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A. W. (198.5). G&technique 35, No. 1. 3-18

Residual strength of clays in landslides, folded strata and the laboratory*


The post-peak drop in drained shear strength of an overconsolidated clay may be considered as taking place in two stages. First, at relatively small displacements, the strength decreases to the fully softened or critical state value, owing to an increase in water content (dilatancy). Second, after much larger displacements, the strength falls to the residual value, owing to reorientation of platy clay minerals parallel to the direction of shearing. If the clay fraction is less than about 25% the second stage scarcely comes into operation; the clay behaves much like a sand or silt with angles of residual shearing resistance typically greater than 20. Conversely, when the clay fraction is about SO%, residual strength is controlled almost entirely by sliding friction of the clay minerals, and further increase in clay fraction has little effect. The angles of residual shearing resistance of the three most commonly occurring clay minerals are approximately 15 for kaolinite, 10 for illite or clay mica and 5 for montmorillonite. When the clay fraction lies between 25% and 50% there is a transitional type of behaviour, residual strength being dependent on the percentage of clay particles as well as on their nature. The post-peak drop in strength of a normallyconsolidated clay is due only to particle reorientation. Measurements of strength on natural shear surfaces agree, within practical limits of variation, with values derived from back analysis of reactivated landslides. This field residual strength can be recovered by multiple reversal shear box tests on cut-plane samples, but in high clay fraction materials it is typically somewhat higher than the strength measured in ring shear tests. Residual strength is little affected by variation in the slow rates of displacement encountered in reactivated landslides and in the usual laboratory tests, but at rates faster than about lOOmm/min qualitative changes take place in the pattern of behaviour. A substantial gain in strength is followed, with increasing displacement, by a fall to a minimum value. In clays and low clay fraction silts this minimum is not less than the slow or static residual, but in clayey silts (with clay fractions around 15-25% according to tests currently in progress) the minimum can be as low as one-half of the static value. On peut admettre que la chute qui suit la valeur de pit dans la resistance au cisaillement dans letat drain& dune a&e surconsolidee a lieu en deux &apes. Tout * Special lecture given to the British Geotechnical Society, at the Institution of Civil Engineers, on 6 June 1984. t Imperial College of Science and Technology. 3

dabord, pour des d&placements relativement petits, la resistance decroit jusqua la valeur correspondant a ICtat critique, a cause dune augmentation de la teneur en eau (dilatance). Puis, apres des deplacements beaucoup plus considtrables, la resistance tombe a la valeur residuehe, a cause de la reorientation des mineraux dargile en forme de feuillets paralleles a la direction du cisaillement. Si la fraction dargile est inftrieure a environ de 25% la deuxieme &ape apparait rarement et Iargile se comPorte a peu prts comme du sable ou du limon avec des angles de resistance rtsiduelle au cisaillement typiquement suptrieurs B 20. Inversement, avec une fraction dargile denviron 50% la resistance rtsiduelle est rtgie presquentierement par le frottement glissant des mintraux argileux et une augmentation ulterieure de la fraction dargile na que trts peu deffet. Les angles de resistance rtsiduelle au cisaillement des trois mineraux argileux les plus souvent trouves sont approximativement 15 pour la kaolinite, 10 pour lillite ou Iargile mica&e et 5 pour le montmorillonite. Lorsque la fraction dargile est comprise entre 25% et 50% il y a un type pour ainsi dire transitoire de comportement, puisque la resistance residuelle depend du pourcentage de particules dargile aussi bien que de leur nature. La chute de resistance qui suit la valeur de pit est due exclusivement 9 la reorientation des particules. Dans les limites pratiques de variation les mesures de la resistance effect&es sur des surfaces naturelles de cisaillement saccordent avec les valeurs obtenues a partir de lanalyse a posteriori de glissements de terrains reactives. Cette resistance residuelle in situ peut &tre retrouvee par des essais de bone de cisaillement alternatifs multiples effect&s sur des Cchantillons a plans coupes; mais dans des mattriaux ayant une grande fraction dargile elle est typiquement un peu superieure a la resistance mesurte a laide dappareils de cisaillement circulaire par torsion. La resistance rdsiduelle nest que legbrement affect&e par des variations dans les vitesses lentes de dtplacement quon trouve dans les glissements de terrains reactives et dans les essais habituels de laboratoire, mais a des a environ lOOmm/min des vitesses superieures changements qualitatifs ont lieu dans la forme du comportement. Un gain appreciable de resistance est suivi, au fur et a mesure que le d&placement augmente, par une chute a la valeur minimale. Dans les argiles et les limons a basse fraction dargile ce minimum nest pas inferieur a la valeur residuelle lente ou statique, mais dans les limons argileux, avec des fractions dargile denviron 15-25% selon des essais en cours actuellement Ie minimum peut etre aussi bas que la moitie de la valeur statique.





