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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 relationship 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 retention, the relationship between soil water content and tensile strength shows hysteretic characteristics. Furthermore, this relationship was found to develop upon repeated drying and re-wetting cycles. This has implications for the degradation of near surface material on engineered infrastructure slopes. © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group.

Publication metadata

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

Editor(s): Nasser Khalili, Adrian Russell, Arman Khoshghalb

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Sixth International Conference on Unsaturdated Soils, UNSAT 2014

Year of Conference: 2014

Pages: 1501-1505

Print publication date: 05/06/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

Publisher: CRC Press


DOI: 10.1201/b17034-1

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9781138001503