Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 279–296 | Cite as

Laboratory Investigation into the Effects of Silty Fines on Liquefaction Susceptibility of Chlef (Algeria) Sandy Soils

  • Hanifi Missoum
  • Mostefa Belkhatir
  • Karim Bendani
  • Mustapha Maliki
Original paper


In a number of recent case studies, the liquefaction of silty sands has been reported. To investigate the undrained shear and deformation behaviour of Chlef sand–silt mixtures, a series of monotonic and stress-controlled cyclic triaxial tests were conducted on sand encountered at the site. The aim of this laboratory investigation is to study the influence of silt contents, expressed by means of the equivalent void ratio on undrained residual shear strength of loose, medium dense and dense sand–silt mixtures under monotonic loading and liquefaction potential under cyclic loading. After an earthquake event, the prediction of the post-liquefaction strength is becoming a challenging task in order to ensure the stability of different types of earth structures. Thus, the choice of the appropriate undrained residual shear strength of silty sandy soils that are prone to liquefaction to be used in engineering practice design should be established. To achieve this, a series of undrained triaxial tests were conducted on reconstituted saturated silty sand samples with different fines contents ranging from 0 to 40 %. In all tests, the confining pressure was held constant at 100 kPa. From the experimental results obtained, it is clear that the global void ratio cannot be used as a state parameter and may not characterize the actual behaviour of the soil as well. The equivalent void ratio expressing the fine particles participation in soil strength is then introduced. A linear relationship between the undrained shear residual shear strength and the equivalent void ratio has been obtained for the studied range of the fines contents. Cyclic test results confirm that the increase in the equivalent void ratio and the fines content accelerates the liquefaction phenomenon for the studied stress ratio and the liquefaction resistance decreases with the increase in either the equivalent void ratio or the loading amplitude level. These cyclic tests results confirm the obtained monotonic tests results.


Silt Sand Liquefaction Shear strength Void ratio 

List of symbols


Cyclic liquefaction resistance


Cyclic stress ratio


Coefficient of uniformity


Initial relative density


Global void ratio


Maximum void ratio


Minimum void ratio


Inter-granular void ratio


Equivalent void ratio


Fines content


Specific gravity of soil grain


Number of cycles


Effective mean stress


Effective mean stress at steady state


Deviatoric stress


Loading amplitude


Deviatoric stress at steady state


Undrained residual shear strength


Axial strain

\( \phi_{s} \)

Mobilized angle of inter-particle friction at steady state

\( \gamma_{d} \)

Solid dry density

\( \sigma_{c} \)

