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MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Contents
1. Index Tests ........................................................................................................................ 2
1.1. Atterberg Limits ................................................................................................................ 2
1.2. Particle Size Distribution: Sieve & Sedimentation ............................................................ 2
2. Oedometer Test................................................................................................................ 3
2.1. Tests performed on Sands ................................................................................................ 3
2.2. Tests performed on Clays ................................................................................................. 4
3. Direct Shear Test .............................................................................................................. 5
3.1. Constant height tests........................................................................................................ 6
3.2. Tests on intact and reconstituted Gault Clay ................................................................... 6

Tables
Table 1 Plastic Limit Test Results ............................................................................................... 7
Table 2 liquid Limit Test Results ................................................................................................ 7
Table 3 Oedometer tests performed......................................................................................... 7

Graphs
Graph 1 Casagrande method for LL test results ........................................................................ 8
Graph 2 Cone Penetrometer method for LL test results ........................................................... 8
Graph 3A-Line Chart .................................................................................................................. 9
Graph 4 PL, LL test results ......................................................................................................... 9
Graph 5 Sieving and Hydrometer combined results ............................................................... 10
Graph 6 hydrometer results .................................................................................................... 10
Graph 7 log(v) e curves for Claigan Sand. Upper right corner expected behaviour ......... 11
Graph 8 Comparison of log(v) e curves for Sands ............................................................. 11
Graph 9 Settlement Log(t) and Ue Log(t) for Kaolin and Kss ............................................. 12
Graph 10 log(v) - mv for Kaolin and KSS................................................................................ 13
Graph 11 log(v) -cv for intact Gault Clay and KSS ................................................................. 14
Graph 12 log(v) - k for intact Gault Clay ............................................................................... 14
Graph 13 log(v)- e for intact and reconstituted Gault Clay .................................................. 15
Graph 14 comparison of log(v)- e curves for Clay samples .................................................. 15
Graph 15 log(v)- e curve for Kaolin - creep .......................................................................... 16
Graph 16 v (kPa) - (kPa) ..................................................................................................... 16
Graph 17 (%) (kPa) ........................................................................................................... 17
Graph 18 / v (upper part) and v (lower part) for loose sands............................... 17
Graph 19 / v (upper part) and v (lower part) for dense sands ............................. 18
Graph 20 v/h / v for sand samples.............................................................................. 18
Graph 21 v e final void ratios for sands ............................................................................. 19
Graph 22 v for dense and loose sands ............................................................................ 19
Graph 23 (%) (kPa)............................................................................................................ 20
Graph 24 / v .................................................................................................................. 20
Graph 25 (upper part) and v (lower part) ................................................................ 21
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

