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Proceedings of the Second European Symposium on Penetration Testing /Amsterdam / 24-27 May 1982

A method for determining the friction angle in sands

from the Marchetti dilatometer test (DMT)
SchmerImonn & Cropps Inc.. Gainesville. Florida. USA

1 INTRODUCTION We know that qD depends on factors other

than d -- perhaps most importantly on the
The mechanics of the D!iT consists of insitu effective stress conditions during
pushing or driving a 94 mm wide, 14 mm the measurement of d. The A reading
thick, steel plate with an approximate from the DMT measures the lateral stress
16 cuttfng edge into the soil and then against the sides of the dilatometer after
expanding a 60 mm diameter thin metal its penetration. The resulting Marchetti
membrane, mounted flush on one side of KD factor correlates at least approximate-
the plate, horizontally against the soil ly with the insitu horizontal stresses be-
by means of gas pressure. The test oper- fore the penetration. Thus, the DMT pro-
ator obtains two pressure readings in vides data about one of the most important,
approximately 1 minute: the A-pressure and usually undetermined, variables in
required to just begin to move the mem- determining bearing capacity -- the insitu
brane into the soil and the B-pressure horizontal stress. The analysis of DMT
required to move its center 1 mm into data therefore offers the possibility of
the soil. These tvo pressures provide separating the effects of the stress and
data relating to the insitu horizontal the d contribution to bearing capacity.
stress and soil modulus at the test The following describes such a method
depth. Thz operator then pushes/drives for determinine 8,, from the DVT:
to the nexr test depth, usually 0.2 m
deeper, and repears the A- and B-pressure
AND tiITCttELi< (D&Y)
readings, etc.. and thus obtains a verti-
cal profile of DHT data -- termed a D?fT
?!archetti has a!r~adv written exten-
sively [i,2,3,41 about his flat plate
These authors developed II t!reory for ti:e
dilatometer test and his semi-empirical
bearing capsc.icy of a rigid wedge in cun-
methods for predicting important insicu
nection with the Apollo lunar explL?rJtion
geotechnical parameters such 3s soil type,
program [5,6,7!. This theory improved on
lateral stress, preconsolidation stress,
the prior ones by Xeyerhoi and explicitI)
undrained strength of clays ond drained
cook account of the important variable of
compressibility modulus. This paper
horizontal stress as well as cone shape,
attemprs to add a rational methtld for
point angle, point material, and depth.
predicting insitu friction angles for
Ic seemed to i,ive successful interprcta-
sand to the usefulness of the DYT.
civns for relatively shallow depths of
The penerracion of the DXT involves a
penetration (D/B 30) during its lab
bearing capacit?: failure of an approxi-
verification stage [6]. and seemingly
mate plane-scrdin shaped penecrometer
reasonable results with the shallow pene-
(L/B = 7). Such a failure must involve
trations during the Apollo program. More
the drained frictional strength d,, of
recent papers, la.91 have shown that it
freely draining coarse soils. Thus, in
also appears to give reasonable predic-
principle, the bearing capacity of the end
tions for the much deeper penetrations
area of the dilatometer, denoted qD. offers
involved vfth static cone and dilatometer
the potential for evaluating d,,.
testing. Because of this success, and the


i0 u;f 4 @ 7 a f

assumed From [LOI From [lOI A0

= [l+sin d 1 FIG. 6 FIG. 18 (data -
(triaxial (DbM pre- predicted)
(bar) CbarP
data) dieted)
= 45% 0.61 41 38 112 +2 1/2O
= 70% 1.03 42.3 41 if2 +o.a
= 90% 0.65 44 l/2 43 l/2 +1o
7.5 1.14 39.8 38 +i.ao
do. 1.93 41.1 40 112 HI.60
1.205 43 l/2 42 1;2 +l
20 3.0 38 35 +3o
do. 5.1 39.3 38.3 +1.oo
3.2 41.9 40.1 +i.a
33 5.0 37.2 34.0 +3.2O
do. a.2 38.4 37.2 +1.2O
5.3 41.1 38.7 +2.4
46 7.0 36.5 33.3 +3.2O
do. 11.4 37.7 36.4 +1.3o
7.4 40.5 N.A.

