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Learning outcomes

  • Understand the assumptions and limitations of four

soil models: Coulomb, Mohr-Coulomb, Tresca and Taylor.

  • Know how to select the appropriate soil model to interpret soil test data.

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Importance

  • All models make assumptions. You must understand these

assumptions to know the limitations of a selected model.

  • The response of soils depends on many factors including the drainage condition, the history of loading and the stress path. You must be able to select and use the appropriate model that best represents the expected soil condition. Poor choice and use could lead to misrepresentation and failure.

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Key terms

  • Shear strength of a soil is the maximum internal resistance to applied shearing forces.

  • Effective friction angle, ′, is a measure of the shear strength of soils due to friction.

  • Cementation, c cm , is a measure of the shear strength of a soil from forces that cement the particles.

  • Soil tension, c t , is a measure of the apparent shear strength of a soil from soil suction (negative pore-water pressures or capillary stresses).

  • Cohesion, c o , is a measure of the intermolecular forces.

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Key terms

  • Undrained shear strength, s u , is the shear strength of a soil when sheared at constant volume.

  • Apparent cohesion, C, is the apparent shear strength at zero normal effective stress.

  • Critical state is a stress state reached in a soil when continuous shearing occurs at constant shear stress to normal effective stress ratio and constant volume.

  • Dilation is a measure of the change in volume of a soil when the soil is distorted by shearing.

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MODELS TO INTERPRET SHEAR STRENGTH

  • A soil model is an idealized

representation of the soil to

allow us to understand its

response to loading and other

external events.

  • A soil model should not be expected to capture all the intricacies of real soil behavior.

  • Each soil model may have a different set of assumptions and may only represent one or more aspects of soil behavior.

  • Popular soil models

    • Coulomb

    • Mohr-Coulomb

    • Tresca

Simple

  • Some other soil models

    • Taylor

    • Critical state

  • 6 COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL

    • Soils, in particular granular soils, are endowed by nature with slip planes.

    • Each contact of one soil particle with another is a potential micro-slip plane.

    • Loadings can cause a number of

these micro slip planes to align in the

direction of least resistance.

  • Thus, we can speculate that a possible mode of soil failure is slip on a plane of least resistance.

6 COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL  Soils, in particular granular soils, are endowed by nature with slip
6 COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL  Soils, in particular granular soils, are endowed by nature with slip
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COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL FOR UNCEMENTED,SOILS

Soil fails by impending frictional sliding on a plane

  • LINEAR FAILURE ENVELOPE

    • Soils at critical state: ′ = cs , = = 0

p

  

f

(

n

)

f

tan



cs

7 COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL FOR UNCEMENTED,SOILS Soil fails by impending frictional sliding on a plane 
  • CURVED FAILURE ENVELOPE

    • Soils at peak state: ′ = p ,

f

=

p

> 0

(n ) f tan p (n ) f tan cs  p


′ cs ′ p  is the dilation angle (a measure of the soil’s ability to
′ cs
′ p
 is the dilation angle (a measure of the soil’s
ability to expand –> increase in volume)
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WHAT IS DILATANCY?

  • Dilation is not a peculiarity of soils, but occurs in many other materials, for example, rice and wheat.

  • The ancient traders of grains were well aware of the phenomenon of volume expansion of grains. However, it was Osborne Reynolds (1885) who described the phenomenon of dilatancy and brought it to the attention of the scientific community ..

  • Dilation can be seen in action at a beach.

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COULOMB’S SOIL MODEL FOR CEMENTED SOILS

  c   ( ) tan    f cm n f o
  c  
(
)
tan
f
cm
n
f
o
c cm is the cementation strength and  o
is the apparent friction angle.
Neither c cm nor  o is a fundamental
soil parameter.
Adding the cementation strength to
the apparent frictional strength is
not strictly correct since they are not
mobilized at the same shear strains.
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ISSUES WITH AND USE OF THE COULOMB’S MODEL

  • ISSUES

    • Coulomb’s model applies strictly to two rigid bodies with a common potential sliding plane.

    • It is a limiting force model (force at impending frictional sliding )

    • It does not consider soil deformation.

    • It is independent of the loading history of the soil.

      • USE

        • It can be used for failures that occur along a slip plane, such as a joint or the interface of two soils or the interface between a structure and a soil.

        • Stratified soil deposits such as overconsolidated varved clays (regular layered soils that depict seasonal variations in deposition) and fissured clays are likely candidates for failure following Coulomb’s model, especially if the direction of shearing is parallel to the direction of the bedding plane.

