Development of a Multi-directional Direct Simple Shear Testing Device for Characterization of the Cyclic Shear Response of Marine Clays
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This dissertation describes the development of a new multi-directional direct simple shear testing device, the Texas A&M Multi-directional Direct Simple Shear (TAMU-MDSS), for testing marine soil samples under conditions, which simulate, at the element level, the state of stress acting within a submarine slope under dynamic loading. Prototype testing and an experimental program to characterize the response of marine clays to complex loading conditions are presented. The work is divided into four major components: 1) Equipment Development: Design and construction of a prototype multi-directional direct simple shear testing device (TAMU-MDSS) that addresses the limitations of previous devices. 2) Support systems: selection of control software, development of data acquisition system and design of back pressure systems for direct pore pressure measurements. 3) Prototype Testing: performance of the TAMU MDSS system and testing of strain-control and stress-control capabilities. 4) Experimental Testing: characterize the response of marine clays to monotonic, dynamic and random loads. The two-directional monotonic, cyclic, circular and figure-8 tests demonstrated the undrained shear strength increases with increasing initial shear stress, (i.e, slope), for shearing in the same direction (equivalent to downhill). The strength decreases for shearing in the direction opposite to the initial stress (shearing uphill). The response is as brittle for shearing in the same direction as the shear stress applied during consolidation initial shear stress and ductile for shearing opposite to initial shear stress. These findings have important implications for the stability of the slope, predicting that forces acting downward in the slope direction will need to mobilize less strain to reach peak strength and initiate failure. This information provides insight into the behavior of marine soils under complex loading conditions, and provides high quality laboratory data for use in constitutive and finite element model development for analysis of submarine slopes.
Rutherford, Cassandra Jane (2012). Development of a Multi-directional Direct Simple Shear Testing Device for Characterization of the Cyclic Shear Response of Marine Clays. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from