3 ,ADDITIONAL PENETRATION FORCE MEASUREMENTS parative sets of logs, about 1 m. apart -

AND SEPARATION OF qD one of qc and the other the qDp required
to push down the dilatometer and its
pushrods (3.6 mm diameter as ordinarily
3.1 Additional thrust measurement:
used with the CPT). The parallelism be-
tween qc and qDp, despite the q, fluctua-
Berause the normal A and B measurements
t ions, suggests only small pushrod friction
during the DHT do not involve a failure,
effects and that a properly corrected
and the friction angle 8 relates to a
qDp might provide acceptable estimates of
failure condition, the writer considers it
necessary to make an additional measure- qn.
nnent with the DM that involves failure,
and suggests simply measuring the total 3.2 The net bearing capacity force:
static thrust force required to advance
th? dilatometer to each new DMT depth. FIGURE 3 herein illustrates the penetrating
Engineers can determine this value.routinr- dilatometer with the forces that act on it
1.2 when using the CPT hydraulic equipment in a vertical direction. The sum of these
:<I idvance the dilatometer. When driving forces must equal 0. Because the DMT .A-
the dilatometer, as vith the SPT hammer, pressure reading gives the horizontal soil
the engineer can use the equivalent static pressure against the dilatometer blade, the
for,.+ that matches the ENTHRUand blowcount engineer can make a good estimate of all
usin,: the methods presented in 011. the forces involved except one -- F,. the
Inrc of the total thrust required over- coca1 friction force between the soil and
5-ants the bearing Capacity, qD9 of the the rods above the friction reducing ring
lpprcximate 16 dilatometer point over the section above the dilatometer. A subse-
are> of the horizontal projection of the quent section will show that the engineer
%rchetti dilatometer (1280 mm2). Assum- can often reasonahly assume this force as
ing the existance of this total thrust F, = 0. With this assumption he o.r she
data. the evaluation of qD then becomes a can conveniently sum the forces and ex-
problem of extracting this bearing capa- tract the end bearing force Fe, which when
city from the total thrust. divided by the dilatometer end area of
FIGURES 1 and 2 show examples of com- 1280 mm2 gives qD.

4 COMPARINGTHE CPT qc AND THE DMT q0 between dps and da, that might apply be-
tween wedge and cone behavior.
4.1 Theorectically: The writer used their theory to solve
for NYq and C and obtained the results
The plane strain D&M theory also permits shown In TABLE42. The reader will see
the calculation of qc by means of a D6M that the ratio qD/qc does not vary signi-
shape factor correction and thus allows ficantly with Ko and D/B. For the pur-
the engineer to compare qD and qc over any Poses herein it seems reasonable to assume
desired range of the key variables involved that the ratio varies with only d.
-- namely. d. D/B. and K. D6M used the FIGURE 4 shows this variation and suggests
same equation (1) a simple linear equation (2) to express
the variation.
q = yBNyq Cyq . . . . . . . . . . . . .(I)

for wedge and cone penetrometers in co-

hesionless soils, with their different
bearing capacitfes accounted for by the
shape factor. The shape factor thus
tncludes the effects of any differences


Pt. N Ratio ave(qD/qc)

d D/B CY4
K. angle Yq
16O (Dm) 598 1.010
25O O-577 50 1.32
600 (CRT) 454
800 60 9,405 l.O 1.29

5 50 6: 1,077
833 l-2
800 6: 17,395 1 . 30
3o 0.5 50 6: 1,080
845 1:28 1.237

200 16 4,300 1.28 1.03

60 3,370

2 50 ;: 1,200
1.510 1.26

200 60
16 6.100
4,800 127
40 0.5 50 16 4,370 L.12 1.549
60 3,910
200 16 18.220 L . L5
60 15,900
2 16
50 7,350 *08 0.73
60 6,815
200 16 ;;*;;; 1.15
60 t
45O 0.707 50 16 LO.960 o *96 2.200
60 11,370
800 :, 204.960 1 o4 0.45
2 50 ;o 17.915 o . 92
800 16 ;;;6;; 1.06

p= penetratmn
REDUCER (using Rf - 1.0%)
D6H DMT CPT** $./4,7
Depth R dtps qD D6H
Imj (b) iEf? Dnr theory
= weight rods
+ dila tometer 3.6 4 33.9 54 68 0.79 4 0.94
0.1 33.4 47 0.69 0.96
0.2 32.7 41 0.60 0.99
Fr= friction
of soil along 7.8 Jo 38.9 137 185 0.74 J 0.74
0.1 38.2 112 0.61 0.77
0.2 36.9 89 0.49 0.82
= bearing along
rod C reducer 9.2 JO 29.0 18.4 39 0.47 J 1.14
_ 1 II

