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THE INFLUENCEOF RESTRAINT THE COMPRESSION

STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS
SOIL
by
ALAN W. BISHOP * and GORDON E. GREEN t

SYNOPSIS
Tests have been carried out on a cohesionless Des essais ont et6 effect&s sur un sol non coherent
soil to examine the influence of boundary restraint pour examiner l’influence de la restriction aux
on the observed strength and on the relationships extr&nit& sur la resistance observee et sur les
between stress, strain and volume change. relations entre contrainte, deformation et change-
ment de volume.
To eliminate extraneous errors the axial load in Pour eliminer des erreurs supplementaires, la
the triaxial compression test has been measured by charge axiale dans l’essai de compression triaxiale a
means of a sensitive proving ring situated within et6 mesuree au moyen d’un anneau d’essai dynamo-
the cell. The proving ring has been calibrated from metrique situ6 a l’interieur de la chambre. Durant
time to time during the series of tests by a hydraulic la s&e d’essais, l’anneau d’essai dynamometrique
system operated by the same dead-weight pressure a et.6 calibre de temps a autre avec un systeme
hydraulique fonctionnant par le m&me calibreur
gauge tester as was used to calibrate the gauge
a poids mort utilise pour calibrer le manometre
measuriug the fluid pressure in the cell. mesurant la pression du fluide dans la chambre.
Cylindrical compression tests have been carried Des essais de compression triaxiale ont et6
out with unlubricated plattens and with one or effect&s avec des disques non lubrifies et avec une
more layers of rubber membrane lubricated with ou plusiers couches de membranes en caoutchouc
silicone grease interposed between the ends of the lubrifi6es avec de la graisse au silicium et interposees
Samples with entre l’echantillon et les disques transmettant la
sample and the loading plattens.
charge. Des echantillons de trois rapports dif-
three different ratios of height to diameter have been
ferents de hauteur a diametre ont 6th examines.
tested. Les resultats montrent que pour le mat&au
The results indicate that, for the material tested, essay6 l’effet de restriction aux extremites est
the effect of end restraint is to increase the apparent d’augmenter la resistance apparente, mais aussi que
strength of the sample, but that this effect decreases cet effet diminue en augmentant le rapport de
with increasing height to diameter ratio and is of hauteur a diametre, et qu’il devient negligeable avec
little significance with the usual ratio of about 2 to 1. le rapport habitue1 d’environ 2 a 1. Pour des rap-
ports inferieurs, l’influence de la restriction aux
For lower ratios the influence of end restraint on
extremites est plus importante, et c’est seulement
strength is more important and only with very avec une lubrifaction t&s efficace que la resistance
efficient lubrication can the apparent strength of apparente d’echantillons courts peut &tre reduite a
short samples be reduced to that given by samples celle obtenue avec des Bchantillons a rapport usuel
with the standard height to diameter ratio. de hauteur a diametre.

INTRODUCTION
The study of the mechanical properties of soil calls for a test in which the principal stresses
and principal strains can be determined throughout the full range of strain encountered in
engineering problems. No test currently used in soil mechanics fully satisfies these require-
ments, partly because of the relationships between stress, strain and volume change inherent
in soil as an engineering material, and partly because of the mechanical problems posed even
by apparently simple boundary conditions.
The test which, at first sight, would appear to lead most directly to the measurement of the
principal stresses and principal strains is the cylindrical compression test (Fig. 1 (a)). Here the
major principal stress (TVis deduced from the load applied to the sample through a rigid platten
or end cap and the minor and intermediate principal stresses a, and o2 are taken to be equal to
the fluid pressure applied to an impervious flexible membrane covering the cylindrical surface
of the sample. The strains are calculated from the axial compression and the volume change.
* Professor of Soil Mechanics, Imperial College, University of London.
t Research Assistant at Imperial College.
243
244 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

The cylindrical compression test is simple mechanically and the shape of sample required
is convenient from a practical point of view. For the engineer, therefore, it is a most con-
venient standard test, and for soils, in which the control of drainage is of the utmost importance,
it has advantages over other forms of shear test (Bishop and Henkel, 1957).l However, both
from the engineering and from the scientific point of view the cylindrical compression test has
certain limitations and disadvantages, to which attention has been drawn in a number of
papers * and which are summarized by Bishop and Henkel(l957).

r-l
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: ‘._‘.
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. * ‘,.
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IJr

07 4

tl-II-
‘Ti

COMPRESSION

Qi>Qi

(a>
‘Qj
03

oi

EXTENSION

Qi-r2iz

W
Qj
Qi

Fig. 1. Cylindrical compression and extension tests

Apart from inherent limitations, such as the limited range of states of stress which can be
studied (Fig. 1 (a) and 1 (b)) and lack of freedom to rotate the principal axes of stress, the disad-
vantages arise principally from the use of rigid loading plattens, which are not in general
frictionless. This is a well recognized problem in studying the strength of materials and the
influence of the loading plattens on the stress distribution within elastic and relatively rigid
cylindrical specimens has been studied by Filon (1902), Balla (1960) and others. With soils
attention is directed more to the influence of the plattens on the peak strength of frictional
materials which, by comparison, fail at relatively large strains. The importance of progressive
failure induced by stress concentrations may therefore be expected to be rather less and the
increase in average stress due to radial shear forces at the plattens rather greater.

