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Compaction behaviour of clay

Tarantino, Alessandro and De Col, E. (2008) Compaction behaviour of clay. Geotechnique, 58 (3). pp. 199-213. ISSN 0016-8505

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Abstract

This paper presents an experimental study of the compaction behaviour of non-active clay. One-dimensional static compaction tests were carried out at high and medium water content with matric suction monitoring using Trento high-capacity tensiometers. At lower water contents, a transistor psychrometer was used to measure post-compaction suction. Samples were compacted on the dry side of optimum to cover a wide range of compaction water contents and vertical stresses. Three water content regions were identified in the compaction plane depending on whether post-compaction suction increased, decreased or remained constant as the degree of saturation was increased at constant water content. Hydraulic paths of specimens subjected to loading-unloading cycles at constant water content have clearly shown that post-compaction suction may increase as the degree of saturation increases. This non-intuitive behaviour was demonstrated to be associated with the coupling between mechanical and water retention behaviour. To this end, a coupled mechanical water retention model was formulated. Irreversible one-dimensional mechanical paths were modelled by a boundary surface in the space average skeleton vertical stress, modified suction and void ratio. Irreversible hydraulic 'wetting' paths were modelled by a boundary surface in the space suction, degree of saturation, and void ratio. This study was completed by investigating the pore size distribution of compacted samples through MIP tests.