An Experimental Study for the Effect of Specimen Size on Shear Behavior of Granular Materials

Date of Award

Fall 1992

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil & Environmental Engineering


Civil Engineering

Committee Director

Tarun K. Agarwal

Committee Member

Leon Wang

Committee Member

Gary Schafran

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.E54P37


An experimental study was undertaken to look into the effect of specimen size on the volumetric behavior of granular triaxial specimens. It was hypothesized that the specimen preparation mold creates a unique particle arrangement near the perimeter of the specimen and thus, for smaller specimen diameter relative to the particle size, it will exhibit a greater effect of the unique particle arrangement on the volumetric behavior. particles was used A single distribution of spherical glass throughout the testing. The tested specimens were 3.6, 2.8, 2.0, 1.4, 1.0, and 0.6 inches in diameter with a fixed two to one specimen height to diameter ratio. Additionally, lubricated rubber membranes on the end caps were used to provide "frictionless" strain boundaries. All specimens were first isotropically consolidated up to 20 psi, i.e. σ123=20 psi, and then were subjected to shearing in triaxial compression and triaxial extension modes with a constant total stress of 60 psi, i.e. σ123=60 psi. The 1 inch and 0. 6 inch specimens show large densification in extension mode compared to bigger diameter specimens. The volume changes in compression mode, although erratic are consistent with the hypothesis of the research.


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