1. Index Tests
1.1. Atterberg Limits
The Atteberg limits determined for fine grained soils in this test are the Liquid Limit
(LL) and the Plastic Limit (PL). PL is determined by the plastic limit test while the
LL is determined by the Casagrande Method and the Cone Penetrometer method. The
average value of the two methods was used to calculate the Plasticity Index PI. Plastic
limit test results are presented on Table 1. The difference between Min and Max PL
values is satisfactory for most of the tests performed yet it is worth to note that this
test is the most operator-dependent test as it can be seen from the deviation of the
results in group 1B performed on Gault Clay samples where the deviation is about
8%. Liquid limit test results for both method applied are shown on Table 2.
Comparing the result it can be concluded that there isnt any significant difference on
the results from the two methods performed on samples of the same materials. More
specifically, the Casagrande method results for LL are shown in Graph 1 and the
Cone Penetrometer method results in Graph 2. In theory the cone penetrometer
method is the more reliable and it is preferred because it is more standardized, with
fixed cone dimensions, fixed drop height etc. and less prone to human errors than the
casagrande method which is dependent on the rate of rotating the handle by the
operator. For example the faster the rate the more reduced the LL values. However,
even in the cone penetrometer method the conditions of the apparatus can influence
the results as for example rough surface of the cone and smaller drop height can
increase the LL values.
The plasticity chart (A-line chart) is shown in the Graph 3. The A-line is from
experimental data and is used as a reference datum separating clays and silts. Clays
are above and silts and organic clays are below the A-line. We can see from the figure
3 that all the soils are above the A-line as expected. The KSS deviates by much from
the other soils due to the content of sand and silt; it is the less plastic and is
characterized as a soil of medium plasticity (CI). From the PL and LL results we can
calculate the Plasticity Index PI for each soil sample and we can get an indication of
the nature of the soil. These results are shown in Graph 4. We can see that the most
plastic soil is the Polish clay (biggest plastic zone) and the less plastic is the KSS as
expected because it is not a pure clay as already mentioned above (50% clay, 25%
silt, 25% sand). Comparing these results with the range of values found in literature
for the samples used in our test we can conclude that our results fall within these
ranges.
From the calculated Atterberg limits an estimation of the state of the soil can be made
by measuring the water content and calculating the Liquidity Index LI. In fact, for the
reconstituted soils the water content is standardized and equal to 1- 1.5 of the LL but
for the natural soils we can measure the natural water content and calculate the LI.
Furthermore, from the Atterberg limits an estimate for the engineering properties of
the soils can be made. There are numerous correlations in the literature relating the
undrained shear strength, the coefficient of compressibility and the coefficient of
consolidation with the PI or the Atterberg limits. The more plastic the soil the most
compressible it is and consolidates over a longer period of time. Yet using these
correlations must be done caution taking into account local condition of the soils.
1.2. Particle Size Distribution: Sieve & Sedimentation
Particle size distribution PSD using the sieving and sedimentation methods was used
with Huisini and Claigan Sand samples and KSS and KS samples respectively. In
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 5 the combined results from Sieving and sedimentation methods are shown.
For the KSS the PSD was determined with both sieving and hydrometer tests while
for the sands was determined only with the sieving test. Accordingly, the PSD for KS
was determined only with hydrometer test. The hydrometer analysis test results are
shown in detail in Graph 6. From this graph it can be noted that the curves for the
KSS are very similar while from the curves for KS differences between them can be
observed but they are very small and the curves are of the same shape. Even though it
is expected that the turbulent flow and the non-spherical particles could have led to
significant deviations in grading curves; it seems that in overall the results from the
hydrometer test are uniform and smooth. It can be deduced that Stokes law
assumption doesnt affect the results significantly.
In Graph 5 it can be seen that the curves for KSS exhibit a different grading from the
curves for the sands. More specifically we can see that the curves for the KSS are
smoother and covering a great range of particle sizes thus showing that the KSS (50%
clay, 25% sand, 25% silt) samples are well graded as it is expected. Note however that
they do not join precisely as expected, thus forming a gap that could be attributed to
weight loss because of the shaking machine, the hand sieving, the different speeds and
also to the finer particles being retained in the dry sieve. However the grading curve
shape is realistic. If the sieving test had been carried out in a more standardised way
the total grading curves for the KSS samples would expected to coincide. For the
sands it can be seen that the steeper grading curve is the curve for the Claigan sand.
Thus it can be concluded that Claigan sand is a more uniform and poorly graded
sample. Note that the grading curves for Huisini sand coincide; almost precisely both
having steep curves as expected because Huisini sand sample is uniform.
2. Oedometer Test
The Oedometer test is a simple laboratory test that can provide useful data concerning
one dimensional compression and swelling. Tests were conducted on four Sand
samples and six Clay samples as it is shown in Table 3.
2.1. Tests performed on Sands
Tests were performed on samples from the three different types of sands (Quartz,
Claigan and Huisini) and graphs in terms of log(v) e were plotted as for example
it can be seen in Graph 7. Note that the tests were to be performed on both dense and
loose condition for the three different types of sands, but since the last three groups
havent contacted any tests on sands we can only compare the loose and dense
Claigan sand. From the above figure it can be seen that the loose sand have lower
initial void ratio than the dense and the curves of the two different density samples are
following a parallel trend. As it can be seen in Graph 7 where the expected behavior
is presented on the upper right corner, according to the theory, we were expecting the
loose sample to have higher initial void ratio and the two curves to tend to the same
normal compression line when they were subjected to high stresses. Also, we were
expecting loose sample to yield at lower pressures than dense samples because they
experience higher contact pressures, but as it can be seen from the graph the two
samples tend to yield at almost the same point. In Graph 8 the log(v) e
comparison for the loose sand samples is presented. Huisini and Claigan Sand
samples tend to comply with the theory as they exhibit a reduction in void ratio due to
realignment of the particle and stiff and elastic unloading behaviour. These samples
show similar Compressibility and Swelling characteristics and most of the
deformation past yield is permanent. On the contrary, the Quartz Sand sample did not
exhibit any considerable reduction in the void ratio. Its behaviour may be attributed to
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

