Evolution of microstructure in compacted London Clay during wetting and loading

R. Monroy, L. Zdravkovic, A. Ridley

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    114 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The influence of fabric on mechanical behaviour is explicitly considered in some of the current constitutive models for unsaturated soils. These are based on assumptions regarding the interaction between different levels of structure, which still require experimental validation. A study has been carried out to investigate the evolution of fabric in a compacted natural clay during wetting and loading, and the results are presented in this paper. Samples of London Clay were statically compacted to the same initial conditions, dry of optimum moisture content in a Proctor plot, and subsequently taken along complex stress paths involving wetting, loading, or a combination of both. Mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) and environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) microstructure investigations were carried out to observe and quantify the change in fabric associated with each path. The soil fabric was observed to change from an aggregate to a matrix type structure along all wetting paths. This transition was found to take place only when the suction was reduced to a value close to zero kPa. Results also showed that fabric changes during yielding were stress path-dependent. It was not possible to find a correspondence between the volume of free porosity and the volume of intra-aggregate pores, as suggested by some authors. Finally, the volume of pore water was found to agree closely with the volume of intra-aggregate pores, providing support to the assumption that in an unsaturated aggregate microstructure the clay aggregations are saturated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)105-119
    Number of pages15
    JournalGéotechnique
    Volume60
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010

    Keywords

    • partial saturation
    • PORE-SIZE DISTRIBUTION
    • FRAMEWORK
    • MERCURY INTRUSION
    • SATURATED SOILS
    • compaction
    • SUCTION
    • laboratory tests
    • microscopy
    • MECHANICAL-BEHAVIOR
    • PERMEABILITY
    • BENTONITE
    • EXPANSIVE CLAYS
    • CONSOLIDATION

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