1 The references are given on p. 265.


* For example, Taylor (1941), Eldin (1951), Shockley (1953), Shockley and Ahlvin (1960), Bishop et al.
(1960), Blight (1961 and 1963) and Roscoe et al. (1963).
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 245
Limited studies of the effect on strength, volume change or change in pore-water pressure,
of a reduction in end restraint have been made by Taylor (1941), Freedman (1959), Blight
(1961), Rowe and Barden (1964), Lee and Seed (1964), and Olson and Campbell (1964). The
present series of tests is part of a study of the effect on strength and volume change of various
combinations of major, minor and intermediate principal stress. For this purpose it is neces-
sary to establish, to a greater degree of accuracy than is necessary for practical engineering
purposes, just how much influence boundary restraint has on the strength observed under the
simplest conditions of testing, before proceeding to interpret the results of forms of triaxial
apparatus permitting more generalized control of the principal stresses.
As will be seen in later sections, ground and polished stainless steel plattens with a small
central porous element have been used in the present tests on a fine to medium natural sand.
With the sand in direct contact with the plattens no scoring of the surface was observed
even after large axial strains and full end restraint may therefore be assumed. With the sand
separated from the platten by a thin rubber membrane coated with silicone grease radial shear
was greatly reduced. A small further reduction in restraint was obtained by the use of a
sandwich of two or more greased membranes.
The interpretation of the results raises interesting problems both of principle and of prac-
tical detail. The comparison of short and long specimens with mixed boundary conditions
(i.e. a strain controlled boundary for (T~and c1 and stress controlled boundaries for u2, Ed
and a,, E,) implies that the inhibition of preferential slip zones is a factor of no significance
in determining the true peak strength of initially homogeneous samples.* The natural scatter
of the results of apparently identical tests, and the apparent tendency of an inert sand to show
gradual changes in properties with time puts a practical limit to the validity of any conclusions
drawn from small differences in strength unless considerable numbers of tests are carried out
on a systematic basis.
The present tests have been divided into three main groups. In the first group are the
first 29 tests which are remarkably self-consistent. Subsequent tests on the same material
which showed a larger scatter form the second main group. The third group consists of 18
tests on a new batch of materials carried out in a period of 34 weeks, which, like the first group
show relatively little scatter.

MATERIALS TESTED
The material used in the experiments was Ham River sand. About 200 lb was obtained
initially. This was washed in an elutriating vessel in order to remove fines passing a 200 B.S.
sieve, finally washed in distilled water, dried and thoroughly mixed to ensure initial homo-
geneity. A second batch of about 200 lb of a similar sand was later used for the special series
of tests after the first batch had been tested, as it was considered preferable to use a fresh
sample of sand for each test. Microscopical examination of the sand grains before and after

Table 1

Batch Batch
No. 1 No. 2

Specific gravity . 2.67 2.66


Porosity by rapid tilt ok dry’sand i 48.4% 47.8%

* The procedure for this test is given by Kolbuszewski (1948).

* In contrast, for samples of soil with a fissured structure the use of long samples is generally justified
on the grounds that freedom for failure on the weakest path is allowed and that the corresponding value of
strength approximates most nearly to field conditions.
246 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

shearing clearly indicated that some fracturing of the grains had taken place during shear.*
Under 5 x magnification no apparent difference was discernable between the size and shape of
a typical grain before and after a test. However, after shearing a quantity of fines was present
of a medium to coarse silt size (i.e. 0.01-0.04 mm grain size). The second batch of sand was
not washed as this did not appear to improve the consistency of the results. The properties
of these two materials are given in Table 1 and Fig. 2.

Fig. 2. Particle size analyses

TRIAXIAL APPARATUS AND CALIBRATION

The layout of the triaxial apparatus fitted with an internal proving ring is shown in Fig. 3.
A conventional cell for 4-in.-dia. specimens was modified to accommodate a proving ring
mounted on the end of a 1-in.-dia. loading piston. The piston passed through a heavy brass
bushing bolted to the flat top of the triaxial cell. An O-ring seal to prevent leakage was
incorporated in the bushing. Since the load was measured internally any frictional loss in
the bushing was of no consequence. The cell pressure was applied by means of a self-
compensating mercury control system as described by Bishop and Henkel (1957).
The conventional end plattens were replaced by enlarged stainless steel plattens (EN 5SJ)
carefully ground flat and polished. In order to facilitate sample preparation (see later) it
was required that the lower platten be removable together with its drainage lead. This
platten was bolted to an aluminium alloy disk which was located on a spigot on the cell base
to ensure coaxiality (Fig. 6). Porous disks of vitrified bauxilite A80 KV, 4 in. in diameter were
used at both ends of the sample to permit drainage and to allow water to be passed through the

* See also Bishop et al. (1965)


B.P.A. ELECTRONICS TRANSDUCER
METER TYPE C.61.

MERCURY
C.
LOADING PISTO DIAL GAUGE

GLAND FOR
LOAD CELL CABLE

2500 LB
I I
\I -PROVING
// ///////// RING

O-160 PS I, PRESSURE GAUGE

WATER --
DE-AIRED WATER SUPPLY --.+,, DE-AIRED

-l
l-
HAND WING
Y I
-I
CONTROL CY

TO “\
WASTE

Fig. 3. Diagrammatic layout of triaxial apparatus with internal proving ring as used for drained compression tests
248 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

sample should any air bubbles be trapped in the leads after sample preparation. These disks
were mounted $6 in. proud of the surface of the platten to facilitate their removal. The
sample was drained to atmosphere, the volume change being recorded on a 100 ml burette,
adjusted as the test progressed to maintain the meniscus level with the mid-height of the
sample. Axial deformation was measured with a dial gauge reading to 0.001 in. mounted on
an arm clamped to the loading piston and bearing against a steel rod fixed to the cell base.
In order to reduce the effect of end restraint a thin disk cut from a rubber membrane was
placed on each of the polished plattens, the interface being lubricated with silicone grease.*
Measurements using a simple friction slider technique on a carefully polished and levelled
brass surface had given an apparent coefficient of friction less than O-01 for a 0.009 in. thick
membrane backed with Ham River sand. Similar values have been recorded by Wood
(1958), Rowe and Barden (1964) and Lee and Seed (1964). As noted by Rowe and Barden
(1964) the material of the platten is of little importance provided it is flat and smooth.

r-9

v
I.-A-I
TYPC F 52 B PA.
LINEAR DIFFERENTIAL-_\ POLYTHENE
\ MEHBP,
TRANSFORMER 1.

