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Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference

December 22-24,2013, Roorkee



Bh. Koti Reddy, Research scholar, Dept. of civil engg, Jadavpur University,Kolkata
R. B. Sahu, Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
S. Ghosh, Professor, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

ABSTRACT: Organic soils which are more compressible than mineral soils exist in Kolkata region at various
depths with varying percentage of organic contents. Disturbed samples were collected from Howrah maidan and
Jadavpur in Kolkata. These soils have in-situ water contents 65 90 % and organic content up to 30 %. An attempt
has been made to investigate effect of strain rate on consolidation behavior of organic soil by conducting constant
rate of strain (CRS) tests at strain rates 0.01, 0.04, 0.10 and 1.0 %/minute along with conventional IL tests for
comparison. The results indicate that higher strain rate yield higher effective stress and also generate higher pore
water pressure. Further, it is observed that CRS and IL test results may yield comparable results if the strain rates
are selected judiciously depending on the type of soil. Increase in organic content suggests selection of slower
strain rates to obtain comparable results with IL test. The study also revealed that under a given effective stress,
coefficient of consolidation, cv, as well as vertical permeability, kv, increase with the increase in strain rate.

Organic soils are generally referred as problematic Normal Kolkata Deposit. Their study revealed that
soil on account of its poor strength and stiffness the consolidation behavior of the organic soil
characteristics and pose significant problems to mainly depends on percentage of organic content
design engineers. Generally organic soils have high and is comparable to that of soft soils. Santagata et
void ratio, high water content, high plasticity and al. [4] investigated one dimensional compression
more compressibility when compared to mineral or behavior of soil with high OC (4060 %) by
inorganic soils [1]. Dastidar and Ghosh [2] conducting IL and CRS tests and demonstrated
presented a general and broad view with respect to highly variable properties with the variation in OC.
stratification and engineering properties of Normal The investigation indicated that relatively small
Kolkata Deposit for a large number of sites in difference in the OC translate into significant
Kolkata region. The study found that there is a thin changes in the engineering properties of a given
fibrous soft and highly compressible peat (organic) soil. Mesri et al. [5] studied compression behavior
layer at mean sea level. Benarjee and Sen [3] of different types of soils including highly organic
studied the depositional history of Bengal basin soils, like, peat.
and its impact on geotechnical properties. Their The natural viscosity of organic clayey soils causes
study also revealed occurrence of organic layers at the strain rate dependency and has strong influence
different depths in the deposit. Organic soils exist on the consolidation behavior of such soils.
in Kolkata region at various depths and the Therefore strain rate effect has a strong impact on
percentage of organic content also widely varies the mobilized stress-strain characteristics and also
from one location to other. Generally first organic the strength of the soil [6]. Therefore, study of the
layer follows the top desiccated brown silty clay/ strain rate effect on consolidation behavior is
clayey silt layer and extends from few centimeters useful in designing geotechnical projects. Studies
to 1.5 m in the form of horizontal bands [2]. Koti made by Crawford [7] identified the vast
Reddy et al. [1] presented one dimensional differences in field rate of settlements and rates
consolidation behavior of the organic soils with occurring in conventional IL test. These
varying organic content (OC) (14 -28 %) found in observations thrown light on constant rate of strain

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Bh. Koti Reddy, R.B. Sahu, S. Ghosh

