SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1989

Fracture Behavior of Compacted Fine-Grained Soils


Existing cracks, when triggered to advance, often contribute to the progressive failure mechanism and erosion of slopes, embankments, excavations, river banks, and other earthen structures of compacted fine-grained soils. To assess the effect of existing cracks on these earth structures it is necessary to quantitatively measure the magnitude of load necessary to advance the crack to failure. This load has been defined as the fracture load of soils in previous investigations.

This study reports the results of an experimental procedure used to measure the fracture load and its variation with precrack length and also evaluate the load deflection relations for compacted clays and marine clays. A simple procedure, based on concepts of linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) theory, was utilized. Soil specimens were prepared and tests were conducted according to ASTM Method E 399. Fracture load and fracture toughness were evaluated. Results indicate that reasonable estimations of fracture load in clay soils could be made using the fundamentals of LEFM theory, which constitutes the basis of the fracture toughness analysis.

Author Information

Fang, H-Y
Fritz Engineering Laboratory 13, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Mikroudis, GK
Fritz Engineering Laboratory 13, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
Pamukcu, S
Fritz Engineering Laboratory 13, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA
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Developed by Committee: E08
Pages: 659–667
DOI: 10.1520/STP18850S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5081-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1250-6