Field measurements of the linear and nonlinear shear moduli of cemented alluvium using dynamically loaded surface footings
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In this dissertation, a research effort aimed at development and implementation of a direct field test method to evaluate the linear and nonlinear shear modulus of soil is presented. The field method utilizes a surface footing that is dynamically loaded horizontally. The test procedure involves applying static and dynamic loads to the surface footing and measuring the soil response beneath the loaded area using embedded geophones. A wide range in dynamic loads under a constant static load permits measurements of linear and nonlinear shear wave propagation from which shear moduli and associated shearing strains are evaluated. Shear wave velocities in the linear and nonlinear strain ranges are calculated from time delays in waveforms monitored by geophone pairs. Shear moduli are then obtained using the shear wave velocities and the mass density of a soil. Shear strains are determined using particle displacements calculated from particle velocities measured at the geophones by assuming a linear variation between geophone pairs. The field test method was validated by conducting an initial field experiment at sandy site in Austin, Texas. Then, field experiments were performed on cemented alluvium, a complex, hard-to-sample material. Three separate locations at Yucca Mountain, Nevada were tested. The tests successfully measured: (1) the effect of confining pressure on shear and compression moduli in the linear strain range and (2) the effect of strain on shear moduli at various states of stress in the field. The field measurements were first compared with empirical relationships for uncemented gravel. This comparison showed that the alluvium was clearly cemented. The field measurements were then compared to other independent measurements including laboratory resonant column tests and field seismic tests using the spectral-analysis-of-surface-waves method. The results from the field tests were generally in good agreement with the other independent test results, indicating that the proposed method has the ability to directly evaluate complex material like cemented alluvium in the field.