the test operations as the top cap not being installed properly causing a jam and the
incorrect measurements of vertical strain or the sample being extremely strong and
never stressed to a level great enough to cause the particles to break.
2.2. Tests performed on Clays
In Graph 9 the relationship between excess Pore Water Pressure (PWP) and
settlement is shown. It can be deducted that there is tendency to conform to theory,
even though during the experiment sometimes we did not wait for the excess pore
pressure to dissipate before applying the next load. Some differences from theory
were noticed, like the fact that PWP do not immediately reach the maximum point.
In Graph 10 the variation of the Coefficient of Volume Compressibility with vertical
effective stress (log(v) - mv) for Kaolin and KSS samples is shown. It can be seen
that there is a general decrease of the value of the coefficient m v with increasing
effective stress. In theory the coefficient mv remain constant. In Graph 11 the
variation of the Coefficient of Consolidation with vertical effective stress (log(v) -
cv) for intact Gault Clay and KSS samples is shown. It can be seen that the cv values
for KSS exhibit a wide dispersion, while the values for the intact Gault clay show a
sharp reduction initially followed by a small increment and a slow reduction at the
end of the test. In theory the coefficient cv should remain constant. In Graph 12 the
variation of the Coefficient of Permeability with vertical effective stress (log(v) - k)
for intact Gault Clay is shown. It can be seen that there is a general decrease of the
value of the coefficient mv with increasing effective stress. In theory the coefficient k
remains constant. The values obtain by the test cannot be considered representative of
the in situ ground permeability since the permeability is influenced by local state of
the soil and anisotropy, while disturbance and the size of the sample tested in the lab
also influence the results.
Furthermore, a comparison between the behaviour of the intact and the reconstituted
clay samples was made. In theory, the reconstituted samples tend to compress along
the Intrinsic Compression Line (ICL) due to the intrinsic soil properties. In contrast,
the intact sample tend to head towards the Sedimentation Compression Line (SCL)
and as the bonds break between the soil particles and the soil yields it compress
towards the ICL line. In Graph 13 and 14 the relation between void ration and
effective stress for the intact and reconstituted Gault clay is shown. In figure 14 the
reconstituted sample followed the ICL as expected, while the intact trended towards
the SCL line but did not reach. It can be deducted that higher stresses may be need it
for yielding to take place and that the clay particles in Gault clay are lined up and
their bonds cannot be easily broken. From Graph 14 it can be seen that the normal
compression lines and the swelling for the samples are linear, except some
fluctuations which took place due to human error with the application of the loads.
The swelling index Cs for the natural material is expected to be less than the
reconstituted. Results however show greater Cs for the natural Gault Clay, but it must
be to taken into account that there were no PWP measurements for this sample so we
might expect an error. Finally, creep takes place by decreasing the void ratio and
increasing settlement under constant effective stress. When creep takes place there is
a smoothing of the curve as in Graph 15 under constant effective stress. If creep was
conducted at the unloading decrements sample would continue to settle after swelling
is completed.
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