Confining pressure


  1. Bouferra R, Shahrour I (2004) Influence of fines on the resistance to liquefaction of a clayey sand. Ground Improv 8(1):1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carraro JAH, Bandini P, Salgado R (2003) Liquefaction resistance of clean and nonplastic silty sands based on cone penetration resistance. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 129(11):965–976CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chang NY, Yeh ST, Kaufman LP (1982) Liquefaction potential of clean and silty sands. In: Proceedings of 3rd international microzonation conference, vol 2. Seattle, USA, pp 1017–1032Google Scholar
  4. Della N, Arab A, Belkhatir M, Missoum H (2009) Identification of the behaviour of the Chlef sand to static liquefaction. Comptes Rendus de Mécanique 337(5):282–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Dobry R, Ladd RS, Yokel FY, Chung RM, Powell D (1982) Prediction of pore pressure build up and liquefaction of sands during earthquake by cyclic strain method. National Bureau of Standards, N.B.S. Building Science Series, Washington, DC 138Google Scholar
  6. Finn WDL (2000) State-of-the-art of geotechnical earthquake engineering practice. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 20:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Finn WDL, Ledbetter RH, Wu G (1994) Liquefaction in silty soils: design and analysis. Ground failures under seismic conditions. Geotech Special Publ ASCE 44:51–76Google Scholar
  8. Georginnou VN, Burland JB, Hight DW (1990) The undrained behaviour of clayey sands in triaxial compression and extension. Géotechnique 40(3):431–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Idriss IM, Boulanger RW (2008) Soil liquefaction during earthquakes. Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, Oakland, CAGoogle Scholar
  10. Ishihara K (1993) Liquefaction and flow failure during earthquakes. Géotechnique 43(3):351–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kenny TC (1977) Residual strengths of mineral mixtures. Proceedings of the 9th international conference on soil mechanics foundation engineering, Tokyo, vol 1, pp 155–160Google Scholar
  12. Kishida H (1969) Characteristics of liquefied sands during Mino-Owari, Tohnankai and Fukui earthquakes. Soils Found 9(1):75–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Koester JP (1994) Liquefaction characteristics of silt. Ground failures under seismic condition. Geotech Special Publ ASCE 44:105–116Google Scholar
  14. Ladd RS (1978) Preparing test specimen using under compaction. Geotech Test J GTJODJ 1:16–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lade PV, Yamamuro JA (1997) Effects of non-plastic fines on static liquefaction of sands. Can Geotech J 34:918–928Google Scholar
  16. Law KT, Ling YH (1992) Liquefaction of granular soils with non-cohesive and cohesive fines. In: Proceedings of the 10th world conference on earthquake engineering, Rotterdam, pp 1491–1496Google Scholar
  17. Maheshwari BK, Patel AK (2010) Effects of non-plastic silts on liquefaction potential of Solani sand. Geotech Geol Eng 28:559–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mc Geary RK (1961) Mechanical packing of spherical particles. J Am Ceram Soc 44(10):513–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mitchell JK (1993) Fundamentals of soil behaviour, 2nd edn. John Wiley Inter-science, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Naeini SA, Baziar MH (2004) Effect of fines content on steady-state strength of mixed and layered samples of a sand. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 24(3):181–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ni Q, Tan TS, Dasari GR, Hight DW (2004) Contribution of fines to the compressive strength of mixed soils. Géotechnique 54(9):561–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Pitman TD, Robertson PK, Sego DC (1994) Influence of fines on the collapse of loose sands. Can Geotech J 31(5):728–739CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rahman MM, Lo SR, Gnanendran CT (2008) On equivalent granular void ratio and steady state behaviour of loose sand with fines. Can Geotech J 45(10):1439–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Seed HB, Idriss IM (1981) Evaluation of liquefaction potential of sand deposits based on observations and performance in previous earthquakes. Pre-print No. 81–544, In Situ Testing to Evaluate Liquefaction Susceptibility, ASCE Annual Convention, St. LouisGoogle Scholar
  25. Seed HB, Idriss IM, Arango I (1983) Evaluation of liquefaction potential using field performance data. J Geotech Eng Div ASCE 109(3):458–482CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Shen CK, Vrymoed JL, Uyeno CK (1977) The effects of fines on liquefaction of sands. In: Proceedings of 9th international conference on soil mechanics and foundation engineering, Tokyo, vol 2, pp 381–385Google Scholar
  27. Singh S (1994) The influence of fine type and content on cyclic strength. Ground failures under seismic condition. Geotech Special Publ ASCE 44:17–33Google Scholar
  28. Thevanayagam S (1997) Dielectric dispersion of porous media as a fractal phenomenon. J Appl Phys 82(5):2538–2547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Thevanayagam S (1998) Effect of fines and confining stress on undrained shear strength of silty sands. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng Div ASCE 124(6):479–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Thevanayagam S, Mohan S (2000) Inter-granular state variables and stress-strain behaviour of silty sands. Géotechnique 50(1):1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thevanayagam S, Nesarajah S (1998) Fractal model for flow through saturated soil. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 124(1):53–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Thevanayagam S, Shenthan T, Mohan S, Liang J (2002) Undrained fragility of clean sands, silty sands, and sandy silts. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 128(10):849–859CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Troncosco JH, Verdugo R (1985). Silt content and dynamic behaviour of tailing sands. In: Proceedings of the 12th international conference on soil mechanics and foundation engineering, San Francisco, pp 1311–1314Google Scholar
  34. Vaid YP, Sivathayalan S, Stedman D (1999) Influence of specimen reconstituting method on the undrained response of sand. Geotech Test J 22(3):187–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Yamamuro JA, Kelly MC (2001) Monotonic and cyclic liquefaction of very loose sands with high silt content. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 127(4):314–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yamamuro JA, Lade PV (1998) Steady-state concepts and static liquefaction of silty sands. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng ASCE 124(9):868–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Yamamuro JA, Wood FM (2004) Effect of depositional method on the undrained behaviour and microstructure of sand with silt. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 24:751–760CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Yang SL, Lacasse S, Sandven RF (2006) Determination of the transitional fines content of mixtures of sand and non-plastic fines. Geotech Test J 29(2):102–107Google Scholar
  39. Zlatovic S, Ishihara K (1995) On the influence of non-plastic fines on residual strength. In: Proceedings of the first international conference on earthquake geotechnical engineering, Tokyo, 14–16 November, pp 239–244Google Scholar
  40. Zlatovic S, Ishihara K (1997) Normalized behaviour of very loose non plastic soils: effects of fabric. Soils Found 37(4):47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hanifi Missoum
    • 1
  • Mostefa Belkhatir
    • 2
  • Karim Bendani
    • 1
  • Mustapha Maliki
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Construction, Transports and Environment Protection (LCTPE)University of MostaganemMostaganemAlgeria
  2. 2.Laboratory of Materials Sciences and EnvironmentUniversity of ChlefChlefAlgeria

Personalised recommendations