Low (e g. <




INIRODUCIION In the Rankine Lecture of 1964 the Author drew attention to the nature and engineering significance of residual strength. Much has been learnt during the past 20 years, and the present lecture is an attempt to summarize our knowledge of this subject. Residual strength is the minimum constant value attained (at slow rates of shearing) at large displacements. The displacements necessary to cause a drop in strength to the residual value are usually far greater than those corresponding to the development of peak strength and the fully softened (critical state) strength in overconsolidated Consequently, residual clays. strength is generally not relevant to first-time slides and other stability problems in previously unsheared clays and clay fills, but the strength of a clay will be at or close to the residual on slip surfaces in old landslides or soliflucted slopes, in bedding shears in folded strata, in sheared joints or faults and after an embankment failue. Therefore, whenever such pre-existing shear surfaces occur the residual strength must be known, as it will exert a controlling influence on engineering design. DEVELOPMENT OF RESIDUAL STRENGTH The post-peak drop in drained strength of an intact overconsolidated clay may be considered as being due, firstly, to an increase in water content (dilatancy) and, secondly, to reorientation of clay particles parallel to the direction of shearing. At the end of the first stage the fully softened or critical state strength is reached. At larger displacements, when reorientation is

complete, the strength falls to and remains constant at the residual value (Fig. l(a)). In normally consolidated clays, which consolidate when sheared (to displacements a little beyond the peak) the post-peak drop in strength is due entirely to particle reorientation. The effects of particle reorientation are felt, to any appreciable extent, only in clays containing platy clay minerals and having a clay fraction (percentage by weight of particles smaller than 0.002 mm) exceeding about 20-25%. Silt and sandy clays with lower clay fractions exhibit nearly the classical critical state type of behaviour in which, even at large displacements, the strength is scarcely less than the normally consolidated peak value, and the post-peak drop in strength of overconsolidated material of this kind is due almost entirely to water content increase (Fig. l(b)). The change from sand to clay type of behaviour is clearly demonstrated by a series of ring shear tests on sand-bentonite mixtures (Fig. 2). As will be seen later, the same pattern is found in natural clays. There is ample evidence from the field, as well as the laboratory, for an increased water content in sheared overconsolidated clays. London Clay, for example, has a water content of about 34 at and near slip surfaces, compared with 30 in neighbouring unsheared material (Skempton, 1964). A still larger increase has recently been observed in the heavily overconsolidated Siwalik strata at the Kalabagh Dam site where water contents in tectonically sheared claystone are around 23 in contrast with values of about 15 in unsheared material having the same clay fraction of anoroximatelv 60%. 1I




Orientation of platy clay minerals in shear zones and on slip surfaces has been observed under the microscope in samples from the field, as at Waltons Wood (Fig. 3, from Skempton & Petley, 1967a) and several other landslides (Morgenstern & Tchalenko, 1967), and also in laboratory shear tests (Lupini, Skinner & Vaughan, 1981).
Plasticity index PI

Displacements at various stages of shearing Peak strengths are attained at small strains corresponding to displacements of the order 1 mm in shear box or ring shear tests on overconsolidated clays, and after rather more movement for normally consolidated clays: see Table 1. Water content changes (softening in overconsolidated and consolidation in normally consolidated clays) seem to be essentially complete at displacements generally smaller than 10 mm; often about 5 mm is sufficient (Petley, 1966). Ring shear tests at normal effective pressures up to about 600 kPa indicate that displacements usually exceeding 100 mm, and in some cases exceeding 500 mm, are necessary before the strength of an intact clay falls to a final steady residual value, represented by an angle of shearing resistance & However, strengths approaching close to this final value, for example to a strength represented by &+ l, are reached at displacements ranging from about 20% to 50% of those required for the full drop to the residual (see Fig. 4 and data given by Lupini, 1980). At higher pressures it would be expected that particle orientation, and therefore the fall to residual strength, is completed at smaller displacements. This idea receives support from tests on a clay shale by Sinclair & Brooker (1967). With cr = 100 kPa the strength was still falling after displacements of 6Omm, but when cr = 2000 kPa the residual was reached at about 25 mm. Less information is available on the strength characteristics of structural discontinuities in clays, such as joints and bedding planes, which have not been sheared in nature. Tests on joint surfaces in the S. Barbara Clay (of Pliocene age, near Florence) show a reduced peak strength compared with that of the intact clay, and the residual is attained at displacements of 3040 mm (Fig. 5). In tests on London Clay joint surfaces all the cohesion had been lost and the angle of shearing resistance was within 3 of the residual after 8 mm displacement (Skempton &
Table 1. Typical displacements shear in clays having CF>30% at various stages of



E u zoEC



100 Clay Normally fraction CF. % at o = = 1.55 350 kPa

consolidated PVCF


2. Ring shear tests on sand-bentonite (after Lupini, Skinner & Vaughan, 1981)



pellet . organic



Displacement: mm GC N-C 3-6 4-10 30-200 100-500


Peak Rate of volume change approximately zero At &,+1 Residual 6,

Fig. 3. Fabric of shear zone and slip surface at Waftons Wood


Intact clays, with a<600 kPa.




n =






LL = 62

PL = 26

CF = 47

Rate of dlsplacemenl b 0.3 2 o-2 q, = 10.6


mm/mln Residual r/u = 0 152 -

@r = 8 6

Q = 9.6




200 Displacement. Fig.

300 mm

4. Kahbagh

ring shear test, August


w = 51 LL = 76

Clay PL = 43 CF = 37

15: 10.. 5a

0 30 mm 40


20 Displacement

He. 5. Reversal shear box tests CGebresi & Maafredini, 1973)

on intact


and on joint surfaces


Petley, 1967a). A still sharper reduction in strength was found in the shaly Lower Oxford Clay tested parallel to bedding, though probably not precisely on a bedding plane. Here the angle of shearing resistance fell to within 2 of the residual after displacements of only 4 mm and almost to the residual itself at little more than l(r2Omm (Burland, Longworth & Moore, 1977). All the tests mentioned in this paragraph were made at pressures not exceeding 600 kPa. They indicate the brittleness of natural fractures in clays.

