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TITLE: Unconsolidated Undrained Triaxial Test

OBJECTIVE
To determine the shear strength parameters for clayey soil.

THEORETICAL BACKGROUND
Triaxial test is more reliable because we can measure both drained and undrained
shear strength.
Generally 1.4 diameter (3 tall) or 2.8 diameter (6 tall) specimen is used.
Specimen is encased by a thin rubber membrane and set into a plastic cylindrical
chamber.
'
Cell pressure is applied in the chamber (which represent 3 ) by pressurizing the cell
fluid (generally water).
Vertical stress is increased by loading the specimen (by raising the platen in strain
controlled test and by adding load directly in stress controlled test, but strain
controlled test is more common) until shear failure occurs. Total vertical stress, which
'
'

is 1 is equal to the sum 3 and deviator stress ( d ).


Measurement of ( d ) axial deformation, pore pressure, and sample volume
changed are recorded.
Depending on the nature of loading and drainage condition, triaxial tests are conducted
in three different ways.
UU Triaxial test
CU Triaxial test
CD Triaxial test
UU test measures the undrained shear strength of soils by means of axial compression
test on cylindrical specimens in which no drainage is permitted during the test.

APPARATUS
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)
f)
g)

Strain controlled triaxial load frame


Triaxial cell assembly
Cell pressure supply panel
Scale
Balance sensitive 0.1 g
Moisture cans
Oven

PROCEDURE
1.
2.
3.
4.

The diameter, length, and initial mass of the specimen measured.


The thickness of the rubber membrane measured.
Soil specimen is set in a triaxial chamber.
The cell pressure increased to a desired value (70 kPa for the first case and 140 kPa in
the second case).
5. The specimen sheared at the rate of 1%/min or 0.7%/min (for 70 mm sample height).
In automated device, the software calculates it automatically based on the soil type.
d
6. The L , and
recorded in every 10 seconds (computer does it automatically).
7. The test continued until the deviator stress shows ultimate value or 20% axial strain.
8. After the test complete, the cell pressure release to 0, the pressure vent and the cell
bring down by bring the the lower platen down, the cell drained and the porous stone
clean and assembly.
9. The mode of failure then sketch.
10. The weight of specimen measured again, and the specimen put into the oven.
11. The weight measured again after 24 hour.
12. The test repeated using second specimen(140 kPa of cell pressure and third specimen
210 kPa of cell pressure).
USERS GUIDELINE FOR THE ELE TRIAXIAL DEVICE (UU TRIAXIAL TEST)
A. POWER AND MAIN SUPPLY SETTINGS ( This step is already done)
1. Press the Power Display power button to the ON position. After Stabilization
(approx. 15 min.), push the Tare button to zero the display.
2. Turn on the laboratory vacuum supply. The associated amount of vacuum available
to your system will be displayed on the Vacuum Supply Gauge.
3. Turn on the laboratory compressed air supply. Viewing the Pressure Supply
gauge, adjust the Master Regulator until the desired maximum supply pressure is
reached. The display pressure should be about 10 psi more than the required cell
pressure. Do Not exceed 150 psi (1034 KPa) pressure.
4. Turn on the laboratory water supply.
B. FILLING OF THE DE-AIRED WATER TANK SYSTEM
(This step is already done)
1. Turn the De-Airing Water Control valve to he Fill position.
2. When the tank water level is about 1 from top, turn the De-Airing Water
Control valve to the vent position ( Very Slowly to allow water to drain).

C. DE-AIRING THE WATER TANK (This step is already done)


1. Turn the De-Airing Water Control valve to the Vacuum position.
2. Apply vacuum form 10-15 minutes and, at the same time, gently shake the tank

Occiasionally to enhance the removal or air from water.


