Drained residual shear and interface strength of soils at low effective normal stress
The drained residual shear strength at the interface between soils and solid materials can be of importance in evaluating the stability of geotechnical structures. Drained residual shear tests have been performed at relatively high effective normal stress levels, over 50 kPa. These effective normal stresses are relevant for many field applications and manageable in typical laboratory shear testing. However, there are field applications, such as offshore pipelines where the effective normal stresses can be below 50 kPa. There are two significant challenges in measuring the drained shear strength at low effective normal stresses: (1) a small amount of friction in a test device can affect the results; (2) small shear rates may be required to achieve drained conditions at the soils. A tilt table test method has been developed to overcome these challenges. The objective of this work is to measure the drained residual shear and interface strength of soils at low effective normal stresses so as to provide logical explanations of the effect of various parameters. These parameters include soil index properties, clay content, clay mineralogy, stress history, and loading rate together with the effective normal stress levels. The total 74 tilt table tests are performed to measure the drained residual shear and interface strength of marine clays and sand-kaolinite mixtures. The following conclusions can be drawn based on the test results.
- The drained residual shear strength both for the interface and for the soils is not affected by the over-consolidation ratio.
- The drained residual shear strengths for the interfaces are all less than the drained residual shear strengths of soils. The drained residual strength of interface depends on the roughness of interface, clay mineralogy.
- The empirical correlations and shear test results at higher effective normal stresses cannot be extrapolated to lower effective normal stresses.
- Clay mineralogy and clay contents together with the magnitude of effective normal stress are the most important factors to estimate the drained residual shear strength of cohesive soils.
- Cohesionless soils exhibit a constant residual secant friction angle regardless of effective normal stress levels.