When tests are satisfactorily carried out on samples containing a fully developed slip or shear surface the residual strength is recovered at virtually zero displacement, since all water content changes and particle orientation effects have already been brought about by the shearing movements in nature. The strength on such shear surfaces is here defined as the field re-

sidual value. In principle it should be the same as the strength calculated from back analysis of a landslide in which movement has been reactivated along a pre-existing slip surface and, as we shall see, this identity has in fact been established within practical limits of accuracy. Examples of slip surface tests are shown in Fig. 6 (Skempton & Petley, 1967b). The tests were made in the shear box apparatus, care being taken to locate the slip surface as exactly as possible in the plane of the box and to arrange the sample so that shearing follows the natural direction of movement. It will be noted that in second runs of the tests, after reversing the travel of the box, the strengths return closely to the first-run values. The trough in the early stages of the second runs is characteristic of reversal shear box tests, although it may be largely or wholly eliminated by unloading the sample during the backward travel, an improvement in technique introduced later than the date of these particular tests.




Before proceeding to examine case records relating to the determination of field residual strengths, two points must be mentioned. First, in normal laboratory practice, tests to measure residual strength are made at slow rates of displacement not exceeding about 0.01 rnm/min to avoid the possibility of generating unknown pore pressures. However, it is demonstrated later in this lecture that over the entire range of rates of movement recorded in reactivated landslides residual strength is unlikely to vary by more than *S% from the value corresponding to the usual laboratory testing rates. A direct comparison can therefore be made between laboratory and back analysis strengths. The second point concerns stability analysis. Ideally the reactivated landslide should have a factor of safety of 1.0, i.e. it should be moving slowly on a pre-existing slip surface, and the shape of the slip surface and the relevant piezometric levels should be known. It is then possible to calculate the average normal effective stress and the average shear stress acting on the slip surface from a two-dimensional analysis, using the method of Morgenstern & Price (1965) or Sarma (1973). Finally, a correction is applied to allow for the strength developed on the sides of the actual three-dimensional slide. This amounts to a reduction in shear stress given by the factor 1+ KDIB where D and B are the average depth and width of the sliding mass, and K is an earth pressure coefficient. In the cases considered here K is taken as 0.5 and the correction is typically about 5%.

Waltons Wood landslide The history of field residual strength begins in September 1962 when the first successful slip surface test was made on a sample from Waltons Wood (Fig. 7) and found to give an angle of shearing resistance in reasonably good agreement with a conventional back analysis of this old but still active landslide. Moreover, the strength lay far below the peak and the fully softened values for intact samples. Further tests and more refined stability analysis gave results (Fig. 8) proving, within the limits of accuracy expected from field work, that slip surface tests and back analysis yielded the same strength. During this investigation, also, particle orientation on the slip surface was observed in thin sections under the polarizing microscope, and in addition the residual strength was recovered (approximately) by multiple reversal shear box tests on intact clay. A detailed description of this case record is available (Early & Skempton, 1972), preliminary accounts having been given by Skempton (1964) and by Skempton & Petley (1967a). Clear evidence existed that the landslide had undergone large displacements in the past, and during 3 years preceding investigations it moved about 1 m. The slip surfaces were in colluvial clay derived from Upper Carboniferous mudstone, with kaolin&e as the predominant clay mineral. M4 landslides near Swindon Two quite large landslides were reactivated by cuttings excavated for the M4 motorway, near Swindon, in the winter 1969-70. A section through the slide at Burderop Wood is shown in Fig. 9. The other slide, half a mile away, near Hodson village, had identical geological conditions and closely resembled Burderop slide in

Pll 60 LL = m B -40TA E I 6 20 0.002 = sr 31.0 75

WE1 CF = 58 run Sample w = 27 Sr = 24.8 \ -d kPa 172 103 sr = 15-2 69 126/l 0 d = 59 kPa

PL = 29 --

First run mmlmln


2 4 Dlsplacemenr 6 mm

I 2 4 Displacement mm 6

Fig. 6. Slip surface tests on Atherlield Sevenoaks Weald escarpment, 1%6

Clay from

Fig. 7. Slip surface test at Waltons Wood landslide, September 1962


Colluwum LL =

from 57

Carbontferous PL = tests 27 .

mudstone CF = Back 70

SIIP surface


Normal Fig. 8.