10.2 0 40.1 140 130 1.08 0.70

JO.1 38.5 107 0.82 J 0.76
on DH blade 0.2 36.1 70 0.54 0.86
4.6 O( 31.7 36 54 0.67 1.03
gD4= dilatometer 6.6 OJ 21.6 7.7 17 0.45 / 1.44
end bearing
10.6 OJ 36.5 81 87 0.93 J 0.84
0.1 35.8 64 0.74 0.87
= f(#l
/denotes best comparison
Fr = lrdR J , Rf 9, AZ . . . . . . eqn. (3)

The results in TABLE 2 show that the 1 * frict. reducer

qD/qc ratio falls on both sides of 1.0, above DM blade
depending on the value of d. If one ac- 2 = ground surface
cepts the validity of this theory for the
qD/q, ratio (the same theory used to ex- where d = pushrod diameter
tract dps from the DMT) it becomes pos-
Rf = CPT local friction ratio
sible to solve for the F, force for those . R= assumed portion of CPT local
cases where we have parallel CPT and DMT friction effective above
data. In this way the writer determined, reducer
as detailed subsequently, that the value
of F, in primarily sand soils probably ** Measured using Begemann mechanical tip
has so small a value that one may adequate-
ly, but admittedly non-conservatively,
simplify and assume F, = 0.

4.2 Field measurements of qD/q,:

TABLE 3 presents a summary of the compari-

sons obtained between the computer qD
(theory)/q,(measured) ratios for various
assumed F, and those predicted from the
above theory when using the d,, value
obtained by applying the theory to the DMT
and total thrust data at one sandy soil
site in Florida. The writer expressed
the Fr force as a fraction, R, of rod
friction as expected from the CPT friction
ratio data. These comparisons cover a
considerable range of depth and soil bear-
inp. strength in both silty and clean sands,
but from only one site in Florida. The P
writer then added the TABLE 3 comparisons FIGURE 4 - PREDICT:: qdq FROM DhH THEORY
The final 3 columns in TABLE 3 and the change in the material index, (b) shows
graphical comparison on FIGURE 4 show that an increase in KD, and therefore horizontal
for these comparisons the use of R - 0, stress. (c) shows an average 4O increase
meaning F, * 0, produces the best match ind' . Cd) shows a large decrease in
between the DMT-computed and DC&computed comprkibility. As illustrated by this
values of the (qD/q,) ratio. Because of example, the DMT and the proposed method
this check, and many seemingly reasonable for determining d' apparently permit the
predictions of d',, at other sites when separation of the stress and strength
using R = 0, the writer tentatively re- and compressibility changes that result
commends using the simplification that from a soil treatment such as dynamic
R = 0, or Fr - 0. However, considering compaction.
only this assumption, and the fact that
some positive F, must exist, the assump-
tion produces an error in d',, in the non-
conservative direction. This will tend to
reduce the conservatism discussed in
Sections 2.2 and 5.


(H ClX ?Oiin...(LGISP.CX)
From eqn. (1) the value of qD results from 0 . . . -50. . . .loo.
. .150.
. . .290.
the direct application of the D6M theory 1
after solving for the intermediate para-
meeer Nyq. The geometry of the dilato-
meter gives the angles involved in the
D&M equations for Nyq. with the exception
of dp,. On the other hand, the described ._-_:____
method for E-Valuating qD from the total

thrust data also involved determining the
elate fricrion force, Fp (see FIG. 3).
This force also depends on 6' = dips/2.
rhus, the present method produces two &-_-3-m * 30*
, ;
evaluations of qD, which one then equates. -2 i-
This produces only one unknown d , on :
both sides of an equation. By us!zg trial .z
values of 6 in suitable increments (the
writer uses 5, and a linear interpolat-
ins: over that increment for when the value i
_1--- ----_ ____
-_ _-- - __;_.
o.f :hr calculated d,, = the assumed ~5 s,
on= oh:ains !he value of 8,,. This va Pue
of dips produces added conservatism because
i>f a linear interpolation (up Co 0.2O for
;L lo increment).
_ a_m_______
2+* 40'T
from parallel D&

