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# NOTES ON MOHRS CIRCLES AND SHEAR STRENGTH

A
A
0 1 A n
cos
n
sin K K K 1
cos
cos
A
A
sin
n
cos
K K K 2
FH 0 n cos

cos

From (2):

n A tan n A

From (1):

1 A

= n A n A tan 2

n 1 tan 2

cos 2 sin 2

cos 2

1 cos 2 n

1
1+cos2
2

2
= cos1 tan

= sincos
1

1
sin 2
2

## From the geometry of the circle,

n 1 1 cos 2
2 2
1
n sin 2
2

When the soil sample has confining pressure, 3 , as well as axial pressure, 1 ; the normal
and shear stresses are:
3 1 3 cos 2
n 1
2
2
3 sin 2
n 1
2

## The normal and shear stress curves move apart

Plot of n vs n

The equations for normal and shear stress can be found from the geometry of the circle
3 1 3 cos 2
n 1
2
2
3 sin 2
n 1
2
Shear strength comes from two sources
1. CohesionCohesive shear strength, c
2. Friction Angle of internal friction,
or Angle of shearing resistance

## For Unconfined Test,

n 1 1 2 1 2 cos 2
n 1 2 sin 2

2 f 90 '

## For Confined Test,

3 1 3
n 1

cos 2
2
2
3
n 1
sin 2
2

Strength of Clay

Effective Stress:
'= -u
1'= 1 -u

3'= 3 -u
if 3' > 3 , then,
3'- 3 u is positive
u = negative

c
sin '

3' x c
c

c
sin '
1

3' c
1
sin '
3 0
1 sin '

sin '

3' 3 u c
Suppose,

' = 30o
c 5 psi
1 0.5
0.5

u 5 psi
u 5 psi

In fact, the cohesion in clay (all soils, actually) is due to the negative porewater pressure
in that soil.
Strength of Sand
In the absence of pore water, the strength of sand is due almost entirely to friction.

SAND STRENGTH

## Strength Tests for Sand

1. Direct Shear (Poor test)
2. Triaxial Test (Much better test)
-Uniform stress: fields in the center of the sample
-Uniform strain: fields in the center of the sample

Most soils are a mixture of fine and coarse grained sizes so they usually have both c and
properties. How much c depends on whether the sample is loaded slowly enough to
allow the pore water pressure to dissipate. Tests are classified by the rate with which
-Confining pressure
-Deviator stress
are applied.
Rate of Application
Confining
Symbol for
Deviator Stress
Type of Test
Pressure
Test
(drainage permitted
(consolidation
during test)
prior to test)
Q

(UU)

Rapidly

Rapidly

Unconsolidated Undrained c,

(CU)

Slowly

Rapidly

## Consolidated- Undrained (may

make measurements of pore water
pressures)

(CD)

Slowly

Slowly

## Total Stress properties are measured in the UU test

Effective pressure properties are measured in the CD test
Effective pressure properties may be determined in the CU test if pore water pressures are
measured during the undrained portion of the test.
There are 3 pairs of quantities: 1, 3 ; f, f (failure plane);

c,

## The radiusof the circle is r = (1-3)/2

The projection of the failure line is x=c/tan
Normally, if you are given any three of the quantities you can find the other three.
1.

## Suppose you know 1, 3 and c

Find expressions for f, f and or tan

2.

3.

## Suppose you know 1, f and f

Find expressions for 3, c and
Suppose you know 1, f and c
Find expressions for 3, f and

Problem 01
Given : 1 15 kPa

3 5 kPa
c 2 kPa
Find : f 8.45 kPa
f 4.76 kPa
18o
Solution:
r

1 3 15 5

2
f 5cos

5 kPa

f 10 5sin
x

2
tan

2
R sin sin (10 x) 10
sin 5
tan

10sin 2 cos 5
2
5
sin cos
10
10
o
20 :
0.529 0.5

18o :
0.499 0.5
f 5cos 4.76 kPa
f 10 5sin 8.45 kPa

Problem 02

Given : 1 20 kPa

f 9 kPa
f = 7 kPa
Find :

c 2.80 kPa

25o
3 4.54 kPa
Solution:
c 7 9 tan
20 3
r
2
c
7
x

9
tan tan
20 r r sin 9
20 r r 1 sin 9
20 3
20 3
c

sin r

2
tan
2

20 3
20 3
sin c cos
2
2
20 3
20
(1 sin ) 9 K K K K 1
2
20 3
20 3
sin 7 9 tan cos
K K K 2
2
2
From 1 :
R sin

20 3
(1 sin )
2
2(20 9)

20 3
(1 sin )

20-9

From 2 :

