Hydromechanical behaviour of a silty sand from a steep slope triggered by artificial rainfall : from unsaturated to saturated conditions
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This paper presents an experimental investigation aimed at studying the hydromechanical behaviour of a silty sand from a steep slope in Ruedlingen in the northeast of Switzerland, where a landslide-triggering experiment was carried out. The hydromechanical behaviour of the statically compacted Ruedlingen silty sand has been studied under saturated and unsaturated conditions, beginning with different initial void ratios and water contents. The specimens were prepared in the laboratory using static compaction, to reproduce the mean dry density and mean water content expected in natural unsaturated in situ conditions, thus promoting specimen homogeneity and test repeatability. The choice of compaction parameters was supported by a detailed physical and microstructural investigation to produce laboratory specimens with a similar microstructure to that of the natural soil. The aim of the work was to characterize the mechanical behaviour of the soil at different gravimetric water contents in a triaxial stress path apparatus and to link the mechanical behaviour with the soil-water retention curve obtained under suction-controlled conditions with different void ratios. Soil specimens with three different gravimetric water contents were exposed to conventional isotropically consolidated drained and undrained stress paths for the water phase and to stress paths simulating in situ anisotropic compression followed by a decrease of mean effective stress at constant axial load. The radial deformation of the unsaturated specimens was measured with a laser device installed in a triaxial stress path cell. Results have been interpreted using a Bishop stress approach, evaluating the suction through the water retention curve. A simple equation has been proposed to model the compressibility behaviour of the soil tested, which depends on the parameter and the stress ratio. Possible unstable response along the stress path analysed has been investigated by means of second-order work and the validity of a unified framework has also been verified under unsaturated conditions.
CitationCasini, F.; Serri, V.; Springman, S. Hydromechanical behaviour of a silty sand from a steep slope triggered by artificial rainfall : from unsaturated to saturated conditions. "Canadian geotechnical journal", Gener 2013, vol. 50, núm. 1, p. 28-40.