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Assessment of Soil Stiffness

by
Ir. Chua Chai Guan
IEM Evening Talk on 18 Oct 2012
Presentation Outlines
1. Definition of soil stiffness
2. Assessment of basic soil properties
3. Assessment of soil stiffness from laboratory testing
4. Non-linear soil stiffness
5. Conclusions
Definition of Soil Stiffness
Definition of Stress & Strain
Normal Stress
Shear Stress
Volumetric Strain
Shear Strain
Definition of Stiffness Stress-Strain Behaviour
Hookes Law of
Isotropic Elasticity
F
ued
=
F(1 - u)
(1 + u)(1 - 2u)
K =
F
3(1 - 2u)
6 =
F
2(1 + u)
Typical Stress-Strain Curve For Soil & Definition of
Tangent and Secant Modulus
likely to change simultaneously so there will be shearing
and volumetric straining together. The behaviour of stress-
strain for soil is largely non-linear stiffness.
Basic of Partial Safety Factor Limit Strain for A
Mobilized Strength
(after Bolton, 1993)
Assessment of Basic Soil Properties
Grading Curve for Particle Size Distribution
Classification of Coarse and Fine Soils
(BS5950:1981)
% of clay & silts < 35%
% of clay & silts >= 35%
Coarse Soils
Fine Soils
1
st
Question to Audiences:
% of clay & silts < 35%
% of clay & silts >= 35%
Coarse Soils
Fine Soils
Is 35% (after omitting boulder and
cobbles) of boundary used to
divide coarse and fine soils
appropriate?
Differentiate SILT and CLAY using PI Chart
PI = 0.73(LL-20)
Water Content and Unit Weight
- The most convenient measureable parameters are water content
(w) and unit weight ()
- e = wG
s
for saturated soils and G
s
is specific gravity (~2.65 for quartz
sand)
= (G
s
+e)/(1+e)
w
for saturated soils
- Important mechanical properties to tell-tale the soil compressibility
Differences of Coarse-Grained and Fine-Grained Soils
- The specific surface of clays is minimum 50,000 time more
than sands
- Fine-grained soils show significant volume changes as the
- Effects of surface forces are relatively important for fine-
grained soils
Activity=
PI/(% by weight of
clay)
Self-weight force
Inter-particle
force on contact
area
Packing of Coarse-Grained Soils
Cubic Array
n =0.47
Densest array
n =0.25
- Specific volume (v)= V/Vs
where V = the volume of a sample containing a volume Vs of soil grains
- Void ratio (e) where e =Vw/Vs for saturated soil, v= 1+e
- Porosity = Vw/V for saturated soil
Coarse-
grained soils
consistency
Dr e n
kN/m
3
v.loose 0.2 1.13 0.53 17.7
loose 0.4 0.93 0.48 18.5
m.dense 0.6 0.73 0.42 19.5
dense 0.8 0.53 0.35 20.8
v.dense >0.8 <0.44 < 0.3 22.0
Dr = (e
max
e)/(e
max
e
min
)
e
max
= 1.3 and e
min
=0.3
Type of soils specific vol void ratio porosity unit weight
v e n
kN/m3
montmorillonite 10 9 0.9 11.7
Kaolin 3 2 0.7 15.5
Range of Specific Volume for Fine-Grained Soils
Under large loads, the specific volume of clay soils may be reduced to as little as v=
1.2 as the flat clay plate become nearly parallel
Atterberg Limits Basic Behaviour of Fine-Grained
Soil
Liquid limit determines the
water content at which the soil
has weakened so much it starts
to flow like a liquid
Plastic limit determines the
water content at which the soil
has become so brittle that it
crumbles
Limits of Consistency for Soils
Generalized Stress-Strain Response for Various
States of a Soil
LI < 0
Brittle Solid or
Semi Solid
0 < LI < 1
Plastic Solid
LI > 0
Liquid
Consistency of Fine-Grained Soils
Consistency Identification Undrained
Strength
cu, kPa
SPT N, blow
counts/30cm
Very soft Extrudes between fingers < 20 0 2
Soft Easily moulded in fingers 20 40 2- 4
Firm Moulded by strong finger
pressure
40-75 4- 8
Stiff Cannot be moulded in
fingers
75-100 8-15
Very Stiff Brittle and very tough > 150 15 - 30
w LL & LI = 1, c
u
~ 1.5kPa and
w PL & LI = 0, c
u
~ 150kPa
Example of Good Presentation of Subsoil Profile
(After Lehane 2003)
35%
Ground Water Table from Water Stand Pipe
Monitor the Fluctuation of Water Table
Summary of Basic Information Required For
Assessment of Soil Stiffness
Information Required Basic Properties
Soil Types Fine-grained & coarse-grained
Particle Size Distribution Dominant grain size/Soil origin
Unit Weight & Specific Gravity Stress Profile and Void Ratio & Soil
Consistency
Moisture Content Void Ratio and Soil States
Atterberg Limit LL, PL and PI, LI & Soil Consistency
Ground Water Table Stress Profile & Max Stress
Assessment of Soil Stiffness from Laboratory
Constrained Modulus E
oed
from Oedometer
(After Janbu 1963)
Typical Range of E
oed
m = 0.5 for SAND
= 0.75 for SILT
= 1 for CLAY
E
oed
e
o
~ wG
s
where w = natural moisture content
G
s
= specific gravity = 2.65~2.7
n = e/(1+e)
E
oed
(After Von Sooss 2002)
E
oed
ref
= 60I
D
MPa
e
max
= 1.3
e
min
=0.3
E
oed
Grained Soil)
(After Engel 2001)
c
c
= 0.9(w
L
-0.1) by Terzaghi & Peck 1967
E
oed
ref
= 230(1+e
o
)/c
c
1+e
o
~ 2.0
(After Kulhawy and Mayne 1990)
Compression Index (c
c
and c
r
) vs PI
c
c
=(PIxGs)/200 ~ PI/74
(after Atkinson,1993)
c
s
~ 5c
c
E
oed
ur
~ 5E
oed
Modulus E
50
from Drained Triaxial Test
Modulus E
50
using Janbu Formula
E
50
=E
50
ref
c
i
x
P
rc]
m
m = 0.5 for SAND
= 0.75 for SILT
= 1 for CLAY
Relationship Between E
50
ref
and E
oed
ref
E
50
=E
50
ref
c
i
x
P
rc]
m
E
oed
=E
oed
ref
c
i
j
P
rc]
m
o