In addition to the computed da, and d,,

results presented in TABLES 1 and 3. the
writer has included other examples of the
results of the proposed method in the form
of depth-logs of d',,.
FIGURE 5 shows an example from Jackson-
ville, Florida, together with the q, log MEASUREDq SOUNDINGMG
from a parallel CPT sounding. Note how AND CALCU&ED #' USING
the predicted d',, pattern follows the
qc pattern. and the seemingly reasonable
27-40 range of the d' results.
FIGURE 6 shows DMT rizults from New
Mexico, USA, at a test site to check the
compaction of a fine sand layer by dynamic
compaction (DC). (a) correctly shows no


fb) KD (c) 6 (d) M = l/Ill



7 ESTI.?iATED 8,, VS. d,, VS. STRESS LEVEL for the TABLE 1 comparisons and they pro-
duced the reasonable, conservative pre-
The propused method of calculations 8 dictions shown.
from the DMT results obtains essentially
the plane strain d,, because the D&M
theory analyses the plane strain case and
the width/thickness ratio of the dilato-
The writer has used a bearing capacity
meter blade = 7.
theory made and verified by others to
Sometimes engineers want d,, values.
evaulate 6,, in coarse to silty sands.
as for conventional 2D slope stability
The application of this theory allows the
analyses or for the bearing capacity of
prediction of the plane strain Q,, vaIue
long footings. Sometimes they want the
from a Marchetti dilatometer test when the
axisyntmetric dtax values, as for the
dilatometer penetrates cohesionless soils
bearing capacity of circular or square
with the penetration force measured or
footings. Laboratory triaxial tests mea-
estimated. The method involves the appli-
sure d,,. 8pS I dax because of the
cation of complex formulas and therefore
plane strain constraint in the 3rd dimen-
requires programming into modern hand-held
sion. References E12.131. among others,
calculators or larger computers.
discuss the relationship between the two
The writer believes the proposed DMT-d
angles. The writer suggests the following
method capable of insitu evaluations of
eqn. (3) for an approximate comparison
peak d,, and d,, with acceptable, usually
het;_ren peak 4 values:
conservative, accuracy for many engineer-
D %
4*a)( = 8s - -L (IO) . . . . . . .(4) ing purposes. But, he has used the method
100 for less than two years, and only in the
USA and Canada. It has produced apparently
Engineers now commonly recognize the
good, but usually unchecked results. The
Bohr-Coulomb failure envelope for soils,
reader should consider it suitable for
including sands, has a distinct curvature
trial applications.
and that when c = 0 the secant d values
-xi11 decrease with increasing stress.
Each d,, result from DMT data as deter-
mined by the proposed method assumes c =
0 and represents a secant value associated
with a particular average normal stress
111 Marchetti, S., A new Insitu Test for
level on the D6M theory failure planes
the Measurement of Horizontal Soil
around the penetrating wedge. Durgunoglu
Deformability, ASCE -. of Conf.
and lMitchell did not determine such an
on In Situ Measurement of Soil Pro-
average stress. The writer has assumed
pert ies, Raleigh, NC, June 1975, Vol.
this stress on the average failure plane
II. pp. 255-259.
as the Rankine passive stress, which =
[21 Marchetti, S.. Determination of Design
(vertical overburden effective stress) x
Parameters of Sands by Means of Quast-
(I + sin d,,). The writer assumed this Statically Pushed Probes, --Proc. VII

