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# Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

## DIRECT SHEAR TEST

1.0 OBJECTIVE
To determine the parameter of shear strength of soil, cohesion,C and angle of
friction,.

## 2.0 LEARNING OUTCOME

At the end of this experiment, students are able to :
Determine the shear strength parameter of the soil
Handle shear strength test, direct shear test
3.0 THEORY
The Direct Shear Test is used for determination of the consolidated drained (or
undrained) shear strength of soils. The test is performed by deforming a specimen at a
controlled rate on or near a single shear plane. The direct shear test is a laboratory testing
methods used to determine the shear strength parameters of soil. The test can be carried out at
different moisture contents; however, it is common to saturated the sample before running the
test. To achieve reliable results, the test is often carried out on three or four samples of
undisturbed soil. The soil sample is placed in a cubic shear box composed of a upper and
lower box. The limit between the two parts of the box is approximately at the mid height of
the sample.

The sample is subjected to a controlled normal stress and the upper part of the sample is
pulled laterally at a controlled strain rate or until the sample fails. The applied lateral load
and the induced strain are recorded at given internals. These measurements are then used to
plot the stress-strain curve of the sample during the loading for the given normal stres
Results of different tests for the same soil are presented in a chart with peak stress on
horizontal axis and normal (confining) stress on the vertical axis. A linear curve fitting is
often made on the test result points. The intercept of this line wit the vertical axis gives the
cohesion and its slope gives the peak friction angle. The shear strength is one of the most

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

important engineering properties of a soil, because it is required whenever a structure is
dependent on the soils shearing resistance.
The direct shear test is one of the oldest strength tests for soils. In this laboratory, a direct
shear device will be used to determine the shear strength of a cohesionless soil (i.e. angle of
internal friction (f)). From the plot of the shear stress versus the horizontal displacement, the
maximum shear stress is obtained for a specific vertical confining stress. After the
experiment is run several times for various vertical-confining stresses, a plot of the maximum
shear stresses versus the vertical (normal) confining stresses for each of the tests is produced.
The general relationship between maximum shearing resistance,f and normal stress, n
for soils can be represented by the equation and known as Coulumbs Law :

f = c + tan
where :

c = cohesion which is due to internal forces holding soil particles together in solid
mass

= friction which is due to the interlocking of the particles and the friction between
them when subjected to normal stress.

The friction components increase with increasing normal stress but the cohesion components
remains constant. If the is no normal stress the friction disappears. This relationship shown in
the graph below. This graph generally approximates to a straight line, its inclination to the
horizontal axis being equal to the angle of shearing resistance of the soil, and its intercept (
shear stress ) axis being the apparent cohesion, denoted by c.

## 4.0 TEST EQUIPMENT

i. Shear box carriage

v.

Retaining plate

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

5.0 PROCEDURES
1. By using vernier calipers for verify internal measurement. L for the length of the sides
and B for the overall depth.
2. The shear box must fix base plate inside. Porous plate must put then on the base plate.
Perforated grid plate must be fix over porous so that the grid plates should be at right
angles to the direction shear.
3. Two halves of the shear box by means of fixing screws must fixed.
4. Transfer the soil sample from the square specimen cutter to the shearbox by pressing
down on the top grid plate for cohesive soils. The compact soil in layers to the required
density in shear box for sandy soil.
5. The shear box assembly on the loading frame must be mount.
6. The dial of the proving ring to zero must be setted.

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

9. Remove the screws clamping the upper half to the lower half with carefully.
10. The test by applying horizontal shear load failure must be conducted. Rate strain should
be 0.2mm/min.
11. The reading of horizontal must be record and dial gauges at the regular intervals must be
force.
12. The test on the three identical soil samples under different vertical compressive stresses,
1.75kg, 2.5kg and 3.25kg must be conducted.

Specimen No.

