevails form the third group.
These are the problems of foundations: stresses, deformations, failure of soil beneath foundation
structures. Problems of buried structures and rock pressures also belong to this group.
Types of earth pressure problems
3
Fundamental Concepts
Classical earth pressure theory is reviewed and the major assumptions that are made are
discussed. A clear distinction is necessary between methods of:
1) allowable stress distributions,
2) limit analysis, and
3) complete deformation analysis.
Initial State of Stresses
Coefficient of earth pressure at rest (in terms of effective stresses)
K
o
h
v
·
σ
σ
'
'
Typically for normally consolidated soils, K
o
N.C. sands 0.4 to 0.5
N.C. clays 0.5 to 0.75
From field and lab tests for N.C. soils (Jaky 1948),
K
o
≈ − 1 sin ' φ
For over consolidated soils, K
o
typically lies between 1 to 2.5 depending on soil type. The value
of K
o
is bounded by passive failure. K
o
for O.C. soils increases with overconsolidation ratio
OCR (σN
p
÷ σN
vo
) where σN
p
is the past maximum vertical effective stress and σN
vo
is the current
vertical effective stress at a point within the ground. A relationship between K
o
and the OCR has
been reported by Brooker and Ireland (1965). The CFEM (1992) suggests the use of:
K OCR
o
· − ( sin ' )
.
1
0 5
φ
as a first approximation for over consolidated soils.
For an elastic medium with Poisson’s ratio ν and zero lateral strain (ie. ε
x
= ε
y
= 0)
K
o
·
−
ν
ν 1
4
Limiting Equilibrium (Rankine Theory)
A body of soil is in a state of plastic equilibrium if the
state of stress at every point of the ground is on the verge of
failure. Rankine (1857) investigated the stress conditions
corresponding to the states of plastic equilibrium that can be
developed simultaneously throughout a semiinfinite mass of
soil acted on by no other force other than gravity.
Consider the fictitious case of a large mass of
cohesionless soil containing a thin embedded rigid wall of
infinite depth. It is assumed that the wall does not influence the
initial state of stress in the ground. The changes in stress at two
points, A and B are considered for movements of the thin wall.
As wall displaces to the right,
 Point A experiences with corresponding in σ
x
 Point B experiences with corresponding in σ
x
Limiting equilibrium is reached by either:
σ
x
N until induced shear stresses lead to failure 3N
or
5
σ
x
N until induced shear stresses lead to failure 4
6
σ σ
φ φ 1 3
2 ' ' '
' '
· + N c N
N
o
φ
φ
'
tan
'
· +
¸
¸
_
,
2
45
2
Solution for Active and Passive Pressures (Rankine 1856)
where:
7
8
What are the magnitudes of σ
xA
N and σ
xP
N ?
For cohesionless soils,
Active,
σ
xA
N
Passive,
σ
xP
N
9
γ
1
= 17 kN/m
3
φ'
1
= 34
γ
2
= 19 kN/m
3
φ'
2
= 36
2 m
3 m
5 m
Example 1: Estimate the earth pressure acting on the wall.
At Point A
σ
v
=
At Point B
σ
v
=
just above B, σN
h
=
just below B, σN
h
=
At Point C
σ
v
=
u =
σN
v
=
σN
h
=
10
What is the total horizontal force acting on the wall, and where does the resultant act?
11
5 m
3 m
1.5 m
Example 2: Find the factor of safety against sliding and rotational failure for the gravity retaining
wall shown.
12
Effect of Sloping Ground Surface
Active earth pressure, σN
hA
=
Passive earth pressure, σN
hP
=
K
A
·
− − ′
+ − ′
cos cos cos
cos cos cos
β β φ
β β φ
2 2
2 2
K
P
·
+ − ′
− − ′
cos cos cos
cos cos cos
β β φ
β β φ
2 2
2 2
13
Active and Passive Earth Pressure Coefficients  Cohesive Soils
Drained Response
For cohesive soils with cN and φN
Active,
σ
xA
N
Passive,
σ
xP
N
Undrained Response
For cohesive soils  undrained response φN = 0, c
u
Active,
σ
xA
depth of tension crack =
ie. the net pressure for z = H
c
is zero. This is the theoretical maximum height of a vertical slope
that can stand unsupported under short term conditions. The unsupported cut may only be stable
for a very short time, due to seepage forces and softening by precipitation.
1
SLOPE STABILITY
slope failure  the downslope movement of a soil mass occurring along a failure surface
For a uniform soil without planes of weakness, then the failure surface is close to a circle.
For a homogeneous slope with φ = 0 we have equilibrium along a circular sliding surface.
