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Direct Shear Test

1. Objective :-

The objective of the test is to measure shear strength of soil as well as different shear parameters (cohesion and internal angle of friction).

2. Equipment used :- Shear box consisting

a) Shear box 6 cm square and 3.6 cm height. It is divided into two parts

Lower part and upper part.

b) Grid plates ,

c) Loading pad with a steel ball on top

d) Loading frame ,

e) Set of weights,

f) Proving ring having least division of (10/23)kg

g) Dial gauge having least division .0127 mm

h) Tamping rod

i) Set of weights for normal load ,

j) Base Plate

3. Test Procedure:-

a) We have used medium sand . So the box is filled up by two layers .

Metal grids are placed below and top of the specimen. The metal grid have liner slots

perpendicular to direction of shear force.

b) Shear box assembly is mounted on loading frame. Lower part of the box is

set to bear against the loading jack and upper part with a proving ring to measure shear

load and dial gauge for displacement measurement.

c) Loading yoke is put on the top of loading pad . suitable normal load is put

on the hanger of the loading yoke. d) Two locking screw is removed before applying horizontal load. Load is applied by electrically driven motor. e) For each 10 dial gauge reading proving ring reading is measured for a particular normal load. Shear load is measured by multiplying (10/23) with PRR reading. Deformation is found by multiplying .0127 with dial gauge reading. Shear stress and normal stress is calculated by dividing area parallel to the direction of shear force.

Shear stress =

Shear strain =

(=36 2 )



f) Determination of shear strength -

A curve is plotted between maximum shear stress for each normal stress and corresponding normal stresses to form failure envelope . The inclination of the line with abscissa gives the angle of internal friction. As we used sand so cohesion is zero. We have assumed failure plane as horizontal.

g) Shear stress corresponding to shear strain is plotted. From them we find Initial tangent modulus and secant modulus of elasticity.

4. Results :-

Angle of internal friction (Ø)= 35 0

We also can determine initial tangent modulus and secant modulus from shear stress vs shear strain curve -

Normal Load(kg/cm^2)

Maximum shear

Initial tangent

















5. Discussion :-

We obtained the angle of internal friction (Ø)=35 0 -from shear stress Vs Normal stress plot.Cohesion (C)= 0

So our sample is Dense sand (Internal friction angle is 29 0 to 37 0

During test

a) The plane of shear failure is predetermined which may not be the weakest plane

b) As test is progressed area under shear decreased .Corrected area should be used.

c) There is an effect of lateral restrained by the side of the wall.

6. Conclusion :-

However the test is largely used in spite of its disadvantage because it is easy to perform & for unconfined undrained test it takes very less amount of time.


a)”Soil Mechanics & Foundation” by -Dr. B.C. Punmia , Ashok Kumar Jain, Arun Kumar Jain