(T. kPa

Waltons Wood landslide: field residual strength

Distance 0 NNW x slip I 600 surface 50 100

m 150


250 ssw - 200

Pwometer PrOfIle Slope indlcalor ,n March ,970 Upper Greensand - 180

- Top of Gault 1 Plerometrlc level Q GWL

E = 500. ZE pm

Slip observed an excavation for remedlal works

100 0 100 200 300 Distance

400 ft 500 600 700 800

- 80

Fig. 9. Burderop Wood landslide

other respects. The material involved was colluvium derived from Gault Clay with a few small fragments of Greensand and pellets of unworked Gault. During remedial works in 1970, block samples were taken for slip surface tests from three locations at Burderop. At another position nearby, organic matter of a woody nature was found just below the slip surface. This gave a radiocarbon age of 12 600 years, showing that the landslide had originally taken place in a late period of the last (Devensian) glaciation when severe periglacial climatic conditions prevailed in central and southern England. The slip surface tests were carried out at Portsmouth Polytechnic by the Authors former research assistant Dr D. J. Petley and are detailed in an unpublished report (Skempton,

1971). They gave good results with an unusually small scatter (Fig. 10). At both sites the slip surfaces were well defined by slip indicators, inclinometers and visual observation, and groundwater levels (checked by piezometric readings) were known while movements still continued. Back analyses of the two slides (Skempton, 1972) differed by about 0.7 in the angle of shearing resistance and the slip surface tests gave an angle not more than about 1 above the average back analysis value. Bury Hill Regrading of the slope at the Bury Hill site led to a reactivation in 1960 of a landslide which had previously moved between about 1938 and 1955 in a thick mantle of soliflucted Etruria




Gault Clay LL = 64
l l

PL = 29

CF = 47

Burderop back analysis Hodson I 0 Shp surface tests

Normal effectwe stress d: kPa

Fig. 10. Field residual strengthsfor M4 laadslides near Swindon, 1970-71 Table 2. Field residual strength of some English clays
Stratum Water in sheal ZOe Waltons Wood Jackfield > Bury Hill Various M4, near Swindon Sevenoaks bypass various Upper Carboniferous 29 21 30 29 36 35 34 60 64 64 75 80 27 28 29 29 29 Index properties (average values) PL CF 70 36 52 52 47 58 55 PIICF 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.9 &= tan


(s/u)at the following cr values: deg

150 kPa 12.8

Etnria Marl Upper Lias Gault Athetfield London Clay

12.1 9.9 11.1 11.8

Marl. Investigations made in 1968 (Hutchinson, Somerville & Petley, 1973) enabled the slip surface and piezometric levels to be determined, and four sets of slip surface tests were carried out. The results showed some scatter, but three of the four samples gave reasonably consistent strengths corresponding to an angle of shearing resistance of about 13-6 at the average normal effective pressure of 97 kPa acting on the slip surface. This result has to be compared with 12.0 as the best estimate from back analysis, but there are difficulties in figuring the piezometric levels at the time of the 1960 failure, and the material is variable. The difference, of about 12%, is therefore considered not to be of great significance. In Table 2, summarizing data on field residual strength, the angle of residual shearing resistance deduced from this case record is taken as 12.5 at 100 kPa with a curvature of the envelope as given by the slip surface tests. London Clay The first line relating field residual strength and normal effective pressure for London Clay

was based on slip surface tests from sites at Guildford and Dedham, and on a single back analysis of a reactivated landslide in a railway cutting at Sudbury Hill (Skempton & Petley, 1967a). However, at the small average pressure in this slip (30 kPa) a considerable percentage difference existed between back analysis and the test results. Nine years later Hutchinson & Gostelow (1976) presented data from analysis of slips in an abandoned London Clay cliff at Hadleigh which confirmed the Sudbury Hill result and extended the range of back analysis to 50 kPa. An improved field residual envelope could then be drawn, much as in Fig. 11, but still with only the few low pressure Guildford slip surface tests affording a (poor) comparison with back analysis strengths. However, the situation greatly improved in 1978 when Bromhead published analyses of several rather deep-seated slips at Herne Bay, with normal effective pressures of lOO150 kPa (Bromhead, 1978). As will be seen, these new results strongly support the best-fit line drawn through the slip surface test points and despite the scatter (to be expected with tests

London Clay o Tests on SllP surface v 0

CF = 55

LL = GuIldford


PL =


D Dedham Walthamstow Warden Point


Back analysis

. .

Sudbury Herne

HalI Bay

l Hadleigh

M Wraysbury

100 Normal effectw

150 stress u

200 kPa

Fig. 11. Field residual strength for London


from different sites) there can be little doubt that the tests and back analysis are measuring essentially the same strength. Summary of the comparisons A statistical summary of the comparisons between back analysis and slip surface test results is given in Table 3. This shows that while there is a tendency for the tests to give slightly higher strengths, on average by about 0.5 in the angle of shearing resistance, the difference is within the limits of variation. Thus the conclusion is reached that back analysis of reactivated landslides and slip surface tests (at the relevant effective pressure) both give the field residual strength. It also follows from the statistics in Table 3 that, even in the almost ideal conditions of these case records, where pore pressures are known with reasonable certainty and problems such as the effects of progressive failure are absent, stability analysis and laboratory tests cannot be expected to yield results with an accuracy better than about &lo%.
Table 3. Comparison between back analysis of reactivated landslides and slip surface test results (14 case recolds)

Other clays Granted the above conclusion, it is possible to collect values of field residual strength from several other investigations. Three will be mentioned here; a unique set of results from the Siwalik claystones is separately discussed. One of the earliest examples of back analysis of a reactivated landslide, at Jackfield, was published by Henkel & Skempton in 1955, before the subject of residual strength was understood. However, the analysis is sound and provides data on a clay having a smaller clay fraction than is common in landslide studies. Slip surface tests on Atherfield Clay from Sevenoaks Weald escarpment have been shown in Fig. 6. They are three of a total of seven such tests measuring field residual strength at pressures from 70 kPa to 400 kPa. The third clay in this context is the Upper Lias, for which Chandler (1982) gives valuable information on stability analysis and other details from eight different sites, covering pressures from 12 kPa to 120 kPa. Results for these and the four clays previously discussed are summarized in Table 2.


