JARDINE, J., SYMES,M. J. & BURLAND, B. (1984). Giotechnique 34, No. 3, 323-340 R. J.

The measurement of soil stiffness triaxial apparatus

in the

and J. B. BURLAND*

This Paper describes a simple technique for accurately measuring the mean local axial strains of triaxial samples over a central gauge length. The technique makes use of an axial displacement gauge which is a development of one devised by Burland & Symes (1982) which makes use of electrolytic levels. The device can resolve to less than 1 cm over a range of 15 mm, is simple to mount on the specimen and is not damaged when the sample is taken to failure. The results of undrained triaxial tests are presented for a wide spectrum of soil types ranging from sands through intact, reconstituted and remoulded low plasticity till, undisturbed London clay to intact unweathered chalk. The test results show that conventional external measurements of displacement contain errors which are frequently so large that their use in the determination of soil stiffness at working levels of stress is invalid. The errors mainly result from tilting of the sample, bedding at the end platens and the effects of compliance in the apparatus. Although much more experimental work is required before general conclusions can be drawn about the small strain behaviour of soils the results presented lead to some important observations on the undrained stiffness, linearity and yielding behaviour of soils at small strains. Cet article d&it une technique t&s simple pour mesurer de faGon prCcise les dkformations locales moyennes d’tchantillons triaxiaux sur une jauge centrale. La technique emploie une jauge de d&placement axial qui reprksente une amelioration de celle invent&e par Burland et Symes (1982) et qui utilise des niveaux tlectrolytiques. L’appareil est sensible 2 moins de 1 pm sur une longueur de 15 mm. I1 est facile B monter sur l’tchantillon et reste intact m&me si I’Cchantillon est dCtruit. Les rCsultats des tests triaxiaux non-drain& sont prCsentCs pour une large gamme de types de sol, commenqant par des sables, suivis de moraines intactes de faible plasticitt reconstitukes et remaniCes et de l’argile de Londres intacte jusqu’8 la craie intacte non-altCrte par les intempkries. Les rtsultats des tests montrent que les mesures conventionnelles du d&placement cOrnportent des erreurs qui sont souvent si considerables que les mesures sont ma1 adapt&es pour la d&termination de la rigidit du sol g des niveaux operationnels de la contrainte. Les erreurs proviennent principalement du basculement de l’Cchantillon, de la liaison imparfaite au niveau des plateaux terminaux et des effects du d&placement de l’appareil. Discussion on this Paper closes on 1 January For further details see inside back cover. * Imperial College of Science and Technology. 1985.

Bien que beaucoup de travail expCrimenta1 suppltmentaire soit nCcessaire afin de pouvoir tirer des conclusions g&&ales au sujet du comportement des sols sous des d&formations mineures, les r&hats p&en& fournillent des observations importantes concernant la rigidit dans 1’Ctat non-drain&, la IinearitC et I’Ccoulement des sols sous des d&formations mineures. NOTATION




system =




T 6

(A,_+ 4&F undrained shear strength undrained stiffness E,co.ol,-E, 0.01% at strain, etc. deviator force on sample u~‘/u,’ at rest E,(,,.l,/E,(o.o,, an index of linearity length of sample liquidity index (a,’ + 2a,‘)/3 the mean effective stress p’ at the start of the undrained test relative density (0,, - &&(& + &) tilt ratio sample rotation

A, A,, AT, A,,,

As, ARB, A,,,



measured deflexions (see Fig. 1) corrected overall axial strain larger local axial strain smaller local axial strain mean local axial strain larger incremental rotation of electrolevel (see Fig. 2(c)) smaller incremental rotation of electrolevel (see Fig. 2(c)) vertical effective stresses radial effective stress INTRODUCTION Accurate determination of soil stiffness is difficult to achieve in routine laboratory testing. Conventionally, the determination of the axial stiffness of a triaxial sample is based on external measurements of displacement which include a number of extraneous movements. For example, the true soil strains developed in triaxial tests can be masked by deflexions which originate in the compliances of the loading system and load measuring system. Such equipment compliance


One such source is the compliance of the loading system itself. Yuen. The origins of some of the more significant strain measurement errors which develop in standard testing are examined and their magnitudes assessed using the new techniques. In the testing of rock samples the importance of such errors has long been recognized. AXIAL STRAIN ERRORS IN TRIAXIAL TESTS In a conventional triaxial test there are several sources of movement that develop during shear testing which may give rise to an overestimate of the axial strain. Lo.g.. For present purposes the sum of such loading system deflexions will be termed A. so that small but nevertheless significant deflexions accumulate from the straining of the rolling Bellofram diaphragms. they are cumbersome and can suffer from jamming and damage at large strains. Arthur & Phillips. 1980. Although important results have been obtained with such techniques. since bulging of the sample will cause the footings to rotate in later stages of the test. The technique involves the application of periodic small strain perturbations to a sample as described by Richart. X-ray and optical methods have also been used to follow reference points within the sample or on its membrane (Roscoe. There is an urgent need for a simple but precise method for the routine measurement of the stress-strain behaviour of soil specimens under controlled stress or strain paths. In summary present methods of soil strain measurement have a number of serious limitations. Results of experiments performed on a wide range of material are pre- sented. However. Some of the deflexions shown in this figure may be quantified by careful calibration. Most triaxial tests therefore tend to give apparent soil stiffnesses far lower than those inferred from field behaviour. The more important sources of error are illustrated in Fig. Schofield & Thurairajah. 1975). but large unaccountable errors remain due to (a) the difficulty of trimming a sample so that the end faces are perpendicular to the vertical axis of symmetry (b) play in the connection between the load cell and the sample top cap. particularly where the soil exhibits high stiffness at small strains. routine tests which employ external measurements of strain lead to apparent soil stiffnesses which are much too low. since the states of stress and strain vary continuously both with time and in their distributions within the sample. Austin & Overy. which is termed A.Ol mm and parallelism requirements of . and the careful grinding of sample ends combined with the use of ground cylindrical seated platens is commonly specified (e. However. Costa Filho. In this Paper a simple technique for accurately measuring the mean local axial strains during triaxial testing is described. Strictly these techniques are suitable only for very small strain levels. due to local surface irregularities or voids. the technique does not provide direct measurements of the elemental behaviour of the soil under test. triaxial samples. linear variable differential transformer (LVDT) for the same purpose on 38 mm dia. SYMFS AND BURLAND errors add to a variety of sample bedding effects to give a poor definition of the stress-strain behaviour of the material under test. Local axial strains are taken as those developing over a central gauge length of the sample.. For example. The resonant column apparatus offers a different approach for the determination of the dynamic stiffness of soils. and (c) the inevitable ‘bedding down’ at the ends of the sample. 1980). and it is shown that. particularly over the small strain range. Vogler & Kovari. Woods & Hall (1970). the construction of a Bishop & Wesley (1975) cell is such that the lower reference point for the vertical displacement transducer is attached to the ram while the upper reference point is located on top of the cell. Symes & Burland (1984) describe the use of proximity transducers for radial strain determination and Maswoswe (1984) describes the use of a high accuracy. 1978. One solution has been to measure relative displacement between two reference footings over a central length of a sample using displacement transducers (e.324 JARDINE.g. Brown. For the purposes of this Paper only undrained behaviour is considered. as expected. 1. An internal load cell will also produce a significant deflexion. submersible. The importance of such errors has long been recognized and many diverse techniques have been employed in attempts to improve strain measurements. The observation that many rocks fail in a brittle fashion at axial strains of O-l% or less has led to the specification of flatness limits of +O. However. in tests designed to investigate more general effective stress behaviour the local measurement of radial and axial strains is equally important. 1963. since the no-volume change condition obviates the need to measure radial strains. Daramola. Palmer & Leonards. 1978). the accuracy of these methods is limited.. 1978.