(CRS) consolidation test, but initially it was used to know at which strain rate the parameters from
for rapid determination of pre-consolidation these tests are comparable.
pressure and also to draw compression curves (e- MATERIAL
log v). Smith and wahls [8] and Wissa et al. [9] The organic soil used in this study was collected
published analytical solutions to interpret effective from two locations, one in Jadavpur, where a
stress, v, coefficient of consolidation, cv, and subway below the railway track was under
vertical permeability, kv. Lee [10, 11] tried to construction and the other was at Howrah maidan,
answer issues in selecting strain rate and Thomas where a massive excavation was undergoing for
and Patrick [12] validated CRS theory by reducing the construction of East-West metro project.
the data using two different methods, Wissas non- Jadavpur is located in south Kolkata and Howrah
linear theory and isochrones method. maidan is on the other side of River Hooghly.
Experimental and theoretical study made by Disturbed soil samples were collected from a depth
Gonzalez [13] evaluated parameters that effects the of 3.5 m at Jadavpur (JDPT) and 5 m at Howrah
CRS test results. CRS method is now gaining maidan (HWPT). The depth of water table is 3 m at
popularity and many countries like Norway, Jadavpur and below sampling depth at Howrah
France, Japan, United States of America etc. have maidan and organic matter present in both soils
incorporated this as standard test to evaluate the was fully decomposed. Locally available disturbed
consolidation parameters. The CRS test method inorganic clay sample was used for study. The
and analysis proposed by Wissa et al. [9] is widely purpose of testing clay sample is to compare the
used and incorporated in ASTM standard D4186- parameters with that of organic soil.
06 [14]
Further, high quality data is available on Index properties
consolidation behavior of fibrous peats / highly Experiments conducted to characterize the soil
organic soils but little is known about the behavior included common physical tests like, determination
at low to medium organic contents (OC < 30%). of water content, specific gravity, grain size
Particularly, data on the effect of strain rate on distribution, liquid limit, plastic limit etc. Organic
organic soil is scarce. So an attempt has been content was determined by igniting soil in muffle
made to evaluate one dimensional consolidation furnace at 450 and keeping the sample until no
parameters of organic clay by conducting significant weight loss was observed with time.
incremental loading (IL) and constant rate of strain Physical properties of soils under consideration are
(CRS) tests on remolded samples keeping special presented in Table 1. It is observed that with
focus on effect of strain rate on consolidation increase in organic content from Jadavpur soil to
parameters which are believed to help the Howrah soil, Atterbergs limits as well as plasticity
geotechnical engineers to understand and interpret were increasing and the specific gravity was
the behavior of these soils. The parameters decreasing.
obtained from CRS and IL test are also compared
Table 1 Physical properties and characterization of soil
Sample Depth Water Organic Liquid limit Pl Pl Sp. Dry unit Classific
content content (%) limit Index gravity weight ation
(m) w (%) (%) Air Oven (%) air dry G d symbol
dry dry
(%) (kN/m3)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Clay 2.1 38 0 46 40 28 18 2.64 13.95 CI
JDPT 3.5 65 14 72 56 34 36 2.43 10.13 CH
HWPT 5.0 83 27 95 65 41 54 2.13 7.28 OH

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Strain rate effect on consolidation behavior of Kolkata organic soil

Particle size distribution was obtained by CRS test

conducting wet sieving followed by pipette In this test, the specimen is continuously deformed
method. As the soil had significant fraction of axially at constant rate of deformation allowing
organic matter, pretreatment was done with 30% drainage at the top of the specimen resulting excess
hydrogen peroxide solution to remove organic pore water pressure throughout the specimen
matter following recommendations of IS code except at the top. The axial deformation, reaction
[15].The loss of organic matter by pretreatment force and base pore water pressure have been
was consistent with loss of ignition. Particle size measured at certain time intervals during the
details for inorganic portion of JDPT and HWPT testing process. CRS cell was fabricated in
soils are presented along with inorganic clay in Jadavpur University to suite the requirement of
Table 2. CRS test [17]. Schematic diagram of CRS test has
been given in Fig. 1.There are many advantages of
Table 2 Grain size distribution using CRS tests like speed in performing test,
getting continuous data points, less labour,
Size of Clay JDPT HWPT measurement of pore pressure, easy to automate
particles results etc. It has also some disadvantages like no
() (%) (%) (%) defined method to use for interpreting data, issues
1 2 3 4 regarding selection of strain rate and also difficulty
>75 15 4 7 in getting secondary consolidation parameters etc.
2-75 44 59 68 However this method can be conveniently used by
<2 41 37 25 selecting a strain rate and suitable model to
interpret the results which can give acceptable and
EXPERIMENTAL METHODS comparable results with IL test. The rate of strain
should be selected such that it should not produce
Preparation of remolded samples pore pressure ratio of more than 30 % during
Remolded samples were prepared in a steel loading phage.
sampler of 75mm diameter and 300mm length. The
mould had a piston and rod arrangement for CRS analysis (Wissas linear theory)
applying consolidation loads. Disturbed air dried Wissa developed analytical solutions proposed by
sample was sieved through 2.36 mm sieve and Smith and walsh [8] and proposed solutions for
mixed with distilled water 1.5 times liquid limit. both linear and non-linear equations for transient as
The prepared slurry was kept for two days and then well as steady state conditions. In this study
transferred into the steel mould. A seating load of Wissas linear solutions [9] were used to analyze
10 kPa was applied initially for 4 hours to ensure the data for obtaining consolidation parameters.
gradual expulsion of water. Jadavpur and Howrah They used time factor, Tv to define the state of test.
soils were then given consolidation pressures of 50 For Tv < 0.50 transient and Tv 0.50 steady state
kPa. The samples were allowed to consolidate for condition exist. Tv is found from a factor F3 using
two days as pilot tests indicated completion of the following equation.
consolidation after two days. Then consolidation
loads were removed and soil sample was extracted.
A sample 25mm thick was cut from the extracted ( ) (=0)
3 = (3.1)
soil and mounted in the consolidation cell by (=0)
keeping filter papers on both sides.
Where v = total vertical stress ub= pore water
pressure at base

