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Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference IGC-2014

December 18-20, 2014, Kakinada, India



K.V.S.B.Raju, Assistant Professor, U.V.C.E,Bangalore University, India. Email: kvsbraju.2007@gmail.com

Mohamed Shoaib Khan, Formerely Post Graduate Student, U.V.C.E, India

Abstract: In the present work the effect of grading on shear strength and dilatancy behaviour of sand are
investigated. The sand is graded into coarse sand (4.75mm 2mm), Medium Sand ( 2mm 0.425mm) and fine
sand ( 0.425mm 0.075mm). A number of direct shear tests were conducted on each type of graded sand at three
different relative density states namely dense, medium dense and loose. The effect of stress level is also bought out
by varying the effective normal stress. The tests were conducted on dry sand having different relative densities (i.e.,
20%, 50%, & 80%) subjecting them to different constant values of vertical normal stress ranging from 50kPa to
400kPa.At each stress level and density state for each type of sand peak frictional angle and dilatancy angle were
found out by conducting direct shear tests. It was found from the present results with increase in effective normal
stress the peak frictional angle and dilation angle is found to decrease. Also it is found that with increase in density
leads to increase in peak friction angle and dilation angle. Also it is found that the as the grain size of sand
decreases from coarse to fine there is a substantial reduction in peak frictional angle, critical state friction angle and
dilation angle. In the present study critical state friction angle is found out for the three different types of graded
sand. It was found that cv for coarse sand is 35.34o, cv for medium sand is 27.07o and cv for fine sand is 24.08o .
In the present study a number of correlations were established between peak frictional angle, dilation angle, critical
state friction angle and dilatancy index. The correlations are compared with published correlations and found that
the present results compare favorably well.

KEYWORDS: Strength, Dilatancy, Grading, Relative density, Friction angle, Critical state, Correlations, Sands.

1.1 Introduction earliest observations to monitor change in

volume during shearing processes was recorded
All aspects of soil stability - bearing capacity of by Reynolds (1885). Reynolds showed that
shallow and deep foundations, slope stability, the dense sands exhibit expansion in volume and
penetration resistance to name a few depends on loose sands contract during shear deformation.
soil strength. The basic contributions to soil The role of volume changes during shear
strength are frictional resistance between soil especially dilatancy was recognized by Taylor
particles in contact and internal kinematic (1948). He carried out direct shear tests on dense
constraints of soil particles associated with sand specimens and deduced the work at peak
changes in soil fabric. The magnitude of these shear stress state and showed that the energy
contributions depends on the effective stress and input is dissipated by the friction using the
volume change tendencies of soils. One of the expression.
dx (1) peak stress and is the friction coefficient. The
peak n
n right hand side of the expression is the energy
dissipated by friction which is equal to the sum
Where peak is the applied shear stress at peak, of the work done by shearing (first component in
n1 is the effective normal stress on the shear the left hand side) and that needed to increase the
plane, dx is the incremental horizontal volume ( the second component in the left hand
displacement at peak, dy is the incremental side). The latter component is referred to as
vertical displacement (positive for expansion) at dilatancy.
Rearranging equation (1),
The effect of grading on strength and dilatancy parameters of sand

