The dynamic properties of a clean sand under different degrees of saturation were investigated using a modified custom built Direct Simple Shear (DSS) apparatus at the University of New Hampshire. The specific characteristics of the DSS were presented, and the testing procedures were discussed. The device used the axis translation and tensiometric techniques to control the matric suction in the soil specimen. The investigation on F75 Ottawa Sand showed a decrease in shear modulus and an increase in damping by increasing the shear strain over the tested range of strains for various degrees of saturation: dry, saturated, and partially saturated. The modulus reduction in the applied range of medium shear strains regardless of the degree of saturation demonstrated the capability of the DSS in consistently capturing the changes of dynamic properties. Experimental results indicated that the matric suction can have a substantial effect on the stiffness of the soil. However, the extent of this effect may depend on the induced strain level of the effective stress in unsaturated soil. In addition, partially saturated specimens resulted in lower dynamic compression.
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