3. Turn the De-Airing Water Control valve to the vent position.

D. FILLING THE BURETTE CHANNELS ( This step already done).


1. Set all five valves on the test cell to he closed position.
2. Set the De-Airing Water Control valve to the Pressure position.
3. Set the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve to the vent position.
4. Set the Annulus Control Switch to the open position (Normal).
5. Slowly turn the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve to the Fill position.
When the water reaches the desired level, turn the Burette/Annulus Flow
Control valve to the Cell Operate position. Do not overfill. Water should not be
allowed to flow into the cell pressure tube at the top.
6. Repeat the above steps until two burette channels being used are fiiled to the
desired level.
Note : If the water level in the De-Aired Water Tank System drops to about 1 from
the bottom, repeat the filling and de-airing procedures described above.
E. DE-AIRING THE BURETTE CHANNELS (This is already done).
1. Set the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve for each channel to the vacuum
position. Under normal operating conditions, the de-airing process should be
complete in about 5-10 minutes.
2. After completion, set all Input Control valves back to the vent position.

F. PREPARATION OF THE SAMPLE


1. Trim the sample to be tested using a Miter Box.
2. Measure the height and diameter of the sample at various location to get an
average value.
3. Measure the weight of the trimmed sample before test.
4. Wrap the sample in a plastic sheeting to prevent any moisture loss.
5. Use trimmings to get the moisture content of the sample before test.

G. PREPARATION FOR THE TRIAXIAL LOADING


1. Double click on software icon DS7 on the desktop.
2. Click on the button New Test.
3. Select UU1 Triaxial Quick undrained Test-AS.
4. Click on the button Select a Machine for the test.

5. Fill in the spaces in this window and click on the button ok to the right sight of
the screen. The fields marked * by their side can not be left blank and characters
/*.,:;@#? can not be used while filling up the spaces.
6. In the window Test in Progress make sure that you select the test that you want
to run and then click on the button ok at the bottom of the screen.
7. Switch on the Load Cell machine using the button at the back.

H. MONITORING THE TEST


1. In the Test Monitoring, window, make sure that all the test data shown in the upper box
is correct.
2. Click on the button Start Test Stage located to the upper right side of the screen.
3. In the next window select Test Initialization and click on button OK in the bottom.
4. In the Test Initialization window, enter the previously measured sample Diameter,
Weight and Height.
5. The bulk density of the sample will be calculated automatically by the software.
6. The information regarding the Membrane Thickness and Youngs Modulus are default
value and may not be changed, unless using a different kind of membrane around the
sample.
7. After entering all data click on the green button Confirm Setup Data.
8. This will bring you back to the Test Monitoring Window.
9. Again click on button Start Test Stage located to the upper right side of the screen.
10. This time select Compression from the menu and then click on button OK at the
bottom of the window.

I.

COMPRESSION STAGE
From the previous stage you will be directed to the screen titled Compression Stage for
Undrained Test.

I.

Vent Cell Pressure Transducer to Atmosphere and Reset:


a) Set the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve to the Pressure Position.
b) Set the Annulus Control Switch valve to the on position.
c) Set the Burette/Annulus Flow Control valve to the Cell Operate position.
d) Make sure all the cell pressure transducer is open to atmosphere and wait for 10 seconds
e) In the DS-7 software window, click on the red button Reset Cell Pressure.

II.

Fill and Pressurise the Cell. Select Material Type and Press Button to Calculate Suggested
Rate of Strain on Enter Directly:
a) Close the valve on the test Marked CP.
b) Carefully place the sample on the Triaxial cell base pedestal.
c) Place the top pressure pad and use black O-rings to secure the membrane around the base
pedestal and top pressure pad.
d) Place the Triaxial cell cover over the sample and use the three rods to secure it in place.

e)

f)
g)
h)
i)

j)
k)
l)
m)

Open the knob at the top of cylinder and attach the tube marked CP to the knob knob
marked Water located at the bottom left of the panel. Open the valve on the test cell
marked CP. This will gradually fill the cell. Control the flow using the valve marked CP.
Close the knob at the top of the glass cylinder when the cell is filled with water.
Detach the tube marked CP from the knob marked Water and attach it back to the
knob marked CP on the panel.
Close the valve on the test cell marked CP.
Use the knob in the Set Pressure Control panel to increase the pressure to the desired
cell pressure level. Monitor the cell pressure box in the DS-7 software window to get the
accurate reading.
Set the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve to Pressure position.
Slowly open the valve on the test cell marked CP. This will transfer the cell pressure to
the water inside the glass cylinder.
In the DS-7 software window, select the right Material Type to the right side of the
window and click on the button calculate Rate of Strain.
Input the Calculated rate of displacement value from the computer screen to display
window at the bottom of the test cell and press Enter .

