Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp 2185–2212 | Cite as

Experimental investigation on fluid characteristics of medium dense saturated fine sand in pre- and post-liquefaction

  • Chen Guoxing
  • Zhou Enquan
  • Wang Zhihua
  • Wang Binghui
  • Li Xiaojun
Original Research Paper


Liquefaction of saturated loose sand is a major cause of extensive damage to buildings and infrastructures during large earthquakes. A better understanding of the behaviour of liquefied soil is becoming increasingly necessary to mitigate earthquake damage, and the fluid method has become an increasingly popular means to study the behaviour of liquefied soils. The purpose of this study is to determine the fluid characteristics of liquefied fine sand. In this paper, the apparent viscosity was measured as an index of fluid characteristics using the shaking table tests of pre-liquefaction behaviour of saturated fine sand at approximately 45 % relative density; the relationship of apparent viscosity and shear strain rate on liquefying fine sand was indicated as a power-law shear-thinning non-Newtonian fluid; and liquefying fine sand has the alternating behaviour of shear dilatancy and compressibility during cyclic loading. Additionally, a series of a monotonic axial compression loading tests in an undrained manner were performed to measure the shear stress and excess pore pressure ratio relationship on the post-liquefaction saturated fine sand at approximately 50 % relative density. The fluid characteristics of post-liquefaction fine sand exhibits rate dependence and can be described by a combined fluid model of time-independent and time-dependent power-law functions; the time-independent viscous resistance is not relevant to the excess pore pressure ratio; but the time-dependent frictional resistance is closely related to the excess pore pressure ratio. Furthermore, the results of the verification tests demonstrate that the proposed fluid model has good applicability for the fluid behaviour of the post-liquefaction fine sand.


Liquefied fine sand Fluid behaviour Apparent viscosity Shear-thinning non-Newtonian fluid Time-independent fluid model Rate dependence 

List of symbols


Magnitude of earthquake


Apparent viscosity

\(\dot{\gamma }\)

Shear strain rate


Shear stress


Shear strain


Soil depth

a(zi, t)

Horizontal acceleration time history recorded at soil depth z i

u(zi, t)

Horizontal displacement time history at soil depth z i

τ(zi, t)

Shear stress time history at soil depth z i

γ(zi, t)

Shear strain time history at soil depth z i

\(\Delta z\)

Spacing interval


Maximum shear stress at soil depth z i

\(\dot{\gamma }_{i,\hbox{max} }\)

Maximum shear strain rate at soil depth z i


Excess pore pressure ratio


Loading cycles


Axial stress


Axial strain


Poisson ratio

\(\sigma_{c}^{{\prime }}\)

Initial effective consolidation pressure


Loading rate


Standard atmospheric pressure

A, B

Dimensionless parameters


Consistency coefficient


Flow behaviour index


A scalar parameter expressing the instantaneous degree of thixotropic structure


Constant parameter determined by the test


The maximum void ratio of fine sand


The minimum void ratio of fine sand


Relative density of model soil or a specimen


Saturated unit weight of model fine sand


Specific gravity of fine sand


Uniformity coefficient of fine sand


Curvature coefficient of fine sand


Mean diameter of fine sand



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this study from the Project of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41172258; Grant No. 51438004), the National Grand Science and Technology Special Project of China (2013ZX06002001-9), and the National Key Development Program for Fundamental Research (Grant No. 2011CB013601). Special thanks are due to Dr. Tang Liang at Harbin Institute of Technology and Professor Feng Shijin at Tongji University for their help and contributions to the preparation of the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chen Guoxing
    • 1
    • 2
  • Zhou Enquan
    • 1
  • Wang Zhihua
    • 1
  • Wang Binghui
    • 1
  • Li Xiaojun
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Geotechnical EngineeringNanjing Tech UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.Civil Engineering and Earthquake Disaster Prevention Center of Jiangsu ProvinceNanjingChina
  3. 3.Institute of GeophysicsChina Earthquake AdministrationBeijingChina

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