:1
: 1.75kg

Displacement
Dail Gauge

L (mm)

20
0.04
40
0.08
60
0.12
80
0.16
100
0.20
120
0.24
140
0.28
160
0.32
180
0.36
200
0.40
220
0.44
240
0.48
260
0.52
280
0.56
300
0.60
320
0.64
340
0.68
360
0.72
380
0.76
400
0.80
420
0.84
440
0.88
460
0.92
480
0.96
500
1.00
520
1.04
540
1.08
560
1.12
580
1.16
600
1.20
620
1.24
640
1.28
660
1.32
680
1.36
Specimen No. : 2

Proving Ring
Dail Gauge
10
15
20
35
40
41
42
43
44
45
47
48
50
51
51
53
53
54
55
55
56
57
58
58
59
59
60
61
61
62
63
64
64
64
: 2.5kg

(kN)
0.0875
0.1313
0.1750
0.3063
0.3500
0.3588
0.3675
0.3763
0.3850
0.3938
0.4113
0.4200
0.4375
0.4463
0.4463
0.4638
0.4638
0.4725
0.4813
0.4813
0.4900
0.4988
0.5075
0.5075
0.5163
0.5163
0.5250
0.5338
0.5338
0.5425
0.5513
0.5600
0.5600
0.5600

Shear Stress
(kN/m)

Strain

24.31
36.46
48.61
85.07
97.22
99.65
102.08
104.51
106.94
109.38
114.24
116.67
121.53
123.96
123.96
128.82
128.82
131.25
133.68
133.68
136.11
138.54
140.97
140.97
143.40
143.40
145.83
148.26
148.26
150.69
153.13
155.56
155.56
155.56

0.00067
0.00133
0.00200
0.00267
0.00333
0.00400
0.00467
0.00533
0.00600
0.00667
0.00733
0.00800
0.00867
0.00933
0.01000
0.01067
0.01133
0.01200
0.01267
0.01333
0.01400
0.01467
0.01533
0.01600
0.01667
0.01733
0.01800
0.01867
0.01933
0.02000
0.02067
0.02133
0.02200
0.02267

Displacement
Dail Gauge
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
400
420
440
460
480
500
520
540
560
580
600
620
640
660
680
700
720
740
760
Specimen No.

L (mm)
0.04
0.08
0.12
0.16
0.20
0.24
0.28
0.32
0.36
0.40
0.44
0.48
0.52
0.56
0.60
0.64
0.68
0.72
0.76
0.80
0.84
0.88
0.92
0.96
1.00
1.04
1.08
1.12
1.16
1.20
1.24
1.28
1.32
1.36
1.40
1.44
1.48
1.52
:3
: 3.25kg

Proving Ring
Dail Gauge
(kN)
10
0.0875
20
0.1750
23
0.2013
24
0.2100
29
0.2538
31
0.2713
33
0.2888
36
0.3150
38
0.3325
39
0.3413
41
0.3588
43
0.3763
44
0.3850
45
0.3938
48
0.4200
49
0.4288
50
0.4375
51
0.4463
52
0.4550
53
0.4638
54
0.4725
55
0.4813
57
0.4988
59
0.5163
60
0.5250
61
0.5338
62
0.5425
63
0.5513
64
0.5600
65
0.5688
66
0.5775
67
0.5863
68
0.5950
69
0.6038
70
0.6125
71
0.6213
71
0.6213
71
0.6213

Shear Stress
(kN/m)

Strain

24.31
48.61
55.90
58.33
70.49
75.35
80.21
87.50
92.36
94.79
99.65
104.51
106.94
109.38
116.67
119.10
121.53
123.96
126.39
128.82
131.25
133.68
138.54
143.40
145.83
148.26
150.69
153.13
155.56
157.99
160.42
162.85
165.28
167.71
170.14
172.57
172.57
172.57

0.00067
0.00133
0.00200
0.00267
0.00333
0.00400
0.00467
0.00533
0.00600
0.00667
0.00733
0.00800
0.00867
0.00933
0.01000
0.01067
0.01133
0.01200
0.01267
0.01333
0.01400
0.01467
0.01533
0.01600
0.01667
0.01733
0.01800
0.01867
0.01933
0.02000
0.02067
0.02133
0.02200
0.02267
0.02333
0.02400
0.02467
0.02533

Displacement
Dail Gauge

L (mm)

20
40
60
80
100
120
140
160
180
200
220
240
260
280
300
320
340
360
380
400
420
440
460
480
500
520
540
560
580
600
620
640
660
680
700
720
740
760
780
800
820
840
860

