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Shear strength of an unsaturated silty sand


This paper presents a series of direct shear tests performed on a silty sand at three different gravimetric water contents. The soil was sampled from test pits south of Ruedlingen in North East Switzerland, where a landslide triggering experiment was carried out on a 37-40 steep forested slope through infiltration of extreme artificial rainfall. The aim of this work was mainly to establish a correlation between the degree of saturation and slope stability. Direct shear tests were performed on reconstituted samples with a direct shear apparatus under undrained conditions for the water phase. Three of the samples were saturated after the shear phase in order to analyse the effect of wetting on shear strength. The results were interpreted with the assistance of a soil water retention curve (WRC) and an analytical slope stability analysis was performed to apply the laboratory results to the field experiment.


Casini, Francesca and Minder, Pascal and Springman, Sarah M.

Index Terms:

SoilGroup; Shear Strength; unsaturated soil; silt; sand; GeomechanicsGroup; Casini, Francesca; Minder, Pascal; Springman, Sarah M.

Further Information:

Date published: 2010