Deformation characteristics of medium-dense sand-clay mixtures under a principal stress rotation
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A moving wheel load induces a principal stress rotation (PSR) in pavement foundation geomaterials including subgrade/subbase soils. Simulating such a stress condition is not possible with stress path tests conducted with conventional cyclic triaxial (CT) equipment. More complex stress paths such as a heart-shaped stress path are required to determine the deformation characteristics of these under a PSR. A heart-shaped stress path can be simulated on a soil specimen in cyclic hollow cylinder (CHC) tests via user-defined waveforms for its stress components (axial stress, and torsional shear stress). In this study, a series of CT and CHC tests were performed to analyze the impact of a PSR on strain behaviors of medium-dense sand-clay mixtures. The specimens contained 0%, 5%, 10%, and 20% clay by weight and were prepared at an initial relative density of 50%. All specimens were anisotropically consolidated under K-0 approximate to 0.5. It was determined that all CT specimens underestimated the strain performances (both axial strain and shear strain) of the sand-clay mixtures. On the other hand, a heartshaped stress path was simulated successfully in CHC tests and thus, all specimens yielded more accurate strain results. At low clay content (<= 10%), the impact of a PSR on strain performances of the sand-clay mixtures was observed to be less (axial strain (epsilon(z)) < 0.12%, and shear strain (gamma(z theta)) 0.8% after number of load cycles (N) = 5000) due to the low stress ratios (CVSR = 0.15 and eta = 1/3). On the other hand, despite the low stress ratios, a PSR caused a rapid increase in axial strain and shear strain (epsilon(z) = 5%, and gamma(z theta) 0.8%) of the specimen containing 20% clay, which resulted in the failure of the specimen at N = 478. Results of this study clearly indicated that the effect of a PSR should be taken into consideration while evaluating the strain characteristics of the sand-clay mixtures that contain clay particularly at high contents (>= 20%) under traffic loads.