The liquefaction of clayey soils under cyclic loading
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This paper seeks to investigate the liquefaction of clayey soils, a phenomenon that has been the trigger for many natural disasters in the last few decades, including landslides. Research was conducted on artificial clay-sand mixtures and natural clayey soils collected from the sliding surfaces of earthquake-induced landslides. The undrained response of normally consolidated clayey soils to cyclic loading was studied by means of a ring-shear apparatus. For the artificial clay-sand mixtures, it was found that the presence of a small amount of bentonite (=7%) would cause rapid liquefaction, while a further increase in bentonite content (=11%) produced the opposite effect of raising soil resistance to liquefaction by a significant degree. It was demonstrated that the bentonite-sand mixture was considerably more resistant to liquefaction than the kaolin-, and illite-mixtures, given the same clay content. The test results of plastic soils revealed the significant influence of plasticity on the liquefaction resistance of soil. The microfabric of clayey soil was investigated by means of a scanning electron microscope. The analysis showed that the liquefaction potential of soil was strongly related to certain particle arrangements. For example, soil vulnerable to liquefaction had an open microfabric in which clay aggregations generally gathered at the sand particle contact points, forming low-strength "clay bridges" that were destroyed easily during cyclic loading. On the other hand, the microfabric of soil that was resistant to liquefaction appeared to be more compact, with the clay producing a matrix that prevented sand grains from liquefying. In the case of the natural soils, the obtained results indicated that their cyclic behavior was similarly influenced by factors such as clay content, clay mineralogy and plasticity. The relation between the liquefaction potential of natural soil and its microfabric was thus also established. On the basis of the obtained results, the authors posited an explanation on the mechanism of liquefaction for clayey soil.
Civil Geotechnical Engineering