OIL- SEAL FOR PERSPEX


ELECTRICAL LEADS CAPSULE
OIL FILLED

PROVING RING

Fig. 4. 2500 lb capacity proving ring for use in water-filled cell

The anvil of the proving ring made direct contact with the top platten to ensure that the
latter could not tilt and that uniform vertical deformation was applied to the specimen during
compression. It was therefore important to level the top platten carefully when setting up
the sample in order to minimize errors over the initial $0/Oaxial strain.
The applied load was measured with a flat steel proving ring? having a capacity of 2500 lb
and a maximum deflexion of O-025 in. (Fig. 4). The deformation is recorded by a 4-arm linear
differential transformer: mounted on the axis of the ring. The unit is enclosed in an oil-filled
Perspex capsule to prevent corrosion and to ensure good electrical insulation. A manual
null balance method using multi-tapped transformers is used to record the output and this
has proved to possess good zero stability using a bridge energizing supply of SV, 200 mA
(max.) at 25 kc/s. The proving ring measures the applied load only, independently of the

* Midland Silicones Releasil 7.


t Taylor (1941) used a conventional proving ring inside the triaxial cell, but above the free water surface,
which was subjected to controlled air pressure. Difficulty was encountered with the stability of the system
as the load was increased, and also, apparently, with the migration of air through the rubber membrane.
Casagrande and Shannon (1948) used an internal proving ring fitted with electrical strain gauges for studying
the influence of high rates or’ loading.
$ The differential transformer, proving ring and associated electrical equipment m-eresupplied by Boulton
Paul Aircraft Ltd.
L ELECTRICAL
LEADS

PRESSURE GAUGE

.~ -2 IN. DIA.
HONED PISTON

PRESSURE v PRESSURE DATUM


GAUGE TESTE _____~ _ ___- v-mm ROTATING
10-8000 P.s.I.-

9G?&F?4\ GEAR DRIVE


CYLINDER

Fig. 5. Diagrammatic layout of apparatus used to calibrate proving ring and pressure gauge
250 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEK

ambient cell pressure, and will detect a load increment of 0.13 lb (equivalent to 0.01 lb/sq. in.
principal stress difference).
The electrical drift of the transducer over a one-year period was negligible. A small
random variation in the zero due to-elastic after-effect in the ring was observed. The tem-
perature sensitivity of the system is 0.9 lb/‘% and this was considered acceptable in the new
temperature controlled laboratory which was maintained at + 0.6”C. The electrical leads to
the transformer are fed through a detachable gland in the top of the triaxial cell which facili-
tates removal for calibration. The compressibility of the proving ring together with various
combinations of lubricated membranes was determined using a steel dummy specimen. Due
allowance was made for these corrections in calculating the axial strain.
In attempting to produce a set of self-consistent data over a period of months it is impor-
tant to be able to calibrate the pressure gauge and the proving ring at reasonable intervals
against a relatively invariant standard. The method of calibration is shown in Fig. 5. A
Budenberg dead-weight tester was used having a range of 10-8000 lb/sq. in. with an accuracy
better than rtrO.O30,/, of the pressure being measured.* The pressure gauge was calibrated
directly through an oil-water interchange vessel. During all calibrations it was necessary to
rotate the piston of the dead-weight tester in order to eliminate friction. During an ll-
month period a variation of up to 1.0 lb/sq. in. occurred in the pressure gauge calibration at
40 lb/sq. in. This is equivalent to a change of 0.4” in the value of 4’.
To calibrate the proving ring the known fluid pressure supplied from the dead-weight
tester was used to lift a 2-in-dia. honed stainless steel piston running in a bronze bushing.
To minimize friction errors the bushing was rotated at about 1 rev/min. The self-weight of
the bushing was carried on a ball thrust race.
The proving ring calibrator together with the proving ring were placed on the pedestal of a
5-ton triaxial compression machine to provide a rigid reaction and to ensure good alignment.
Repeat calibrations of the proving ring during the test programme over a one-year period
indicated a small random change of a negligible amount ; in fact a range of 0.5% of the applied
load was observed. This represents a variation of about 0.1” in the value of 4’ in the
present tests.
In view of the possibility of lateral loads being applied to the proving ring due to distortion
of the sample the lateral stability of the proving ring was determined. The ring was clamped
in a vertical position by means of the tapped hole in the loading anvil (Fig. 4) and a lateral
pull applied by a steel wire. Care was taken to maintain the steel wire in a horizontal position,
the load being recorded on a proving ring in tension. The proving ring was tested under zero
normal load. The results are given in Table 2.