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Bh. Koti Reddy, R.B. Sahu, S. Ghosh

If Tv 0.50, steady state condition is considered

and cv and kv are obtained as follows

= . . (3.5)

= (3.6)


= sec

H0 is the average height of sample

ub is base pore water pressure

Fig. 1 Schematic diagram of CRS test equipment kv is obtained from Eq. 3.4
Cheng and Yin [17]
Selection of strain rate
Initially Tv was found from Wissas plot but now
the modified simple solutions are available [12] to Results obtained from CRS test depend on rate of
determine Tv which is given as follows strain at which the deformation taken place making
selection of strain rate as an important parameter.
= 4.78(3)3 3.21(3)2 + 1.653 If the strain rate is fast, very high pore water
+ 0.0356 (3.2) pressure will be generated which may lead to
transient or unsteady conditions. On the other hand
For Tv < 0.50, Transient state condition is if the selected rate is slow, there will be no
considered and coefficient of consolidation, cv, and significant pore water pressure generation which
vertical permeability, kv, are obtained as follows may lead to unsatisfactory results.
The selection of strain rate based on liquid limit,
02 maximum allowable ratio of excess pore pressure
= (3.3)
and applied pressure (ub/v) and based on the value
of dimension less parameter (r h0/cv) are
= (3.4) available in the literature [8,9,10, 11]. In this study
the ratio of pore water pressure and applied
Where pressure has been kept below 0.30 as
recommended by ASTM (D4186 06) [14]. Four
= strain rates were selected for conducting CRS test
and they are 0.01,0.04, 0.10 and 1.0 % /minute.

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Strain rate effect on consolidation behavior of Kolkata organic soil

Effective vertical stress, v (kPa) Effective vertical stress v (kPa)

0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 1000.0 10000.0 0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 1000.0
0 0

5 5

10 10

Vertical strain, (%)

Vertical strain, (%)

15 15

1% strain rate

20 20 0.1% strain rate

1% strain rate

0.1% strain rate 0.04% strain rate

25 25
0.04% strain rate 0.01% strain rate

0.01% strain rate IL TEST

30 30
IL test

35 35

Fig. 2a Stress-strain-strain rate relation for JDPT Fig. 2b Stress-strain-strain rate relation for HWPT

RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS -strain curves of JDPT and HWPT are strain rate
CRS tests were conducted with four different strain dependent. Faster strain rates produces higher
rates (0.01, 0.04, 0.1 and 1 % /min) on all three effective vertical stress, v, while slow rates
selected soils and results were discussed with produce smaller effective vertical stress.
respect to stress-strain behavior, pore water Interestingly, at 0.01% strain rate the behavior is
pressure response, pre-consolidation pressure. different. Though, initially this stress strain curve
Strain rate effect on consolidation parameters like is located below 0.04%/ min strain rate curve it
coefficient of consolidation, cv, and vertical violates the trend and gradually traces above that of
permeability, kv, was also studied higher strain rates which may be due to effect of
thixotropy and is consistent with other studies in
Stress-strain-strain rate behavior the literature [18].
The relation between effective vertical stress,
vertical strain and strain rate for both JDPT and Pore water pressure response
HWPT are presented in Fig. 2a and Fig. 2b. Figure It is observed from test results that the pore water
3a and 3b it is observed that the behavior of stress pressure is very much strain rate dependent.
Relation between pore water pressure and effective