ECSME, Brighton, 1979. Vol. 4. PP. c = Mohr-Coulomb effective cohesion
237-242. intercept
s., In Situ Tests by Flat D = depth of embedment of bearing
Dilatometer", ASCE Journal of the capacity surface, from ground
Ceotechnical Engineering Division, surface or diameter
paper 15290, March, 1980, pp. 299-321 = relative density, void ratio basis
[4J DisCuSsion of 3 by J.H. Schmertmann K,K, = lateral effective stress coeffi-
and Closure by S. Marchetti, ASCE, cient
J. GED. Vol. 107. No. GT6, pp. 831- = bearing capacity factor used in
837. D6M theory
I51 Durgunoglu, H.T. and Mitchell, J.K.. qc = static cone penetration (CPT)
SOILS", Research report prepared for 4D = dilatometer blade (DMT) bearing
NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C., capacity
April 1973, Univ. of California, 2 = depth below ground surface
Berkeley. R = angle in D6M theory associated
[6] Durgunoglu. H.T. and Mitchell, J.K.. with depth of embedment
SOILS", I-ANALYSES, II-EVALUATION OF 6' = effective friction angle between
THEORY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE", sand and penetrometer surface
ASCE Spec. Conf. on In Situ Neasure- = cone shape factor used in D&M
ment of Soil Properties, Raleigh NC, Theory
Vol I, 1975. pp. 151-189. o'ff = average normal effective stress on
[71 Mitchell, J. K. and Durgunoglu, H.T., the failure plane generated by
"IN SITU STRENGTH BY STATIC CONE the advancing DMT blade producing
PENETRATION TEST", Proc. 8th Int. a continuous bearing capacity
Conf. SMLFE, Moscow, Vol. 1.2, l/42, failure.
pp. 279-286. 6'lo = initial vertical effective stress
[81 Mitchell, J. K. and Lunne. T.A., "CONE at depth = D
RESISTANCE AS A ?lEASURE OF SAND d' = effective soil friction angle
STRENGTH", ASCE Journal of the CED, *'ax
= effective soil friction angle,
Vol. 104, GT7, July 1978, pp. 995- axisymmetric case
1012. d'ps = effective soil friction angle,
[9] Villet, W.C., and Mitchell, J.K. "CONE plane strain case
RESISTANCE, RELATIVE DENSITY Ah? (L = half-angle of penetrometer cutting
FRICTION ANGLE", ASCE Cone Penetra- edge
tion Testing and Experience, OCC.
1981. pp. 178-208.
[lOI Baldi, G., Bellotti, R., Chionna, V.,
Jamiolkowski, M., and Pasqualini, E., .ABBREVIATIONS:
SA..DS", ASCE Cone Penetration Test- CIti = consolidated istropically, un-
ing and Experience, Oct. 1981, pp. Jrained compression triaxial test
145-177. CPT = static cone penetration test
!I1 1 ',-hmerrnann, John H., "Statics Jf DC = ,iynamis compaction or dynamic
S!'T", hSCE -- .l,,urnalof the Geotechni- consolidation
&.n1 Engineering Division. paper i)&> = Durgunoglu and Xitchell
16573, ?lay, 1979, pp. 655-670. :P!T = Yarchetti flat plate dilatometer
.! _7 (Iorniorth, D.K., "SO?lE EXPERIMENTS
OS Lest
<:;TliKI' passing thru
>:i THE STRE:;(;THOF S<LvLuI)",
c;eotr<h- delivery system and reaching
:ris, Vol. XI\, 517. 2, iune, 196b. sampler
n. 1:3.
Journal SMSFD. May 1970. pp. 902-904.


B = least width or diameter of pene-


Reference from PennDOT CPT/DMT Manual


restricted this correlation to "normal" clay deposits with a significant clay

fraction a8 indicated by ID 5 0.9. Research since 1980 indicates that this
restriction should modified to ID 5 0.6, as shown above, and further, that
best results will be achieved in clays with ID 5 0.35.

"Abnormal" clays, not falling within this,correlation, are those in which

the increase in measured horizontal stress ratio is not a result of overburden
removal. They exhibit high RD values and a tendency to overpredict the actual
OCR. As a result, the undrained shear strength predicted by eqn. 4.2 is also
high. Sec. 4.11 further examines clays unacceptable for anaIysis by this
method, including aged, cemented, very sensitive and weathered crust clays.
At least for preliminary design though, the DMT prediction of su appears
sufficiently accurate for confident use in the clay deposits encountered in
oridinary geotechnical problems. These include primarily soft to medium, NC
to LOC, relatively young clays.

4.4.2 Drained Friction Angle bv Schmertmanu's Theoretical Procedure:

The first attempts at obtaining a drained friction angle, 6', from DMT
results were highly empirical. Then Schmertmann (1982) proposed a rational
method based on the back-calculation of d' from bearing capacity. His
approach uses the insertion thrust required to advance the dilatometer blade
in an analysis for the bearing capacity of a penetrating wedge. The equation
given below is then used to estimate the friction angle. This expression,
illustrated in Figure 4.18, is a summation of the vertical forces on the blade
during penetration. The calculation of the drained friction angle is
recommended only if the material index indicates a drained soil, ID > 1.2.