Table 2

Direction Load equivalent


of pull of transducer reading :
lb lb

Parallel to plane of ring 75


Perpendicular ,, ,, ,, 7S A
I

These results suggest that errors due to possible lateral loads will be very small and will not
affect the interpretation of the results materially. Based on observations of lateral load by
Webb at Imperial College this error is likely to be less than 0.4% in axial load in long samples
with unlubricated plattens and to be smaller in all tests with lubricated plattens.
* This incorporated a dual range patented piston unit (not shown in Fig. 5) designed to reduce the dead
load required for so large a pressure range.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 251
SAMPLE PREPARATION
The method used for preparing specimens for this series of tests was to spoon saturated
sand into the mould under water. The sand was tamped with a spatula as required and
finally levelled off about $6 in. above the rim of the mould. The surface tension of the water
was sufficient to prevent spillage at the edges. When the membrane enclosing the sample*
was turned back onto the top platten adequate clearance remained to allow the mould to be
removed without disturbing the sample.
In a preliminary series of tests it was observed that 4-in.-high samples built in the normal
manner by spooning a saturated sand into the mould set up on the cell base platten (with a
single 0*009-in-thick lubricated membrane at each end) invariably failed by expanding pre-
dominantly at the base rather than at the top.7 It has been consistently reported (Shockley
and Ahlvin, 1960; Haythornthwaite, 1963) that a triaxial specimen of cohesionless material
having a height to diameter ratio of 2 to 1 and having restrained ends, fails by bulging, the
bulge being displaced towards the bottom of the sample. Haythornthwaite suggests that this
may be a gravity effect. Using the spooning technique a specimen was built on the top
platten, laid upside down on the bench. The inverted bottom pIatten was then clamped in
position before the whole assembly (with the mould still in place), was righted and located on
the triaxial cell base. When tested this sample expanded across the top platten (i.e. the bottom
as built), which strongly suggested an initial non-homogeneity in the specimen as built and
not a gravity effect as suggested by Haythornthwaite. This non-homogeneity might be of
two types, a continuous variation throughout the height of the sample or a local variation
extending only a few grain diameters from the rigid boundaries. It has been shown by
Macrae and Gray (1961) that the latter effects occur when dry granular materials are poured
into rigid containers. Experiments at Imperial College on dry sand placed in a 4-in.-dia.
mould either by pouring from a funnel at a constant height above the surface or by tamping
in layers show a small non-reproducible scatter of porosity throughout the height of the sample.
This was determined by removing the sand from the mould in B-in-thick layers using a suction
tube constrained to move in a horizontal plane by a guide resting on the upper rim of the
mould.
In an attempt to ensure identical contact with the platten at both ends of the sample a
number of samples were manufactured by pouring sand into the mould through a tube with
the mould turned on its side and with both plattens clamped in place. More uniform expan-
sion appeared to occur in this case but it was difficult to draw any definite conclusions since
it was found impossible to fill the mould completely. Some voids were always found to be
present in the sample under the edges of the top platten after removal of the mould.
The preparation technique3 finally used to obtain more uniform deformations is that shown
in Fig. 6. This illustrates the procedure used for a 4-in.-high sample. A similar procedure
was used on the S-in.-high samples, Half of the mould is filled with a Perspex former which is
sealed to an aluminium disk. The remaining portion of the mould is then filled with saturated
sand level with the rim of the mould by spooning and tamping as described earlier. The
inverted bottom platten, either with or without a lubricated membranes as required, was then
carefully positioned, sealed and clamped to the mould. This assembly was turned over on to

* A 0.020-in.-thick rubber membrane was used to enclose the sample throughout the series of tests on
both long and short specimens. No correction for the strength of the membrane was applied as with this
thickness of rubber it is negligible for a 4-in.-dia. sample (Henkel and Gilbert, 1952). No correction for
membrane penetration (Newland and Allely, 1957; Roscoe et al., 1963) is applied since the membrane
thickness is three times the the sand
252 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

the triaxial cell base. The Perspex former was removed and the remaining portion of the
mould filled with sand in the same manner, the top platten being finally placed in position,
levelled and sealed. The sample was connected to the burette which was then lowered by
18 in., a suction of about O-7 Ib/sq. in. thus being applied to the sample. The former was
carefully dismantled and the height and diameter of the specimen were measured with suitable
calliper gauges reading to 0.001 in.

STAINLESS STEEL BOTTOM PLATTEY STAINLESS STEEL TOP PLATTEN

DRAINAGE

SAMPLE .

. . . ., .

STAGE I. SAMPLE HALF 8tilLT STAGE 2. SAMPLE COMPLETE -

Fig. 6. Preparation of sample in two halves

TEST PROCEDURE
The present triaxial compression tests were carried out on 4-in.-dia. samples of saturated
sand under drained conditions. The samples were consolidated by increasing the ambient cell
pressure in increments of 5 lb/sq. in. up to 40 Ib/sq. in., the volume change being recorded for
each pressure increment. This served as a useful check on the porosity subsequently deter-
mined from the dry weight of the sample since a good correlation was found to exist between
initial porosity and volume change during consolidation.
The following programme of drained tests was carried out :
(a) Samples 8 in. high built in two halves with non-lubricated ends. The sand was in direct
contact with the polished stainless steel loading plattens. The cell pressure was held constant
at 40 lb/sq. in. and the axial stress increased, using a nominal rate of deformation of O-014 in./
min (equivalent to lOg$ of the specimen height per hour).
(b) Samples 8 in. high built in two halves with lubricated ends, Normally one 0.009-in.-thick
lubricated rubber membrane (cut from a l&-in.-dia. triaxial specimen sheath) was used on
each platten. In certain tests a sandwich of two or more 0.009 or 0.024-in.-thick membranes
was used, each interface being lubricated with silicone grease. The cell pressure was held con-
stant at 40 Ib/sq. in. and the axial stress increased using the same strain rate as in (a) above.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 253

(c) Samples 4 in. high built in two halves with non-lubricated ends. The sand was in direct
contact with the polished stainless steel loading plattens. The cell pressure was held constant
at 40 lb/sq. in. and the axial stress increased using a nominal rate of deformation of 0.007
in./min (equivalent to lo:/;, of the specimen height per hour).
(d) Samples 4 in. high built in two halves with lubricated ends. Normally one 0.009-in.-thick
lubricated rubber membrane was used on each platten. In certain tests a sandwich of two or
more 0.009 or 0*024-in.-thick membranes was used, each interface being lubricated with
silicone grease. The cell pressure was held constant at 40 lb/sq. in. and the axial stress in-
creased using the same strain rate as in (c) above.*
(e) Samples 4 in. high built in the normal manner with lubricated ends. One 0.009-in.-thick
lubricated rubber membrane was used on each platten. The cell pressure was held constant
at 40 lb/sq. in. and the axial stress increased using the same strain rate as in (c) above.
(f) Samples 2 in. high built in the normal manner with lubricated ends. One 0@09-in.-thick
lubricated rubber membrane was used on each platten. The cell pressure was held constant
at 40 lb/sq. in. and the axial stress increased using a nominal rate of deformation of 0*0035
in./min (equivalent to 10% of the specimen height per hour).
The initial series of tests was carried out on a 200-lb batch of washed Ham River sand, a fresh
sample of sand being used for each specimen. A full range of porosities from loose to dense
was achieved by varying the amount of tamping and by using mechanical vibration. At the
completion of the initial series of tests a second series was performed using a fresh batch of
untested sand. The second series was limited to medium dense samples placed, as far as
possible, at a constant initial porosity.