## sin 3 10sin 7 cos 9sin 10

2
2
3
1 sin 10 10sin 9sin 7 cos
2

3
1 sin 10 1 sin 9sin 7 cos
2
1 sin

sin
cos
3 20
18
14

1 sin
1 sin
1 sin

22

1 sin
20 1 sin 22 20 1 sin 18sin 14 cos

1 sin
1 sin

3 20

## 20 20sin 22 20 20sin 18sin 14 cos

22sin 22 14 cos

2 f
f
1 sin 14

cos
22 2 1 f 1 f

1 sin 7
0.636
cos
11
1 sin 0.636 cos

30o :

1 1.051

29o :

1 1.041

25o :

1 0.999

c 7 9 tan 25o
c 2.80 kPa
22
1 sin 25o
3 4.54 kPa

3 20

Problem 03
Given : 1 20 kPa

f 8 kPa
Find :

c = 3 kPa
3 3.65 kPa

f 7.24 kPa
27.9o
Solution:
f 3 8 tan

K K K 1

20 r r sin 8 K K K 2
20 3
K K K 3
2
3
x
K K K 4
tan

20 3
20 3
3

sin

2
tan
2

20 3
f
cos K K K 6
2
From 2 :
R sin

20 r (1 sin ) 8
20 3
(1 sin ) 8
2

20 3
(1 sin ) 20 8 12

20

From 5 :

20 3
20
3
sin 3cos

2
2

## 10sin 3 sin 3 3cos 10

2
2

K K K 5

3
1 sin 3cos 10 10sin 10 1 sin
2
3 1 sin 20 1 sin 6 cos K K K B
3 1 sin 20 1 sin 24

K K K From A

40sin 6 cos 24
20sin 3cos 12
sin 0.15cos 0.6
Trial and Error:

30o :

0.630 0.6

27 :

0.588 0.6

28o :

0.602 0.6

## 27.9o : 0.6005 0.6

f 8 tan 3
f 7.24 kPa
3 20

24
1 sin

3 3.65 kPa
Problem 01
Draw the sketch of the Mohrs Circle, marking all that is known and all that is to be found.

Solution:

1 3

2
r cos f

1 3 r sin
2

c
tan

1 3
1 3
c

sin r
2
tan
2

1 3 sin c cos 1 3
2
2

2c

cos
1 3

sin

f
f

1 3
2

1 3
2

1 3
1 3

cos

1 3 sin
2

## Find by trial and error

Problem 02
Given : 1 , f , f
Draw Sketch
Find : c, , 3
Solution:
c f f tan

1 3
2
c
x
tan
r

1 r 1 sin 1 r r 1 sin f 1

1 3
1 sin
2

1 3
3
c

sin 1

2
tan
2

1 f

1 3
(1 sin )
2

1 3
(1 sin )
1 3
3
sin c cos 1
2
2

## sin 1 c cos 3 sin 3

2
2
2
2

1
sin 1 c cos 3 (1 sin )
2
2
2

1
1
1 f (1 sin )
sin 1 f f tan cos 1

2
2 1 sin

Then 3 1
And

c=

2
1 f
1 sin

1 3 1
3

1
tan
2
cos
2

## Find by trial and error

f cos f sin

(1 sin )
1 sin 1 sin 1 1 f
2
2
(1 sin )

1
1 sin sin 1 1 f

= 1 2 sin 1 f
2
f cos f sin f 1 1 sin
=

## f cos f 1 sin 1 1 sin

cos

1 sin

1 f

cos
1 sin

Problem 03
Given : 1 , f , c

3, f ,
Solution:
3
r 1
K K K 1
2
c
x
K K K 2
tan
Find :

1 3
3
c

sin 1

2
tan
2

f 1 tan K K K 4

R sin
c

K K K 3

1 3
cos K K K 5
2
3 1 3
f 1

sin K K K 6
2
2

From 6 :
f

1 1
sin 3 3 sin f
2 2
2
2
1 1 sin 3 1 sin 2 f K K K A

From (3):
c cos

1 3 sin 1 3
2

1

sin 1 3 sin 3 0
2
2
2
2

## c cos 1 1 sin 3 1 sin 0

2
2
3 1 sin 1 1 sin 2c cos
K K K B
c cos

From (A):

3 1 sin 1 1 sin 2 f
From (B):

## 1 1 sin 2 f 1 1 sin 2c cos

2 1 1 sin 2 f 2c cos
f c cos

1 sin

Then, f c f tan
And, 3

2 f 1 1 sin

1 sin

## Find by trial and error

Check Derivation
From(6):
1 3 1
3

sin

2
2

3
f 1 1 3 1
sin
2
2
2

3 1 3
f 1

sin
2
2

f 1 1 sin 3 3 sin
2 2
2
2

f 1

2 f 1 1 sin 3 1 sin
Alternatively,
1 3
1 sin
2

f 1

2 1 f 1 3 1 sin

2 1 f 1 1 sin 3 1 sin

3 1 sin 1 1 sin 2 1 f
3 1 sin 1 1 sin 2c cos

## 1 1 sin 1 1 sin 2 1 f 2c cos

2 1 sin 2 1 f 2c cos
sin
sin

c cos
1

c cos 1 f

1
1