Angle of shearing resistance: deg 12.8 13.4 +0.6 Zt1.2 +2.5 -2.2

A&l&: %

Curvature of envelope For most clays the relation between residual strength and normal effective pressure is nonlinear. The strength s at any given pressure u is conveniently expressed by the secant angle of shearing resistance 4 where tan 4 = s/u

Mean 4 from analysis Mean 4 from tests Mean A+ Standard deviation in A+ Maximum A+ Minimum A&

+4.5 *9 +17.5 -17

Values of 4 for (r = 50 kPa, 100 kPa and 150 kPa are given in Table 2. When comparing one clay with another it is best to fix on a standard pressure, such as 100 kPa. Thus the value of & at u = 100 kPa





A London 0 Llas OGaull


I A@ = Fig. @r,nrl d,, (mean A* = 1.5)

each point 6 an average otzor3 analyses

12. Difference

between ring shear and field residual strength

can be taken as a characteristic parameter of a clay. Curvature of the envelope can be expressed by the ratio of tan 4 at a pressure (T to the standard tan 4 at 100 kPa. Mean values of this ratio for the clays listed in Table 2 are as follows: u: kPa tan +/tan6 loo 25 1.12 50 1.07 100 1.00 150 0.96

solved, especially since Bromhead & Curtis (1983) indicate that with a different ring shear machine agreement with field residual strength is obtained in London Clay, despite the fact that this machine and Bishops give almost identical results on two samples of Gault Clay from Folkestone Warren (Bromhead, 1979). RELATION BETWEEN RESIDUAL STRENGTH AND CLAY FRACTION It is clearly a matter of great interest to obtain a relationship between residual strength and clay fraction for a natural material covering a wide range of particle size but having essentially the same clay mineralogy throughout. This is now close to being achieved by tests on Siwalik claystones and siltstones in Pakistan. Siwaliks Investigations at Mangla and a neighbouring site at Jari, and currently in progress at the proposed Kalabagh Dam on the Indus, provide data from within mutually similar suites of materials. At these locations rather thick beds of sandstone alternate with finer-grained beds of claystone and siltstone, ranging from the top of the Middle Siwaliks (late Pliocene) at Kalabagh into the Upper Siwaliks (early Pleistocene) at Mangla and Jari. The strata are heavily overconsolidated freshwater deposits and, owing to tectonic folding, most of the claystones contain bedding shears while thrust joints (many of them sheared) characterize the siltstones. Illite and kaolinite are the dominant clay minerals, with subordinate montmorillonite, and the PI/CF ratios vary between 0.5 and 0.8 with a slight tendency for lower values at Kalabagh than at Mangla and Jari. Typically there is a calcite content of about 5%. After many attempts to obtain satisfactory shear surface samples from these hard materials, seven sets of shear box tests were successfully

However, there are considerable variations in the degree of curvature between one clay and another. For design purposes it is often useful to take a best-fit linear envelope over the range of pressures involved, in the form s=c+atanb COMPARISON OF FIELD RESIDUAL AND RING SHEAR TESTS Ring shear tests in the machine described by Bishop, Green, Garga, Andresen & Brown (1971) tend to give residual strengths, for high clay fraction materials, which are somewhat lower than the field values. Typically the difference is 1 or 2 in the angle of shearing resistance, as shown in Fig. 12 where comparisons are made with back analysis results. Chandler (1984) summarizes the data for Lias and London Clay, and a ring shear test on Gault from the M4 landslide at Burderop is quoted by Lupini (1980). At Bury Hill a ring shear result lay as much below the back analysis strengths as the slip surfaces tests lay above but, as previously mentioned, the clay at this site is variable. Various suggestions can be made in explanation, mostly based on the idea that shearing in the ring test is more concentrated or intense than in landslides, but the question is still unre-



carried out at the Mangla laboratory in 196% 67. Results for a high clay fraction bedding shear are shown in Figs 13 and 14. One test shows a small peak, as the shear surface could not be aligned perfectly with the plane of the box, but a steady minimum strength is attained after only 5 mm displacement. In the two other tests the shear surface (field residual) strength is
Sample 64144 PL = 28

LL = 68

CF = 58


400 o kPa







recovered from the start, as was the case with most of the other samples. Tests on a thrust shear joint in siltstone are shown in Fig. 15. The displacement on this joint was quite small. Nevertheless the tests indicate that the residual strength has already been developed in nature, presumably to be accounted for by the low clay fraction (compare with Fig. l(b)) and also by the high pressure acting when the joint was sheared. Values of & (at o = 400 kPa) from these seven samples are plotted in Fig. 16. They reveal a relationship evidently corresponding to the transitional and sliding shear zones of the sand-bentonite tests of Fig. 2. However, it is possible to add further points and to extend the graph into the sand or rolling shear zone by including results of cut-plane multiple reversal shear box tests made at the Kalabagh laboratory. The cut plane acts rather like an unsheared joint, and five or six reversals usually produce a steady minimum strength (Fig. 17). The close correspondence between cut-plane and shear surface tests, demonstrated in Fig. 16, provides evidence that the cut-plane tests give a good measure of the field residual strength and justifies the use of such tests in delineating the picture, presented here for the first time, showing the relation between residual strength and clay fraction in a natural sedimentary deposit.

