The field vane test (FVT) is used more widely today in traditional site investigations to investigate the sensitivity of soft clay and even likely to replace the unconfined compression test (UCT). In this paper, the strengths and sensitivities of Shanghai soft clays obtained by an FVT and a UCT from a traditional site investigation and that obtained by the laboratory vane test (LVT) and the UCT on block samples were compared in detail. It was found that the FVT obtains higher strengths but lower sensitivity. This phenomenon was also observed in other soft clays. The unreliability of sensitivity determination by the FVT seems to increase with the liquid index and sensitivity of soil. The vane remolding method used in the FVT was found to be the major factor that causes these problems and cannot remold soil completely using the recommended number of vane rotations.
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