Note that the penetration of the blade may be approximated as a

plane-strain problem and, hence, the friction angle determined is a plane
strain parameter 0&. If desired, the plane-strain angle may be converted to
an axisymmetric value. Sec. 4.4.2 presents a procedure for this conversion.
The bouyant force on the rods is comparatively small and could be ignored,
but, since it is easily calculated, has been included. If the rod friction is
assumed to be negligible and the angle of frictional resistance between the
soil and the steel dilatometer blade is equal to half of soil's internal
friction, then !?& may be solved for as shown below:

tan (0&2) = 1 TRRUST - (r/4) x RODIAM2 x u. x 1.019

- (DMAREA + (n/4) x DFRIC2 - B x DFRIC) x qf
+ RODWT x (2s + 2) ] / FR (4.5)

e& = Drained friction angle of the soil - plane strain
TRRUST = Insertion thrust (kg)

RODIAM = Drill rod diameter (cm>

uo = porewater pressure prior to insertion of the
dilatometer (bars)
DMAREA- Bearing area of the dilatometer (12.9 or 14.4 cm2)*
B = Thickness of the dilatometer (1.37 or 1.5 cm>*
DFRIC = Diameter of the friction reducer (cm>
qf = Durgunoglu and Mitchell bearing capacity
(kg/cm21 - see following explanation
RODWT = Drill rod weight per unit length (kg/m)
zs = Test depth (m) - Note: 2 m added in equation
to account for rods above ground
FH - Horizontal force normal to the dilatometer blade,
(PO - uo) x blade area (= 355 cm21 x 1.019
po = Corrected dilatometer "A" reading (bars)
* varies with the geometry of blade

For this method, the analysis developed by Durgunoglu and Mitchell (1975)
as part of the Apollo Lunar Exploration Program is used to estimate the
bearing capacity contribution. This theory was developed from model testing
at shallow depths but has been proven accurate for deep foundation problems
also. The choice of the Durgunoglu and Mitchell approach was based in part on
its unique inclusion of the lateral stress coefficient, K. This parameter is
not widely used in bearing capacity theories but the effect of lateral stress
can be significant. Unfortunately, the shape of the assumed failure surface

L: is not altered by the value of K and, hence, the solution is not "coupled"
with the lateral stress coefficient. The results obtained using this theory,
J however, have been found acceptable (Schmertmann, 1982 and Bellotti et al.,
1983). Its use is recommended until a better analysis becomes available.

A A synopsis of the Durgunoglu and Mitchell bearing capacity is given on

the following page and an illustration in Figure 4.19. To simplify the
L calculations, several assumptions are made as noted. Chief among these is the
assumption that the depth to thickness ratio of the dilatometer (D/B) exceeds
the critical value and thus #is equal to @G,. This is generally true at
L depths greater than approximately 0.3 m. If this condition were not satisfied
it would be necessary to perform an iterative solution for $6. The D&M theory
does not explicitly consider soil compressibility, possible progressive
L bearing capacity failure, the effects of shear strain or excess porewater
pressure. As noted by Schmertmann (19821, these omissions tend to reduce the

L: calculated bearing capacity and produce a conservative estimate for 66,. This
is especially true of loose sands. Conversely, due to the increased
i penetration resistance, cemented and strongly dilatent sands usually yield

Li friction angles in excess of the actual value. The thrust measured in these
soils includes an additional contribution to the bearing capacity due to
cementation and/or negative pore pressures that is improperly interpreted as
additional 8.


The Durgunoglu and Mitchell bearing capacity is calculated as shown:

9f = (4.6)

cos($-6) (l+sin$ sin(2y-4)) COS2(Y-l$)

Nm = cos6 cos$ cos(v-6) 4cos2rLcosf$ I8

+ 3cos(y-0) cos2f3 e200tan$ cm 2 co@. cos$

- jm') - K
4cos& cos$ cos(Y-4J)
- (m-m')* -
COSJ, co!+ ,3 --tan$
(m+2m') + K cos(y_4) r,

m= D/B ( 4.8)
m'= Dg/B = sinf3 cos(y-0) ,(e,tanQ
2cosJI co.54

tan Y= (sin+ +dl + 2cosf$ ) / (2 + COSC$) ( 4.10)

JI= 9o" - a x 4.11)

eo = 180' - (++v> + B ( 4.12)

I, = Itan+ { e3'otan0 cosB - COS!80-13)l
( 4.13)
1+9tanz41 I
* + I,3eotan4
sinf3 + sin(ec-8))