Fig. 13. Jari Dam: left abutment, shear zone A

Sample LL = 150 68 ~,rst run PL = 6144 28 CF = 58 300 I f / /---n --- = 831 $= Sample u = 830 LL = i,oo_/yK-T+ 40 Frst PL = run --292 76109 21 ---Second CF = 23 s3






4 Dtsplacement:

6 mm


4 Displacement

6 mm


Fig. 14. Shear surface tests on Jari Dam, shear zone A, January 1%6

Fig. 15. Shear surface tests on Jari Valley no. 3, thrust shear joint, November 1965


Shear tests surface tests 400 kPa



Mangla Jan Kalabagh. Values 3

C&O3 PliCF 40t-=


10% 0.5 - 0.8

cut-plane of o,, at on =


. Claystone -

E30D B 20 -

-0-1 \ \ \ ,,,,,,,, Bedding/,+,,, shears

From field records 70 L 80 1 90 L


10 I

20 1 Clay

30 1 fraction

40 1 (after

50 I pretreatment)

60 I


16. Field residuals for Sialik


and siltstone,

April 1984

300 : W =Sample 21 LL 1359 = 49 d, S, = 75 kPa = PL = Test 29 83CF 10.6 o; = 400 kPa = 42


4 Dlsplacemenl.

6 mm

sample at Kalabagh,


17. Reversal

shear box test on a cut-plane



Variations with clay mineralogy The clay minerals can have little effect on residual strength when the clay fraction is less than 20%, as the strength is then controlled largely by the sand and silt particles. Conversely, with clay fractions exceeding 50%, residual strength depends almost entirely on sliding friction of the clay particles and therefore depends on their character. Thus the siltstone in Fig. 16 with 13% clay fraction has a strength equal to that of sand. At

the other end of the scale, clays such as the Lias and Atherfield having PI/CF ratios similar to those of the Siwalik claystones have much the same residual strength (Fig. 18), but the kaolinitic clay from Waltons Wood (PI/CF = 0.4) has a somewhat greater residual, despite its high clay fraction, and lies in Fig. 18 not much below the point for kaolin itself (Lupini, 1980). In sharp contrast, if the PI/CF ratio exceeds about 1.5, as in some clay shales reported from the USA (Townsend & Gilbert, 1973) the residual angle



PIICF 40 t Values of I$,, kPa + Waltons x JackfIeld . Bury o Siwallk 0 LIZIS o Swmdon 0 Sevenoaks a London (Gault) (Atherfleld) Clay HIII I Wood (Upper Iferous) Carbonat nn x 100 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.9





0.4 16

Approximate for PVCF

bounds = 0.550.9


Benlomte \



40 Clay fraction %




18. Field residual and ring shear tests on sands, kaolin and bentonite

o .

Kaolm London (each Clay point >




CF = CF =

82 60

= 40-140 of 8 tests)

Usual range of slow laboratory tests

g E 2 v, 0.7 0.8 L 0.01

0~0001 0.001 0.1 0.01 1 10 0.1 i 100

1 mm/rmn cm/day

10 100


10 000 cm/year

Fig. 19. Variation

in residual strength of clays at slow rates of displacement

of shearing resistance falls below 7, to values comparable with that of bentonite in which the clay mineral is montmorillonite. Finally there is the special case where the particles smaller than 0.002mm are non-platy clay minerals, such as halloysite, or rock flour consisting of very finely divided quartz etc. The angles of residual shearing resistance of such soils bear little if any relation to the content of clay-size particles and are usually greater than 25 (Kenney, 1967; Wesley, 1977). RATE EFFECIX Rates of displacement on pre-existing shear surfaces can vary by many orders of magnitude from exceedingly slow movements in some reactivated landslides to very fast displacements in-

duced by earthquakes. A knowledge of the effects produced by different rates of shearing is therefore a significant part of residual strength studies. Slow rates Tests on two clays over a range of speeds from about 100 times slower to 100 times faster than the usual (slow) laboratory test rate are plotted in Fig. 19 (data from Petley, 1966 and Lupini, 1980). On average, the change in strength is rather less than 2.5% per log cycle. It therefore follows that variations in strength within the usual range of slow laboratory tests (say 0.002-0.01 mm/min) are negligible. In the field, from observations on reactivated landslides and mud-flows, it is known (Skemp-