III.

Calculate Logger Sampling Rates (based on percentage of length of specimen at failure):


a) On the DS-7 software window, fill up the boxes marked first increments, upto, and
second increments. This is the increment at which the result will be captured by the
transducer. The default values are from the ASTM Standard. Set both for 0.01%.

IV.

Reset Force Transducer & Bring Piston just into contact with top cap:
a) Raise the sample using the key on the keypad on the loading frame until the load piston
just touches the top notch of the top plate above the soil sample.
b) On the DS-7 software window, click on the red button marked Reset Force Transducer.
c) This should reset the lower right window on the Test Monitoring Window in the DS-7
software to 0.0 lbf

V.

Reset Axial Displacement & Start Compression at End of Count Down:


a) Place the axial displacement transducer bottom touching the horizontal rod and click on
the button Reset Axial Displacement Transducer on the DS-7 software window.
b) This should reset lower left window on the Test Monitoring window of the DS-7
software to 0.0 inches.

VI.
VII.

Click on the green continue button at the bottom of the page of the software window.
A window will appear that will instruct you to press enter (Green Button) to start the Test
Countdown. If everything is ready, click on the green button Start Test Countdown.
Once the two whistles go, press the green button Run on the keypad at the bottom of the test
cell.

VIII.

J. TO STOP THE TEST


1. To stop the loading at any time press red button Stop on the keypad of the load frame.
2. In the DS-7 software, on Test Monitoring window click on button End Test stage

3. Click on button Start Test Stage button.


4. Select Final Measurements and click on OK
5. Enter all parameters that are available at this time
Final Specimen weight (wet)
Final Specimen Weight (Dry)
Initial Moisture Content from Trimmings
Lab Temperature during test
6.
7.

8.
9.

Particle Specific Gravity


Click on green button Confirm Data.
Click OK on the window stating FINAL STAGE IS NOW COMPLETE.
PRESS OK TO STORE THE TEST DATA READY FOR ANALYSIS OR
PRESSS CANCEL TO PERFROM FURTHER STAGES
Save the Raw data obtained from the test to a directory of your choice. The
software will prompt to a default directory.
Click on button exit to exit from the software.

K. DRAINING THE CELL


1. Turn the Set Pressure Control knob in counter-clockwise direction to reduce the
cell pressure.
2. Turn the Burette/Annulus Input Control valve to Bridge Off position.
3. Open the top knob of the glass cylinder in the load cell assembly.
4. Set the Burette/Annulus Flow Control to drain position.
5. Open the valve on the test marked CP. This will drain the water from the glass
cylinder.

L. DISMANTLING THE CELL


1. Use the button on the keypad of the load frame to lower the sample away from
the load piston.
2. Unscrew the three rods from the sides of the glass cylinder and take out the
cylinder.
3. Dismantle the sample from the test cell and secure the membrane, top and bottom
end plates.
DATA
Sample Data:
Diameter, Do
= 33.35 mm
3
= 62.02 cm
Water content, w
= 61.0%
Load rate
cm2

= 13.7%

= 12.7 mm/min

Volume, Vo
Degree of saturation, s
Area, Ao

= 8.735

Length, Lo
= 98 kPa

= 70.9 mm

Load ring constant, LRC

Cycl
e

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

Cell pressure, 3

= 5.68 N/div

Defor
m,
dial
0.01
(units
)
0

L
(m
m)

Loa
d
dial
unit
s

Sam
ple
load,
P
(kN)

L/L

0.00

0.000

25

0.25

0.017

50

0.50

0.051

75

0.75

16

0.091

85

0.85

17

0.097

78

0.78

0.000

100

1.00

17

0.097

125

1.25

26

0.148

150

1.50

29

0.165

175

1.75

32

0.182

200

2.00

34

0.193

177

1.77

0.000

180

1.80

10

0.057

540

5.40

0.000

550

5.50

15

0.085

650

6.50

46

0.261

750

7.50

55

0.312

0.00
00
0.00
35
0.00
71
0.01
05
0.01
20
0.01
10
0.01
41
0.01
76
0.02
12
0.02
47
0.02
82
0.02
50
0.02
56
0.07
62
0.07
76
0.09
17
0.10

