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Basic concept

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
antiparticle 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. The shear strength of soil depends on the effective stress, the drainage
conditions, the density of the particles, the rate of strain, and the direction of the strain. For
undrained , constant volume shearing, the Tresca theory may be used to predict the shear
strength, but for drained conditions, the MohrCoulomb theory may be used. Two important
theories of soil shear are the critical state theory and the steady state theory. There are key
differences between the critical state condition and the steady state condition and the resulting
theory corresponding to each of these conditions
Shear strength is the magnitude of shear stress a soil can sustain. It is the measure of the soil
resistance to deformation by continuous displacement of its individual soil particles. The aim
of this experiment is to examine how soil strength can be measured and how it varies with
changes in effective stress and density.
In this report the soil strength will be measure by two different ways:

Shear box
Figure 1 demonstrates the shear box that will be used to measure the strength of the soil by
shearing the silica sand sample. Data is from the shear box is recorded by using a computer
connected to it. Tests are carried out for three loose samples of different loads applied, and
another test is done on a dense sample to examine effect of how changing the density affects
the shear strength.

Angle of Repose
the angle of repose is the steepest angle at which a sloping surface formed from a loose
material is stable. Further through the report, a detailed explanation of the procedures used to
carry out the direct shear test as well as the method of measuring the angle of repose. Results
obtained will be analysed and discussed to examine how and why the soil behaves in shear
under different conditions. Also, a comparison between the measured angles of friction and
the angle of repose will be done to determine whether they match or not.

Further through the report, a detailed explanation of the procedures used to carry out the
direct shear test as well as the method of measuring the angle of repose. Results obtained will
be analysed and discussed to examine how and why the soil behaves in shear under different
conditions. Also, a comparison between the measured angles of friction and the angle of
repose will be done to determine whether they match or not.

Conclusion
The objective of this experiment is to determine the shear strength characteristics of soil
using direct shear box apparatus. Direct shear test is useful when cohesion less sand is to be
tested. In this test the failure plane is forced to occur at a predetermined location where both
normal and shear stresses are acting the sample is placed in a closed shear box, fixed at the
base with the top free to translate under a horizontal force. The two portions of the box are
spaced by using spacing screws to reduce the friction. The space should be at least as large as
the largest sand particle. The box is then placed in the direct shear apparatus, and increasing
horizontal load is applied with constant corresponding vertical load, and the horizontal
deformation shall be recorded by using the dial gage. For each test shear stress-strain diagram
is drawn in order to find out the ultimate stress, then the shear failure envelope is drawn by
relating each ultimate shear stress to the normal stress corresponding to it in at least three
tests.
The different weight of load will affect the compactness of soil. In experiment, different loads
have been imposed to get the different compactness of sand. The bigger weight will give
more compactness of soil so that soil will get high shear strength.
The direct shear test can be used to measure the effective stress parameters of any type of soil
and sand as long as the pore pressure induced by the normal force and the shear force can
dissipate with time. For the experiment we use the clean sands as a sample, so there is no
problem as the pore pressure dissipates readily. However, in the case of highly plastic clays, it
is merely necessary to have a suitable strain rate so that the pore pressure can dissipate with
time.
Direct shear tests can be performed under several conditions. The sample is normally
saturated before the test is run. The test can be run at the in-situ moisture content. Before we
find the value of cohesion and friction angle, we must plot the graph from the data that we get
from the experiment. The results of the tests on each specimen are plotted on a graph with the
peak (or residual) stress on the x-axis and the confining stress on the y-axis. The y-intercept
of the curve which fits the test results is the cohesion, and the slope of the line or curve is the
friction angle.

The data that was given from the acquisition system were accurate as the values were given
to nine decimal places. However, the inaccuracy may occur in assembling the shear box and
fitting it in place. The plates that were placed inside the shear box may not have been cleaned
after the previous test was done. Also, the surface of the soil in the shear box may have not
been horizontal due to some excess soil on top. All these inaccuracies are not really that
important as they will not affect the results in a serious way
Before experiment was run some precaution must be taken such as, before starting the test,
the upper half of the box should be brought in contact of the proving ring assembly. Before
subjecting the specimen to shear, the fixing pins should be taken out. The rate of strain should
be constant throughout the test.