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Cyclic relationship between saturation and tensile strength in the near-surface zone of infrastructure embankments

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ross Stirling, Dr Paul Hughes, Dr Colin DavieORCiD, Professor Stephanie Glendinning


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The near surface properties of engineered fill have a significant impact on its engineering behaviour. A common way in which soil will change is through cracking due to the effects of desiccation, vegetation and climate. This has an impact on soil mass permeability, strength and stiffness and hence slope failure susceptibility. Knowledge of the tensile strength and degree of saturation relationship is essential to understand the development of desiccation cracking. This paper presents a study to establish the cyclic rela-tionship between tensile strength and soil water content in a re-moulded glacial till. Testing was conducted using a direct tensile strength test modification to standard direct shear apparatus. As with the soil-water re-tention, the relationship between soil water content and tensile strength shows hysteretic characteristics. Fur-thermore, this relationship was found to develop upon repeated drying and re-wetting cycles. This has impli-cations for the degradation of near surface material on engineered infrastructure slopes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stirling RA, Hughes PN, Davie CT, Glendinning S

Editor(s): Khalili K, Russell A, Koshghalb A

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Unsaturated Soils: Research and Applications

Year: 2014

Pages: 1501-1505

Print publication date: 05/06/2014

Publisher: CRC Press

Place Published: London


Notes: Paper presented at: 6th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils (UNSAT2014, Sydney, Australia, 2-4 July 2014)

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138001503