TEST RESULTS

The angle of shearing resistance at failure, #‘, is based on a linear Mohr envelope tangent
to the stress circle corresponding to the measured stress difference and passing through the
origin. The average cross-sectional area is used in calculating the maximum principal stress.
The density of the sand is expressed in terms of the initial porosity, n,, as determined from the
weight and linear dimensions of the sample under a O-7 lb/sq. in. suction immediately prior
to consolidation in the triaxial cell. Strains are expressed with respect to the dimensions of
the sample at the end of consolidation.
The general mode of failure of the samples is shown in Figs 7 and 8. As previously noted
the 4-in.-high lubricated samples made in the normal manner invariably failed by expansion at
the base of the sample whereas 4-in.-high lubricated samples built in two halves expanded at
both ends up to peak stress difference and, beyond this, either at the base or at the top, or both.
TWO points need to be borne in mind here (i) that in building a sample in two halves it is
difficult to maintain any built-in structure in the initial half of the sample whilst the mould is
being turned over, and (ii) the effect of the precise form of deformation on the calculated
maximum angle of shearing resistance, #, will be small up to the peak, whereas the effect on
the value of +’ at large strains may be much more significant. Quantitative consideration of
post peak behaviour of the samples requires a very careful assessment of the shape of and
stresses in the deformed sample and will not be dealt with in the present paper.
Fig. 7(a) shows an S-in.-high lubricated sample from the second series of tests, having an
initial porosity of 41.4% (i.e. medium dense) which failed at an axial strain of 7.77;. The
photograph shows the sample well beyond failure at 15.6% axial strain at which point a failure
zone is clearly visible on the surface of the sample. The sample has barrelled with the maxi-
mum cross-sectional area occurring exactly at mid-height (cf. Fig. 2, Shockley and Ahlvin

* The sole exception to this was test 5, in which a 40 lb/sq. in. back pressure together with a cell pressure
of 80 Ib/sq. in. was applied to the sample.
2
254 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

(1960)). The ends, although lubricated and having one 0*009-in.-thick membrane, have ex-
panded by a negligible amount. Careful observations during all the tests indicated that no
failure zones were ever visible before the peak strength was reached even for the very dense
samples, but may form in the dense and medium dense samples after the peak.

160

!
ES

n,- 41.5%
I 8” HIGH
~- NON-LUBRICATE[ ,-

Fig. 8. Comparison of triaxial compression tests on samples having different degrees of end
restraint and two height to diameter ratios. Below ~,=10% the volumetric strains of SlO
and S12 are indistinguishable

Fig. 7(b) shows a 4-in.-high lubricated sample from the first series of tests, having an initial
porosity of 38.5% (i.e. dense) which failed at an axial strain of 7.0%. The test was continued
up to an axial strain of 29.8%. A well-defined pattern of failure zones can be seen. That the
sample expanded at both plattens is clearly seen by the lip formed in the membrane at each
platten.
Figs 7(c) and 7(d) show two 4-in.-high samples from the second series of tests having
virtually identical initial porosities of 41.2 and 4l.3o/o respectively but differing degrees of end
restraint. Test S4 had one 0909-in.-thick lubricated membrane at each end, the test being
stopped at an axial strain of 19.3%. Test S6 had two 0609-in.-thick lubricated membranes
at each end and was stopped at an axial strain of 22.5%. The latter shows that a reduced
tendency to develop visible failure zones is associated with a decreased degree of end restraint.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 255
The stress-strain volume change characteristics of three selected tests are shown in Fig. 8.
In correlating data on samples possessing differing ratios of height to diameter and degrees of
end restraint it is important to compare only those samples that possess the same initial
porosity since small differences in porosity of about 4% or more may completely mask any
differences due to the type of test. It is also necessary to select representative samples from
each category to minimize the influence of the natural scatter of the values.
The S-in-high non-lubricated sample shows a significantly lower strength than the 4-in-
high lubricated sample with one 0.009-in.-thick membrane. By using a sandwich of two
lubricated membranes the strength of the 4-in.-high sample was reduced to that of the S-in.-
high sample. The axial failure strains were significantly larger for the short lubricated
samples than for the 8-in.-high non-lubricated sample. Comparison of the volumetric strains
shows a significant increase in the ultimate volumetric strains of both types of 4-in.-high
lubricated sample as compared with the 8-in.-high non-lubricated sample, though the rates
of volume change at the peak values of stress difference are not significantly different.