Their reliability.c. . even when the behaviour is not brittle. The impedance between the central electrode and the outer ones varies as the capsule is tilted. A variety of levels with different sensitivities are commercially available. and by mounting the capsules in simple mechanisms it is possible to develop a range of reorientation Sample compression Fig. The same principles have been adapted to develop a vertical displacement measuring system for use in a 100 mm dia. The transducers employed in the triaxial strain measurements were supplied by IF0 International Ltd and have a working range of *lo”.1%. DESCRIBIION OF THE ELECIROLEVEL GAUGES Cooke & Price (1974) describe the use of electrolytic liquid levels for the local measurements of ground strains around test piles. The system was excited using a 5 V a. 1982). 1. Symes & Burland (1984) have given a description of the design of instruments which employ electrolytic levels to measure combined horizontal shear strain and axial strain in a hollow cylinder apparatus. Under such conditions the gauges can be stable over periods of weeks. 1984). FL= (ELI + E&3 devices to measure axial. triaxial apparatus (see Burland & Symes. errors (Daramola. 1982. 2(a). the strains prior to yield are usually very small. O’Riordan & Croft. simplicity and accuracy make these transducers attractive in a wide variety of applications. 1982). However. Moreover. Sources of emx in external strain measurements (+. The principles of the new axial strain measuring systems are essentially similar to those of the earlier devices in that a hinged arrangement converts displacements between two footings mounted on the sample into a rotation of the capsule. samples. and it is probably not possible to approach the same standards of sample regularity. The liquid level transducers consist of an electrolyte sealed in a glass capsule. it is often desirable to obtain accurate strain measurements in tests which have not involved anisotropic consolidation. it is shown in this Paper that K.2 mV.05% is very important (see Gens. may redevelop Moreover. In the simplest devices three coplanar electrodes protrude into the capsule and are partially immersed in the electrolyte. The preparation techniques employed for rock testing are unsuitable for most soils. power supply of 4 kHz frequency. radial and shear strains in laboratory tests (Symes & Burland. This Paper describes a further development and improvement of the earier devices which enables mean axial strains to be determined to within a range of +0. where swelling stages are included in such tests tilting and other 1978).002% in triaxial stress path cells designed for the testing of 38 mm dia. The gains were adjusted to give a *3 V full scale output which was monitored to *O-l mV with typical scatters of *0. is the larger of the two shins. The levels are sensitive to temperature and vibration and should be operated in still conditions which are temperature controlled to within *3”C. The results obtained from tests carried out on soil which has been an&tropically consolidated to a high level of mean effective stress suggest that these procedures considerably reduce sample bedding and tilting errors (see Gens. Simpson. as shown in Fig. A more satisfactory approach is to make use of local instrumentation which can be attached to a central gauge length of a sample. The SHANSEP methods of testing soft clays can also be expected to lead to significant improvements in strain measurement. 1979). Indeed. Recent work has demonstrated the rather surprising finding that soils can be equally as brittle as rocks and that an understanding of their behaviour at levels of shear strain below 0.MEASUREMENT OF SOIL STIFFNESS 325 around 3 minutes of arc for high quality sample preparation. Measures can be taken to reduce the errors implicit in external strain measurement. normally consolidated clays may reach peak strength in the triaxial apparatus at axial strains as low as 0.