2
GENERAL CASE c, φ φ  METHOD OF SLICES
 shear strength is not constant  must integrate
F =
 to solve this equation for the factor of safety, F, we need to know the correct normal stress
distribution.
 any method of analysis can be used for a slip circle provided that it correctly represents the overall
statics for the problem.
Procedure
1. Divide the soil into a number of slices.
3
2. Look at a typical slice.
t =
S =
where: N is the normal force acting on the base of the slice,
u is the pore pressure acting on the base of the slice.
Taking moments about the centre of the circle gives,
Must determine the force N. Resolving forces perpendicular to the slip surface gives,
It is often assumed that: N =
This implies that the resultant of the inner slice forces X
n
, E
n
acts parallel to the base of the slice. This is
considered to be a conservative assumption.
4
Determination of Pore Pressure u
May need to construct a flow net to determine the pressure head acting on the base of each slice.
General Notes
 with the method of slices we consider moment equilibrium
 we ignore considerations of vertical and horizontal equilibrium
 method tends to give conservative solutions for uniform clays without planes of weakness
5
6
Perform Tabular Calculation
Slice No. W l α c φ u N
1
N
2
Σ =
N
1
= W sin α
N
2
= [W cos α  u l ] tan φ + c l
F = ( Σ N
2
) / ( Σ N
1
)
where:
W = weight of slice [kN/m]
c = cohesion intercept [kN/m
2
]
φ = friction angle [degrees]
u = pore pressure = h
p
γ
w
[kN/m
2
]
α = angle between base of slice and horizontal [degrees]
l = length of slip surface segments measured along base of slice [m]
Notes:
1) The slice weights W are calculated based on the dimensions of the slices and the unit weights of the
soils within them. W can be calculated using:
W = b Σ ( γ
j
h
j
)
where: b = width of slice
γ
j
= unit weight of soil j
h
j
= height of soil layer j where it is subtended by slice
 measured at the centre of the slice
2) The values of c and φ for each slice correspond to the type of soil at the bottom of each slice. For
short term (ie. undrained) conditions use c = c
u
and φ = 0. For long term (ie. drained) conditions use c
= cNand φ = φN.
3) The value of u for each slice is the average value at the middle of the slice.
4) The base length l and the base angle α are measured on a scale drawing of the slope.
7
5) Normally slices are drawn so that the base of each slice is in only one type of soil. Slices need not
be of equal width.
Example 1:
Slice No. W l α c φ u N
1
N
2
1 119 4.35 12 20 20 0 25 129
2 288 4.00 0 20 20 0 0 185
3 410 4.08 11 20 20 0 78 228
4 480 4.38 24 20 20 0 195 247
5 464 5.03 37 20 20 0 279 235
6 368 6.83 54 20 20 0 298 215
7 44 4.00 70 20 20 0 41 85
Σ = 1325 867
8
N
1
= W sin α
N
2
= [W cos α  u l ] tan φ + c l
F = ( Σ N
2
) / ( Σ N
1
) = 1.53
STABILITY CHARTS
Taylor (1949) has prepared charts for the simple case of:
The factor of safety F depends on:
1) slope angle
2) angle of friction
3) c, γ, and H
Define stability number N =
Use of Taylor’s Charts
 Taylor’s charts do not take account of pore pressures
 used for shortterm stability calculations (ie. total stress analysis)
CASE 1: Toe failure.
CASE 2: Rigid layer at elevation of toe.
φ > 10
φ = 10
φ = 5
φ = 0
CASE 3: Circle passes below toe.
φ = 10  toe failure
φ = 5  almost toe failure
9
φ = 0  circle passes below toe
 F depends on layer depth
 for φ = 0 and n < 4.5, use T2
10
Taylor’s Chart 1 Taylor’s Chart 2
11
Example 2. What is the shortterm factor of safety for the slope considered in Example 1? Take c
u
=
30 kPa.
What angle would the slope have to be to get F = 1.3 ?
Example 3. A wide excavation was made with a slope of 1V:1H in a material with unit weight γ=18.8
kN/m
3
. Estimate the factor of safety for a depth of excavation of 13 m. The average undrained shear
strength along the failure surface is 50 kPa.
Example 4. For the excavation in Ex. 3, estimate the factor of safety if a strong stratum exists at a
depth of 13 m.
Example 5. Estimate the factor of safety and location of the critical failure circle when the rigid layer is
7.8 m below the toe of the slope.
Example 6. If a clay has undrained shear strength of 50 kPa and unit weight 20 kN/m
3
, find the
maximum depth a vertical trench can be excavated.
12
FIELD MONITORING OF SLOPE MOVEMENTS
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