Deformation characteristics of medium-dense sand-clay mixtures under a principal stress rotation

Fedakar H. İ. , Cetin B., Rutherford C. J.

TRANSPORTATION GEOTECHNICS, vol.30, pp.1-15, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI Expanded)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.trgeo.2021.100616
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-15


A moving wheel load induces a principal stress rotation (PSR) in pavement foundation geomaterials including subgrade/subbase soils. Simulating such a stress condition is not possible with stress path tests conducted with conventional cyclic triaxial (CT) equipment. More complex stress paths such as a heart-shaped stress path are required to determine the deformation characteristics of these under a PSR. A heart-shaped stress path can be simulated on a  soil specimen in cyclic hollow cylinder (CHC) tests via user-defined waveforms for its stress components (axial stress, and torsional shear stress). In this study, a series of CT and CHC tests were performed to analyze the impact of a PSR on strain behaviors of medium-dense sand-clay mixtures. The specimens contained 0%, 5%, 10%, and 20% clay by weight and were prepared at an initial relative density of 50%. All specimens were anisotropically consolidated under K0≈0.5. It  was determined that all CT specimens underestimated the strain performances (both axial strain and shear strain) of the sand-clay mixtures. On the other hand, a heart- shaped stress path was simulated successfully in CHC tests and thus, all specimens yielded more accurate strain results. At low clay content (≤10%), the impact of a PSR on strain performances of the sand-clay mixtures was observed to be less (axial strain (εz) <0.12%, and shear strain (γzθ) <0.8% after number of load cycles (N) =5000) due to the low stress ratios (CVSR =0.15 and η =1/3). On the other hand, despite the low stress ratios, a PSR caused a rapid increase in axial strain and shear strain (εz =5%, and γzθ >0.8%) of the specimen containing 20% clay, which resulted in the failure of the specimen at N =478. Results of this study clearly indicated that the effect of a PSR should be taken into consideration while evaluating the strain characteristics of the sand-clay mixtures that contain clay particularly at high contents (≥20%) under traffic loads.