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KEY POINTS REGARDING COULOMB’S MODEL

      tan     , f n f cs
  
tan
  
,
f
n
f
cs
p
   c    tan     f cm n f
 c 
 tan 
f
cm
n
f
o
  • 12 MOHRCOULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION

Soil fails by frictional sliding on a plane of maximum

stress obliquity

  • MC failure criterion defines failure when the maximum principal effective stress ratio,

(



1

)

f

(



3

)

,

f

called the maximum effective stress obliquity, is achieved and not when the maximum shear stress

[(

  

1

3

)/2] max

is achieved.

  • The failure shear stress is then less than the maximum shear stress.

12 MOHR – COULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION Soil fails by frictional sliding on a plane of
  • 13 MOHRCOULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION

    • Friction angle

sin  



1

f

 

3

f

OB

2

(



1

)

f

 

(

3

)

f

OA



1

f

 

3

f

(

  

1

)

(

3

)

f

2

  • Inclination of failure plane to the plane of the major principal stress

 

45



2

  

4

2

  • Maximum shear stress

[(

  

1

3

)/2] max

13 MOHR – COULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION  Friction angle sin     1
  • 14 MOHRCOULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION

    • Failure stresses for uncemented soils

(



n

)

f

      

1

3

1

3

2

2

sin



 

f

  

1

3

2

cos



14 MOHR – COULOMB (MC) FAILURE CRITERION  Failure stresses for uncemented soils (  n
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MC FAILURE CRITERION

  • Uncemented soils

    • at critical state

sin



cs

  

 

=  

1

3



1

 

3

 

cs

cs



1

 

3

2

cos



cs

At peak state

sin



p

   

 

=  

1

3



1

  

3

p

p

=

     

1

3

2

p

cos



p

15 MC FAILURE CRITERION  Uncemented soils  at critical state sin  cs  
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MC FAILURE CRITERION

f

=

 Unsaturated, cemented, cohesive soils  o C Normal effective      stress,
Unsaturated, cemented, cohesive
soils
 o
C
Normal effective
  
stress,  n
1
3
sin 
o
2
C
cot
   
+
o
1
3
1
C 
tan
  
1
sin
  
1
sin
2
o
1
o
3
o
Shear stress
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ISSUES WITH AND USE OF THE MC MODEL

  • ISSUES

    • MC model applies strictly to two rigid bodies with a common potential sliding plane.

    • It is a limiting stress model.

    • It does not consider soil deformation. Soil deformation is important in real soils.

    • It is independent of the loading history of the soil. The strength of real soils is dependent on loading history.

    • The shear strength in compression and extension is the same. Real soils show different strengths in compression and extension. Usually, the extension strength is lower than the compressive strength.

      • USE

        • It can be used for long term (drained condition) stability calculations and to interpret the long term strength of overconsolidated fine- grained and dense coarse- grained soils.

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KEY POINTS: MC FAILURE CRITERION

  • Coupling Mohr’s circle with Coulomb’s frictional law allows us to define shear failure based on the stress state of the soil.

  • Failure occurs, according to the MohrCoulomb failure criterion, when the soil reaches the maximum principal effective stress obliquity.

  • The maximum shear stress is not the failure shear stress.

  • Information on the deformation or the initial stress state of the soil is not needed to interpret soil strength using the MC failure criterion.

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TRESCA’S MODEL

Soil fails when the shear stress is one-half the principal stress difference

  • Tresca’s failure criterion is used to interpret the undrained shear strength.

s

u

(

1

)

f

(

 

3

)

f

(

  

1

)

f

(

3

)

f

2

2

  • The shear strength under undrained loading depends only on the initial void ratio or the initial water content or initial confining pressure.

  • An increase in initial normal effective

stress, sometimes called confining

pressure, causes a decrease in initial void

ratio and a larger change in excess

porewater pressure when a soil is sheared under undrained condition.

19 TRESCA’S MODEL Soil fails when the shear stress is one-half the principal stress difference 
  • The result is that the Mohr’s circle of total stress expands and the undrained shear strength increases. Thus, s u is not a fundamental soil property.

  • 20 TRESCA’S MODEL

    • The value of s u depends on the magnitude of the initial confining pressure or the initial void ratio (or initial water content).

    • Analyses of soil strength and soil stability problems using s u are called total stress analyses (TSA).

20 TRESCA’S MODEL  The value of s depends on the magnitude of the initial confining
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ISSUES WITH AND USE OF THE TRESCA’S MODEL

  • ISSUES

  • USE

    • It is a yield criterion for solid bodies that has been adopted as a failure criterion for soils (a deformable body).

