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GEOTECHNICAL

MANUAL
FOR
SLOPES

GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING OFFICE


Civil Engineering Department
The Government of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region
GEOTECHNICAL
MANUAL
FOR
SLOPES

GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEERING OFFICE


Civil Engineering Department
The Government of the Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region
2

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region


First published, November 1979
Reprinted with minor corrections, November 1981
Second Edition, May 1984
First reprint, June 1991
Second reprint, March 1994
Third reprint, June 1997
Fourth reprint, February 2000

Prepared by:

Geotechnical Engineering Office,


Civil Engineering Department,
Civil Engineering Building,
101 Princess Margaret Road,
Homantin, Kowloon,
Hong Kong.

This publication is available from:

Government Publications Centre,


Ground Floor, Low Block,
Queensway Government Offices,
66 Queensway,
Hong Kong.

Overseas orders should be placed with:

Publications Sales Section,


Information Services Department,
Room 402, 4th Floor, Murray Building,
Garden Road, Central,
Hong Kong.

Price in Hong Kong: HK$70


Price overseas: US$14.5 (including surface postage)

An additional bank charge of HK$50 or US$6.50 is required per cheque made in currencies
other than Hong Kong dollars.

Cheques, bank drafts or money orders must be made payable to


The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
12

Page
No.

TABLES 171
LIST OF TABLES 173
TABLES 175

FIGURES 201
LIST OF FIGURES 203
FIGURES 207

PLATES 273
LIST OF PLATES 275
PLATES 279

ADDENDUM 297
47

excessive.

Filter paper side drains should not be used in triaxial tests, because
they can lead to errors in strength measurement and are generally unnecessary
for the soils of Hong Kong. Membrane corrections must be made in the usual
way.

Saturation by back pressure can only be obtained by applying a small


effective stress to the specimen. Specimens that start with a very low degree
of saturation can be difficult to saturate. In these cases, saturation can
be carried out by first percolating deaired water under a small hydraulic
gradient through the specimen until air stops bubbling from it. A back
pressure can then be applied to complete the saturation.

The strain rate for drained tests with pore pressure monitoring should
be such that the pore water pressure fluctuation is negligible, and in any case
the fluctuation should be no greater than 5% of the effective confining pressure.
For undrained tests, the rate should be selected so as to allow complete
equalisation of pore water pressure throughout the specimen. It is desirable
that the strain rate does not exceed 2% per hour.

For undrained tests, failure can be defined either as the maximum deviator
stress or as the maximum obliquity (1'/3'). For fully-drained tests, these
two criteria coincide.

3.8.2 Interpretation of Results


For ease of interpretation, it is recommended that the results of CU
triaxial tests are plotted as p'-q stress paths (Figure 3.1), where
p'=(1'+3')/2 and q = (1 - 3)/2 (Lambe & Whitman, 1969). The shape of
a stress path indicates the tendency for a specimen to compress or dilate during
shear. The p'-q plots also enable the most sensible strength envelope to be
drawn as the boundary to a family of stress paths.

For CD tests, the p'-q stress paths are of no significance. Actual volume
changes during drained tests should be measured throughout the shear process.

Strength envelopes determined from triaxial tests will often not be


linear, and they will sometimes exhibit an apparent break-point in the region
of a definite critical pressure. This is because the stress-strain
behaviour of the material is dependent upon the confining pressure under which
it is sheared. Specimens that are tested at low confining pressures in the
triaxial test tend to dilate during shearing. At high confining pressures,
specimens tend to compress. These different stress-strain behaviours are
indicated clearly by the different shapes of the respective stress paths
(Figure 3.1). In Hong Kong soils, the critical pressure can be considered to
be analogous to the maximum past pressure for a sediment.

It is important to remember that, where a strength envelope is not linear,


the portion of the envelope used for design purposes must be that for the correct
design stress range.

In the interpretation of triaxial test data, especially in the low stress


range, the following sources of error should be borne in mind :