Table 4. Variations ia residual slow rates of displacement


of days at

Laboratory, typical


= 7 mm/day

ton & Hutchinson, 1969) that the highest daily rate of movement is of the order 50 cm/day and the lowest average rate is about 2cm/year, which probably corresponds to a daily rate of not less than 5 cm/year. If the strength at a typical laboratory rate of 0+00.5 mm/min is taken as standard, the variations over this entire range lie between -3% and +5%, as set out in Table 4. Thus it appears, to a first approximation, that all such movements can be regarded as slow and as being related to a static residual strength equal (from this point of view) to values measured in the usual slow laboratory tests. This is the justification for making a comparison, without any rate correction, between slow laboratory tests and back analysis. There is, however, an interesting corollary since Fig. 19 also implies that small changes in strength can cause large changes in rate of movement. This immediately accounts for the marked influence of seasonal variations in piezometric levels and for the success of remedial works which bring about a relatively small increase in factor of safety. Fast rates In connection with earthquake design of the Kalabagh Dam project, tests are being made at Imperial College to measure the effects of fast rates of displacement on residual strength. A
Sample vv = O-St o-5 0.4 b 0.3 O-215 0.2 0.156 0.1 b 0 1 500 600 27

sample is remoulded with water to bring it to a plastic state and tested in the ring shear apparatus at pressures of 200 kPa and 500 kPa after preconsolidation at the maximum attainable pressure of 900 kPa. In all cases the water content during the shear tests is at, or a little below, the plastic limit. The slow residual state is first established by shearing at 0.01 mm/min to displacements usually of about 500mm (Fig. 4). The rate is then increased and maintained until approximately steady conditions obtain. After a pause to allow any pore pressures to dissipate, the slow rate is reimposed. The rate is then increased again, to some other high value and so on until tests have been made at three or four different fast rates under both pressures. Part of the first of this series of tests, in which the fastest rate was 400 mm/min, is shown in Fig. 20. In subsequent tests 700-800 mm/min has been achieved. All samples so far tested at fast rates show a rise in strength to a maximum, followed by a decrease to an approximately steady minimum value. To obtain characteristic parameters for any particular sample, 400 mmlmin is chosen as representing the fast tests and the strengths (residual, fast maximum and fast minimum) are plotted against normal pressure, in order to obtain by interpolation the values at a standard pressure of 400 kPa (Fig. 21). For clays the increase in strength becomes pronounced at rates exceeding 100 mm/min (Fig. 22) when some qualitative change in behaviour occurs. This is probably associated with disturbance of the originally ordered structure, producing what may be termed turbulent shear, in contrast with sliding shear when the particles are orientated parallel to the plane of displacement. It is possible, also, that negative pore pressures are generated and, as displacement continues, these are dissipated within the g=
205 kPa (p, 26 = 900 CF kPa) = 47



PL =



0 01






pause \, 700 Displacement


12 h pause


800 mm


Fig. 20. Kalabagh

Dam ring shear test, August


300Sample LL = 45 o Residual


704 PL =

Rmg 23 Fast mm/mln

shear CF = 40 X Max + M,n

400 200 -

6 kPa Fig.

21. Kalabagb Dam ring shear tests, Febmary


Sample LL = 45

704 CF = 40

PL = 23

kPa Max


Slldmg shear

Turbulent shear

1 Fig.


100 Rate of displacement:

400 mmlmln


22. Kalabagb

Dam ring shear tests, Febmary


1.4 1.2

Sample w =

2094 24

(r = LL =

490 39



900 CF

kPa) = 3

PL = 27

0.57 0.4 0.2 0 800



I 900

3 h pause , \ 1000

1100 mm

4 h pause I 1200

, 1300


Displacement: Fig.

23. Kalabagb

Dam ring shear test, April 1984





Sample LL = 39 PL =

91 OL 21 CF = 21

kPa D = g = 200 495\

01 1

10 Rate

100 of displacement:

400 1000 mm/mln

J 10 000

Fig. 24. Kalabagh Dam ring shear tests, October 1983

body of the sample thus leading to a decrease in strength. That some structural change has taken place in clays at ratios of 400 mm/min or more seems apparent from the fact that on reimposing the slow rate a peak is observed, the strength falling to the residual only after considerable further displacement (Fig. 20), an effect not seen after shearing 100 mm/min or slower. By contrast, in a low clay fraction siltstone
5 o-

4 OValues of I$ kPa at (T = 400




1 o-

(CF = 3) there is no qualitative change at rates even as high as 800 mm/min; the strength at once rises to a maximum and then falls sharply towards the residual, and on restoring the slow rate the residual is almost immediately regained (Fig. 23). These effects point to pore pressure changes only; certainly there can be no clay particle orientation or disordering in this sample. As an intermediate material, a clayey siltstone with about 25% clay fraction shows a remarkable drop in strength, at fast rates (400 mm/min or more), from the maximum to a minimum equal approximately to one-half of the residual (Fig. 24). It is surely significant that this material lies in the transitional zone, but why it should show a normal increase in strength at fast rates followed by an abnormal decrease is not clear. However, two specimens from this sample, one with 21% and the other with 27% clay fraction, show almost identical patterns of behaviour. Clearly more research is needed better to define the limits of this phenomenon and, for all types of soil, to measure pore pressures at fast rates of displacement and to explore the effects in still more rapid tests. Meanwhile the results at present available are summarized in Fig. 25; their significance in earthquake engineering design is obviously considerable. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Permission to quote results from the Mangla and Kalabagh laboratories has kindly been given by the Pakistan Water and Power Authority (WAPDA). Other tests not taken from published papers were carried out as part of a