    • It is a limiting stress criterion.

    • It does not consider soil deformation. Soil deformation is important in real soils.

    • It is independent of the loading history of the soil. The strength of real soils is dependent on loading history.

    • Compression and expansion strength is the same. Real soils show different strengths in compression and in expansion

    • Short term (undrained condition) stability calculations and to interpret the undrained shear strength of fine-grained soils.

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KEY POINTS TRESCA’S FAILURE CRITERION

  • For a total stress analysis, which applies to fine-grained soils, the shear strength parameter is the undrained shear strength, s u .

  • Tresca failure criterion is used to interpret the undrained shear strength of fine grained soils

  • The undrained shear strength depends on the initial void ratio or initial water content or initial confining pressure. It is not a fundamental soil shear strength parameter.

  • Information on the deformation of the soil is not needed to interpret soil strength using Tresca failure criterion.

  • 23 TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION

The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of soil particles

  • Taylor (1948) used an energy method to derive a simple soil model.

  • He showed that the shear strength of soil is due to sliding friction

from shearing and the interlocking of soil

particles.

  • Unlike Coulomb failure criterion, Taylor failure criterion does not require the assumption of any physical mechanism of failure, such as a plane of sliding.

  • It can be applied at every stage of loading for soils that are homogeneous and deform under plane strain conditions similar to simple shear.

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TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION: FORMULATION

The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of soil particles

24 TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION: FORMULATION The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of

Equilibrium:

d     d    d

f

z

z

z

Simplification:

 

z

  

f

d

d  

z

Critical state:

 

d

d  

z

0.

24 TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION: FORMULATION The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of
24 TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION: FORMULATION The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of

Peak:

24 TAYLOR’S FAILURE CRITERION: FORMULATION The shear strength comes from sliding friction and the interlocking of
  • 25 ISSUES WITH AND USE OF THE TAYLOR’S MODEL

ISSUES

  • USE

  • Applies to two-dimensional stress systems.

    • An extension of Taylor failure criterion to account for three-dimensional stress is

presented in Chapter 11.

  • Neither Taylor nor Coulomb failure criterion explicitly considers the rotation of

the soil particles during shearing.

  • Gives a higher peak dilation angle than Coulomb failure criterion.

    • Long term stability calculations of homogeneous

soils.

  • Cannot be applied to soils that fail along a joint or an interface between two soils.

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DIFFERENCES AMONG THE THREE POPULAR FAILURE CRITERIA

Name

Failure criteria

Soil treated as

Best used for

Test data interpretation*

Coulomb

Failure occurs by

Rigid, frictional

Layered or fissured

Direct shear

impending, frictional

material

overconsolidated soils or a

sliding on a slip plane.

soil where a prefailure

plane exists

         

Mohr

Failure occurs by

Rigid, frictional

Long term (drained

Triaxial

Coulomb

impending, frictional

material

condition) strength of

sliding on the plane of

overconsolidated fine-

maximum principal effective stress obliquity.

grained and dense coarse- grained soils

         

Tresca

Failure occurs when one-

Homogeneous solid

Short term (undrained

Triaxial

half the maximum

condition) strength of fine-

principal stress

grained soils

difference is achieved.

         

* will discuss later

 
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SUMMARY OF EQUATIONS FOR THE THREE POPULAR FAILURE CRITERIA

    cs cs n )f tan ( Name  p  (n)f tan(cs

  
cs
cs
n
)f tan
(
Name
 p  (n)f tan(cs p )  (n)f tan p
Coulomb
Critical state
Peak

MohrCoulomb

Tresca

unsaturated, cemented soils: f C (n )f tano

C

co ct ccm

Inclination of the failure plane to the plane on which the major principal effective stress 
Inclination of the failure plane to the plane
on which the major principal effective stress
 
cs
45
o

cs
acts.
2
(
s
u cs
)
 
2
1
3
cs
1
sin
)
(
1
3
1
45 
sin 
cs
      
  
3
3
1
1
cs
(

)
3
cs
1
sin

cs
tan
2
 
45
 
 
cs
 
(

)
1
cs
1
sin

cs
2

           
p
p
1
3
1
3
sin 
 

p
p
p
p
p
(
)
sin
2
 tan
o
3
1


2 
)
2
C cot
+
Cemented soils: sin 
3
1
1
3
C  co  ct  ccm

p
o
p
2
+
=45
the major principal effective stress acts.
Inclination of the failure plane to the plane on which
   
 
o
 
s
u p
p
2
(
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RANGES OF FRICTION ANGLES AND DILATION ANGLES FOR SOILS

Ranges of Friction Angles for Soils (degrees)

 

Soil type

 p

 cs

 r

Gravel

3035

3550

 

Mixtures of gravel and sand with fine-grained

     

soils

2833

3040

Sand

2737*

3250

 

Silt or silty sand

2432

2735

 

Clays

1530

2030

515

*Higher values (32°37°) in the range are for sands with significant amount of feldspar (Bolton, 1986). Lower values (27°32°) in the range are for quartz sands.