9f = D and M bearing capacity (kg/cm2)
Y6VC = Average effective unit weight for the soil above
the dilatometer blade (t/m31
Thickness of dilatometer blade = 0.0137 or 0.015 m *
Bearing capacity factor
Shape factor = 1 for wedge penetration
Penetrometer angle (deg)
Half of dilatometer base angle = approx. 8 deg
Angle to vertical tangency of failure surface,
assumed = 66, (deg)
L Angle of plane shear zone, originally an iterative
solution but simplified by assumption for 6 (deg)
Dilatometer to soil friction angle, = 66, /2 (&g)
6= Drained soil friction angle, plane-strain = 66, (deg)
m= Ratio of dilatometer depth (D) to blade thickness
m' = Ratio of distance between blade tip and vertical tangency
of failure surface ("critical depth") to blade thickness
80 = Defines logarithmic failure surface angle (deg)
K= Coefficient of lateral earth pressure, assumed = K,

* varies with the geometry of the blade


By now the reader is no doubt overwhelmed by the calculational complexity

of this method. Obviously the use of modern computers is of significant
benefit. The solution of eqn. 4.5 requires the iterative procedure listed

1) Make an initial estimate for @is.

2) Solve eqns. 4.8-4.13 for their respective parameters
3) Calculate Ko as shown in Sec. 4.5
4) Substitute the parameters obtained in steps 2 and 3 into eqn. 4.7
to find the N q bearing capacity factor
5) Find an average unit weight for the soil profile above the
dilatometer and solve eqn. 4.6 for the bearing capacity.
6) Calculate @is from eqn. 4.5
7) If the difference (talc. angle - assumed angle) is less than
zero, then the assumed value was too low. If it is greater than
zero, the assumed value was too high.
8) Revise the angle estimated and repeat steps 1 - 7 until the difference
between the assumed and calculated angle is < 1 degree. The final
value may then be found by interpolation based on the error
found in step 7.

In some cases, the solution may provide an angle greater than 50. The
validity of the K. relationship in Sec. 4.5 does not extend to plane-strain
values greater than 54.1. This problem may occur in cemented and
near-surface sand deposits to which the method is not generally applicable.
Surface deposits are often heavily overconsolidated and may contain cementing
leachates. In addition, the assumption that the critical depth to width ratio
has been exceeded is not true at very shallow (< 0.3 m) depths.

A numerical solution may relieve the investigator of the tedious trial

process listed above. The best and most reliable procedure found to date is
the simple method of bisection. The user bounds the problem with two guessed
values of 66, (say lo and 50) and solves eqn. 4.5 for each to find the
respective errors. Next, the error for a third value, halfway between the two
boundaries, is calculated and compared with the previous results. The middle
value then replaces one of the boundaries, forming a new bounding interval
which is bisected as before to find a third value. The process is repeated
until the error between the guessed and calculated angles is acceptable.
Computer programs for both the HP-41CV programmable calculator and personal
computer BASIC are provided in the Appendices.

4.4.3 Marchetti WI-linked K,, and Q& in Sands: Marchetti (1985)

developed a new and simplified procedure for evaluating K and axisymmetric
friction angle, 6&, in uncemented sands , provided the user has representative
qc data available from adjacent CPT soundings. The qc here refers to the
electric cone, and mechanical cone data needs to be converted. His published
discussion for XI ICSMFE describes the method in more detail. He based it on
preliminary results from the extensive Italian chamber testing by Belloti

et al. (19861, and a particularly well-documented case history at the PO River

site in Italy. Baldi et al. (1986) confirmed his procedure and modified the
Ko equation constants slightly to better match the final chamber test results.
Briefly, use the following steps:

a. Obtain the DMT data in the sands, without measuring thrust.

b. Obtain parallel CPT qc data representative of the soils

tested by the DMT. Use the electric cone for the CPT. If using
d a mechanical cone then resort to the less desirable alternative
of converting to equivalent electric cone qc values. The trend
line in Figure 4.20 from the FEWA CPT Manual (Schmertmann,l978)
I provides an adequate conversion.

c. Calculate the effective overburden pressure at each DMT and divide

J divide the matching electric q c by this pressure to obtain the
ratio (qc/ c;).

