Review of Shearing Strength of Rockfill

by Thomas M. Leps, (F.ASCE), Consulting Civ. Engr.; Atherton, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 4, Pg. 1159-1170

Document Type: Journal Paper


The steady development of large scale triaxial shear testing equipment in the United States and Mexico in the past 20 yr has permitted the laboratory testing of rockfill specimens having up to 8-in. sized particles. Specimens of smaller sized particles can be tested under confining pressures of up to 2,000 psi. A review and consolidation of published test data and reports shows that competent authorities have found rockfill friction angles varying widely with various parameters such as confining pressure, relative density, gradation, particle strength, degree of saturation, particle shape, and so on. The most basic parameter appears to be confining pressure, with the consistent indication being that for average dumped rockfill, the friction angle varies from about 55° at very low normal pressure to about 35° at very high normal pressure.

Subject Headings: Triaxial tests | Shear tests | Shear strength | Particle size distribution | Friction | Parameters (statistics) | Particles | Equipment and machinery

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