Maximum shear strength


The strength results of tests 1 to 29 of the first series of tests on unused washed sand are
plotted in Fig. 9. The tests are numbered consecutively with respect to time, the type of
test being indicated by a different symbol. There was good reason to believe that between
tests 29 and 30 the calibration of the pressure gauge changed by J-1 lb/sq. in. which would
give an error in the value of r)’ of O-2” to 0.4”. Although not noticed at the time this was
deduced from subsequent recalibrations of the pressure gauge and due allowance was made in
tests 30 to 52.
There is no apparent difference between the strength-porosity relationships for samples
8 in. high with or without lubricated ends. As the degree of end restraint was decreased by
inserting two 0.009-in.-thick or even three 0.024-in.-thick lubricated membranes no difference
in the strength-porosity relationship is apparent. There is a significant increase of from 1”
for dense specimens to 2” for loose specimens in the strength of the 4-in.-high samples with one
0609-in.-thick membrane as compared with the 8-in.-high samples. These remarks apply to
samples made in two halves. The strength-porosity relationship for 4-in.-high specimens with
one 0*009-in.-thick membrane for samples built in the normal way is very slightly higher than
that for samples built in two halves. It will be observed that the deviations of the experi-
mental points from their mean lines in Fig. 9 are very small and are always less than 0.3”.
As the test programme continued beyond test 29 the new experimental points apparently
lay below their expected values. These tests, corrected for changes in gauge calibration, are
shown in Fig. 10 which shows all the tests on unused sand in the first series. Tests 30 and 38
lie sufficiently close to their expected values, based on tests 1 to 29, to infer that the results of
intermediate tests 31 to 37 are significant. Tests 31, 32, and 34 are on 4-in.-high samples in
direct contact with the loading plattens and, as might be expected, give markedly higher $’
values due to the effect of end restraint on the short sample. Tests 33, 35, 36 and 37 were on
4-in.-high samples with two or more membranes at either end. Tests 36 and 37 with two
0.009-in.-thick membranes, at opposite ends of the porosity scale, gave strengths equivalent
to those of 8-in.-high lubricated or non-lubricated samples. Tests 33 and 35, with three
0.024-in. and five 0.024-in.-thick membranes respectively, also gave strengths identical to the
8-in.-high samples.
By increasing the number of membranes one may apparently approach a lower bound
strength-porosity relationship but beyond a certain limit, in this case two 0*009-in.-thick
membranes, the increase in the number of membranes has no significant effect on strength.
Furthermore it appears that lubricated and unlubricated samples having a height to diameter
ratio of 2 to 1 gave identical strengths and that below 2 to 1 the influence of the end restraint
becomes increasingly important.
256 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

The samples used in tests 39 and 40 were taken from the remaining portion of the first
batch of sand, after which it was necessary to re-use the material. Relative to other tests in
this series test 39 gives a significantly low $’ value. Test 40, in which two 0*009-in.-thick
membranes were used shows rather less deviation from the earlier tests. As the sand for these
tests had been taken from the bottom of the bin the possibility of segregation cannot be ex-
cluded.

46 -

44 -

42 -

34 ~

32 -
37 39 41 43 45

INITIAL POROSITY n ,%

Fig. 9. Strength of Ham River sand in drained triaxiel compression tests: 1st series: initial 29
tests on unused sand

The results of the final part of this series of tests are shown in Fig. 11, which is an enlarge-
ment of a portion of Fig. 10 with the further tests added. Tests 41 and 42 are on samples of
re-used material taken after re-mixing the whole of the first batch of sand. They both give
$’ values about 2” lower than would be expected. Tests 43 to 46 were on samples taken from
the second batch of unwashed sand. Tests 43 and 44 were on fresh samples of the second
batch and give good agreement with each other. Test 45 was on material from test 44 re-used
and shows no change in the strength-porosity relationship, though when in test 46 the same
material was tested a third time a significant reduction in +’ was observed.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 257
Further tests were carried out on reused material from the first batch of sand maintaining,
as closely as possible, a constant initial placement density. These are tests 47 to 52 in Fig. 11,
and with the exception of test 49 they show a variation from the initial series of tests. A re-
view of the results at this stage suggested one or more of a number of possibilities : (i) that the
calibrations of the pressure gauge and proving ring might have changed during the tests,
(ii) that the operator’s technique of sample manufacture might have changed, or (iii) that the
surface properties of the sand might have altered during the 1 l-month period after elutriation.

a-

1
TYPE SAMPLE MADE IN NORMAL
TWO HALVES
B’HIGH 4”HlGH 4”HIGH
_-
LUBRICATED 0 0 ti
NON-LUBRICATED . .

,_

l-
l/ O.OOS”THK!

2/0.009”THI

3-

39 41 43 45
INITIAL POROSITY n,%

Fig. 10. Strength of Ham River sand in triaxial compression tests: 1st series : all tests on unused
sand

To clarify the position a second batch of similar Ham River sand was obtained and a series
of 18 tests carried out on fresh unwashed samples over a 3&week period. Calibrations of the
pressure gauge and proving ring were carried out before and after this series and these cali-
brations showed no change. The results of the tests are shown in Fig. 12.
The initial porosity was maintained as close as possible to 41*5%, i.e. medium dense, and
as some variation was inevitable the relevant slopes of the strength-porosity relationships
from the first series were assumed to apply for purposes of comparison. Two consecutive
258 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

sets of tests were completed on each type of sample, including tests on 2-in.-high samples
built in the normal way with one O-009-in.-thick lubricated membrane at each end. Addi-
tional tests were carried out on the 8-in.-high samples.
The four tests on the S-in.-high non-lubricated samples were very consistent. Of the four
tests on 8-in.-high lubricated samples, tests S2 and S16 were consistent with the non-lubricated
samples, as in the previous series, whereas tests S9 and S14 gave 4’ values of 0.4” higher. In
the first series of tests and in test S2 and S16 the thin rubber disks were always washed in
detergent after each test, dried and powdered with French chalk to prevent sticking. In
tests S9 and S14 the disks were not powdered and these results show slightly higher strengths.
Tests on 4-in.-high lubricated samples made in two halves show a higher $’ when one 0909-
in.-thick membrane is used. When two 0+009-in.-thick membranes are used the c$’ values
coincide with those of 8-in.-high samples. Again tests on C-in-high non-lubricated samples

RMAi

NON-LUBRICATED.