3. Direct Shear Test


For the direct shear test we assume that shear takes place to the entire sample because
we are using nominal values of shear strain and we also assume a pre-oriented
surface. Also there is no control on drainage and all tests are drained. Furthermore
only a certain level of strain can be applied to the samples.
In Graph 16 the stress paths in terms of v are shown, for all the performed tests
on sands at =50kPa, 350kPa and 800kPa. Failure envelopes (angles of shearing
resistance at peak) for loose and sands are shown. For both loose and dense sands
Critical State has not been reached and a unique Critical State (Strength) Line was
estimated to be close to the PEAK value for the loose sands. It can be seen that C.S.L.
is close to the peak strength line of loose sands while for the dense sands the stress
path rises up to a peak strength and then reduces gradually towards the C.S.L. Note
that C.S.L. can only be estimated by this test due to the test limitation and its
estimation is due to be influenced by potential errors of the tests performed. However,
it is a good approximation of the sand behaviour. In general, dense sands are of higher
peak strength than loose sands while they are of equal critical strength. Also, it
appears that shear strength increases with stress level. Peak strength values for loose
and dense sands are within the range of values reported in literature.
In Graph 17 the effect of density on the shear strength in terms of is shown. As
the constant normal stress (v) applied to the sample is increased, shear strength
increases. This is true for both dense and loose samples, although effect is more
obvious in the dense samples. Stiffness increases with constant normal stress as
follows: G800kPa> G350kPa>G50kPa. In Graph 18 and 19 the behaviour of loose
and dense sands in terms of / v and v is summarized. More specifically,
Graph 18 shows that loose sands gradually increase strength when sheared and stress
ratio increases, while concurrently they exhibit an obvious contraction. The rate of
contraction decreases as the critical strength is approached and expected to become
zero when critical strength is finally reached. On the other hand, as shown in Graph
19, once the dense sands reach peak strength they gradually fall to the Critical
Strength with increasing shearing. Shear box cannot impose very large strains;
therefore C.S. is not reached in all cases. This is clearly seen that in the / v
graph where the critical state is not clearly identified due to this limitation of the
apparatus. From Graph 19, it is clearly seen that dense sands tend to dilate when
sheared (i.e. when increases) while the maximum rate of dilation corresponds to the
peak strength of the / v graph. Note that dense samples from groups 2b and 3b,
initially contracts and then dilate rapidly. The maximum rate of dilation in the dense
samples corresponds well with the peak shear stress. The calculated for dense sand
angle is = 11.31, as shown in Graph 19, giving = 40 in plasticity theory. After
peak strength is reached (i.e. the maximum / v value), the rate of dilation is
gradually decreasing (suppression of volume change) until it becomes zero when
critical strength is achieved. Graph 20 indicates that both loose and dense samples,
when sheared, tend to a unique critical stress state ratio where the rate of contraction
or dilation respectively is zero. The lines drawn show the tendency of the samples to
contract or dilate until they reach a critical state. In the first case, loose sands
suddenly present an increase in the rate of contraction as stress ratio increases but this
rate is gradually decreasing as we approach the critical strength (critical stress ratio)
where dv/dh becomes zero. Opposed to the behaviour described for loose sands,
dense sands seem to contract at the beginning of shearing. The rate of dilation mainly
increases up to the point where it is expected that the peak strength is reached (peak
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