i
=o
x
1-

E
ocd
=
E(1 - :)
(1 + :)(1 - 2:)
E
Su
rc
E
ocJ
rc
= (
1 - :
:
)
m
(1 - 2:)(1 + :)
(1 - :)
SAND m= 0.5
v ((1-v)/v)^0.5 (1-v)/((1-2v)(1+v)) E
ref
50
/E
ref
oed
0.2 2.00 1.11 1.80
0.25 1.73 1.20 1.44
0.3 1.53 1.35 1.13
0.33 1.41 1.50 0.94
0.35 1.36 1.60 0.85
0.4 1.22 2.14 0.57
0.45 1.11 3.79 0.29
0.49 1.02 17.11 0.06
SILT m=0.75
v ((1-v)/v)^0.75 (1-v)/((1-2v)(1+v)) E
ref
50
/E
ref
oed
0.2 2.83 1.11 2.55
0.25 2.28 1.20 1.90
0.3 1.89 1.35 1.40
0.33 1.68 1.50 1.12
0.35 1.59 1.60 0.99
0.4 1.36 2.14 0.63
0.45 1.16 3.79 0.31
0.49 1.03 17.11 0.06
CLAY m =1
v ((1-v)/v) (1-v)/((1-2v)(1+v)) E
ref
50
/E
ref
oed
0.2 4.00 1.11 3.60
0.25 3.00 1.20 2.50
0.3 2.33 1.35 1.73
0.33 2.00 1.50 1.33
0.35 1.86 1.60 1.16
0.4 1.50 2.14 0.70
0.45 1.22 3.79 0.32
0.49 1.04 17.11 0.06
Modulus E
50
u
from Undrained Triaxial Test
E
u
50
= 3G
50
E
50
u
=
2c
u
s
]
E
50
u
=200c
u
if
vf
= 1%
Modulus E
50
u
from C
u
and Plasticity Index
E
u
50
=
15000C
u
I
p
%
For NC Clays
E
u
50
=
15000C
u
I
p
%
For NC Clays
2nd Question to Audiences:
Is E
u
50
a stress-
dependent parameter ?
Summary for Soil Stiffness Assessment from
Laboratory Test
- Always be coupled with the knowledge of basic soil
properties, particularly on moisture content &
stress level & plasticity index (for fine-grained soil)
- Cross-check using different tests e.g. Oedometer
and Drained Triaxial Test or Undrained Triaxial Test
- Cross- reference with typical range of soil stiffness
for various soil types
Non-Linear Soil Stiffness
Soil Stiffness Non-linear Stress-Strain Behaviour
(after Atkinson, 2000)
Soils are packed with
collection of grains
mineralogy, shape and
texture.
Soil Stiffness Yielding and Plastic Straining
=
e
+
p