1-

Corr
Area
A1
(cm2
)

1.00
00
0.99
65
0.99
29
0.98
95
0.98
80
0.98
90
0.98
59
0.98
24
0.97
88
0.97
53
0.97
18
0.97
50
0.97
44
0.92
38
0.92
24
0.90
83
0.89

8.73
5
8.76
6
8.79
7
8.82
8
8.84
1
8.73
5
8.86
0
8.89
1
8.92
4
8.95
6
8.98
8
8.95
9
8.96
4
9.45
6
9.47
0
9.61
7
9.76

Deviat
or
stress
1=P/
A1
(kPa)
0.00

Norm
al
stres
s
1/

19.39

0.198

57.97

0.592

103.08

1.052

109.72

1.120

0.00

0.000

109.48

1.117

166.46

1.699

184.89

1.890

203.22

2.074

214.73

2.191

0.00

0.000

63.59

0.649

0.00

0.000

89.76

0.916

271.39

2.770

319.38

3.259

0.000

1200
1300
20%

1418

12.0
0
13.0
0
-

66

0.375

67

0.381

58
0.16
93
0.18
34
-

42
0.83
07
0.81
66
-

9
10.5
2
10.7
0
-

356.46

3.637

350.47

3.576

Maximum deviator stress (from stress-strain curve) 1

= 360 kPa

Maximum value of vertical stress

= 458 kPa

1=3 + 1

DISCUSSION
In this experiment, there are 4 cycles done on the same sample, which is
the blue clay cohesive soil. In theory, the sample will fail either at the
maximum deviator stress value or at 20% of the axial strain. In this
experiment, the soil sample fails fully at the 4th cycle, with the value of
deviator stress at 350.47 kPa and at a strain of 0.1834.
Since this test only use one value of cell pressure 3, which is at 98 kPa,
only one Mohrs circle can be plotted at the graph of shear strength
against normal stress . The values of 1 can be obtained from the stressstrain curve; and in this experiment, we have taken the value of 1 from
the maximum deviator stress at the 4th cycle, which is where the soil
sample fails. Next, to get the value of 1, we have used the formula 1=3
+ 1 and we have determined the value of 1 as 458 kPa. Meanwhile, the
value of 3 is taken directly from the cell pressure, which is at 98kPa.
The horizontal value of the graph is determined as 180 kPa, and this value
indicates the Cu, shear strength of the soil sample. However, some
precautions also should be taken to make sure to increased the probability
that our group can get the exact values and avoided more an errors such
as the eyes must be perpendicular to the reading, do not exceeded 150 psi
(1034 KPa), and there are a number of major error sources in this
experiment - in fact this experiment uses some instrumentation which is
not highly accurate and that why sometimes the difference between
calculated results and graphical results are due to inaccurate measuring is
occurred.

CONCLUSION
After finishing the experiment and calculations, we can conclude that from
the experiment, the objective are achieved which is to determine the
shear strength of the sample.

REFERENCES
1. Mdm. Farah Hafifee, Chapter 2 (Soil Strength Behaviour) Note,
Faculty of Civil Engineering, UiTM Kota Samarahan.
2. Budhu, M. Soil Mechanics and Foundations 3rd Edition., John Wiley &
Sons, Inc., 2011.
3. Sir Embam Ak Daud, Soil Mechanics Laboratory Manual, Faculty of
Civil Engineering, UiTM Kota Samarahan.
4. UU Triaxial Test,
http://faculty.fullerton.edu/btiwari/geotech_Lab/mainpage_files/other/
UU. Retrieved on 8th March 2015.
5. Unconsolidated Undrained Test,
http://www.uta.edu/ce/geotech/lab/Main/Soil%20Lab/10_UU
%20test/UU.pdf. Retrieved on 8th March 2015.