1 I I
39 40 41 42
INITIAL POROSITY ni %

Fig.ll. Strength of Ham River sand in drained triaxial compression tests: enlargement of a
portion of Fig. 10 with tests on re-used sand together with four tests on sand horn the second
batch

made in two halves give a markedly higher strength-porosity relationship. Also 4-in.-high
lubricated samples made in a normal manner show a slightly higher + than those made in two
halves. The tests on the lubricated 2-in.-high samples were difficult to interpret since their
stress-strain curves had no definite peak, the deviator stress continuing to increase very
slowly. The points shown correspond to an axial strain of lo%, being just beyond the point
at which the slope of the stress-strain curve rapidly began to flatten out, and probably repre-
sent a lower limit to possible values of I$’ for these tests.
The differences in strength measured on the various types of sample in this series of 18
tests thus appear to confirm the general conclusions drawn from the first 29 tests.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 259
Volumetric strain rates

The rate of dilatation at failure is defined here as the slope of the plot of volumetric strain
against axial strain at the maximum stress difference. In the case of initially dense and
medium dense samples this coincides with the maximum rate of dilatation whereas for loose
samples the maximum rate of dilatation occurs before failure. The failure strain of a loose
sample is more difficult to define as the peak is very flat and the interpretation of the results is
less definite.

42

517
d \ 513
2”HIGH --
LUBRICATED
NORMAL

- LUBRICATED

37
LUBRICATEC

!
41 42
Two H?LvES
I
43
INITIAL POROSITY n, ‘A

Fig. 12. StrengthIof Ham River sand in drained triaxial compression tests : 2nd series on unused
sand from the second batch

The variation of the rate of dilatation with porosity for all the tests in the first series is
shown in Fig. 13. The results of all the tests lie close to a unique line and the relationship is
apparently independent of the height to diameter ratio of the sample or of the degree of end
restraint. The rates of dilatation for the second series of tests are shown to a more open scale
in Fig. 14. Here again good agreement exists between the different types of test. The
differences between 4-in-high lubricated and both lubricated and unlubricated S-in.-high
samples are hardly significant.

Axial strain at failure


The axial strain at failure varied with the sample height and degree of end restraint. The
results of the initial tests in the first series are shown in Fig. 15 together with the 4-in.-high
A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

I
SAMPLE SAMPLE MADE IN

NON-LUBRICATED . .

Fig. 13. Comparison of


rates of dilatation at
maximum +: aII tests
in 1st serfes

INITIAL POROSITY “[ %

0.

Fig. 14. Comparison of rates of dilatation 3


2
at maximum f: 2nd series of tests
K
2 0.
z
;i
g
u
5
z
3 0.1
6
>

41 41 43
INITIAL POROSITY n; %
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 261
samples with non-lubricated ends (tests 31, 32, and 34). The results of the subsequent tests
confirm the same general picture, but the scatter of the points makes it difficult to present all
the data on one graph.

I
SAMPLE SAMPLE MADE IN
T
TWO HALVES NORMAL

8”HIGH 4”HIGH 4”HIGH


LUBRICATED 0 1 q g
IiON-LUBR ICI\TE+ . 1
-r --A
i

\ 2/Q 009”THK.

/
39 41 I3 47
INITIAL POROSITY n I
i
Fig. 15. Comparison of axial strains at maximum f: 1st series of tests

The failure strain for S-in.-high non-lubricated samples varied from 5% for dense samples
up to 11 o/0 for loose samples. Reduction in end restraint by using one O-009-in.-thick mem-
brane at each end increased the axial strain to failure to 6% for dense samples but had no
effect on the loose samples. Additional membranes, up to three O-024 in. thick appear to
have no very significant effect. Tests on 4-in.-high lubricated samples with a single membrane
indicated higher failure strains, varying from about 7$% on dense samples to over 20% on
loose samples. There is no notable difference in behaviour between 4-in.-high samples made
in a normal manner or in two halves. The tests on re-used samples, 4 in. high, and unlubri-
cated, are also shown in Fig. 15 as a dashed line and indicate much lower failure strains than
the corresponding lubricated samples.

Volumetric strain at failure


The volumetric strains are shown in Fig. 16 and are complementary to the axial strains at
failure. The 4-in-high lubricated samples show the greatest volumetric failure strains, there
262 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

being a small difference between normal samples and those made in two halves. The 8-in.-
high unlubricated samples show the lowest volumetric failure strains, as might be expected.
The tests on 4-in.-high non-lubricated samples coincide with their 8-in.-high counterparts.
Decreasing the end restraint on the 8-in.-high samples increases the volumetric strain at
failure of the dense and medium dense samples but shows little effect on the loose samples.

5-

3 - ,d6---i

x- 2/0.009”THK.
2 --

I ~~~

O- \\-
,n
37 J’
16”
\
I
I

.I 1

Fig. 16. Comparison of volumetric strains at maximum +‘: 1st series of tests

INTERPRETATION OF TEST RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS

It is clear from the results presented in this paper that considerable care is necessary in
order to obtain consistent measurements of the mechanical properties of even an apparently
inert sand composed mainly of quartz particles. The apparent change with time after the
initial washing and batching of the sand used for the first series of tests and the significant
change in the properties on re-use are factors which may account for inconsistencies in some
earlier series of tests.
These changes, together with the change in pressure gauge calibration noted during the
present testing programme, may not be of great significance from the engineering point of
view. However, unless precautions are taken to avoid the resulting inconsistencies, it is
difficult to draw valid conclusions about the influence of boundary restraint. These conclusions
are vital to the interpretation of data from tests in which the intermediate principal stress is
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 263
varied. With the procedures described in this Paper it is possible to reduce the scatter in the
values of the maximum angle of shearing resistance 4’ to about & O-3” for a given porosity.
The conclusions of the present investigation with regard to the influence on the observed
strength of height to diameter ratio and end restraint are illustrated in Fig. 17.* For the
type of sand and end plattens used, the reduction of end restraint by lubrication has no signi-
ficant effect on the observed strength of samples having the usual height to diameter ratio of
2 to 1. For lower ratios the influence of end restraint becomes increasingly important. For a
ratio of 1 to 1 very efficient lubrication, represented by a sandwich of two thin greased mem-
branes, is necessary to reduce the strength to that of the samples having a height to diameter
ratio of 2 to 1. Additional membranes do not appear to reduce the strength below this value.
The accuracy with which this conclusion can be drawn depends on the accuracy with
which the stresses can be evaluated in samples which do not deform strictly as right cylinders.