peak dy (2) pressures. By carrying out experiments on steel

tan p shots, Bishop (1972) has shown that an increase
in confining pressure leads to a reduction in the
Thus, the peak shear stress ratio, or the angle of shearing. Vesic and Clough (1968) and
mobilized peak friction angle p consists of Billiam (1972) have also reported the similar
behavior regarding the effect of stress level on
both interlocking (dy/dx) and sliding friction
p . Bolton (1986) reviewed a large number of
between grains ( ). This equation which relates
stress to dilation is called the stress dilatancy triaxial and plane strain test results and proposed
rule, and it is an important relationship in a much simpler relationship among p , cv .and
characterizing the plastic deformation of soils. p , which he found operationally equivalent to
Taylor (1948) followed by Skempton and Bishop Rowe (1962)s stress dilatancy relationship;
(1950) attempted to separate the strength
where p is the angle of dilatancy which
component ( cv ) purely on an account of friction
indirectly quantifies the rate of dilation. Bolton
from that p cv due to an expansion of the (1986) provided the following simplified
material; where p is the angle of internal expressions:
friction corresponding to peak stress ratio.
p cv 0 . 8 p (3)
Roscoe et al. (1958) using a novel shear
apparatus (Roscoe 1953) later proved that the
value of cv depends only on particles shape and p cv 5 I R for plane strain
material grading. The ideal method of
condition (4) p cv 3 I R for
determining cv is by drawing a plot between
p and corresponding rate of dilation, (at p ) so triaxial condition (5)

that the value of p associated with the zero rate The quantity IR, is referred to as dilatancy
of dilation, which is termed cv , can be index and its magnitude is related to the relative
density (Dr) and the effective stress (v1) by the
extrapolated (Bolton 1986). Rowe (1962) also relationship
recognized that the mobilized peak friction angle
p must take into account particle I R D r ( Q ln(
)) R (6)
rearrangements as well as the sliding resistance
at contacts and dilation. Friction angle In the above equation v1 is expressed in kPa
component due to work of dilation is influenced and Dr in decimal; Q and R are constants.
by particle packing arrangements and number of
sliding contacts. The denser the packing, the It should be mentioned that in equation
more important is dilation. As the void ratio (6), the effect of stress level is incorporated.
increases, the mobilized friction angle decreases. Bolton (1986) recommended the values of R=1
The critical state is defined as the condition and Q=10. Later Salgado et al.
corresponding to no volume change by shearing (2000)recommended the values of Q=9 and
i.e. (dy/dx) =0 in equation (2). The R=0.49 based on his test results on clean Ottawa
corresponding mobilized peak friction angle sand (without any percentage of silt)
p will be equal to cv . The original stress-
Simony and Houlsby (2006) conducted a
dilatancy model (Rowe 1962) does not capture number of direct shear tests on large direct shear
important behavioral features such as density box apparatus to investigate the strength and
and stress level dependencies. Bishop (1966) dilatancy of sand gravel mixtures. They
shown that the stress strain dilatancy behavior concluded that addition of different proportion of
of sand varies remarkable with confining gravel to sand causes an increase in peak friction
K.V.S.B.Raju,Assistant Professor, University Visveswaraya college of Engineering,(U.V.C.E) Bangalore University & Mohamed Shoaib Khan