0.04
0.08
0.12
0.16
0.20
0.24
0.28
0.32
0.36
0.40
0.44
0.48
0.52
0.56
0.60
0.64
0.68
0.72
0.76
0.80
0.84
0.88
0.92
0.96
1.00
1.04
1.08
1.12
1.16
1.20
1.24
1.28
1.32
1.36
1.40
1.44
1.48
1.52
1.56
1.60
1.64
1.68
1.72

Proving Ring
Dail Gauge
(kN)
10
0.0875
18
0.1575
22
0.1925
28
0.2450
31
0.2713
38
0.3325
47
0.4113
53
0.4638
58
0.5075
64
0.5600
66
0.5775
71
0.6213
75
0.6563
78
0.6825
80
0.7000
81
0.7088
85
0.7438
89
0.7788
91
0.7963
92
0.8050
93
0.8138
96
0.8400
98
0.8575
100
0.8750
106
0.9275
110
0.9625
110
0.9625
114
0.9975
115
1.0063
116
1.0150
117
1.0238
120
1.0500
121
1.0588
122
1.0675
122
1.0675
123
1.0763
124
1.0850
125
1.0938
126
1.1025
126
1.1025
127
1.1113
127
1.1113
127
1.1113

Shear Stress
(kN/m)

Strain

24.31
43.75
53.47
68.06
75.35
92.36
114.24
128.82
140.97
155.56
160.42
172.57
182.29
189.58
194.44
196.88
206.60
216.32
221.18
223.61
226.04
233.33
238.19
243.06
257.64
267.36
267.36
277.08
279.51
281.94
284.38
291.67
294.10
296.53
296.53
298.96
301.39
303.82
306.25
306.25
308.68
308.68
308.68

0.00067
0.00133
0.00200
0.00267
0.00333
0.00400
0.00467
0.00533
0.00600
0.00667
0.00733
0.00800
0.00867
0.00933
0.01000
0.01067
0.01133
0.01200
0.01267
0.01333
0.01400
0.01467
0.01533
0.01600
0.01667
0.01733
0.01800
0.01867
0.01933
0.02000
0.02067
0.02133
0.02200
0.02267
0.02333
0.02400
0.02467
0.02533
0.02600
0.02667
0.02733
0.02800
0.02867

20 x 0.002
60

= 0.00067

1 cm = 10 mm
1 m = 100 cm
1 m = 1000 mm
L = 60mm

60mm x 1cm x 1m
10mm x 100cm
= 0.06m

A= Lx L
= 0.06m x 0.06m
= 0.0036m2

## SPECIMEN NO. 1 (LOAD, F = 1.75 kg )

Use the fiveth reading with displacement 200
DISPLACEMENT
L = 200 0.002 = 0.40 mm

P = 45 0.00875
0.3938 kN

SHEAR STRESS
=P/A

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

i=

0.3938
0.0036

= 109.38 kN /m

STRAIN
L=L/L
i = 0.40mm / 60mm
= 0.00667

NORMAL STRESS
= P/A
=

1.75 x 9.81
0.0036 1000

= 4.77 kN/m

## SPECIMEN NO. 2 (LOAD, F = 2.5 kg )

Use the first reading with displacement 300
DISPLACEMENT
L = 300 X 0.002 = 0.60 mm

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

P = 48 0.00875
0.42 kN

SHEAR STRESS
=P/A
0.42
0. 0036

i=

= 116.67 kN /m

STRAIN
L=L/L
i = 0.60mm / 60mm
= 0.01000

NORMAL STRESS
= P/A
=

2.5 x 9.81
0.0036 1000

= 6.81kN/m

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

SPECIMEN NO. 3 (LOAD, F = 3.25 kg )
Use the third reading with displacement 400
DISPLACEMENT
L = 400 X 0.002 = 0.80 mm
92 0.00875

