Investigation of the effect of shearing rate on residual strength of high plastic clay


The residual shear strength on failure plane is a crucial parameter to be estimated for analysis of an active landslide. This strength must be determined precisely to build a reliable theoretical model for calculations. The multi-reversal direct-shear test is a practical method to determine this shear strength in laboratory due to wider availability of apparatus. The shearing rate is among the factors that significantly affect the precision of test results for clay specimens. However, limits for this rate are yet to be clarified to shorten the duration of multi-reversal direct-shear tests. In this study, two tests series at different shearing rates were performed to investigate the effect of shearing rate on the residual strength of highly plastic clay sample recovered from a landslide area in Northern Turkey. The shearing rates were set to 0.024 mm/min which was decreased to 0.001 mm/min during the last forward shearing phase for the first test series, whereas the rate was fixed to 0.0007 mm/min for the second test series. The residual friction angle determined by these tests was interpreted by using a theoretical analysis of the landslide, and they were compared with the estimations due to empirical relationships given in the literature. It is concluded that, although the rate of 0.024 mm/min is consistent with the recommendations in literature, this rate can yield overestimation of residual shear strength determined in multi-reversal direct-shear tests.

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The authors would like to thank the Research and Development Department of General Directorate of Highways (KGM) and the 7th Regional Directorate (Samsun) of Highways for their support to this study.

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Correspondence to Ebru Akis.

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Responsible Editor: Zeynal Abiddin Erguler

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Akis, E., Mekael, A. & Yilmaz, M.T. Investigation of the effect of shearing rate on residual strength of high plastic clay. Arab J Geosci 13, 66 (2020).

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  • Landslide
  • Residual shear strength
  • Multi-reversal direct-shear test
  • Rate effects