The effect of plastic fines on the shear modulus and damping ratio of silty sands

  • Ke Cheng
  • Jun Zhang
  • Yu MiaoEmail author
  • Bin Ruan
  • Tao Peng
Original Paper


The dynamic behavior of soil material is of importance in construction and geotechnical engineering. This study focuses on the dynamic properties of silty sands, particularly on the effect of plastic fines content (FC) on the shear modulus and damping ratio. Natural sand (Taiyuan sand) and fines (Taiyuan loess) were collected from an engineering site in China. Fujian standard sand, kaolin, and stone powder were also used for comparison. Fines plasticity, FC, effective confining pressure, and relative density were considered. A series of tests were conducted using a Stokoe-type resonant column apparatus manufactured by GDS Instruments, UK. The small strain shear modulus (Gmax) of the samples were investigated under various test conditions. Hardin’s function was used to fit the experimental data. The results indicate that the shear modulus changes non-linearly with increasing FC. The shear modulus of various mixtures initially decreases and then increases. The threshold FC (FCth) of Taiyuan and Fujian sand mixtures is 30% and 20%, respectively, which indicates that the FCth is related to the host sand. The addition of plastic fines will decrease the shear modulus. The effect of non-plastic fines on the shear modulus of sand–fines mixtures is dependent on FC. The damping ratio of various mixtures initially increases and then decreases with increasing FC. The addition of fines will increase the damping ratio. Moreover, the damping ratio of plastic fines mixtures is higher than that of non-plastic fines mixtures. The values of the fitting constant, namely, A, n, and d, are related to fines plasticity. The findings of this study can provide a reference for engineering designers.


Shear modulus Damping ratio Fines content Plasticity Resonant column Silty sands 



The work presented in this paper is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51778260 and 51378234).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil Engineering and MechanicsHuazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Shanxi Transportation Research InstituteTaiyuanPeople’s Republic of China

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