3. Moreover. 2(b) shows the construction of the new devices. The electrolevels are mounted in diametrically opposite pairs on a sample using a rapidly curing contact adhesive which bonds the brass footings to the membrane. (b) constructfon of electrolevel gauges. Fig. routine calibrations were performed over a displacement range of 15 mm by mounting two opposing gauges on a micrometer winding frame graduated to 0.999 99) within the limits shown. Jardine & Brooks (1984) have carried out simultaneous measurements of surface strains for chalk specimens using foil strain gauges bonded to the sample and electrolevel gauges mounted on the membrane.15 %. SYMES AND BURLAND Stanless steel tubing Hinges A and B (bl Hinge C IO Fig. any relative movement between the membrane and the sample could be neglected. as shown in Fig. samples. Provided the sample is homogeneous the mean axial strain is given by half the sum of the outputs of a pair of two diametrically opposed gauges and the tilt is given by half the difference of the outputs. (a) Conversion of axfal strain to rotation of electrolevel capsule. Firstly.326 JARDINE. The ability to detect sample tilt is a valuable feature of the gauge. The resolution and range of the gauge have been determined by a two-part procedure. LVDT on the central axis of the winding frame so that the changes in output could be determined for . 2(c). 2. small travel. the hinge mechanisms have been improved by replacing the original brass pivots with polylluorotetraethylene (PFTE) and by simplifying the construction of the hinges themselves. To determine the resolution a second stage of calibration was carried out by mounting a high resolution. (c) effects of tilting The major difference between the instruments described in this Paper and the earlier designs lies in the geometrical configuration which permits their use on 38 mm dia. A third order polynomial regression analysis can then be used to model the characteristic (with a typical correlation coefficient of 0.01 mm. In addition to geometrical changes. The gauges are fully submersible and have been tested at pressures of up to 1500 kPa. The experiments showed that. The gauges rely on the radial effective stresses to anchor the footings to the sample under test. Gens (1982) used an optical technique to demonstrate that the membrane only moves in relation to the sample when large strains are developed. as are the tubular arms BC and AC. A typical displacement voltage characteristic is presented in Fig. The capsule which protects the electrolytic level from the action of pressure and water is constructed from stainless steel. It should be noted that if the sample tilts when loaded the output from each gauge is made up of a strain component and a tilt component. over the considered strain range of 0.



clay clay Reconstituted Reconstituted Reconstituted Reconstituted Reconstituted Intact Intact Intact North Sea clay North Sea clay RMl RM2 HRSl HRS2 LCl North Sea clay North Sea clay Ham river sand Ham river sand London clay London clay Upper Chalk Upper Chalk Remoulded LI=O. The Ham river sand is a uniformly graded. Tests carried out by Gens (1980) on another low plasticity clay showed similar . = 0. Skinner & Vaughan. Name Material Sample preparation OF SOIL STIFFNESS 329 Consolidation details OCR before shearing 1.4 R2 R4 R8 11 I2 13 North North North North North North Sea Sea Sea Sea Sea Sea clay clay clav cla. chalk used for tests Cl and C2 was a strongly cemented material in which bond type and strength might be expected to dominate the stress-strain behaviour..4 -1.05 3. 6) K. which is a weakly bonded material that can develop a reorientated fabric on thin shear bands after failure. 6) Lightly overconsolidated in situ. (see Fig. R1. 1981). EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS Reconstituted samples of low plasticity clay The effective stress paths followed by the reconstituted samples Rl.4.. 6) K. 1968) where stiffness would be principally conditioned by the initial stresses and preconsolidation stress level. In contrast the intact.l%. (see Fig. Test Rl reached peak deviator stress at an axial strain of O. 6. R4 and R8 during undrained shear are presented in Fig. 6 two important observations can be made. R4 and R8 all demonstrated sharp changes in stress path direction at axial strains of less than 0. in each case there was a certain stress level where the paths sharply deviated and then travelled on to failure. angular sand in which stiffness could be expected to be mainly related to its mode of deposition. From Fig. The London clay samples were considered to be typical of weathered lower London clay. Swelled back after sampling Not consolidated Not consolidated Isotropically consolidated Isotropically consolidated Overconsolidated 10 43 4 1 - 132 404 226 199 345 363 Cl LC2 c2 in situ then sampled As above Cut from quarry face isotropically consolidated As above types. the effective stress paths followed by the tests were initially both nearly vertical and straight.4 2. and tests R1.1 >50 - (initial): kPa 267 206 158 106 65 474 508 46 PO Rl R1. R2. unfissured. when tested.O9 Pluviated R. then sampled As above. 6) K. (see Fig. (see Fig.73 7. and thus. initial stress and density. It is important to appreciate that for many practical problems the working stresses will lie on the vertical portions of the stress paths where the strains are very small. reconsolidated ‘field stresses’ Heavily overconsolidated in field. However.149 Pluviated R. Unbonded low plasticity clays are materials which may be expected to demonstrate many of the features incorporated into critical state descriptions of soil behaviour (Schofield & Wroth. often displays a number of characteristics which diverge from the predictions of critical state soil models (see Lupini. In every test yield was approached after the development of only very small strains. First. R2. Second. (see Fig.2%. the stress path for the normally consolidated sample Rl shows brittle behaviour with a marked reduction in strength beyond 0.1 El. The latter portions of the effective stress paths were taken as representing the post-yield portion of each test.MEASUREMENT Table 1. together with the deduced contours of developed axial strain (the strain shown in this figure is the average strain from diametrically opposite pairs of electrolevels).18 Remoulded LI=O. = 0.4. 6) K.848 intact intact 1 intact Intact K.0 1.1% strain.

