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Sixth International Conference on

Recent Advances in Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering and Soil Dynamics

August 1 6, 2016, IIT Roorkee Extension Centre, 20 Knowledge Park II, Greater Noida, India


Muttana S Balreddy
Research Scholar, IISc, Bangalore &
Asst. Professor, Dept. of Civil Engg,
Siddaganga Institute of Technology,
Tumakuru, Karnataka

S V Dinesh
Dept. of Civil Engg.,
Siddaganga Institute of Technology,
Tumakuru, Karnataka

T G Sitharam
Dept. of Civil Engg.,
Indian Institute of Science,

Dynamic deformation characteristics of soil namely shear modulus and damping are input parameters for the soil dynamic problems
such as ground response analysis, soil structure interaction problems, response of marine sediments and marine structures to wave
induced cyclic loading. In this paper, a series of laboratory undrained stress controlled cyclic triaxial shear tests were conducted on
reconstituted samples of sand-fines mixtures to evaluate the dynamic properties. Sand was procured from Cauvery river bed,
Karnataka and locally available low plasticity clay fines were used to prepare sand-fines mixtures. The results indicate that shear
modulus decreases with increase in fines content and damping ratio decrease with increase in plasticity index.

Engineers are concerned with the design and construction of
civil structures and are obliged to perform calculations which
demonstrate the safety and serviceability of new structures.
But before these calculations are performed, the mechanical
behaviour of engineering materials such as steel, concrete and
soil must be understood. The Earthquake induced dynamic
activities are the major destructors for the infrastructure such
as bridges, slopes and embankments. The response of soil
subjected to dynamic loads will be governed by the dynamic
properties of soils which are expressed in terms of shear
modulus and damping ratio. Many investigations based on
laboratory and field testing have revealed that the dynamic
properties namely, shear modulus and damping ratio are
influenced factors like soil type, plasticity index, cyclic strain
amplitude, relative density, frequency, confining pressure,
overconsolidation ratio and number of loading cycles (Hardin
and Drnevich.,1972, Iwasaki et al., 1978, Kokusho., 1980.,
Ishibashi & Zhang., 1993 and Vucetic and Dobry., 1991).
Empirical relationships between shear modulus and confining
pressure based on void ratio/relative density, confining
pressure and shear strain amplitude were proposed by many
researchers (Hardin and Drnevich., 1970, Seed and Idriss.,
1970, Seed et al., 1986, Silver and Park., 1975, Sitharam et al.,
2004, Sitharam et al., 2004,). The dynamic properties of clays
depends upon factors i.e., void ratio, confining pressure, grain

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size, overconsolidation, ageing, plasticity, strain rate, and

number of loading cycles that have significance influence
(Hardin and Richart., 1963, Iwasaki and Tatsuoka., 1977,
Kokusho et al ., 1982, Seed et al., 1986, Sun et al., 1988,
Vucetic and Dobry., 1991 and Wang and Kuwano., 1999).
Similarly, empirical relationships for the initial shear modulus
and dynamic properties of pure clays and sand-fines mixtures
have been proposed (Kokusho et al., 1982, Zen et al., 1987,
Vucetic and Dobry., 1991, Ishibashi and Zhang., 1993, Dinesh
et al., 2008, Yamada et al., 2008 a, b). Many researchers such
as (Hanumantharao and Ramana., 2008, Sitharam et al., 2011,
Dinesh et al., 2011 and Maheshwari et al., 2012) have studied
dynamic properties of sand-fines mixtures experimentally.
Significant reductions in the small-strain stiffness of sand with
addition of silt i.e., shear modulus decreases with increase in
silt content (Randolph et al., 1994). Small-strain stiffness at a
given relative density and confining pressure decreases
dramatically with the addition of small percentage of silt
(Salgado et al., 2000). There are limited number of studies on
dynamic properties of sand-fines mixtures. Therefore, there is
a need for further investigation of the dynamic properties of
sand-fines mixtures. In the present paper the results of
undrained cyclic triaxial tests on remolded sand-fines mixtures
have been analyzed to determine the shear modulus and
damping properties.


