Comparison of Plane Strain and Triaxial Tests on Sand

by Kenneth L. Lee, (A.M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; Dept. of Engrg., Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 3, Pg. 901-923

Document Type: Journal Paper


Conventional laboratory practice consistently uses triaxial test procedures for soil strength investigations although many field cases in soil mechanics approximate plane strain conditions. Data from a wide variety of sources indicate that, for drained tests on sand, plane strain gives the greatest strength. Very little is known about the comparative strength and deformation properties in undrained tests. This study describes a series of drained and undrained tests on saturated sand under a wide range of density and confining pressure conditions using both triaxial and plane strain loading. It was found that, for undrained conditions, at low pressures triaxial tests gave the greatest strengths, but at high pressures the greatest strengths were determined from plane strain loading. Several arguments were offered to explain this and other observations in the behavior of plane strain versus triaxial tests on saturated sands.

Subject Headings: Triaxial tests | Soil strength | Soil stress | Plane strain | Saturated soils | Load tests | Triaxial loads | Comparative studies

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