P=

0.805 kN

SHEAR STRESS
=P/A
i=

0.805
0.0036

= 223.61 kN /m

STRAIN
L=L/L
i = 0.80mm / 60mm
= 0.01333

NORMAL STRESS

= P/A
=

3.25 x 9.81
0.0036 1000

= 8.86 kN/m

## Graf For Specimen N0.1

0.03
0.02
0.02
0.01
0.01
0
shear strengh (kN/m)

Strain

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

0.03
0.03
0.02
0.02
0.01
0.01
0
shear strength (kN/m)
Series 3

starin

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

0.03
0.03
0.02
0.02
0.01
0.01
0
shear strength (kN/m)

strain

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

8.0 DISCUSSION
A direct shear test also known as shear-box test is a laboratory or field test to measure
the shear strength properties of soil or rock material, or of discontinuities in soil or rock
masses. Depending on the equipment, the shear test can be either stress controlled or strain
controlled. In the stress controlled tests, the shear force is applied in equal increment until
the specimen fails. The failure occurs along the plane of split of the shear box. After the
application of each incremental load, the shear displacement of the top half of the box is
measured by horizontal dial gauge. While the strain-controlled test, a constant rate of shear
displacement is applied to one-half of the box by a motor that acts through gears. The
constant rate of shear displacement is measured by a horizontal dial gauge. The test is
performed on three or four specimens from a relatively undisturbed soil sample. A specimen
is placed in a shear box which has two stacked rings to hold the sample; the contact between
the two rings is at approximately the mid-height of the sample. A confining stress is applied
vertically to the specimen, and the upper ring is pulled laterally until the sample fails, or
through a specified strain. The load applied and the strain induced is recorded at frequent
intervals to determine a stress-strain curve for the confining stress.

Direct Shear tests can be performed under several conditions. The sample is normally
saturated before the test is run, but can be run at the in-situ moisture content. The rate of
strain can be varied to create a test of undrained or drained conditions, depending whether
the strain is applied slowly enough for water in the sample to prevent pore-water pressure
buildup. Several specimens are tested at varying confining stresses to determine the shear

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

strength parameters, the soil cohesion (c) and the angle of internal friction
(commonly friction angle) ( ). The results of the tests on each specimen are plotted on a
graph with the peak (or residual) stress on the x-axis and the confining stress on the y-axis.
The y-intercept of the curve which fits the test results is the cohesion, and the slope of the
line or curve is the friction angle.

9.0 CONCLUSION
According to the graph shear stress against strain obtained from this experiment, we
found out the maximum value of shear stress were taken when the value of shear stress
remain constant. The maximum shear stress obtained from this experiment are
Specimen 1

155.56 kN/m2

Specimen 2

172.57 kN/m2

Specimen 3

308.68 kN/m2

Question 1
a)

## Why perforated plate in this test with teeth?

The purpose that perforated plate in this test with the teeth is to grip the soil. This is to
ensure the soil does not move and slide away from the metal plate because it produces a
force applied perpendicular to the soil. It also to increase the friction of the soil with the
plate surface to avoid movement.

b)

## Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory

The maximum value of displacement before stop the test for load 1.75kg is 1.36 mm
while for load 2.50kg is 1.52 mm. And then, for load 3.25kg is 1.64 mm.

Question 2
c)

What is the purpose of a direct shear test? Which soil properties does it measure?
This test is performed to determine the consolidated-drained shear strength of a sandy to
silty soil. The shear strength is one of the most important engineering properties of a
soil, because it is required whenever a structure is dependent on the soils shearing
resistance. The shear strength is needed for engineering situations such as determining
the stability of slopes or cuts, finding the bearing capacity for such as determining the
stability of slopes or cuts, finding the bearing capacity for foundations, and calculating
the pressure exerted by a soil on a retaining wall.

d)

Why do we use fixing screw in this test? What will happen if you do not removed them
during test?
Function of fixing screw to place the shear box in the direct shear device and to adjust
the gap space between the shear box halves. The fixing screws used to lock the two
halves of the shear box that does not move during the experiments conducted. If do not
removed the fixing screw during test, to make failure occurs is difficult.

11.0 REFERENCE
1. Geotechnical Laboratory Labsheet ( Direct Shear Test )
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_shear_test
3. http://www.civil.mrt.ac.lk/docs/direct_shear_test.pdf