Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 473–487 | Cite as

Effects of initial static shear on cyclic resistance and pore pressure generation of saturated sand

  • K. Pan
  • Z. X. Yang
Research Paper


In practical engineering, cyclic shear stresses induced by earthquakes, traffic, and waves are superimposed on the initial static shear stress in sand fills or deposits, leading to complex responses of soils such as their deformation characteristics, pore pressure generation, and susceptibility (or cyclic resistance) to liquefaction. To experimentally investigate the undrained cyclic response of saturated sand, a series of triaxial tests were performed, covering a broad range of initial static and cyclic deviatoric stress levels. The results indicate that different stress conditions lead to two types of cyclic behavior: cyclic mobility and residual deformation accumulation. The compressional static stress is beneficial to the cyclic resistance of the dense sand, whereas the extensional static stress is regarded as detrimental as it tended to reduce the cyclic strength. Moreover, by comparing the available test data obtained from the same sand with varying initial densities and confining pressures, the static shear effect on cyclic resistance was found to be dependent on the state of the sand. Compared to the interpretation made using the limiting pore pressure-based criterion, the conventional failure criterion using a cyclic axial strain of 5% may lead to a substantial overestimation of the cyclic resistance, thus resulting in unsafe assessment and design. Hence, by employing the pore pressure criterion, the pore pressure generated in the cyclic tests was investigated and was found to be significantly influenced by the static shear stress. A pore pressure generation model is proposed to obtain the pore pressure characteristics of sand under various static shear stress conditions.


Cyclic resistance Cyclic triaxial tests Failure criterion Pore pressure Saturated sand Static shear 

List of symbols

a, b

Fitting parameters for the pore pressure model


Cyclic resistance ratio


Cyclic stress ratio


Relative density of sand


Initial void ratio of sand


Critical state void ratio


Number of cycles required to obtain axial strain of 5%


Number of cycles required to attain limiting pore pressure


Normalized number of cycles

\(p_{0}^{{\prime }}\)

Initial mean normal effective stress

qs, qcyc

Static and cyclic deviatoric stresses


Static stress ratio and threshold static stress ratio


Residual pore pressure ratio


Limiting values of residual pore pressure ratio


Normalized residual pore pressure ratio


Axial strain

σh, σv

Horizontal and vertical normal stresses


Static shear stress

ψ, ψth

State parameter and threshold state parameter



The research described was funded by the National Key R & D program of China (No. 2016YFC0800204), the Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51578499, 51761130078) and the National Key Basic Research Program of China (No. 2015CB057801).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Research Center of Coastal and Urban Geotechnical Engineering, Department of Civil EngineeringZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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