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# Direct Shear Test

/2014

Table

of

Contents
Introduction........................................................................................................... 1
Apparatus.............................................................................................................. 2
Method................................................................................................................... 3

Rifai
Angle
of Repose............................................................3
ID:
Results...................................................................................................................
4
120021006
Shear

Shear

Box......................................................................4

Angle

of Repose............................................................6
1

Discussion.............................................................................................................. 7
Conclusion............................................................................................................. 8

## Figure 1 Direct stress machine.............................................................................. 1

Figure 2 Measuring angle of repose.......................................................................1
Figure 3 Layout of the shear box........................................................................... 2
Figure 4 The shear box before being set up for shear testing................................2
Figure 5 Shear load (N) against horizontal displacement (x) to observe the
behaviour of the samples...................................................................................... 5
Figure 6 Vertical Displacement against horizontal displacement to observe the
volume change...................................................................................................... 5
Figure 7 Trend-lines for the dense and loose samples to calculate the angle of
friction................................................................................................................... 6
Figure 8 Angle of Repose....................................................................................... 6
Figure 9 Shear load against horizontal displacement to observe the behaviour of

Introduction
Shear strength is the magnitude of shear stress a soil can sustain. It is the
measure of the soil resistance to deformation by continuous displacement of its
individual soil particles. The aim of this experiment is to examine how soil
strength can be measured and how it varies with changes in effective stress and
density.
In this report the soil strength will be measure by two different ways:

Shear box
Figure 1 demonstrates the shear box that
will be used to measure the strength of the
soil by shearing the silica sand sample.
Data is from the shear box is recorded by
using a computer connected to it. Tests are
carried out for three loose samples of
different loads applied, and another test is
done on a dense sample to examine effect
of how changing the density affects the
shear strength.

## Figure 1 Direct stress

machine

Angle of Repose
The angle of repose is the steepest angle at
which a sloping surface formed from a loose
material is stable.

of repose

## Further through the report, a detailed explanation of the procedures used to

carry out the direct shear test as well as the method of measuring the angle of
repose. Results obtained will be analyzed and discussed to examine how and
why the soil behaves in shear under different conditions. Also, a comparison
between the measured angles of friction and the angle of repose will be done to
determine whether they match or not.

Apparatus
To carry out the direct shear stress experiment, a set of apparatus will be
required. These include:

## Direct stress testing machine.

o A motor for driving the bottom half of the box to cause shearing in
the sample
o A computer to record the shear resistance (F) developed by the
soil
o Linearly variable differential transformers (LVDTs) to measure the
vertical and horizontal displacements of the soil
o A shear box assembly, 60mm2 square with spacing screws. It also
consists of two plain grid plates, two porous stone plates each
o Set of weights to give a normal stress up to 70.57 kPa.

## Figure 4 The shear box before being

set up for shear testing

## Sensitive balance to measure the weight of the sand

Large flat plate that contains the silica sand
A measuring cylinder or a cup used to transfer the sand into the square

Method
The shear strength is investigated in two different ways that follow different
procedures. However, both methods should obtain similar answers for
comparison.

Shear Box

Using the sensitive balance weigh an initial mass of the silica sand in the
measuring cylinder and record it.
Assemble the shear box by placing the bottom plate, one porous stone
and one grid plate.
Load the sand sample into the shear box while making sure that the
alignment screws are screwed through the top half of the shear box to
the bottom half.
Place the second porous stone and the second grid plate on top of the
sample. (While testing for loose samples, the shear box is carefully and
slowly moved to produce a flat horizontal surface. However in the dense
sand test, the silica sand is placed in three sets which are compacted by
hand to make sure the least amount of air voids in the shear box).
by placing it inside the direct shear device.
Remove the alignment screws from the shear to allow the sand to fill the
gaps.
Add the weight underneath the shear box.
Make sure the LVDT is touching the shear box to record the
displacements.
Start the computer to take initial values of the voltage. Once the voltage
is detected, start the shearing device.
Keep recording the data until there is no further change that can be
detected.
Stop the acquisition and turn of the shear device.
Repeat the experiment for different weights and sand densities.

Angle of Repose
The angle of repose , approximately equals to the angle of friction that can be
obtained from the shear box test. To carry out such method, the soil is poured
slowly on a flat horizontal surface until a slope is achieved. The angle of that slop
can be then measured using a protractor. The test repeated for more accurate
results.

Results
Shear Box
Below is the data sheet used whilst carrying out the shear box experiment along
with values that were recorded and calculated.
Soil Description: Silica Sand

Test No. 1:
Mass of Sand = 139(g)
Sample Height = 25.5(mm)

(height x area)

## Initial Density = 1.514x103(kg/m3)

Initial Voids ratio (e) =0.75

## Peak shear Stress f =18.418 N/m2

Angle of Friction = tan-1( f/ 'n)

Test No. 2:
Mass of Sand = 138.1(g)
Sample Height = 25.5(mm)

=31.8
Volume of Sample =91.8 (cm3)
(height x area)

## Initial Density = 1.504x103(kg/m3) (mass/volume)

Initial Voids ratio (e) =0.76
Normal Stress n = 43.3kN/m2
Test No. 3:
Mass of Sand = 140.1(g)
Sample Height = 26(mm)

(height x area)

## Initial Density = 1.497x103(kg/m3) (mass/volume)

Initial Voids ratio (e) =0.77
Normal Stress n = 70.58N/m2
Test No. 4:
Mass of Sand = 155(g)
Sample Height = 25(mm)

(height x area)

## Initial Density = 1.722x103(kg/m3) (mass/volume)

Initial Voids ratio (e) =0.54

## Normal Stress n = 29.7kN/m2

Data from the acquisition system were used to analyze the sand samples. The
values obtained were the voltage, load, shear stress, vertical displacement, and
horizontal displacement. To get a closer at the sand behavior for various weights
and densities, graphs were plotted.

