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Strength characterisation of soil-based construction materials

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)400-409
JournalGeotechnique
Volume68
Issue number5
Early online date31 Aug 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Abstract

Rammed earth (RE) is a venerable construction technique, gaining attention today due to its environmental and sustainable qualities. A key obstacle to its wider adoption is a lack of strength characterisation methods to aid in design and conservation. Research over the past decade has demonstrated that suction is the key mechanism behind strength and strength gain. As suction changes with the building's environment, being able to predict strength changes with suction is essential for practitioners and conservators alike. This paper presents a method for predicting RE strengths based on the Extended Mohr Coulomb (EMC) framework. Construction of an EMC failure envelope in the residual suction range is discussed and the use of a planar envelope justified. Unconfined compression and indirect tensile tests on two RE soils are used to construct this envelope and methods to predict strengths from it are derived. Excellent agreement between measured and predicted strengths is also found for available literature data. Simplifications are identified to adapt the developed technique to suit RE practice and a suitable experimental procedure is outlined. Finally, the revised experimental procedure is employed at an existing RE construction facility to successfully predict strengths of a compacted Californian sandy loam.

    Research areas

  • Rammed earth, Suction, Unsaturated Soils, Mohr-Coulomb, Sustainable Development, Partially-saturated Soils

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