ASTM D6528 - 07

    Standard Test Method for Consolidated Undrained Direct Simple Shear Testing of Cohesive Soils

    Active Standard ASTM D6528 | Developed by Subcommittee: D18.05

    Book of Standards Volume: 04.09


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    Significance and Use

    The shear strength of a specimen depends on the soil type, normal consolidation stress, time of consolidation, rate of strain, and prior stress history of the soil.

    In this test, the shear strength is measured under constant volume conditions that are equivalent to undrained conditions for a saturated specimen; hence, the test is applicable to field conditions wherein soils have fully consolidated under one set of stresses, and then are subjected to changes in stress without time for further drainage to take place.

    The constant volume (undrained) strength is a function of stress conditions. In this test method, the strength is measured under plane strain conditions and the principle stresses continuously rotate due to the application of shear stress. This simple shear stress condition occurs in many field situations including zones below a long embankment and around axially loaded piles.

    The state of stress within the simple shear specimen is not sufficiently defined nor uniform enough to allow rigorous interpretation of the results. Expressing the data in terms of the shear stress and normal effective stress on the horizontal plane is useful for engineering purposes, but should not be confused with the effective stress parameters derived from other shear tests having better defined states of stress.

    The values of the secant shear modulus can be used to estimate the initial settlements of embankments built on saturated cohesive soils due to undrained shear deformations.

    The data from the consolidation portion of this test are comparable to results obtained using Test Method D 2435 provided that the more rigorous consolidation procedure of Test Method D 2435 is followed.

    5.6.1 The axial displacements measured from Test Method D 2435 are somewhat smaller than for the simple shear test because the specimen’lateral confinement is less rigid and the top platen is unable to rotate.

    5.6.2 The estimated preconsolidation pressure is comparable provided the specimen is loaded sufficiently into the normally consolidated range.

    5.6.3 The rate of consolidation is comparable.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method defines equipment specifications and testing procedures for the measurement of constant volume strength and stress-strain characteristics of cohesive soils after one-dimensional consolidation using a constant rate of simple shear deformation mode of loading. The constant volume condition is equivalent to the undrained condition for saturated specimens.

    1.2 This test method is written specifically for devices that test rectangular parallelepiped or cylindrical specimens. Other more general devices, such as the torsional shear hollow cylinder, may be used to perform consolidated constant volume simple shear tests but are beyond the scope of this test method.

    1.3 This test method is applicable to testing intact, laboratory reconstituted, and compacted soils, however, it does not include specific guidance for reconstituting or compacting test specimens.

    1.4 It shall be the responsibility of the agency requesting this test to specify the magnitude of the normal consolidation stress prior to constant volume shear and, when appropriate, the maximum normal consolidation stress, which will result in an overconsolidated specimen.

    1.5 All recorded and calculated values shall conform to the guide for significant digits and rounding established in Practice D 6026.

    1.5.1 The procedures used to specify how data are collected/recorded and calculated in this test method are regarded as the industry standard. In addition, they are representative of the significant digits that should generally be retained. The procedures used do not consider material variation, purpose for obtaining the data, special purpose studies, or any considerations for the users objectives; it is common practice to increase or reduce significant digits of reported data to be commensurate with these considerations. It is beyond the scope of this test method to consider significant digits used in analysis methods for engineering design.

    1.5.2 Measurements made to more significant digits or better sensitivity than specified in this standard shall not be regarded a nonconformance with this standard.

    1.6 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard. Reporting test results in units other than SI shall be regarded as conformance with this test method.

    1.6.1 In the engineering profession it is customary practice to use, interchangeably, units representing both mass and force, unless dynamic calculations (F=Ma) are involved. This implicitly combines two separate systems of units, that is, the absolute system and the gravimetric system. It is scientifically undesirable to combine two separate systems within a single standard. This test method has been written using SI units; however, inch-pound conversions are given in the gravimetric system, where the pound (lbf) represents a unit of force (weight). The use of balances or scales recording pounds of mass (lbm), or the recording of density in lb/ft3 should not be regarded as nonconformance with this test method.

    1.7 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ASTM Standards

    D422 Test Method for Particle-Size Analysis of Soils

    D653 Terminology Relating to Soil, Rock, and Contained Fluids

    D854 Test Methods for Specific Gravity of Soil Solids by Water Pycnometer

    D1587 Practice for Thin-Walled Tube Sampling of Soils for Geotechnical Purposes

    D2216 Test Methods for Laboratory Determination of Water (Moisture) Content of Soil and Rock by Mass

    D2435 Test Methods for One-Dimensional Consolidation Properties of Soils Using Incremental Loading

    D2487 Practice for Classification of Soils for Engineering Purposes (Unified Soil Classification System)

    D2488 Practice for Description and Identification of Soils (Visual-Manual Procedure)

    D3550 Practice for Thick Wall, Ring-Lined, Split Barrel, Drive Sampling of Soils

    D3740 Practice for Minimum Requirements for Agencies Engaged in Testing and/or Inspection of Soil and Rock as Used in Engineering Design and Construction

    D4220 Practices for Preserving and Transporting Soil Samples

    D4318 Test Methods for Liquid Limit, Plastic Limit, and Plasticity Index of Soils

    D4452 Practice for X-Ray Radiography of Soil Samples

    D6026 Practice for Using Significant Digits in Geotechnical Data


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 13.080.20 (Physical properties of soil)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code 11111501(Soil)


    DOI: 10.1520/D6528-07

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