Suction effects on rockfill compressibility
PublisherInstitution of Civil Engineers (http://www.ice.org.uk/)
Rights accessOpen Access
A conceptual mechanism of rockfill deformation was postulated by Oldecop & Alonso (2001) on the basis of the observed rockfill behaviour in suction-controlled oedometer tests. Rockfill mechanical behaviour was linked to water action by means of some crack propagation phenomena, usually known as subcritical crack growth (Atkinson, 1984). For most rocks, the propagation velocity of cracks depends on the applied loads and the chemical action of water contained within the rock particles. Water action is conveniently measured by the relative humidity or by the total suction. It is believed that such phenomena are involved in rockfill particle breakage, an experimental fact that is well recognised as being part of rockfill volumetric deformation under a wide range of stress states (Kjaernsli & Sande, 1963; Sowers et al., 1965; Fumagalli, 1969; Marsal, 1973). A phenomenological constitutive model was proposed (Oldecop & Alonso, 2001) for one-dimensional compression, in which total suction and total stress are the relevant variables. This initial approach was based on a reduced number of laboratory tests, in which the vertical stress was limited to a maximum of 1 MPa. A new experimental programme was performed on the same material, using a newly developed testing device. A large-diameter (300 mm) oedometer, specially designed for the control of relative humidity by means of an air-flow circulation through the specimen, was built. The maximum vertical load was extended to 2·8 MPa in order to investigate the material behaviour in a load range common to rockfill dam structures. New features of rockfill behaviour were observed during this experimental programme. These are described in the paper. Moreover, the previously proposed constitutive model has been reformulated in order to extend its capabilities to cover these new features.
CitationOldecop, L.A.; Alonso, E.E. Suction effects on rockfill compressibility. Géotechnique, 2003, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 289–292.