stress ratio) and after that the rate of dilation gradually decreases and reaches the
critical stress ratio which in turn correspond to zero dilation. The estimated critical
stress ratio coincides for both loose and dense samples. According to theory, when
sand is sheared under a specific normal stress, irrespectively of density, should reach
at the same critical void ratio. In Graph 21 final the void ratio against the normal
stress for the dense and loose sands is shown. Apparently from all the tests conducted
dense sands do not have lower void ratio compared to the loose sands as normally
expected. Thus, this graph, just indicates in accordance with the theory, that loose
sand tend to contract therefore the void ratio is decreased while dense sands tend to
dilate and hence the void ratio is increased. Note that this graph, a unique critical state
void ratio line has not been reached and therefore the C.S.L. can only roughly
estimated and drawn. This is possibly due to inaccuracies of the direct shear box test
such as: the loss of sample from the lateral gap between the two halves of the
apparatus or the fact that very large strains cannot be imposed hence the critical state
is not always reached.
3.1. Constant height tests
Constant height tests were also performed on loose and dense sands and specifically
two tests on quartz sand: group1a: dense sand with initial stress 450 kPa and group1b:
loose sand with initial stress 1000 kPa. The conditions of constant height test are: no
change in volume, no change in vertical height v and constant void ratio einitial.
Constant Height is maintained by varying normal stress 'v. In Graph 22 the stress
paths in terms of v are shown for both dense and loose sands. Loose sand
contracted during the test as the normal stress was reduced to keep the height of the
sample constant. The dense sample initially contracts because the normal stress is
decreased until a value about 200kPa in order to maintain a constant volume. Then the
sample dilates and the normal stress increases continuously until the control over the
test was lost. In Graph 23, peak strength of dense sand was found greater than the
peak strength of loose as expected. Possibly, as theory dictates, if the constant height
tests had reached larger displacements and the C.S. then the curves would have
merged in a unique critical value. It is evident from the figure that the results
especially for the dense sample deviate from the expected values and the expected
behavior, as because group 1a lost the control of the constant height during the test.
3.2. Tests on intact and reconstituted Gault Clay
Direct drained shear tests were conducted on intact and reconstituted Gault Clay.
In Graph 24 the behaviour of the materials in terms of / v is presented and the
intact clay appears behaving as slightly stiffer material. Yet it does not have such a
brittle behaviour because it was loaded under an intermediate confined pressure.
Furthermore the intact clay has also greater shear strength compared to the
reconstituted clay, because of the breaking of the bonds that took place in the
reconstituted sample and thus the material became weaker than the intact. In Graph
25 the behavior of the samples in terms of and v are shown, for the
performed tests on Gault Clay at =60kPa (reconstituted) and 300kPa (intact). The
behavior of the intact sample is similar to that predicted however only very little
contraction exist and no dilation, while theory suggests that the sample should
contract initially and then continuously dilate because Gault clay is an
overconsolidated (O-C) clay. It is possible that if the test had reached larger shear
strains then the sample would have indeed dilate.The reconstituted samples peak
strength did not reach during the test, while the sample exhibit continuous contraction
as expected.
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Table 1 Plastic Limit Test Results

Group - Sample LL (%) from LL (%) from Cone


Casagrande method penetrometer
1a KSS Clay 35 38
1b Gault Clay 75 72
2a Polish Clay 85 76
2b Polish Clay 64 67
3a Gault Clay 79 83
3b Oxford Clay 67 67
Table 2 liquid Limit Test Results

Table 3 Oedometer tests performed


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 1 Casagrande method for LL test results

Graph 2 Cone Penetrometer method for LL test results


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 3A-Line Chart

Graph 4 PL, LL test results


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 5 Sieving and Hydrometer combined results

Graph 6 hydrometer results


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 7 log(v) e curves for Claigan Sand. Upper right corner expected behaviour

Graph 8 Comparison of log(v) e curves for Sands


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 9 Settlement Log(t) and Ue Log(t) for Kaolin and Kss


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 10 log(v) - mv for Kaolin and KSS


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 11 log(v) -cv for intact Gault Clay and KSS

Graph 12 log(v) - k for intact Gault Clay


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 13 log(v)- e for intact and reconstituted Gault Clay

Graph 14 comparison of log(v)- e curves for Clay samples


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 15 log(v)- e curve for Kaolin - creep

Graph 16 v (kPa) - (kPa)


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 17 (%) (kPa)

Graph 18 / v (upper part) and v (lower part) for loose sands


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 19 / v (upper part) and v (lower part) for dense sands

Graph 20 v/h / v for sand samples


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 21 v e final void ratios for sands

Group 1a
Lost Control
of Constant
Height

Graph 22 v for dense and loose sands


MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 23 (%) (kPa)

Graph 24 / v
MSc Lab Report 1 Konstantinos Symeonidis

Graph 25 (upper part) and v (lower part)