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The Mechanics of Unsaturated Sand

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It is well known that partial saturation enhances the mechanical behaviour of soils. Despite major advances in the past two decades, little is known on the dilatancy characteristics of unsaturated soils. In this presentation, the stress-dilatancy behaviour of an unsaturated silica sand will be explored and discussed. It will be shown that the strength of an unsaturated sand can be predicted by considering both the critical state strength and the dilatancy characteristics. Furthermore, it will be shown that the prediction of the maximum dilatancy rate with a state index, such as the relative dilatancy index (Bolton, 1986), can be done by considering the enhancement of the soil fabric by partial saturation. These findings have been applied to a simple constitutive model for sand called NorSand (Jefferies, 1993) which allow it predict the behaviour of unsaturated sand. Finally, a few examples of applications will be presented.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Geotechnical Research Seminars series.

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