Unsaturated soil behavior under monotonic and cyclic stress states



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Texas A&M University


The objectives of this dissertation are to measure and calculate surface free energies of soil particles, to understand the mechanical behavior of unsaturated silty sand through first studying the stress-strain relationship, the effects of matric suction and pore water chemistry and second to interpret the behavior by the critical state frame work, to develop a method to predict cone tip resistance in unsaturated soils, and to present the concept of pseudo strain and dissipated pseudo strain energy. Universal Sorption Device (USD) is developed to measure surface free energies of soil particles. The test results on a soil sample shows that specific surface area increased with decreasing particle size. The components of surface free energies and the work of adhesion increased with decreasing particle size. A servo controlled triaxial testing device is developed to test 15.24 cm in height and 7.62 cm in diameter, recompacted specimens of unsaturated soil under varying matric suction and different pore chemistry. During the test, the matric suction is maintained constant. Results from the triaxial drained tests are used for validation of the constitutive models proposed by Alonso et al. (1990). Predictions from the model are in good agreement with experimental results.
The critical state model for unsaturated soil is used to calculate cone tip resistance in unsaturated silty sand. The calculated cone tip resistance is used to evaluate the liquefaction potential of unsaturated soils. The results from the stress based liquefaction potential analysis reveal that even in an unsaturated condition soil is susceptible to liquefaction. By applying the pseudo strain concept, it is possible to account for the viscous resistance of water during cyclic loading. The results of undrained cyclic triaxial tests are used to calculate pseudo-strain and dissipated pseudo strain energy. The results of calculated dissipated pseudo strain energy suggest that the effect of initial matric suction is evident. On the other hand, the effect of surface tension increase or decrease due to existence of chemical on the pore water is negligible.