J d. Solve for K. using the following empirical eqn. 4.14 obtained by

Baldi et al. (1986):

i Ko = 0.376 + 0.095 KD - [(qc/[T;)/2171 (4.14)

1 e. Enter Figure 4.21, prepared by Marchetti, with the above

(qc/ rv.1 and Ko values to obtain the matching peak,
axisymmetric sand friction angle. Marchetti used the Durgunuglu 6

1 Mitchell theory to prepare Figure 4.21. It does not normalize

the calculated angle to a particular stress level.

d 6,;
The above method produces a lower (sometimes much lower) K, and higher
(and hence lower OCR) than the currently used method described in
Sec. 4.4.2. Baldi et al. (1986) currently suggest eqn. 4.14 only for use in
... natural, predominantly quartz, uncemented sand deposit(s)". Since sand
deposits normally have a high variability, the use of even closely spaced
soundings involves an inherent error in obtaining "matching" qc and KD values
for this method. The requirement for both types of testing is also a economic
I drawback. Eowever, this method is computationally simple, allows the user to
visually inspect the graphs for sensitivity to parametric changes and provides
a viable alternate calculation for 6,;;. Marchetti reports (personal
communication) adopting it as his routine method for uncemented sands. Since
it is still under evaluation though, the engineer is cautioned to compare its
results for accuracy before use in design.

4.4.4 Normalization of the Riction Recognition that, even in

sands, the Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope may have a distinct curvature (see
Figure 4.22) has led to the association of a failure stress with the friction
angle, 6', calculated above. By doing this the engineer can adjust design
parameters to account the decrease of 6' under increasing load conditions.

Before the user can modify 6' to another stress level, the stress
existing at the time of its measurement must first be determined.
Unfortunately, the state of stress around the dilatometer blade is not well
defined and no attempt was made to do so by Durgunoglu and Mitchell.
Schmertmann (DMT DIGEST) suggested equation 4.15 as an estimate for the value
of the average normal effective stress on the failure plane (cif) during
penetration. Other investigators (Bellotti et al., 1983) have arrived at the
same or a similar magnitude for this "average" stress.

Uif = q; x (1 + sin 0+> (4.15)

The value of 6' determined from the analysis of dilatometer data is

essentially a secant angle. With this value and the eqn. 4.15 stress, the
engineer can utilize the curvilinear expression for the failure envelope
proposed by Baligh (1975,1976) and summarized in Figure 4.24. Belloti et al.
(1983) confirmed Baligh's expression with triaxial tests in the large-scale
chamber facility in Italy. Assuming Baligh's relationship for cohesionless
soils is applicable to either plane-strain or-axisymmetric conditions and
using an average value of 4(= 6O (see Figure 4.23), the secant friction angle
associated with the reference failure stress of $f = 2.72 bars:

tan 0; = tan 0 + 0.105 log10 U#f - 0.046 (4.19)

Reference secant friction angle associated with a
16; =
reference failure stress of 2.72 bars (deg)
0 = Secant friction angle determined from analysis of the
DMT data, either plane-strain or axisymmetric (deg)
o-if = Normal stress on the failure plane during the
penetration of the blade - from eqn. 4.15 (bars)

An arbitrary reference normal stress of 1 bar was chosen to obtain

eqn. 4.19. If a different value of d or the reference normal stress is used,
then eqn. 4.16 (see Fin. 4.24) should be solved to find 0;. The reader will
note that the reference friction angle, d;, will be less than the measured
value if the stress on the failure plane is less than 2.72 bars and greater if
this value is exceeded.

Having found the reference angle and retaining the same reference normal
stress and value of d, it is possible to to estimate a new secant 0: at any
failure stress, rgfi (in bars) , along the curve using eqn. 4.20:

tan 0: = tan 06 + 0.046 - 0.105 log10 Vffi (4.20)

Alternatively, the engineer may also use Figure 4.25 to find 8' at a
stress level other than the reference failure stress of 2.72 bars. Baligh's
procedure provides an accepted method by which to compensate for the observed


s reduction of the secant friction angle at increased stress levels. In

addition, it also helps to delineate changes in the sounding profile by
removing the effect of increased vertical stress on the friction angle,
-' normalizing 0 as an identifying "soil property".



Baligh's expression for the Mohr-Coulomb failure envelope:

= akf (tan $A + tan a ( 7&j - loglo $ )I (4.16)

cl = Arbitrary reference stress (usually 1 bar)

i Normal stress on the failure surface at failure


= Shear stress on the failure surface at failure

= Angle of friction at a;f = 2.72 u'
+: 0

This secant angle will always intersect the curved

failure envelope at the same stress regardless of
the value of CL.

a = Angle which describes the curvature of the failure


Note that the tangent (0') and secant ($A) friction angle for a given
stress level may be foun8 as follows:
tan 4' = tan 9' - tan CL loglO 7 (4.17)
t 0

tan 41:= tan a(:+ tan a ( & - 10 1 (4.18)
r I 0 <-