R4 and R8 are summarized in Table 2. R8 behaviour. 12 and I3 are given in Fig. is not meant to imply that the soil behaviour is strictly elastic.. it equalled 4. It is apparent that the initial stiffnesses obtained using local instrumentation are very much higher than the values commonly measured in routine soil triaxial testing. The initial applied effective . 8(a) where the initial. If.0% the ratio of E. Intact samples of tow plasticity clay The stress paths for tests 11. up to and including peak deviator using the same strain axes. In Fig.'+ 03')/2. 1983) it is probable that these loops would not have been observed.4 and R2 close to failure. R1. R2.4. The characteristic variation of stiffness with strain is similar in all tests. The use of the secant modulus E. postsampling. R4.4 and R2 demonstrate that lightly overconsolidated clay shows a particularly high normalized stiffness at low strain. Again it can be seen that the strains over the initial range of stresses are exceedingly small. The stress-strain be- haviour is non-linear and at strain levels above 1. North Sea day stress paths for tests Rl. with the strain required to achieve peak strength steadily increasing with OCR. While the existence of high initial stiffnesses has been postulated to explain anomalies between observed and predicted field behaviour (see Simpson et al. but the results from tests R1. Figure 7(a) shows the stress-strain characteristics of the reconstituted samples of low plasticity clay. As discussed later. In order to allow a meaningful analysis of the initial stiff zone the strains have been replotted to a logarithmic scale in Fig. can be seen to fall to more familiar levels.1% strain gives a measure of the differences between local and external strain rates. at large strains. 7(c) the stiffness characteristics of the samples are examined by plotting the normalized secant modulus EJc. 1979) the results given in Figs 6 and 7 demonstrate that laboratory tests are capable of revealing both the high stiffness and the detailed nature of pre-yield behaviour. R2.330 JARDINE. The data from tests Rl./c. SYMES AND BURLAND 125(-contours of axialStrain%I loo- 150 200 (IT. In each case the local rate slowly increased until. instead of measuring pore pressures at the base. 7(b). The latter figure shows a remarkably consistent trend.5% per day. The scatter in the early stages of test R2 was caused by vibrations from a nearby motor and demonstrates that the new gauges perform best in a still environment. The column giving the times to reach El = 0. 6. normal anisotropic consolidation reduced many of the potential errors in external strain measurement. and has merely been taken as a convenient measure of soil stiffness. kPa 250 300 -251 Fig. effective mean stress for sample I1 is represented by point A and the reconsolidation effective stress path for sample 12 is given by the broken line BC. Small loops are apparent in the stress paths for samples R1. a central piezometer probe had been used (Hight.

give much larger strains than the values measured locally on the sample. The observed errors in conventional overall measurements of strain are discussed in a later section. Referring again to Fig. which was tested unconsolidated undrained. and details of the sample’s initial conditions are given in Table 1.4. The EJc. The values of EJc. for 11 and 12 fall within the limits of the stiffnesses found from the reconstituted tests (see Fig. stress-sti data. In contrast. 6) whereas the path followed by the heavily overconsolidated sample 13 is similar to those followed by R4 and R8. even though corrected for load cell and apparatus compliance. sampling.1% to 0. yielded at axial strains of 0. 8(a). Parameters from tests 11. 8(b). against strain on semilogarithmic axes. Tests on London clay. A comparison between the stress-strain response of samples 11 and 12 shows that reconsolidation of 12 produced only a slight change in stiffness. 12 and 13 are given in Table 2. all three intact samples demonstrate yield with a sharp deviation in the effective stress path. Although the samples The i a$ R4 asa 0 1 2 (a) 3 4 (‘4 3200 Tests Rl. Summary parameters for tests RMl and RM2 are given in Table 2. R4 and R8: (a) Fig. as are the strain levels at various stages of the tests. The stress paths followed during tests HRSl. which also shows the strain levels at appropriate . 10(a). sample 11. the shapes of the stress paths and the pattern of strains are similar to those given by the overconsolidated samples of intact and reconstituted clay.MEASUREMENT OF SOIL STIFFNESS 331 stress for sample 13 is represented by point D. samples I2 and 13. The post-yield effective stress path for the anisotropically consolidated sample 12 differs markedly from that for the comparable reconstituted sample Rl (see Fig. like the reconstituted samples. It is apparent that the strains deduced from external measurements of deflexion. The detailed stress-strain and stiffness plots are given in Fig. Indeed the conventional measurements completely mask the initial stiff behaviour of the intact material. it is of interest to compare the externally and locally measured strains for test 11 since this test is typical of routine high quality testing of intact samples. curve for sample I3 can be seen to lie below the band of stiffness values determined for 8 2 OCR 3 1. axial strains which developed during shear are indicated in the same figure. (c) StsIwss characteristics had not been preloaded. Ham river sand and chalk The intial conditions for the tests LCl and LC2 (London clay). R1. These errors are discussed more fully later. bonding. as was the case for the reconstituted tests. With regard to the strains. The comparison is shown in Fig. 7(b)). showed a less stiff behaviour between the attainment of 0. The detailed stress-strain characteristics for tests 11.2%. (b) stiessstraia data. or macrofabric features could all be responsible for such differences.12 and 13 are shown in Fig. The stress paths for the two experiments on the remoulded samples RMl and RM2 are shown in Fig. 9 as plots of (or’-u3’)/2 and EJc. HRSl and HRS2 (Ham river sand) and the two chalk tests Cl and C2 are given in Table 1. but within a range that might be extrapolated for highly overconsolidated samples. 8(a). R2.1% axial strain and the peak deviator condition. However. 9 and may be seen to fall in the range extrapolated for overconsolidated intact or reconstituted samples. HRS2 and Cl and C2 are given in Fig. Ageing.0 with reconstituted material. 7.

: test results Test E. The stress paths of the chalk tests Cl and C2 are compared in the same figure. 7 r(c. The post-failure behaviour can be seen to be characterized by a @’ = 30” 300- (Anal strams mdlcaled in %) 600 (9’ RM2 (31 + n3’)/2.0 x lo5 lo5 lo5 10’ lo5 lo5 lo5 lo4 lo4 lo4 10’ lo5 lo5 lo5 lo6 lo6 kPa Rl R1.353 0.~.~O. peak strengths were developed. JARLXNE..723* 0.03’ equal to 1331 kPa and 1620 kPa respectively.24x 1. intervals.331 0..387 0. The sand experiments showed a stiff response to loading over the initial portions of each test but the samples rapidly lost stiffness as the stress paths approached the dilatant part of their state boundary surface.l % in each test.503 0. The samples showed stiff behaviour up to brittle failure at a.278 0.13x 5. Intact and remoulded stress paths for tests 11.43 x 9. @ 0.01 % 1820 3690 3320 2400 1690 2000 2700 540 660 1090 270 430 1010 1200 4220 2500 3 @O.i)would be 32 min.0 1085 1142 123 100 1350 1600 5 c.6 x 9.386 0.20 x 5.333 0.075%. In both tests failure was initiated by cavitation of the pore- water. For a rate of strain of 4.9 x 1. and neither sample achieved an undrained critical state condition.7 x 4.=O.187 0.~.01 %: kPa 2.IE. 8(a).270 0.407 0. The failure strains for tests Cl and C2 were both around 0.332 Table 2.3 x 2.26 x 1. kPa Fig. W. After yield the stress paths curved to the right and climbed the state boundary surface until.I)t: min 38 49 52 65 105 100 59 126 156 72 90 59 55 65 510 587 * Since both samples failed at +<O.340 0..’ .Ol L was taken here as E.4 x 2. RMl and RM2 . at large strains.4 R2 R4 R8 11 I2 13 RMl RM2 HRSl HRS2 LCl LC2 Cl c2 122 122 108 94 67 255 275 173 39.5 85.5 % per day tcO. @Jo.10x 7.OO.22 x 4.371 0. SYMES AND BURLAND summary of c.854* I:(“.r) corresponds to the time taken to develop E. I2.185 0.50 x 359 x 2.9 x 4..518 0.Ol 830 2 180 2 270 2 130 1740 1080 1460 2 030 2 430 2 180 2 200 1210 550 600 15 500 11000 % 0.

