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Shear strength is a term used in soil mechanics to describe the magnitude of
the shear stress that a soil can sustain. The shear resistance of soil is a result
of friction and interlocking of particles, and possibly cementation or bonding
at particle contacts. Due to interlocking, particulate material may expand or
contract in volume as it is subject to shear strains. If soil expands its volume,
the density of particles will decrease and the strength will decrease; in this
case, the peak strength would be followed by a reduction of shear stress. The
stress-strain relationship levels off when the material stops expanding or
contracting, and when inter-particle bonds are broken. The theoretical state
at which the shear stress and density remain constant while the shear strain
increases may be called the critical state, steady state, or residual strength.
In many engineering problems such as design of foundation, retaining walls,
slab bridges, pipes, sheet piling, the value of the angle of internal friction
and cohesion of the soil involved are required for the design. Direct shear
test is used to predict these parameters quickly. The laboratory report cover
the laboratory procedures for determining these values for cohesionless



To determine the shear strength of a soil specimen by direct shear test, hence find
the angle of internal friction (Ø) and cohesion of the soil (c).



Shear strength of a soil is its maximum resistance to shearing stresses. The shear
strength is expressed as

Where c’ = effective cohesion,

= effective stress,

= effective angle of shearing

The shear tests can be conducted under three different drainage conditions. The
direct shear test is generally conducted on sandy soils as a consolidated drained

Fix the upper part of the box to the lower part using the locking screws. Loading pad Loading frame Loading yoke Proving ring. Place the grid plate in the shear box keeping the serrations of the grid at right angles to the direction of shear.5 PROCEDURES 2. Dial gauges. 6mm thick. Adjust all the dial gauges to read zero. Bring the upper half of the box in contact with the proving ring. accuracy 0. Check the contact by giving a slight movement.01mm.1. Mount the loading yoke on the ball placed on the loading pad. 14. Place the porous stone over the grid plate. 11. 2 Nos. Note the reading of the vertical displacement dial gauge. Remove the spacing screws. 10. perforated. Using the spacing screws. 15. 13. When the soil in the top half of the shear box is filled up to 10 to 15mm depth.2mm/minute. Allow the sample to consolidate under the applied normal stress. Apply the horizontal shear load at a constant rate of strain of 0. level the soil surface. Attach the base plate to the lower part.4 EQUIPMENTS              Shear box. Remove the locking screws. Place the soil specimen in the box. divided into two halves by a horizontal plane. 3. Tamp it directly in the shear box at the required density. and fitted with locking and spacing screws Box container to hold the shear box Base plate having cross grooves on its top surface Grid plates. raise the upper part slightly above the lower part such that the gap is slightly larger than the maximum particle size. Mount the dial gauge on the loading yoke to record the vertical displacement and another dial gauge on the container to record the horizontal displacement. . The proving ring should also read zero. 8. 12. Porous stones. 2 Nos. Spatula Vibrator to compact the sand 1. Static or dynamic compaction devices. Place the weights on the loading yoke to apply a normal stress of 50kN/cm 2. capacity 2kN. 5. 2 Nos.

Take the first few readings at closer intervals. 17.16. Record the reading of the proving ring. the vertical displacement dial gauge and the horizontal displacement dial gauge at regular time intervals. Continue the test till the specimen fails Repeat the test on identical specimens under the normal stresses of 100 and 200 kN/cm2 Fig: Direct Shear Test Apparatus .