HEIGHT OF SPECIMEN-INCHES
2
46

’ , ,NjALPOROS,TYn~=4l~5,

P
Fig. 17. Influence of height to diameter -z 36
ratio on the strength of samples having 5
various degrees of end restraint II
Fj 34
z

32 I I !
0.5 I
HEIGHT TO D,,,“,TE, RATIO H/D)

Samples with lubricated ends having a height to diameter ratio of 1 to 1 do not depart very
far from a cylindrical shape up to the strain corresponding to peak strength. The calculation
of stress on the basis of the average cross-sectional area can therefore be subject to little error.
However, samples having a height to diameter ratio of 2 to 1 did not expand significantly
at the ends whether lubricated or not.? In this case the use of an average cross-sectional
area in the stress calculation is more open to criticism (though it may be justified on the grounds
that the slip zone which often forms after failure cuts the sample diagonally almost from corner
to corner in elevation).
The probable range of uncertainty can be estimated by assuming that the elevation of the
sample is symmetrical about mid-height and parabolic in form. For a typical sample, for

* This type of relationship between strength and specimen height has been obtained in similar tests on
concrete, for example, by Newman and Lachance (1962), though a direct comparison cannot be made due
to the difference in failure mechanism.
t This is in contrast to the observation reported by Lee and Seed (1964) that samples of dense sand having
a height to diameter ratio of 2.4 to 1 deformed approximately as right cylinders when lubricated ends were
used. The explanation may lie in the fact that the samples used by Lee and Seed were only 1.4 in. in dia-
meter, whereas the samples in the present series are 4.0 in. in initial diameter. The relative thickness of the
rubber membrane can clearly have an important influence on failure strain and on the deformed shape of the
sample, though the reported results are difficult to reconcile (Waterways Experiment Station (1947), Chen
(1948)).
264 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

example, Sl (Figs 8 and 12), the value of $’ may be evaluated in three ways: (i) on the basis
of the average cross-sectional area over the full height of the sample, for which #=37*6’;
(ii) on the basis of the average cross-sectional area of the middle half of the sample, for which
the height to diameter ratio is 1 to 1 as in the short samples. This gives fl=37*1” ; (iii) on the
basis of the cross-sectional area at mid-height (Roscoe et al., 1959). This is the extreme lower
limit and gives I#’= 36.9”.
The use of the second or third methods would suggest that even the most complete
lubrication did not quite reduce the strength of a 1 to 1 sample to that of a 2 to 1 sample, though
the difference is only just significant.*
The results of four tests on sand published by Taylor (1941) and four tests on sand pub-
lished by Lee and Seed (1964) are consistent, within the probable natural scatter, with the
conclusion that end restraint has little effect on the observed strength of samples having a
height to diameter ratio of 2 to 1 or more.
The comparison between the results of five short samples (1 to 1) of sand with lubricated
ends and five long samples (2 to 1) with end restraint made by Rowe and Barden (1964) is
not at first sight consistent with the present series of tests since the apparent strength of the
short lubricated samples is lower than that of the long unlubricated samples by about 2” in
the value of 4’ at the peak stress. As the load was measured outside the cell and includes
piston friction, which is likely to be less when lubrication of the platten minimizes lateral
forces, the results are subject to some uncertainty. A more limited series of tests on another
sand in the same apparatus described by Freedman (1959) showed no significant difference
between the two types of test.
The rate of change of volume at failure is found to depend only on the initial porosity and
to be almost independent of the type of test or the strain at which failure occurs. This indi-
cates that studies relating the rate of dilatation at failure to stress and strain are not made
significantly more accurate by using short lubricated samples instead of samples having a height
to diameter ratio of 2 to 1 with unlubricated ends.
The fact that the strength of short samples does increase with increasing end restraint,
whereas the rate of volume change at failure does not, suggests that this increase in strength is
primarily due to an increase in the average normal stress within the sample.
The data published by Rowe and Barden (1964) suggest that the rate of volume change at
failure may be slightly less in a sample with lubricated ends, whereas that published by Lee
and Seed (1964) for a long lubricated sample suggests that it may be greater. The differences
are quoted for individual tests and are probably within the natural scatter of typical results.
The tests by Taylor (1941) with reduced end restraint on a long sample similarly showed little
difference.
Short samples with lubricated ends show larger axial strains and a larger dilatation at
failure than long samples without lubrication. For dense samples in particular, for which the
slip zones observable after failure are very limited in thickness, it is remarkable that the dif-
ferences in strain and dilatation are not greater if generalized shear failure is occurring through-
out the short lubricated sample. This may indicate that the imposition of uniform strains
at the boundaries of a sample does not necessarily ensure uniform strains within the sample
at or after the point at which the peak stress difference has been reached.?
It is important to note that the drained strength and the rate of volume change at failure
in the conventional cylindrical compression test do not appear to differ significantly from the

* Whether this difference, if real, is due to the inhibition of zone failure by the rigid plattens in the short
samples, or due to the departure of the actual stress conditions from those assumed in a barrelling sample, is
a matter for speculation. The smallness of the difference is perhaps the most significant feature.
t This may parallel the difficulties encountered by Roscoe et al. (1958) in defining the critical void ratio
of sands in the simple shear apparatus.
COMPRESSION STRENGTH OF A COHESIONLESS SOIL 265
results obtained with techniques designed to make the strain and dilatation of the sample
more uniform.
The present programme has been restricted to one cohesionless material and to tests of
relatively short duration. Caution may be necessary in applying the results to cohesive
soils tested at very low rates of strain.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The work described in this Paper was carried out in the Department of Civil Engineering
at Imperial College, where the junior author held a D.S.I.R. Research Studentship.

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266 A. W. BISHOP AND G. E. GREEN

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