12.12.MEASUREMENT 300 OF SOIL STIFFNESS 333 1 Ultlmatec __u = 255 kPa __- Local measurements IELI Overall corrected measurements (~2 Comparison 100 Apparent linear Eu = 4. which equalled those of the low plasticity clay at low strains but exceeded them at strains above 0. Eufcu = 188 FL. (a) The chalk samples showed brittle behaviour with failure occurring at ~~2 0. I2.01 0. % 0 005 0.0% axial strain until peak strengths were mobilized at strains of 4. (a) Stress-stain data for tests 11.0 of tuIcu calculaled E /c f&l FL from E/C Ir& ~~ and E '. (b) Awal strain (b) EC % 9. RM2 and R2 Fig. Stress-strain data for test I1 (al \ 2400 \ \ \ \ Only test 12 athned peak devtator at an axial strain below 5% progressive weakening with the effective stresses roughly following unloading paths. 10(b). 13. Both tests showed a steep postpeak loss of strength.5% respectively. The chalk samples also showed the most linear behaviour.0 1% . which summarizes the results of all the tests reported in this Paper. In contrast.1%. The stress paths both deviated to the right after the attainment of 1. The plots demonstrate the following main points. 8(b). The stress-strain and stiffness characteristics for the tests described in this section are summarized in Fig.075%.8 X 10’ elasrlc modulus kPa. The stress paths for tests LCl and LC2 are shown in Fig. (a) stiffness characteristics for tests 11. RMl and RM2. the London clay and sand samples failed only after developing large strains.13. The chalk tests Cl and C2 gave the highest normalized stiffnesses. RMl. .1 1. and examination of the samples after testing showed that polished shear surfaces had formed within the specimens. Both samples showed an initially stiff response to loading which persisted up to axial strains of around 0. . 11 together with Fig.” c 2353 2000 667 147 172 140 Fig.5% and 3.

7 i: o-4 04 0.002 i 002 n /. 175 200 250 kPa 300 (cl’ + 0. (a) Tests on chalk and Ham river sand: stress paths for HRSl. (b) stress pati for tests LCl and LC2 (axfaf strains: %) .2 02 01 007 0.02z 0~0040. SYMES AND BURLAND 1200 1 $ a" I -g 8OC 4oc C (0.01 0. 10. Cl and C2. .’ + 03’)/2 (4 kPa 20 m % N.1 ” “. HRs2. c 6 &y K LC2 /fA .1 0 05 0.334 1600 JARDINE.’ O o_eLCl 50 ‘t 80 1OU 120 150 10 50 0.‘)/2: @I Fig.

Summary of normafhd (c) s_eS 0 01 01 (b) 10 10 The London clay tests showed stiffness characteristics which were similar to that of heavily overconsolidated or remoulded. 100 O- OCI. and comprehensive studies of soil stiffness at low strains are rare. (a) Stressstraio data for tests Cl and C2.01 Fig. RM2. HRS2.MEASUREMENT OF SOIL STIF’F’NESS 500 O- 335 400 O- 300 O"= '1 UJ 200 O-! 300. The test results from all the experiments are further summarized in Table 2. (b) stres+stmfn data for tests HRSl and HRS2. low plasticity clay.alStrain % EL WI 1 11. 13 and R8. (d) The normalized stiffness characteristics for the Ham river sand. LCl andLC2 Fig. INTERPRETATION Axial strain q: % 0. continuing the trend demonstrated by the dilatant samples of low plasticity clay in tests RMl.1 Ax. form a lower bound to all the results. (c) stress-strafn data for tests LCl and LC2. . the chalk and the Ham river sand in order to highlight some of the factors influencing soil stiffness. C2. More detailed discussions of the small strain behaviour of London clay and Ham river sand are given by Costa Filho (1980) and Daramola (1978). It is recognized that much more experimental work is required using the new techniques before general conclusions can be drawn. (d) stitbws characteristicsfor tests Cl. HRSl. These properties may then be compared with the limited number of results from the tests on the London clay. In the past most laboratory studies of the stress-strain characteristics of soils have been hampered by the errors that are inherent in conventional triaxial testing.001 0.01 0. 12. particularly for overconsolidated soils. The test programme on the low plasticity clay provides a body of data which can be used for evaluating the small strain undrained stressstrain properties of that material. experiments HRSl and HRS2.