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Bh. Koti Reddy, R.B. Sahu, S. Ghosh

120 generation decreases with increase in organic

content. Similar trend was observed at other strain
rates also.

Pre-consolidation pressure, p
Pore water pressure,ub(kPa)

80 Pre-consolidation pressure, p, is very important

1% strain rate consolidation parameter beyond which plastic
60 deformation takes place at rapid rate. Compression
0.1% strain rate
curves at each strain rate were well defined and
40 0.04% strain rate pre-consolidation pressure at all strain rates was
obtained using Casagrandes method. Pre-
0.01% strain rate consolidation pressure, p, obtained from CRS and
IL tests is given in Table 3. It is observed from
Table 3 that pre-consolidation pressure, p,
0 obtained at higher strain rates was higher when
0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 1000.0 compared to that at lower strain rates which is
Effective vertical stress, v (kPa) consistent with other studies [6, 7, 18, 19]. Pre-
consolidation pressure at lower strain rate 0.04%
/min was significantly low for organic soils.
Fig. 2c Relation between pore water pressure and
effective vertical stress for JDPT
Effective vertical stress, v (kPa)
Vertical stress for JDPT is given in Fig 3c. It is
observed from Fig 2c that high strain rate produces 0.1 1.0 10.0 100.0 1000.0 10000.0
higher pore water pressure at the base of the 0
specimen. Maximum excess pore water pressure
for 1%/min strain rate is 102 kPa, whereas, for 5
0.01% strain rate it is 3 kPa which shows that
increase in strain rate generates higher pore water
pressure. Beyond pre-consolidation pressure pore 10
Vertical strain, (%)

pressure generation become more significant when

compared to initial loading phase. Other
observation from the study is that 0.01% /min 15
strain rate (very slow rate) generates constant
minimum pore pressure sometimes even complete
dissipation of pore water pressures. CLAY 1% strain rate

JDPT 1% strain rate

Comparison with respect to organic content 25
The main objective of the study is to know the HWPT 1% strain rate
effect strain rate on compression behavior of
organic soils. Figure 3 shows the relationship 30
between effective vertical stress and vertical strain
for all three types of soils selected at 1%/min strain
rate. It is observed from the Fig. 3 that with
increase in organic content from inorganic clay to
HWPT the effective vertical stress decreases. The Fig. 3 Stress-strain-strain rate relation for inorganic
excess pore water pressure generation is high in clay JDPT, HWPT at 1% /min strain rate
inorganic clay when compared to organic soils
JDPT and HWPT. This indicates pore pressure

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Strain rate effect on consolidation behavior of Kolkata organic soil

Table 3 pre-consolidation pressures, p, from CRS and IL tests

Soil type Pre-consolidation pressure, p (kPa) at selected strain rate p from IL

0.01 % /minute 0.04 % /minute 0.1 % /minute 1 % /minute test
1 2 3 4 5 6
Clay 56 54 58 63 55
JDPT 44 34 54 60 52
HWPT 47 29 51 58 53

