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Annals of Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW

Land Reclamation No 45 (2), 2013: 183192

(Ann. Warsaw Univ. of Life Sci. SGGW, Land Reclam. 45 (2), 2013)

Influence of the rotation of principal stress directions on undrained

shear strength
Department of Geotechnical Engineering, Warsaw University of Life Sciences SGGW

Abstract: Influence of the rotation of principal of rotation of principal stress directions

stress directions on undrained shear strength. The during the soil structure failure.
paper presents the results of research on natural
cohesive soil carried out in the Hollow Cylinder
The simplification generally is adopt-
Apparatus (HCA). The main goal of this study ed that along the potential slip surface
was to determine the values of undrained shear the same undrained shear strength is mo-
strength at different angle of the rotation of prin- bilized. In reality it does not reflect the
cipal stress directions. The research were carried facts. During determination of the geo-
out with anisotropic consolidation and shearing
technical parameters, it should be aware
in undrained conditions (CAU) on cohesive soil
with overconsolidation ratio (OCR) equals 4 and that subsoil characterizes anisotropic
plasticity index (Ip) about 77%. The results of mechanical properties. The use of und-
laboratory tests allow to assess the influence of rained shear strength values determined
the rotation of principal stress directions on un- at a specific angle of rotation of principal
drained shear strength. stress directions may lead to overesti-
Key words: undrained shear strength, Hollow Cyl- mation or underestimation of undrained
inder Apparatus, cohesive soils, rotation of princi- shear strength, and thus may lead to fail-
pal stress directions ure.
One way to determine the change
in the undrained shear strength due to
INTRODUCTION changes in the load surface is numerical
The rotation of principal stress directions analysis (Neher et al. 2002, Wrzesiski
is a common phenomenon that occurs in and Lechowicz 2012) with the use of fi-
the subsoil as a result of the construc- nite element method. The practical sig-
tion of structures such as embankments, nificance of anisotropy is illustrated in
excavations, tunnels or pad foundations. Figure 1 by considering an embankment
This occurs when the growth of principal constructed on soft subsoil (Jardine and
stress directions 1, 2, 3 do not co- Menkiti 1999).
incide with the directions of the principal Although, the importance of the me-
stresses incurred during consolidation chanical anisotropy of subsoils has long
1, 2, 3 (Hight et al. 1983). The effect been recognized in geotechnical en-
of this phenomenon in the subsoil is the gineering (Bjerrum 1973, Jardine and
development of zones with different val- Smith 1991, Lin and Penumadu 2005,
ues of undrained shear strength, which Nishimura et al. 2007, Kiziewicz and Le-
are assigned different values of the angle chowicz 2013), influence of the rotation
184 G. Wrzesiski, Z. Lechowicz

FIGURE 1. Contours of particular values of the rotation of principal stress directions under an embank-
ment on soft clay from non-linear analysis (Jardine and Menkiti 1999)

of principal stress directions on shear Most of the existing empirical for-

strength is not sufficiently recognized. mulas describing the undrained shear
The main reason is the lack of clearly de- strength distribution take into account
fined methods that take into account the three zones in subsoil (TC, DSS, TE).
change in the strength due to the change Based on these zones Ladd (1985) pro-
in the angle . Solution to this problem posed equation describing the relation-
would be to use the right combination of ship between the normalized undrained
undrained shear strength values obtained shear strength and overconsolidation
from the tests for different zones of the ratio:
slip surface i.e. triaxial compression W fu
(TC), direct simple shear test (DSS), tri- S (OCR) m
axial extension (TE) Figure 2. V v

FIGURE 2. Subsoil failure mechanisms in different zones of potential failure surface under embank-
ment (Zdravkovi et al. 2002)
Influence of the rotation of principal stress directions... 185

where: stress (r) and torsional shear stress (z).

S normalized undrained shear strength In a general case, the stresses will not be
for normally consolidated soil, uniform across the wall and to consider
v vertical effective stress, the hollow cylinder specimen as an ele-
OCR overconsolidation ratio, ment it is necessary to work in terms of
m empirical coefficient expressing the average stresses: W z , V z , V r , V .
slope of correlation between log (fu/v) The Hollow Cylinder Apparatus
and log (OCR). through the applied torsion mechanism
One of the laboratory devices that al- maintains constant values of the angle of
lows to determine the undrained shear the rotation of principal stress directions
strength at the specific value of the angle and the intermediate principal stress
of rotation of principal stress directions is parameter b according to the equation:
the Hollow Cylinder Apparatus (HCA). V2  V3
In HCA soil samples in the shape of b
a hollow cylinder are tested. Forces and V1  V 3
pressures applied to the hollow cylindri- where:
cal sample induced in its elements are 1 major principal stress,
illustrated in Figure 3. The sample is ex- 2 intermediate principal stress,
posed to axial load (F) and torque (MT) as 3 minor principal stress.
well as internal pressure (pi) and external
pressure (po). These four stress compo- Engineering works cause the ground
nents induce in the sample vertical stress to experience stress conditions where
(z), circumferential stress (), radial can vary continously between 0 and 90
while parameter b can range between 0