Typical Ranges of Dilation Angles for Soils

Soil type

p

(degrees)

Dense sand

1015º

Loose sand

<10º

Normally consolidated clay

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TYPICAL VALUES OF S U FOR SATURATED FINE-GRAINED SOILS

 

Description

s u

(kPa(

s u (psf)

Very soft

< 10

<200

 

Soft

10-25

200 - 500

 

Medium stiff

25 50

500 - 1000

 

Stiff

50 100

1000 - 2000

 

Very stiff

100 200

2000 - 4000

 

Extremely stiff

> 200

> 4000

 
   
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Quiz 1

Which failure criterion (model) is best suited to analyze

the potential failure of the soil mass shown?

1.

Mohr-Coulomb

  • 2. Coulomb

30 Quiz 1 Which failure criterion (model) is best suited to analyze the potential failure of
  • 3. Tresca

  • 4. None of the above

Dense sand
Dense sand

Loose silty sand

Stiff overconsolidated clay

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Quiz 2

The critical state friction angle of a soil is 30 degrees.

If the normal effective stress imposed by a building is

100 kPa, the shear stress (kPa) to cause failure is most

nearly

1.

86.6

  • 2. 100

  • 3. 50

  • 4. 57.7

31 Quiz 2 The critical state friction angle of a soil is 30 degrees. If the
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32

Quiz 3

The critical state friction angle of a soil is 30 degrees.

The ratio of the major principal effective stress to the

minor principal effective stress to cause failure is most

nearly

1.

0.5

  • 2. 1

  • 3. 2

  • 4. 3

4. 3
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PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA

  • Region I. Impossible soil states. A soil cannot have soil states above the boundary

AEFB.

33 PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA  Region I. Impossible soil states. A soil cannot have
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34

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA

  • Region II. Impending instability (risky design).

    • Region AEFA is characteristic of dilating soils that show peak shear strength and are associated with the formation of shear bands. The shear bands consist of soils that have reached the critical state and are embedded within soil zones with high interlocking stresses due to particle rearrangement. These shear bands grow as the peak shear strength is mobilized and as the soil strain-softens subsequent to the critical state.

34 PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA  Region II. Impending instability (risky design).  Region AEFA
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PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA

  • Region III. Stable soil states (safe design).

    • One of your aims as a geotechnical engineer is to design geotechnical systems on the basis that if the failure state were to occur, the soil would not collapse suddenly but would continuously deform under constant load. This is called ductility. Soil states that are below the failure line or failure envelope AB would lead to safe design. Soil states on AB are failure (critical) states

35 PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF FAILURE CRITERIA  Region III. Stable soil states (safe design).  One
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KEY POINTS

  • There are several failure criteria for soils.

  • Each criterion has application to certain soil conditions.

  • The three popular failure criteria (Coulomb, Mohr- Coulomb and Tresca) assume that soil is a rigid-plastic material with no deformation prior to failure.

  • The Coulomb and Mohr- Coulomb failure criteria are applicable to estimate long term failure.

  • The Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion also assume that failure shear strength of soil in compression and extension is the same. In reality, the shear strength at failure in extension is less than in compression.

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KEY POINTS

  • Soil states above the peak shear strength boundary are impossible.

  • Soil states within the peak shear strength boundary and the failure line (critical state) are associ-ated with brittle, discontinuous soil responses and risky design.

  • Soil states below the failure line lead to ductile responses and are safe.

  • You should not rely on

p

in

geotechnical design, because the amount of dilation one measures in laboratory or field tests may not be mobilized by the soil under construction loads. You should use cs unless experience dictates otherwise.

  • A higher factor of safety is warranted if p rather than cs is used in design.

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KEY POINTS

  • The undrained shear strength, s u , applies only to fine-grained soils.

  • The undrained shear strength is not a fundamental soil parameter.

  • The undrained shear strength depends on the initial void ratio or initial confining pressure (consolidation pressure).