Experimental behaviour of compacted marls
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Jurassic marls from Abadia, Portugal, were used in the construction of some motorway embankments. Large fragments of this evolving material remained after the construction process, and their degradation was of concern because of the expected change of the engineering properties of the compacted material. The material exhibits a very complex behaviour, which is difficult to reproduce with existing constitutive models for unsaturated structured materials. This paper focuses on understanding and providing data on the interaction between the pure marls (rock) and the aggregate behaviour. It presents the main results of tests performed to characterise the hydro-mechanical behaviour of compacted marls in specimens prepared with different grading size distributions and subjected to oedometer tests where both stress and suction changes were applied. The experimental data obtained were analysed, considering the presence of fragments and their degradation. The marl matrix was characterised to complete the existing data previously published for this material, but now with the purpose of providing a better explanation for the volumetric behaviour of the aggregate. The discussion is assisted by the explanation provided by a simple elasto-plastic model for unsaturated soils. Discrepancies with model predictions help to highlight the singularity of the marl aggregate. Compacted marls behave as materials in the transition between rockfill (when the fragments remain brittle) and a clayey soil (when the degradation accumulates). Therefore the compacted marl exhibits a dual behaviour. If it is dry, deformations are explained by the breakage of particles and rearrangement of the structure. If it is wet, the compacted marl is dominated by bond degradation of the material, the release of swelling potential and simultaneous changes in the stiffness and strength of the fragments. It appears that the transition from dry to wet can be identified by the current suction; moreover, it is rather abrupt.
CitationCardoso, R.; Maranha das Neves, E.; Alonso, E. Experimental behaviour of compacted marls. "Géotechnique", Agost 2012, vol. 62, núm. 11, p. 999-1012.
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