FIGURE 3. Diagram of the soil sample tested in the Hollow Cylinder Apparatus (
186 G. Wrzesiski, Z. Lechowicz

and 1. The Hollow Cylinder Apparatus undrained conditions (CAU) on cohe-

configuration allows such conditions to sive soil with overconsolidation ratio
be studied. (OCR) equals 4 and plasticity index (Ip)
The Hollow Cylinder Apparatus is about 77%. The soil samples were taken
a definite advantage over the traditional from the excavation of Copernicus Sci-
triaxial apparatus used to determine the ence Centre station of the II underground
strength parameters of soil. The ability to line in Warsaw. The research of physical
vary continuously between 0 and 90, properties has shown that tested soil is
and b between 0 and 1, allowed a wide firm clay. Index properties of tested soil
range of engineering problems to be are presented in Table 1.
considered that could not be simulated in
TABLE 1. Index properties of tested soil
Type Overcon- Effective
Water Liquid Plastic Plasticity Liquidity
of soil solidation vertical
content limit limit index index
EN ISO ratio stress
wn [%] wL [%] wp [%] Ip [%] IL [-]
14688-1 OCR [-] v [kPa]
Cl 4 310 30.4 112.9 35.3 77.6 0.06

triaxial or plain strain apparatus. More- Tests were performed on the soil sam-
over, the only possibility of dependence ples in the Hollow Cylinder Apparatus.
of undrained shear strength on the angle Particular samples were tested at a dif-
of the rotation of principal stress direc- ferent angle of the rotation of principal
tions in the triaxial apparatus is to prepare stress directions : 0, 30, 45, 60 and
the samples that have been cut at an an- 90. The studies were performed in the
gle to the direction of the grain and soil following stages: flushing, saturation,
particles. However, in this case, it would consolidation, change of intermediate
be impossible to consolidate the sample principal stress parameter b, change of
in conditions equivalent to in situ ones, the angle between the major principal
because the axis of consolidation in situ stress direction and the vertical one and
does not coincide with the directions con- finally shearing in undrained conditions.
trolled in triaxial apparatus. Moreover, The study started from the flushing
the slope of the anisotropic properties of i.e. removed the air and gases having the
the sample relative to the directions of de- largest size from the sample and hoses.
formation controlled in triaxial apparatus The saturation using back pressure meth-
causes that on rigid elements are gener- od was the next stage. This stage lasted
ated bending moments, which are neither until the value of the Skemptons para-
controlled nor measurable (Molenkamp meter B was more than 0.95 (Lipiski
1998, Nishimura 2005). and Wdowska 2010). After that the ani-
sotropic consolidation was performed.
The value of K0 during consolidation
MATERIAL AND METHODS process was equal to 1.06, so the effec-
The research were carried out with ani- tive horizontal stress h was equal to
sotropic consolidation and shearing in 329 kPa, and the effective vertical stress
Influence of the rotation of principal stress directions... 187

v was equal to 310 kPa. After dissi- deviator stress versus angle of the ro-
pation of excess pore water pressure it tation of principal stress directions,
started to change the intermediate prin- deviator stress versus axial strain,
cipal stress parameter b to value equals principal effective stress ratio versus
0.5, because this value of this parameter axial strain,
allows to keep plane strain conditions pore pressure change versus axial
(Zdravkovi and Jardine 2001). The next strain,
step was to change the angle of the rota- effective stress paths in relation to the
tion of principal stress directions . For axes qp.
particular samples the values of the angle In order to determine the undrained
of rotation of principal stress directions shear strength three criteria of the sam-
were changed to 0, 30, 45, 60 or 90. ple failure were used (Figs. 58):
Then followed the process of shearing maximum deviator stress, q,
the sample, which was carried out at the maximum effective principal stress
stress path involving the increase in de- ratio, 1/3,
viator stress (q) and constant value of ef- maximum increase in pore water
fective mean stress (p). During shearing pressure, u.
constant values of the intermediate prin- The research allowed to determine
cipal stress parameter b and the angle of the values of undrained shear strength
the rotation of principal stress directions and the normalized values of undrained
were kept. shear strength as well as the correspond-
ing axial strains based on the three crite-
ria of the sample failure (Table 2).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION The test results in the Hollow Cyl-
Based on the research performed in the inder Apparatus show that the maxi-
Hollow Cylinder Apparatus basic char- mum values of the effective principal
acteristics were as follows (Figs. 48): stress ratio in each test were near the

FIGURE 4. Deviator stress versus angle of the rotation of principal stress directions
188 G. Wrzesiski, Z. Lechowicz