angle, peak dilatancy angle and critical state Kumar et al.(2007) and suggests a suitable
friction angle. They did not focus on the effect of correlations which fits the present experimental
stress level but conducted the tests for a wide data. Also the effect of stress level and density
range of relative densities for each gravel sand on residual friction angle for the chosen graded
mixtures. sand is presented.
Kumar et al. (2007) examined further the 2.1 Properties of Bangalore Sand
correlations between p , cv , p and IR by
The Bangalore sand was found to be generally
conducting a number of direct shear tests on comprise of sub angular grains as can be seen
Bangalore (quartz sand). The effect of stress from the scanning electron micrograph provided
level and density on p , p were incorporated. A by kumar et al. (2007). The grain size
correlation between p and p and distribution of the chosen (Bangalore) sand is
shown in Figure1. It can be noticed that the
between p and v similar to that of Bolton
material comprises of hardly of any fraction of
(1986) and Salgado et al.(2000) has been silt. The average specific gravity(G) of the sand
suggested. particles was found to be 2.67. The sand was
graded into three zones namely coarse, medium
Kumar et al. (2007) provided the following
and fine and their corresponding maximum and
minimum unit weights are shown in Table1. The
values of the different grain size parameters of
p cv 0 . 932 p (7) the chosen sand associated with the grain size
distribution curve are as follows: D10 = 0.27, D30
p cv 3 . 5 I R (8) = 0.38, D50 = 0.52, D60 = 0.70, Cu = 2.59 Cc =
0.76; D10, D30, D50 and D60 are the sizes
Where I R D r (10 ln( 1
)) 1 corresponding to respective percentages of finer,
v and Cu and Cc are the uniformity coefficient and
coefficient of curvature of the material,
In the above equation v1 is expressed in kPa
respectively. As per the Indian standard for
and Dr in decimal
classification of soils (IS 1498 1970,
It is found from the literature not much reaffirmed 2002), Bangalore sand was found to
work was done on the effect of grading of sand be poorly graded.
particles on strength and dilatancy parameters.
3.1 Test Results and Discussions
Hence in the present work sand is graded into
three different zones namely coarse sand A number of direct shear tests were
(4.75mm 2mm), medium sand (2mm conducted on chosen dry sand graded into three
0.425mm) and fine sand (0.425mm 0.075mm). zones namely coarse, medium and fine sand
Again each graded sand is subjected to direct based on grain size. Table 2 shows the chosen
shear tests at different chosen unit weights unit weights and relative densities of the graded
corresponding to loose, medium dense and dense sand. As can be seen from Table 2 each type of
states of the material. All the tests were sand is subjected to direct shear tests at three
continued upto a substantial value of horizontal different unit weights corresponding to loose,
displacement so that critical state was achieved medium dense and dense states. Each type of
in all the tests. The values p , p were graded sand were tested at a relative densities of
determined in all the tests for different 20%, 50% and 80%. The size of the shear box
combination of v and Dr. All the test results are was 60mm x 60mm and the sample height was
compared with widely known recommendations kept equal to 30.08mm for all the tests. All the
of Bolton (1986), Salgado et al. (2000) and samples were sheared at a uniform relative

The effect of grading on strength and dilatancy parameters of sand

horizontal movement of 0.05 mm/minute at the same value of the horizontal

between the upper and lower box. The vertical displacement.
effective normal stress on all samples was varied 2. The magnitude of the (u/H) corresponding to
in between 50 kPa and 400 kPa. The samples of p increases with increase in v. Also the
a given density were prepared by either raining magnitude of shear strain corresponding to p
the material from a constant height of fall ( for increases with increase in v.
loose to medium dense states) or with tamping 3. An increase in the relative density of the
technique using a fixed number of blows (for material causes a marginal decrease in the
dense state of the material). All the tests were value of shear strain associated with p and
continued upto u/H = 40%; where H is the initial p.
height of the sample and u is the horizontal 4. For a given relative density of the material,
displacement at any point of time. the behavior of the material at low stress
level always remains typically that of a dense
For all the tests, the variation of the sand which indicates a well defined peak
horizontal (shear) force (Ph) and the
corresponding to p and then followed by a
corresponding change (v) in the vertical height
decrease in the shear stress which ultimately
of the sample with increase in the shear strain or
leads to the critical state of the material at
the horizontal displacement (u) was continuously
very high values of shear strain; in such
monitored at regular time interval; all the
cases the material initially shows a decrease
samples were sheared upto a large strain to
in volume followed by an increase in
achieve critical state of the material. Volumetric
strain becomes equal to v/H. The test results are
shown in Figure 2 only for coarse sand for
5. At low values of v, the rate of dilation
dense state respectively, typical results are
becomes maximum corresponding to p and
provided only for coarse sand where as all other
subsequently the value of dilatancy angle
figures are not provided herein just for restricting
again decreases and finally becomes equal to
the size of the article. The test results are
zero in the critical state. On the contrary at
provided in terms of (i) the variation of Ph/Pv
very high values of v, the behavior of the
with u/H, and (ii) the variation of v/H with u/H;
material remains similar to that of loose sand
where Pv is the magnitude of the vertical force.
where the shear stress increases continuously
From these plots the values of friction angles
to yield the critical state at very high values
( ) and dilatancy angles ( ) were determined
of horizontal displacement. In such cases the
using the following expressions: material experiences a continuous decrease
in volume until reaching the critical state.
a tan 1
(9) 6. The values of p and p decreases with
P v
increase in the value of v. The effect of v
v on the changes in the values of p and p was
a tan 1 (10)
u seen to be more significant in the case of
coarse sand and medium sand than fine sand.
The peak value of and are designated by Also it is observed that upon shearing fine
sand at loose and medium dense states
p and p respectively. The variation of p and dilatancy (increase in volume during shear
p for coarse sand at three density states are was not observed) in which case contraction
shown in Figure 3. Following observations were was observed.
drawn from Figure 2-3: 3.2 Correlation between p and p