Comparison with IL test results

Stress strain curves of IL test data for JDPT and Results obtained from CRS and IL tests for
HWPT were drawn along with CRS stress strain coefficient consolidation, cv, and vertical
curves in Fig 3a and 3b and shown in dotted lines permeabity, kv, are tabulated in Table 4 and 5
for comparison. It is observed that IL curves of respectively to compare them with respect testing
JDPT follows closely the path of CRS curve at method and also strain rate. The results clearly
1%/min strain rate. Fig 3b shows that the stress indicate that both the parameters are strain rate
strain curves of HWPT for IL test follows closely dependent. Higher strain rates increase coefficient
0.1% /min curve and from data the observation is of consolidation, cv. Vertical permeability, kv, also
that the curves of inorganic clay traces above 1% increase with increase in strain rate which is
/min strain rate which clearly shows that consistent with the studies made by other
comparable results can be yielded by selecting researchers [6, 17]. Comparison of CRS test results
strain rate depending on the type of soil. Increase exactly with IL test results were difficult because
in organic content suggests selection of slower of variability in strain rate and scattered values at
strain rates and inorganic soils generally require each strain rate.
more than 1%/min strain rate. At the beginning of IL test the strain rates are very high which was
clearly shown by Fig. 2a and 2b which is consistent
with the observation of other studies [7].

Table 4 Coefficient of consolidation, cv, from CRS and IL tests

Soil type Coefficient of consolidation, cv m/sec from CRS test at selected cv from IL test
strain rate (m2/sec)
0.01 % /minute 0.04 % /minute 0.1 % /minute 1 % /minute
1 2 3 4 5 6
-7 -7 -6
1.63 x 10 - 1.05 x 10 - 1.00 x 10 - 1.07 x 10 -5 - 1.03 x 10 -7 -
Clay 1.75 x 10 -8 3.04 x 10 -8 5.33 x 10 -8 9.26 x 10 -7 6.90 x 10 -8

1.46 x 10 -7 - 1.21 x 10 -6 - 1.05 x 10 -6 - 1.06 x 10 -6 - 1.78 x 10 -7 -

JDPT 9.36 x 10 -7 9.27 x 10 -7 1.27 x 10 -7 5.90 x 10 -7 2.50 x 10 -8

1.09 x 10 -7 - 1.00 x 10 -6 - 1.06 x 10 -6 - 1.06 x 10 -5 - 2.17 x 10 -7 -

HWPT 1.22 x 10 -6 5.17 x 10 -7 1.93 x 10 -7 2.67 x 10 -6 5.96 x 10 -8

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Bh. Koti Reddy, R.B. Sahu, S. Ghosh

Table 5 Vertical permeability, kv, from CRS and IL tests

Soil type Vertical permeability, kv m/sec from CRS test at selected strain rate kv from IL test
0.01 % /minute 0.04 % /minute 0.1 % /minute 1 % /minute (m/sec)
1 2 3 4 5 6
-10 -9 -9
6.75 x 10 - 1.10 x 10 - 1.00 x 10 - 1.20 x 10 -8 - 1.78 x 10 -10 -
Clay 3.80 x 10 -12 8.03 x 10 -12 1.50 x 10 -11 6.80 x 10 -11 8.90 x 10 -11

1.10 x 10 -9 - 1.01 x 10 -9 - 1.05 x 10 -9 - 1.10 x 10 -8 - 8.18 x 10 -10 -

JDPT 8.70 x 10 -11 1.06 x 10 -10 1.60 x 10 -10 2.20 x 10 -11 3.23 x 10 -11

4.02 x 10 -10 - 1.10 x 10 -9 - 1.00 x 10 -9 - 1.00 x 10 -8 - 1.82 x 10 -9 -

HWPT 1.50 x 10 -10 1.80 x 10 -10 3.20 x 10 -10 6.50 x 10 -10 6.17 x 10 -11

CONCLUSIONS lower strain rate Pre-consolidation pressure at

The following are the conclusions drawn from the lower strain rates 0.04% /min was significantly low
experimental study of constant rate of strain and IL for organic soils.
tests described in this paper. iv) CRS and IL test results can yield comparable
i) Higher strain rate produce higher effective results by selecting strain rate depending on the
vertical stress and also high excess pore water type of soil. Increase in organic content suggests
pressure. selection of slower strain rates and inorganic soils
ii) Effective vertical stress and excess pore water generally require more than 1%/min strain rate.
pressure decreases with the increase in organic v) For a given effective stress, the coefficient of
content. consolidation, cv, and hydraulic conductivity, kv,
iii) Pre-consolidation pressure obtained at higher increase with the increase in strain rate.
strain rates was higher when compared to that at

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