E. particularly at large strains. For unconsolidated tests on intact or remoulded samples the disagreement between local and external corrected measurements is most severe. consolidated (b) (cl (4 Mean axial strain % EL: Fig. c was around SO times larger than the compliance of the samples themselves.+ A. are plotted against the ratio E. 8(b) (referred to previously) in which the locally and externally measured strains are plotted against shear stress for test Il. Errors in conventional stiffness measurements Figure 1 shows that the overall measured deflexion in a triaxial test is given by A=AL+AT+ABT+AS+AeB+A. and E. can be (a) For normally. is the external strain corrected for the compliance of the load The last observation is emphasized in Fig. can be an order of magnitude greater than Ed. 13 in which the local measurements of axial strain. This can be explained by non-parallelism of the sample ends.. A measure of tilt in relation to axial strain is given by the ratio (or... R2. then the apparent strains measured by the electrolevel gauges would equally overestimate the larger local strain .. and underestimate the smaller strain E~. + ~&/2.05% strain. is close in magnitude to the mean local strain. R4.4 x 10e4.. ./c. where c = (A. Tests on low pldkfty clay: comparison of internal and external corrected strain measurements samples the corrected strain. 13. unconsohdated cell and ram). as c = 5. the results obtained are sufficiently encouraging to warrant a preliminary discussion since a number of important observations can be made from the data presented in the previous sections.g. which will be based on comparisons between observed differences between the external and internal measurements of strain (b) general features of the observed soil behaviour at small strains (c) a discussion of the choice of parameters for the comparison and normalization of the experimental data.&. The maximum values observed for this ratio at various mean strains are summarized in Table 3. The initial slope of the apparent stress-strain line corresponds to E.. so that in tests Cl and C2. ._ = 0. Ed. To develop these points the discussion is divided into three main parts (a) an analysis of the strain errors implicit in conventional triaxial testing. (1) Calibration of the load cell and ram characteristics for the apparatus used in this testing programme showed that their combined compliance c could be taken. Clearly such deflexions are most important for strong materials. approximately. for example. give the illusion of nearly linear straining up to about 0. while the central portion of the sample was behaving in a much stiffer and less linear way. It should be noted that if the nonparallelism of the ends were to cause the sample to tilt when loaded. The difficulties in obtaining accurate load cell stiffness calibrations can lead to overestimates of the stiffness and thus produce values of FJQ_ less than unity. SYMES AND RURLAND 12./E~ for all the tests on the low plasticity clay (E. The significance of the remaining terms in equation (1) may be assessed from Fig. For the remoulded samples a ball seating was used and this accentuated tilting..Although a number of dual axis gauges would be required to describe fully the tilt experienced by a sample the mean axial strain can be computed from the data given by a pair of gauges as cc = (E.336 JARDINE.6% axial strain. differential bedding and top cap movements. which is more than 12 times smaller than the maximum secant EJc..sr. R8) the agreement between local and overall corrected measurements is far less satisfactory.190. For overconsolidated samples (e. Nevertheiess.. The bedding and other errors implicit in the corrected strain E. Four main conclusions drawn as follows.1% is to be observed. deduced from the local strain measurements at 0.1%.)/(e...~. + f&) = T the tilt ratio. The results show that the tilting action can be considerable and that the use of paired local displacement gauges is essential if the stress-strain behaviour below e.)/F mm/N and F is the deviator force in newtons. In general the strains measured by each pair of electrolevels during a test were dissimilar until the average local strain exceeded 0. 8. 10. anisotropically.

is Summarizing.0.JE.1% strain. and if 19r_~ negative T can exceed unity. where EUo.1 1. it is evident from Figs 6 and 14 that the small strain region for undrained compression can be extensive and the stress paths for many engineering problems will be within this region.1% contour coincides with the yield point for OCR= 1 but lies below it for OCR>l.0 1.8 0. 14 is not strictly a yield locus since drained effective stress paths parallel to. For example..7 2. etc. along the swelling line) could involve yield and large strains.0 Undrained Fig. Undrained stress path for OCR = 1. Such a low strain region is shown in Fig. is the undrained secant modulus at 0...(. An index of linearity is defined as L = E. E. 14 for a number of samples which have all been consolidated.05 0.)~. which was sampled and tested unconsolidated undrained. It may be expressed non-dimensionally as (E.0. but beneath.ol.. However.005 0. Small srrain behaviour It has been shown that the region of stress space within which the tested soils exhibit very stiff undrained behaviour is generally bounded by the 0.6 2.. 6). * For parallel straining f3r1= or and T = 0.4 0.o. Values of L are given in Table 2 and it can be seen that every test departed from straight line behaviour over its small strain range.. (E.. for specimen 11. conditions..9 0. Maximum tilt ratios observed for tests on low plasticity day Mean axial strain eL: % Tilt ratio T for intact and reconstituted samples* 2./c.01% axial strain.o..01 0. to the same maximum stresses before unloading to various overconsolidation ratios prior to undrained compression (see also Fig. it (e.5 0.9 0....1 1...1% strain contour shown in Fig.. as discussed in the next section.1% axial strain contour. Features such as bedding of the end platens and tilting of the sample can lead to serious underestimation of soil stiffness.H&I(HL.0 T = (on . The 0.. Specimens undergoing different stress history and/or modes of deposition prior to undrained testing will usually have different low strain regions. The 0.(. (a) Stiffness is given by the undrained secant (b) modulus at 0.. 14. and if the modulus decreases with strain L < 1. the initial undrained stress-strain characteristics may be represented by the following two indexes relating to stiffness and linearity..MEASUREhJENT OF SOIL STIFFNESS 337 Table 3. In general. it is found that even the most careful calibration of the load cell and ram deflexions is not sufficient to allow external measurements to be used to define the stressstrain characteristics of a soil accurately. Schematic drawiog of upper reconstftuted low plasticity day bound to small strain range for . + 0L2). For ease of comparison and presentation. the small strain region lies well below the region observed by shearing from the K0 swelling line (see Figs 6 and 8).g. under K.1 Tilt ratio T for remoulded samples* 2.lp~)o. Straight line behaviour then gives L = 1. The electrolevel devices described earlier in this Paper offer a simple means of circumventing the errors which invalidate the measurement of soil stiffness in conventional triaxial tests.

