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This paper presents the results of a field investigation carried out to determine the undrained shear strength of a sensitive clay deposit. The tests were performed by means of a Nilcon vane borer in Louiseville, Quebec, Canada. In order to study the possible anisotropic nature of the undrained shear strength, the apparatus was equipped with both rectangular-shaped and diamond-shaped vanes. The rectangular vanes had a height/diameter ratio that varied between 0.5 and 2.0. The diamond-shaped vanes had their blades cut at an angle that varied between 30° and 60° with respect to the horizontal. The results of the tests carried out with the rectangular vanes indicate that the undrained shear strength in the vertical plane Suv is lower than the undrained shear strength in the horizontal plane Suh. Thus, the value of the degree of strength anisotropy, defined as Suh/Suv, varies between 1.14 and 1.41. For the diamond-shaped vanes, the inferred strengths are intermediate between Suh and Suv. In addition, an elliptical failure criterion is found to adequately describe the observed response.
undrained shear strength, soft clays, anisotropy, field tests, rectangular vanes, diamond-shaped vanes, elliptical failure criterion
Professor, Ecole Polytechnique, Montreal, Quebec
Professor, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rouyn, Quebec