p
related to
y
by hardening law
(after Atkinson, 1993)
Soil Stiffness Rigidity and Non-linearity
(after Atkinson, 2000)
-Rigidity = E
o
/q
f
=1/
r
-Non-linearity =
f
/
r
-
r
is a reference strain
Soil stiffness is principally related to
peak strength and both of them
increase with effective stress and
overconsolidation
Rigidity and Non-linearity for some common
materials
(after Atkinson, 2000)
Rigidity
Non-linearity
Characteristic Stiffness-Strain Behaviour
(after Atkinson, 2000)
(after Atkinson & Sallfors, 1991 and Mair , 1993)
very small strain
small strain
large strain
Variation of Stiffness with Strain, Stress & OCR
(after Atkinson 1993)
0
o
p
u
= A(
p
i
p
u
)
n
R
o
m
(State parameters A, n, m varies for different soils
Parameters for Current State (Isotropic stress)
(after Atkinson, 2000)
volume state
stress state
Variation of Stiffness with State Parameters for
Reconstituted Kaolin Clay
(after Viggiani & Atkinson 1995)
n = 0.65
A=2000
m=0.2
Variation of Stiffness with State Parameters for
Carbonate Sand
(after Jovi i & Coop, 1997)
n = 0.58
A=4000
Material Parameters for G
o
(after Viggiani & Atkinson 1995)
All these parameters A, n & m are related to plasticity index
Typical Values of Strength and Stiffness of Soils
All these parameters A, n & m are related to plasticity index
80MPa
600MPa
80kPa
400kPa
Variation of rigidity with state and plasticity index
(after Atkinson, 2000)
Variation of Failure Strain with State
(after Atkinson, 2000)
Non-linear Stress-Strain Expression for Soils
(after Georgiannou et al. 1991, Coop et al. 1997, Cuccovillo & Coop 1997 &
Atkinson 2000)
E
t
E
o
=
1 - (
e
]
e
)

1 - (
e
]
e
o
)

o
= 0.0005% for low plasticity silts

o
= 0.005% for high plasticity clays

o
= 0.0001% for unbonded coarse grained soils

o
= 0.02% for bonded soils and soft rocks
r = 0.1 to 0.5

o
= 0.001%
= 0.1%
E
s
/E
o
= 0.2
E
s
/E
o
= 0.5
Variation of E
s
/E
o
with rigidity and non-linearity
(after Atkinson 2000)
= 0.1%
E
s
/E
o
= 0.5
E
s
/E
o
= 0.2
Application of Non-Linear Stiffness for Design
(after Atkinson, 2000)
(Settlement of model foundation on
sands and clay)
(Stiffness-strain curve from triaxial)
Summary for Non-linear Soil Stiffness
- Soil stress-strain behaviour is highly non-linear
- Non-linear behaviour can be characterized by
rigidity and degree of non-linearity
- Very small strain-stiffness is measurable from field
shear wave velocity or bender element test
- Peak strength and failure strain measurable from
routine laboratory test
- Stiffness is related to its composition and to its
current state
Conclusions
- The objectives of assessment for soil stiffness should be clear
particularly for the range of strain level for the targeted
application (dynamic or static, small strain or large deformation)
- Basic information e.g. particle composition, unit weight, moisture
content, Atterberg limits and fluctuation of ground water table
should be gathered for the assessment of soil stiffness
- Always cross-check the measured soil stiffness using different
tests or correlation to basic soil properties