Materials used
For the present experimental investigation the materials used
are sand and clayey sand soil. Sand samples were collected
from Cauvery river bed, Karnataka state and clayey sand from
a local site near Tumakuru. Figure 1 shows the grain size
distribution curves for both the soils and curves for
liquefaction susceptible soils proposed by Tsuchida (1970). It
is observed that the Cauvery river sand lies within the
boundaries of most liquefiable soils. The sand is basically
angular in shape. The specific gravity (G) is 2.62, co-efficient
of curvature (Cc) is 0.9 and co-efficient of uniformity (Cu) is
2.4. The other engineering properties of sand and fines used
are mentioned in Table 1. From the above data according to IS
classification, the sand is classified as poorly graded sand (SP)
and the soil is classified as clayey sand (SC).

Sand (%)



Silt (%)


Clay (%)










Liquid Limit (%)


Plastic Limit (%)


Plasticity Index


IS classification



Sand-Fines Mixtures
In order to understand the influence of fines on dynamic
properties, fines were separated from the clayey sand and
mixed with Cauvery river sand to prepare the sand-fines
mixtures. The details of sand-fines mixtures prepared are
shown in Table 2. The fines fraction of size less than 0.075mm
was separated from clayey sand and used as fines in the
experimental program. These clay fines were mixed with the
Cauvery river sand (S1) in various proportions (S1:90 + F1:10
and S1:80 + F1:20). The index properties of sand-fines
mixtures are shown in Table 2. The grain size distribution
curves of sand-fines mixtures used in the present investigation
are shown in Fig. 3.

Fig.1. Grain size distribution curves of Cauvery river clean

sand (S1), Clay sand and liquefaction susceptible soils
(Tsuchida, 1970)
Table 1 Index Properties of Cauvery river sand and clayey

Specific Gravity (G)

river clean

Gravel (%)


Fig.3. Grain size distribution curves of sand-fines mixtures


Table 2 Index properties of S1 sand and sand-fines mixtures



























Paper No. 54






Sample preparation
Triaxial specimens of 50 mm diameter and height 100 mm
were prepared by dry deposition method. The required mass of
oven dried Cauvery river sand (S1) and clay fines
corresponding to gross void ratio of 0.794, 0.755 and 0.717
were weighed separately and both mixtures were divided into
ten equal parts. The sand and clay fines were mixed uniformly
and each part was gently poured into the mould in dry state
with zero fall height so that a loose soil sample is formed. It
was then gently tamped by a wooden mallet giving uniform
blows on all the four sides, so that the required relative density
is achieved. In this way, the sample was prepared by filling the
mould in ten layers of equal height. Then the sample was
subjected to small vacuum and carbon-dioxide gas was passed
for one hour. After this, de-aired distilled water was drained
through soil sample at a very small head of 5 kPa. The
specimens were saturated by applying a back pressure of
100kPa and saturation time was maintained till the
Skemptons pore pressure coefficient B value exceeds
0.96.Required cell pressure (100kPa) was applied and
specimens were isotropically consolidated till the end of
Casagrandes primary consolidation. In this way, all the
samples were prepared at gross void ratio of 0.794, 0.755 and
0.717 before consolidation and after consolidation the void
ratio of the samples were around 0.752, 0.719 and 0.670.




















Cyclic Stress Ratio


Evaluation of dynamic properties

For the cyclic loading, sinusoidal harmonic loading was
applied at a frequency of 0.1 Hz under stress controlled
technique. The tests were carried out at different stress
amplitude and void ratios. The slope of secant line connecting
the extreme points on the hysteresis loop is the dynamic
youngs modulus, E, which is given by





(1996) and ASTM D 3999-91 (2003) codes were followed for

conducting tests. The loading system consists of a submersible
load cell and the deformation was measured by LVDT. Pore
water pressure and cell pressures were recorded with pressure
sensors. The data was acquired by a computer controlled data
acquisition system (CCDAS). 128 data points were captured in
each loading cycle. The cyclic stress, axial strain, pore water
pressure and confining pressures are the test parameters and
were recorded by CCDAS. Tests were continued till excess
pore water pressure is equal to confining pressure or the
double amplitude axial strain is in excess of 5%.