FIGURE 5. Deviator
stress versus axial strain

FIGURE 6. Principal ef-

fective stress ratio versus
axial strain

FIGURE 7. Pore pressure

change versus axial strain
Influence of the rotation of principal stress directions... 189

FIGURE 8. Effective stress paths in relation to the axes qp

TABLE 2. The results of HCA tests

Angle Normalized
of rotation Undrained shear undrained shear Axial strain
of principal Failure criterion strength strength at failure
stress directions fu [kPa] fu/vo [-] [%]
[] vo = 310 kPa
Max q 228.5 0.74 2.2
0 Max 1/3 226.1 0.73 1.9
Max u 223.3 0.72 1.3
Max q 201.8 0.65 3.1
30 Max 1/3 195.3 0.63 1.8
Max u 189.8 0.61 1.2
Max q 178.5 0.58 3.5
45 Max 1/3 177.4 0.57 3.2
Max u 169.9 0.55 1.8
Max q 172.4 0.56 4.3
60 Max 1/3 170.2 0.55 3.5
Max u 145.4 0.47 1.5
Max q 160.1 0.52 5.4
90 Max 1/3 151.2 0.49 3.4
Max u 118.1 0.38 1.5

maximum values of the deviator stress, than the maximum deviator stress. Axial
and the maximum values of pore pres- strains corresponding to the maximum
sure change followed much earlier. Dur- values of particular failure criteria are in
ing each test the maximum effective the range 1.25.4%, so they can be con-
principal stress ratio occurred earlier sidered as safe. Head (1986) proved that
190 G. Wrzesiski, Z. Lechowicz

20% is the maximum value of the axial For angles above 45 the decrease in un-
strain beyond which the reliability of the drained shear strength is higher than for
results decreases. other criteria (Fig. 9).
The highest values of undrained Assuming the maximum deviator
shear strength were obtained by taking stress as a failure criterion, the normal-
as a failure criterion maximum devia- ized undrained shear strength is about
tor stress, and the lowest ones were ob- 22% less for the test at angle = 45 and
tained assuming maximum pore pressure about 30% less at angle = 90 than for
change as a failure criterion. The differ- the test at angle = 0. Based on the per-
ence in determined values of undrained formed tests it can be seen that the high-
shear strength is the smallest at = 0 er decrease in undrained shear strength
and is equal to 5.2 kPa, while at = 90 occurs for angles between 0 and 45,
is the largest and is equal to 42 kPa. while for angles above 45 the decrease
Results of the research show that in undrained shear strength is less.
the values of the normalized undrained The values of undrained shear strength
shear strength of cohesive soil with OCR at various angles of the rotation of prin-
equals 4 and Ip about 77% decrease with cipal stress directions obtained from tests
increasing the angle of the rotation of in HCA allow to determine the values
principal stress directions. Taking as of empirical coefficients used in Ladds
a failure criterion maximum deviator equation. For the angle = 0 (TC) value
stress and maximum principal effective of parameter S is equal to 0.30 and par-
stress ratio the decrease in normalized ameter m is equal to 0.65 while for the
undrained shear strength is similar. Us- angle = 45 (DSS) value of S is equal to
ing as a failure criterion the maximum 0.25 and m is equal to 0.61. For the angle
pore pressure change the decrease in un- = 90 (TE) value of parameter S is
drained shear strength is similar to other equal to 0.26 and parameter m is equal
criteria for angle between 0 and 45. to 0.50.

FIGURE 9. Change in normalized undrained shear strength depending on the angle of the rotation of
principal stress directions
Influence of the rotation of principal stress directions... 191

CONCLUSIONS HEAD K.H. 1986: Manual of soil laboratory

testing. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
The problem of the rotation of principal HIGHT D.W., GENS A., SYMES M.J. 1983:
stress directions, although very impor- The development of a new hollow cylin-
der apparatus for investigating the effects
tant, is most often left out during deter- of principal stress rotation in soils. Go-
mination of the undrained shear strength technique 33 (4): 335383.
of subsoil. The influence of the rotation JARDINE R.J., MENKITI C.O. 1999: The
of principal stress directions on strength undrained anisotropy of K0 consolidated
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ture, but it is not still clearly shown the for Transportation Infrastructure. Balke-
way how to take into account its influ- ma, Rotterdam: 11011108.
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solidation ratio (OCR) equals 4 and plas- velopment, Yokosuka: 197202.
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ZDRAVKOVI L., POTTS D.M., HIGHT MS. received in December 2013
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Authors address:
Wydzia Budownictwa i Inynierii rodowiska
Streszczenie: Wpyw zmiany kierunkw napre SGGW
gwnych na wytrzymao na cinanie bez od- Katedra Geoinynierii
pywu. W artykule przedstawiono wyniki bada ul. Nowoursynowska 159, 02-776 Warszawa
przeprowadzonych w cylindrycznym aparacie Poland
skrtnym HCA (Hollow Cylinder Apparatus) na e-mail:
prbkach gruntu spoistego o nienaruszonej struk-