1. It is found that the peak values of friction A linear relationship is established between peak
angle and dilation angle invariably occur almost friction angle and peak dilation angle as shown
K.V.S.B.Raju,Assistant Professor, University Visveswaraya college of Engineering,(U.V.C.E) Bangalore University & Mohamed Shoaib Khan

in Figure 4. The critical state friction angle (cv) operationally indistinguishable from Rowes
is determined by the intercept made stress dilatancy relationship (1962).
corresponding to zero dilation state. It is a
unique parameter, which remains independent of 3.3 Correlation between p and v
density, stress level and type of test conducted. It
As seen from Figure 3, that the value of p
depends only on the grain size and mineral
reduces with increase in the value of v. Bolton
comprising the sand grains.
provided Equation (4) (for the plane strain
For different chosen values of v and relative case),the following equation for plain strain case,
density (Rd) of the material, the obtained values where IR (dilatancy index) is defined by
of p were plotted against the corresponding Equation (6) with Q=10 and R=1.
values of p for different types of graded sand
From the regression analysis, it was found that
namely coarse, medium and fine sand. All the
the following relationship holds quite good for
data points are indicated in Figure 4 for coarse
the present data:
sand. It can be noted that the relationship
between p and p can be best described by the 2 .5 I (14)
p cv R
following expression for coarse sand:
where I D r ( 10 ln( )) 1
p cv 0 . 933 p (11) R v

with v expressed in kPa and Dr in decimal.

It can be noticed from Figure 4 that the
value of cv for the graded coarse sand (4.75mm Experimentally measured values of (p - cv )
2mm) is found to be equal to 35.34 o (that is / were plotted against those estimated using (i)
v = 0.71). It can also be noticed from Figure 2 Boltons recommendation (Equation 4), (ii)
that the value of / v at very large value of present correlation (Equation 14), and (iii)
Shear strain (35 40%) remains close to 0.71 Salgado et al (2000) recommendation and
indicating the achievement of the same critical Kumar et al., (2007) Equation 8, the
state in all the tests. corresponding comparison from four different
correlations are shown in Figure 5 for all the data
It can be noted that the relationship points comprising coarse, medium and fine
between p and p can be best described by the sands. It can be noted that estimated value of
following expression for medium sand: p by Bolton (1986) and Salgado.et al. (2000)
p cv 0 . 919 p (12) are found to be slightly higher than those
actually measured. On the other hand, the
It can be noted that the relationship estimation from Equation (14) seems to be
between p and p can be best described by the better.
following expression for fine sand:
By knowing the mineral composition /
particle shape and the grain size of the graded
p cv 1 . 574 p (13)
sand, it is possible to estimate an approximate
value of cv. For a given relative density of the
A comparison of Equations (11)
material, from the knowledge of cv and the
to (13) with Equation (3) indicates that the
recommendation of Bolton (1986) remains only stress level (v), the secant value of p for a dry
marginally different from the present cohesionless material can then be determined
experimental finding in case of coarse and using any of the four relationships namely, (i)
medium sand. It should be mentioned that Boltons recommendation(1986) Equation (4),
(ii) present recommendation (Equation 14) and
Boltons expression relating p , cv and p is
(iii) Salgado et al. (2000) recommendation
The effect of grading on strength and dilatancy parameters of sand