Shear load (F) against horizontal displacement (x) for the loose and
dense samples at the same normal stress on the same graph. This refers
to tests 1 for the loose sample and test 4 for the dense sample. This will
show the difference in behavior of both samples.
100
80

Test No.

60
40

Test No.

## 29.7 kPa Dense

20

-1

0
0

-20
Horizantal Displacement (mm)

## Figure 5 Shear load (N) against horizontal displacement (x) to observe

the behaviour of the samples

## Vertical displacement (y) against Horizontal displacement (x) for the

loose and dense sand sample at the same normal stress on the same
graph. This helps observing the volume change during shear.

0.4
0.35
0.3

Dilation

0.25
0.2

0.15

0.1

## 29.7 kPa Dense

0.05

Compressi

0
-1 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
-0.05
Horizantal Displacement (mm)

## Figure 6 Vertical Displacement against horizontal displacement to

observe the volume change

Peak and residual shear stresses against normal stress for all the tests
on one graph (Plot peak andres against n for each test). Hence, the peak
and residual angles of friction ('and 'res) for the loose and dense sand
can be measured.
50
45

40
35

Loose Sand 30

Shear Stress 25

20
15

Dense sand

10
5

res0

10

20

30

40

50

60

70

80

## Normal stress n'

Figure 7 Trend-lines for the dense and loose samples to calculate the
angle of friction

To find the friction angles for the loose and dense samples of silica sand, the
trend-line crossing the loose and dense samples is extended to cross the xaxis. The angles between these trend-lines and the x-axis will determine the
friction angles ('and 'res).
To find the angle:
'and 'res = tan-1(gradient of each sample)
For the dense sample ('), tan-1(0.9209) = 42.64
For the loose sample ('res), tan-1(0.6386) = 32.56

Angle of Repose
Measuring of the angle of repose was done twice in order to achieve a more
accurate answer. Angle of repose , was found to be equal to 31 in the first test
and 31.4 for the second test.

## Figure 8 Angle of Repose

Discussion
As can be observed by the values obtained from the experiment the first three
tests had their densities and voids ratios approximately equal but they had been
analyzed under different normal stresses. Therefore it can be predicted that
these samples will have the same behaviors but will have different peak and
residual shear stresses as show in Figure (8).
100

Test No.
3

80
60

Test No. 2

40
Test No.
1
Test No.
4

20
-1

0
0

29.7 kPa
43.3 kPa
70.57 kPa
29.7 kPa Dense

-20
Horizantal Displacement (x)

Figure 9 Shear load against horizontal displacement to observe the behaviour of loose

However, the values obtained for test 4 were different. Compared with the first
test for the loose sample, they have the same weight applied but on the other
hand their densities are different. This can be observed from the values of voids
ratios obtained from both samples. The effect of changing the density affects the
behavior of the sample but it will not affect its final residual stress. As shown in
Figure(7).
This proves that varying the density of same silica sand samples while testing it
under the same load would only change the behavior of the samples. A denser
sample would have a peak shear stress value and a residual shear stress at the
same normal stress. However, its residual stress would be approximately the
same as the first test which undergoes the same normal stress 29.7 kPa.
The volume change that occurs in shearing depends on the density of the sand.
In case of the dense sample, it undergoes dilation, which is an increase in
volume. This is because the sand particles are fully compacted and tightly
packed before the start of the shearing process. Since there is no air voids for the
particles to move into, they move up and over their neighbors. However in the
loose sand sample, there is no significant particle interlocking to be overcome
and the shear stress increases gradually to an ultimate value without a prior
peak, accompanied with a decrease in volume. This is because the silica sand is
loosely packed contains many voids which particles can slide into while shearing
occurs. This distinction in behavior also causes the change in angles of friction
observed. The difference between 'and 'res represents the work required to
rearrange particles.
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The angle of repose 31.2 measured was similar to the angle of friction obtained
from the loose samples 32.56. However the denser sample had a bigger
difference as its friction angle was 42.64. This is due to the trend-line
connecting the loose sample points is not passing through the origin as was
predicted. Also, the method of measuring the repose angle was not accurate
enough as the silica sand was not poured on a perfectly horizontal flat surface
which produced different slopes for each angle measurements.

Conclusion
The aim of this report was to carry out a direct shear test to find the shear
strength of silica sand under different load cases and densities. Four tests have
been carried out where three were using loose silica sand and the one using
dense silica sand. A discussion of the shear load behavior for each sample was
addressed to explain how each sample undergoes different shearing while
subjected under different weights. A comparison between tests 1 and 4 was done
with the use of graphs to examine the behavior of changing the density of the
samples under the same normal stress. It was found that the dense sample
undergoes dilation (increase in volume) while the loose sample underwent
compression (decrease in volume). In addition, it was found that changing the
density of samples under the same load does not alter their residual shear
stress, but only their behavior.
Angles of friction for the loose samples and the dense samples were also
measured and compared with the angle of repose to evaluate their shear
strengths. With regard to the inaccuracy of the measurement of the repose angle
(31.4), it was similar to the angle of friction of the loose sample calculated
(32.56).
The data that was given from the acquisition system were accurate as the values
were given to nine decimal places. However, the inaccuracy may occur in
assembling the shear box and fitting it in place. The plates that were placed
inside the shear box may not have been cleaned after the previous test was
done. Also, the surface of the soil in the shear box may have not been horizontal
due to some excess soil on top. All these inaccuracies are not really that
important as they will not affect the results in a serious way.

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