Table 2 Cyclic triaxial test program on sand and sand-fines

mixtures at 100kPa confining pressure and 0.1Hz frequency


E d /




= Deviator stress,

= Shear strain


= Axial strain

and = Poissons ratio that may be taken as 0.5 for saturated

undrained specimens (Rollins et al., 1998). The damping ratio
(h), is a measure of dissipated energy versus elastic energy,
and may be computed from the equation

4 AT


where AL= Area enclosed by hysteresis loop, AT= Area

enclosed by the shaded triangle as shown in the Fig. 4

Stress controlled tests

In order to simulate the stress conditions prevailing during
earthquakes, undrained stress controlled, constant amplitude
cyclic loading tests were performed on isotropically
consolidated samples at a frequency of 0.1 Hz. ASTM D 5311

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Fig.4. Hysteresis Stress-Strain for cyclic Loading (Sitharam et

al., 2004)


Effect of Relative density on shear modulus and damping
Figure 5 shows the shear modulus versus single amplitude
shear strain for the clean sand for relative densities varying
from 50% to 90% at 100kPa confining pressure. The shear
modulus decreases with increase in magnitude of shear strain.
Since, the cyclic triaxial test equipment is a large strain facility
the shear modulus corresponding to maximum strain of
0.045% could be recorded and at this strain the shear modulus
value is 16 to 18 kN/m2. In the lower strain ranges the shear
modulus increase with increase in relative density. However
the cyclic stress amplitude will vary from 0.15 to 0.23, stress
amplitude will affect the modulus value. Therefore it would be
better to consider the effect of relative density at constant
stress amplitude.
Figure 6 shows the shear modulus versus single amplitude
shear strain at constant stress amplitude (CSR=0.20) for
relative densities of 50% and 60%. The shear modulus is strain
dependent and decreases with increase in shear strain. It is
observed that both the curves overlap at all strain levels which
indicate shear modulus is independent of relative density at
constant stress amplitude.

Fig. 6. Shear modulus versus single amplitude axial strain for

various relative densities at constant stress amplitude
Figure 7 shows the plot of damping ratio versus single
amplitude axial strain. It is observed that the damping ratio is
increasing with increase in the shear strain. Damping ratio
decreases with increase of relative density.

Fig.7. Damping ratio versus single amplitude shear strain for

various relative densities
Effect of Fines on shear modulus and damping ratio

Fig. 5. Shear modulus versus single amplitude axial strain at

varying relative densities

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In the present work, the effect of fines content on the dynamic

properties is examined. Figure 8 shows the effect of fines on
shear modulus of soil samples containing Cauvery river sand
with different percentage of F1 fines (10% and 20%) at a
confining pressure of 100 kPa and 0.1 Hz frequency. Addition
of clay fines will partially fill the voids of the sand matrix and
in the presence of water lubricate the contact surfaces and
facilitate the sliding of sand particles. Therefore, the shear
modulus decreases with addition of clay fines. From the
literature also it is evident that the modulus deceases till
limiting void ratio. Boulanger and Idriss., 2004 have reported
that sand like behavior is observed; showing a decrease in
liquefaction resistance till PI of the mixtures is equal to 7. The
trends of the present results are in agreement with the
published results. However, the reduction in shear modulus
with 10% and 20% fines is nearly same.

Figure 9 shows the plot of damping ratio versus shear strain

for samples containing F1 fines for 0% to 20% fines. The
results show that damping increases with increase in strain
amplitude. Cauvery river sand has higher damping ratio at all
strain levels when compared with sand-fines mixtures.
Damping ratio of sand-fines mixture is low and it decreases
with increase in PI value. Addition of fines decreases damping

modulus for non-plastic to low plastic (PI 6) sand-fines

mixtures is same and independent of fines content.

The damping ratio increases with increase in the shear

strain amplitude and with the addition of fines damping
ratio of sand-fines mixtures decreases over a wide range
strain. Damping ratio decreases with increase in PI.

The first two authors thank AICTE for funding the research
project tilted Liquefaction potential of Sand-clay Mixtures
under RPS scheme No.:20/AICTE/RIFD/RPS(POLICYIII)31/2012-13.

1. ASTM D 5311(1996). Standard test methods for load
controlled cyclic triaxial strength of soil, American
Society for Testing and Materials, USA
Fig.8. Shear modulus versus single amplitude axial strain for
sand-fines mixtures at constant relative density

2. ASTM Standard D 3999-91 (2003), Test Method for the

Determination of the Modulus and Damping properties of
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Fig.9. Damping ratio versus shear strain for sand-fines

mixtures of different plasticity index

A laboratory experimental programme involving a series of
stress controlled undrained cyclic triaxial tests were carried
out on sand-fines mixture to evaluate the influence of fines
content on dynamic properties. Based on the analysis of the
experimental results the following concluding remarks are
1. The shear modulus is strain dependent and decreases with
increase in shear strain. At low strain levels shear
modulus of sand is independent of relative density.

For sand-fines mixtures with PI 6, the shear modulus

decrease with the addition of fines. The reduction in shear

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