Equation (4) but with the usage of Q=9.0 and ( min ) kN ( max ) kN /
R=0.49 in Equation (6) and (iv) Kumar et / m3 m3
al.,(2007)Equation(8).The four recommendations Coarse sand
marginally differ in the estimation of p and the (4.75 mm - 2 15.2 18.4
average of three can be adopted for carrying out mm)
the analysis where the effect of stress level on p Medium sand
has to be taken into consideration. After (2 mm - 15.0 18.0
determining the value of p, Equation (3) or 0.425 mm)
Equations (11) to (13) can then be used to find Fine sand
the value of dilatancy angle (p). The knowledge (0.425 mm - 14.6 17.6
of dilatancy angle is useful when adopting a non 0.075 mm)
associated flow rule in theory of plasticity and
also it is useful in constitutive modeling of soils.
Table 2 : Chosen Unit weights and Relative
4.1 Conclusions densities of graded sand.
Based on a number of direct shear tests Type of Relative
State of Unit weight
on different types of graded sand namely coarse, graded density
material ( kN / m3 )
medium and fine sand at different density states sand (%)
and stress level, an empirical relationship Coarse Loose 15.7 20
correlating p , cv and IR similar to that sand Medium
16.6 50
recommended by Bolton (1986), Salgado et al. (4.75 dense
(2000) and Kumar et al. (2007), has been mm - 2 Dense
17.6 80
suggested. Using this relationship from the mm )
knowledge of relative density (Dr) and critical Medium Loose 15.5 20
state friction angle ( cv ), the value of peak sand Medium 16.3 50
(2 mm -
friction angle can be determined for any required Dense
0.425 17.3 80
effective stress level (v). Further, an expression
correlating p with cv and p has also been
Fine Loose 15.1 20
provided for the three types of graded sand sand Medium
namely coarse, medium and fine sand on the 15.9 50
(0.425 dense
basis of which the value of p can also be mm -
predicted. The suggested expressions are found 0.075 16.9 80
to match well with the test results. Based on the mm )
test results, it can be concluded that decrease in
v leads to an increase in the values of p and
p . It is also concluded from the test results the
values of p and p not only depends on stress
level and density but also on the type of graded
sand or grain size of sand particles comprising
coarse, medium and fine sand.
Table 1 : Minimum and Maximum unit weights
of graded sand.

Material Minimum Maximum

unit weight unit weight
K.V.S.B.Raju,Assistant Professor, University Visveswaraya college of Engineering,(U.V.C.E) Bangalore University & Mohamed Shoaib Khan

100 (a) Ph/Pv with u/H, and (b) v/H with u/H


P erc e n ta g e F in e r


f p , y p ( d eg rees)
30 g 15.7 16.6 17.6 kN/m3

20 20

0 10
0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10
Particle size (mm)
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450
sv (kPa)
Fig. 1 Grain Size Distribution Curve of the
Sample Fig. 3 The Variation of p and p with v for all
the tests corresponding to coarse sand


(Ph / Pv)

g = 17.6 kN/m
Coarse sand - dense state


0.000 5.000 10.000 15.000 20.000 25.000 30.000 35.000 40.000 45.000

u/H (%)

400kPa 300kPa 200kPa 100kPa 50kPa
Fig.4 The correlation between p and p from all
1.40 the test results corresponding to coarse sand


v/H (% )

0.40 g = 17.6 kN/m
0.20 Coarse sand - dense state



0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
u/H (%)

Fig. 2 For = 17.6 kN/m3, the observed variation


The effect of grading on strength and dilatancy parameters of sand

Elevated Cell Pressure, Advanced Triaxial

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