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# Shear Strength

of Soils

## Duration: 17 min: 04 sec

N. Sivakugan 1
Shear failure
Soils generally fail in shear

embankment

strip footing

resistance

## At failure, shear stress along the failure

surface reaches the shear strength.
Shear failure

failure
surface
The soil grains slide
over each other along
the failure surface.

No crushing of
individual grains.

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Shear failure

τ
σ

## At failure, shear stress along the failure

surface (τ ) reaches the shear strength
(τ f). 4
Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion

τ f = c + σ tan φ
e lo p e φ
re env
failu
friction
cohesio
n τ f
angle
c
σ
σ
τ f is the maximum shear stress the soil can take
without failure, under normal stress of σ . 5
Mohr-Coulomb Failure Criterion
Shear strength consists of two components:
cohesive and frictional.
τ

τ
τ f = c + σ f tan φ
f σ f tan frictional
φ
φ sive nt
compone
c e nt
c h
co pone
com
σ σ
f

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c and φ are measures of shear
strength.
Higher the values, higher the shear
strength.
Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope

Y
X X
Y Soil elements at
σ
different locations
X ~ failure

Y ~ stable
Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope
The soil element does not fail if
the Mohr circle is contained
within the envelope

GL

σσ
Yc σ
c σ σ c+∆

Initially, Mohr circle is a point c σ
σ
Mohr Circles & Failure Envelope
circle becomes larger…

GL

σσ
Yc σ
c σ
c

## .. and finally failure occurs

when Mohr circle touches the
envelope
Orientation of Failure Plane
Failure plane
Y oriented at 45 +
φ /2 to horizontal
45 + φ /2
GL
45 +
φ /2

σσ φ
Yc σ 90+
φ
c σ σ c+∆
c σ
Mohr circles in terms of σ & σ ’
σ σ v’ u
v
σ σ
= +
X X h
X u
h ’

effective stresses
total stresses

σ h σ v’ σ σ
’ h
u v
Envelopes in terms of σ & σ ’
Identical specimens
initially subjected to
different isotropic

stresses (σ c) and then
σ σσc f

σ σ c
c
uf
Initially… Failure

c,
φ
in terms of σ
At failure,

σ 3 = σ c; σ =
1
c’, φ ’
σ c+∆ σ f
in terms of
σ 3’ = σ 3 – u f ; σ 1’ = σ 1 σ ’
- uf
Triaxial Test Apparatus
piston (to apply deviatoric stress)

failure plane
O-ring

impervious
membrane
soil sample at
failure
porous
stone
perspex cell

water

cell pressure
pore pressure or
back pressure
pedestal volume change

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Types of Triaxial Tests
deviatoric stress
(∆ σ )

cell pressure σ c

yes no yes no

## Consolidated Unconsolidated Drained Undrained

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Types of Triaxial Tests
Depending on whether drainage is
allowed or not during
 initial isotropic cell pressure
application,
 shearing, and
there are three special types of triaxial
tests that have practical significances.
They are:

## Consolidated Drained (CD) test

Consolidated Undrained (CU) test
Unconsolidated Undrained (UU) test

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For unconsolidated
undrained test, in
terms of total
stresses, φ u = 0

## Granular soils have For normally consolidated

no cohesion. clays, c’ = 0 & c = 0.
c = 0 & c’= 0
CD, CU and UU Triaxial Tests
Consolidated Drained (CD) Test
 no excess pore pressure throughout
the test
 very slow shearing to avoid build-up of
pore pressure
Can be days!
∴ not desirable

 gives c’ and φ ’

## Use c’ and φ ’ for analysing fully drained

situations (e.g., long term stability,

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CD, CU and UU Triaxial Tests
Consolidated Undrained (CU) Test
 pore pressure develops during shear
Measure 
σ’
 gives c’ and φ ’

##  faster than CD (∴ preferred way to find c’

and φ ’)

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CD, CU and UU Triaxial Tests
Unconsolidated Undrained (UU) Test
 pore pressure develops during shear
Not measured = 0; i.e., failure envelope
∴σ ’ is horizontal
unknown
 analyse in terms of σ  gives cu
and φ u
 very quick test

## Use cu and φ u for analysing undrained

situations (e.g., short term stability,

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σ 1- σ 3 Relation at Failure
σ 1

X σ 3

σ σ
3 1

## σ 1 = σ 3 tan (45 + φ / 2) + 2c tan( 45 + φ / 2)

2

σ 3 = σ 1 tan ( 45 − φ / 2) − 2c tan( 45 − φ / 2)
2
σ Stress Point
v
σ X
h

τ t stress point
stress point

(σ v-
σ h)/2
σ σ σ s
v
(σ vh+σ h)
/2 σv −σh
t=
2
σv +σh
s=
2 22
Stress Path
Stress path
is the locus
τ t of stress
points

Stress path

σ s

## Stress path is a convenient way to keep track of the

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Failure Envelopes

τ t failur
e
φ tan-1 (sin φ )

## c c cos φ stress path

σ s

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Pore Pressure Parameters

## A simple way to estimate the pore

pressure change in undrained
changes ~ after Skempton (1954)

σ 1
∆u = B[ ∆σ 3 + A( ∆σ 1 − ∆σ 3 )]
Y ∆
σ 3
∆u Skempton’s pore pressure
=? parameters A and B
Pore Pressure Parameters
B-parameter

B = f (saturation,..)
For saturated soils, B ≈ 1.

Af = f(OCR)