and then steadily reduced with increasing overconsolidation. intact and remoulded results fall within a far narrower scatter than the c. (1977) that. the remoulded tests RMl and RM2 give values which only correspond to the most heavily overconsolidated reconstituted samples. Ladd. 11(c) and 12 have also been normalized with respect to the peak undrained shear strength. - RM2 RMl OCR Fig. The two chalk specimens showed almost linear behaviour. The ratio (EJc. 9(b). Most engineers rely on correlations between stiffness and a related. the data show that (EU/c.)o. For example. but more readily obtained.‘). values for the chalk were similar to the maximum given by the North Sea clay. SYMFS AND BUFUAND Rl-4 R2 3000 Reconstituted MLC2 LCl c HRS2 .Ol quickly increased from the value at OCR = 1 to a maximum at an OCR of about 1. the use of c. probably. in comparable tests.. with (EJp. but the London clay . However.0) showed the smallest L value of 0. plot close to the curve for the reconstituted North Sea clay./c. plotted against OCR. 1973... Ishihara. residual... The London clay results fell roughly in the mid-range but the Ham river sand tests gave the smallest values of all. at 0.). The data for the comparative soils are also given in Fig. While the undrained shear strength depends on the conditions of testing. sample disturbance and soil macrofabric. I1 and I2 gave values between 1800 and 2700. was determined over given proportions of shear stress increment rather than the fixed strain increments used in this work. can be confusing in soils which develop orientated. ranged between 540 and 3700 for the low plasticity clay and the normally consolidated tests Rl.. macrofabric and cementation could produce different characteristics. summary au tests of the values of L increased with overconsolidation ratios. (EJcJ. method of formation and. The stiffness data given here in Figs 7(b).338 JARDINE. lying between 1700 and 2400. It has.)~. however. Although it is convenient to use the ratio EJc. is higher in ‘lean’ clays than in more plastic soils. but with the stiffness EUo. stress history.~. Figure 16 shows the same data as Fig. the ratio EJc.4. Results from the other tests reported here are shown as single points.. In the field. With other soils mineralogy. grading. perhaps fortuitously.. po’ will depend on KO and cannot be calculated with such certainty.185. to compare different soil types and initial conditions. 15. pO’can be measured in the laboratory without ambiguity. Choice of parameter for normalizing E.01% axial strain against OCR for the reconstituted low plasticity clay. The initial mean effective stress po’ acting in a sample has been used as an alternative parameter with which to normalize stiffness measurements (see Atkinson. the parameter cannot be considered to be fundamental since the undrained shear strength also depends on rate. been suggested by Ladd et al. Schlosser & Poulos (1977) presented stiffness data from SHANSEP tests which are normalized by c. for example. 15 shows the curve of EJc. Although the stiffness given by the intact samples of the same clay can be seen to follow approximately the same relationship. Foot. The normally consolidated tests again showed relatively low normalized stiffnesses but the other reconstituted. normalized result.. 15. HRSl I3-. total stress path. The results for the Ham river sand. It is not... Wroth. The stiffness of the normally consolidated sample Rl is perhaps misleading as the initial behaviour is probably controlled by the amount of time permitted for secondary consolidation. strain rate. Fig. common to carry out triaxial tests to determine undrained stiffness for purposes of practical design and analysis. structures in thin shear zones. for a single clay... parameter. and test Rl (OCR= 1. The data from the triaxial tests show that even with fixed rate of displacement compression tests there is a wide range in the ratio EJc. The undrained stiffness clearly depends on strain level. In their plots E. at present. 1971).. normalized by pO’ in place of c. In particular. The pattern demonstrated by the reconstituted low plasticity clay is familiar. 15 and show that the (E..

initial behaviour. Such stiff initial behaviour is therefore likely to be important in the analysis of many practical problems. and an effective stress approach is likely to be more useful when the small strain laboratory techniques are applied to drained behaviour. as described by Jardine.... Normally consolidated samples of intact and reconstituted samples of the low plasticity clay showed the least linear initial behaviour. In the first programme of tests using the new equipment observations have been made of the undrained stress-strain characteristics of soils which. The errors in the external measurement of displacement mainly result from tilting of the sample. London clay and intact chalk.. The attainment of 0. without local strain measurements...cll for specimens of chalk.1% axial strain generally coincided with a marked loss of stiffness and could be taken as the limit to the small strain range. Potts./E. simply and reliably.. From the experiments described in this Paper normalization by p. The work described here deals only with undrained stiffness in triaxial compression. In summary. The new technique was employed in a programme of tests principally on a low plasticity clay from the North Sea with additional comparative tests being conducted on Ham river sand..) which were lower than 0. but very stiff. resolves relative displacements to less than 1 urn over a range of 15 mm and is not damaged when the sample is taken to failure. The ratio Eu/po’ is seen to be less dependent on method of formation and stress history than E. The test results show that conventional external measurements of displacement contain errors which frequently mask the initial stressstrain characteristics of the soil and invalidate their use in the determination of soil stiffness..‘)o. where accurate radial strain measurements would be required.. c RMl RMZ 13 + 01 1 2 4 6 810 OCR 20 40 100 Fig. The limited number of comparative tests on other materials shows that the small strain characteristics of the low plasticity clay are not unique. Although more research is required into the factors controlling the stiffness of soils. Lightly overconsolidated conditions produced the highest values of the ratio. and gave values of L = (= Euo. The cemented chalk samples showed both the highest normalized stiffness and the nearest approximation to linear stressstrain behaviour. Although linearity steadily increased with overconsolidation ratio the largest value of L recorded for the clay was 0.407. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS A new technique is described for the accurate measurement of local axial strains on soil specimens in the triaxial apparatus...‘).. sand and London clay exceeded the results obtained in conventional tests.. was less sensitive to OCR and method of formation.)~. The strains are measured using an electrolytic level device which is simple to use.~. mean local axial strains in triaxial tests with a resolution of approximately 0. Correlation with the undrained effective stress paths shows that such a range extends over the main part of stress space in which soil would usually be considered elastic.. bedding on the end platens and the effects of compliance in the apparatus. rather than effective stress.)~. thus covering a wide spectrum of soil types. The values of (E. values but since their stiffnesses are probably controlled by bonding.~ and (Eu/p. and that the influence of many parameters (including rate and ageing effects) must also be assessed../p./p.~~~ was shown to be strongly dependent on OCR for the intact and reconstituted samples.~./c.. the techniques described in this Paper make it possible to detect. The chalk tests produced very high (E. The alternative non-dimensional ratio (E./c. Summary of all tests The stiffness ratio (E. It is evident that investigations are required into the more general behaviour of soils in the small strain range. finite element analyses have been carried out using constitutive models based on the experimental data./c. and heavily overconsolidated and remoulded samples showed the lowest. these values may be arbitrary.‘).001%.. could only be inferred from field measurements.2. and in each case the small strain behaviour was non linear. Fourie & Burland .’ would appear to be preferable for uncemented soils. In every test the low plasticity clay showed highly non-linear.MEASUREMENT OF SOIL STIFFNESS 3000r 339 results fall distinctly below the full line. 16.

