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The standard penetration test in insensitive clays and soft rocks


The standard penetration test in insensitive clays and soft rocks



Proceedings of the European Symposium on Penetration Testing, Stockholm, June 5-7, 1974 2(2): 367-375



A simple correlation appears to exist in many insensitive clays and weak rocks between N values and mass in situ shear strength. The correlation is of the form c=fl × N. Down to at least 50 m. below ground level, fl appears to be essentially independent of depth and of discontinuity spacing in the clay up to at least 200 mm. The value of fl is found to increase with decreasing plasticity index and varies from about 4.0 kN/m2 in materials of high plasticity to about 6.0 kN/m2 in materials of medium plasticity. For many of the harder and more brittle clays, the results are more variable but this may be largely due to the increased difficulty of sampling and triaxial testing in these materials. The lowest value of f1 obtained was 3.1 kN/m2. A similar correlation of the form my=1/f2N also appears to exist for the coefficient of volume compressibility. In this case f2 increases from about 400 kN/m2 for highly plastic materials to over 600 kN/m2 for materials with a P.I. less than 20%. The scatter of cu and my results derived from N values is generally -considerably less than those obtained by sampling and testing in the laboratory. 4. Evidence is given to suggest that the Standard Penetration Test coupled with quasi elastic theory may provide a rational and straightforward approach to the problem of estimating settlement of structures on a wide variety of over-consolidated soil materials. A simple correlation between N value and the vertical drained modulus of elasticity Ev' is indicated. The Standard Penetration Test is by very nature a crude and unsophisticated in situ testing technique. This may be its strongest advantage. Provided the equipment is standard and the execution is properly supervised, there is little room for deviation. To obtain field samples for testing in the laboratory, on the other hand, involves many more operations and the risk of sample disturbance Is particularly severe in hard fissured clays, weak rocks and many glacial deposits. Moreover a large number of samples needs to be tested to obtain a representative trend. It is not intended to imply that S. P. T. s should replace conventional sampling and testing methods where these are possible; rather that they should supplement them. In this way and at very little extra cost not only is there a useful double 'stab' at the required soil parameters but data on shear strength, compressibility and settlement behaviour becomes available at a very early design stage. In materials where sampling Is particularly difficult or impossible, the indications of this study are that the Standard Penetration Test can provide one of the few simple means of obtaining valuable and reliable design I data.

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