LOW CF 30 40

Dam, June 1984

20 @, deg

Fig. 25. summary of ring shear tests for Kalabagh


Hutchinson, J. N., Somerville, S. H. & Petley, D. J. (1973). A landslide in periglacially disturbed Etruria Marl at Bury Hill, Staffordshire. Q. J. Engng Geol. 6, 377-404. Kenney, T. C. (1967). The influence of mineral composition on the residual strength of natural soils. Proc. Geotechnical Conf.. Oslo 1. 123-129. Lupini, J. F. (1980). The residual strength of soils. PhD thesis, University of London. Lupini, J. F., Skinner, A. E. & Vaughan, P. R. (1981). The drained residual strength of cohesive soils. Geotechnique 31, No. 2, 181-213. Morgenstern, N. R. & Price, V. E. (1965). The analysis of the stability of general slip surfaces. Gdotechnique 15,No. 1, 79-93. Morgenstern, N. R. & Tchalenko, J. S. (1967). Microstructural characteristics on shear zones from slips in natural clays. Proc. Georechnical Conf., Oslo 1, 147-152. Petley, D. J. (1966). The shear strength of soils at large strains. PhD thesis, University of London. Sarma, S. K. (1973). Stability analysis of embankments and slopes. GCotechnique 23, No. 3, 423433. Sinclair, S. R. & Brooker, E. W. (1967). The shear strength of Edmonton Shale. Proc. Geotechnical Conf., Oslo 1,295-299. Skempton, A. W. (1964). Long-term stability of clay slopes. Gioorechnique 14, No. 2, 75-101. Skempton, A. W. (1971). Report on tests on and adjacent to the slip surface in the Gault clay at Burderop Wood, Wiltshire. Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners. Skempton, A. W. (1972). Report on the investigations and remedial works at Burderop Wood and Hodson landslides on the M4 motorway near Swindon. Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners. Skempton, A. W. & Hutchinson, J. N. (1969). Stability of natural slopes. Proc. 7th In?. Conf. Soil Mech. Fdn Engng, Mexico City, State of the art volume, pp. 291-340. Skempton, A. W. & Petley, D. J. (1967a). The strength along structural discontinuities in stiff clays. Proc. Geotechnical Conf., Oslo 2, 29-46. Skempton, A. W. & Petley, D. J. (1967b). Sevenoaks by-pass. Shear tests on clays. Report for Kent County Council. Townsend, F. C. & Gilbert, P. A. (1973). Tests to measure residual strength of some clay shales. Gkotechnique 23, No. 2, 267-271. Weslev. L. D. (1977). Shear strength properties of hafioysite and allophane clays in-Java, Indonesia. Ggotechnique 27, No. 2, 125-136.

general research programme at Imperial College and in connection with investigations for Kent County Council (Sevenoaks bypass), Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners (M4 landslides near Swindon) and WAPDA (Kalabagh Dam project). The fast ring shear tests are being made by Mr Luis Lemos. In preparing the lecture much benefit has been derived from discussions with Dr R. J. Chandler and Dr P. R. Vaughan. All the tracings are by Mrs Anne Langford. REFERENCES Bishop, A. W., Green, G. E., Garga, V. K., Andresen, A. & Brown, J. D. (1971). A new ring shear
apparatus and its application to the measurement of residual strength. G&technique 21, No. 4, 273328. Bromhead, E. N. (1978). Large landslides in London Clay at Herne Bay, Kent. Q. J. Engng Geol. 11,

Bromhead, E. N. (1979). A simple ring shear apparatus. Ground Engng 12, 40-44. Bromhead, E. N. & Curtis, R. D. (1983). A comparison of alternative methods of measuring the residual strength of London Clay. Ground Engng 16,

Burland, J. B., Longworth, T. I. & Moore, J. F. A. (1977). A study of ground movement and progressive failure caused by a deep excavation in Oxford Clay. G&otechnique 27, No. 4, 557-591. Calabresi, G. & Manfredini, G. (1973). Shear strength characteristics of the jointed clay of S. Barbara. Gdotechnique 23, No. 2, 233-244. Chandler, R. J. (1982). Lias clay slope sections and their implications for the prediction of limiting or threshold slope angles. Earth Surf. Process Landforms 7, 427-438. Chandler, R. J. (1984). Recent European experience of landslides in over-consolidated clays and soft rocks. Proc. 4th Int. Symp. Landslides, Toronto, 1,61-81. Early, K. R. & Skempton, A. W. (1972). Investigations of the landslide at Waltons Wood, Staffordshire. Q. J. Engng Geol. 5, 19-41. Henkel, D. J. & Skempton, A. W. (1955). A landslide at Jackfield, Shropshire, in heavily overconsolidated clay. Giotechnique 5, 131-137. Hutchinson, J. N. & Gostelow, T. P. (1976). The development of an abandoned cliff in London Clay at Hadleigh, Essex. Phil. Trans R. Sot., A 283, 557-604.