REFERENCES ous and layered sand in triaxial compression. A. N. mission to publish the results. 4. J. 149-175. Prcc. J. (1983). & Burland. Burland. E.. M. B. (1971). W. In preparation. A. PhD thesis. Suggested methods for determining the strength of rock materials in triaxial compression. 2. An instrumented triaxial cell for cyc& loading of clay. N. (1982). Horizontal inclinometers for the measurement of vertical displacement in the soil around experimental foundations. (1978). L. R. (19801. & Wroth. In press. L. B. The settlement of foundations on chalk. 15. (1981). Giotechnique 32. who supervised the first small strain studies conducted by Dr L. PhD thesis. The Authors wish to acknowledge the importance of the contribution to this topic of Dr P. Soil Mech. J. J. ASTM STP 361. Potts. D. 347-361. A. B. Butterworths: London. London: McGraw Hill. Mr P. D. W. Cooke. & Phillips. Daramola at Imperial College. R. No. J. Stress deformation and strength characteristics. Y. & Thurairajah. Critical state soil mechanics.. Skinner. Costa Filho. F’roc. Brooks both provided particularly valuable contributions to the work. 0. Symp. ASK%4 Geotech. Rigden for his interest in the work and his perof in situ tests. University of London. Ladd. J.No. H. Vibrations of soils and foundations. W.4. M. (1978). J. J. Gt?oorech&ue 25. J. 181-213. Proc. B. Lo. & Burland.. U. Wroth. In preparation. H. A laboratory inuestigation of the small strain behaviour of London clay. Soil Mech. Jardine. Conf. The deformation of undisturbed London clay. Test. Yuen. (1979). J. Daramola. H. F. Field instrumentation in georechnical engineering. G. 1. B. D. 1. J. Stress-strain behaviour of soils. The determination of local displacements on soil samples. R. Hight. No. 1. G. 799-1815. (1968). which was funded by the Marine Technology Directorate of the Science and Engineering Research Council.. Schofield. J. Homogene- Gens. Gkotechnique 29. O’Riordan. SYMES AND BUFUAND (1984). An evaluation of test data for selecting a yield criterion for soils. Costa Filho and Dr 0. M.. C. Simpson. University of London. 0. (1974). (1975). Jardine. ASTM Geotech. K. Proceedings of the Roscoe Memorial Symposium. Arthur. K. The importance of small strain behaviour in the analysis of soil structure interaction. GPotechnique 31. R. Thanks are also due to Dr J. 7th Eur. Schlosser. which demonstrate that the initial small strain characteristics of a soil are of great importance in the analysis of engineering problems and the interpretation ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The samples of low plasticity clay from the North Sea were provided by BP International Ltd and the Authors are grateful to h4r W. F. J. University of London. & Wesley. Fourie. 1979 4. (1984). 2. 111-128. Discussion: Design parameters for soft clays.. L. A. Tokyo 3. Roscoe. & Price G. J. & Poulos. PhD thesis. Lupini. A. . A simple axial displacement gauge for use in the triaxial apparatus. 25-26. J. & Leonards. Cambridge: Foulis. Maswoswe. (1980). D. C. The influence of stress history on the deformation of sand. C. A. C. A computer model for the analysis of ground movements in London clay. B. & Croft. J. and also to thank their colleagues who have generously donated time and practical help to the work described. 4. 315-322. W. Vaughan. Brighton. Woods. Geomech. Test. Abstr. 4. & Vaughan. A. 657-670. 62-65. R. A. A new apparatus for measuring the principal strains in anisotropic clays.24-34. Laboratory Shear Testing. (1983). (1963). Brown. N. ASTM Geotech. F. Smith and Mr N. Foot. A. Austin. 145-152. Palmer. H. Test. (1984). R. J. 1970. Sci. A. K. K. Schofield. N. J. Rock Me& Min. R. PhD thesis. (1978). (1984). (1982). In preparation. Atkinson for his helpful comments. G. H. 47-51.. (1980). 9th Int. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall. Gkotechnique 32. (1984). No. J. Vogler. University of London. MSc thesis. Some aspects of the elastic behaviour of over-consolidated clay. Brooks. F. F. & Brooks. K. pp 112-125. E. P. M. J. & Symes. The drained residual strength of cohesive soils. C. Simple piezometer probe for the routine measurement of pore water pressure in triaxial tests on saturated soils.No. No. S. & Hall.. R. Ishihara. Bishop.. Stress-strain and strength characteristics of a low plasticity clay. Symes. J. N. (1973). Gens.. P. 293-305.. A hydraulic triaxial apparatus for controlled stress path testing.. & Overv.340 JARDINE. R. No. (1975). 3. & Kovari. University of London. D.. Giotechnique 25. M. P. Int. Conf. Richart. PhD thesis. 2. University of London. C.. Atkinson. The use of a new axial displacement gauge for the determination of rock stiffness. (1977).

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful