Mechanics of Crack Propagation in Stiff Clays

by Luis E. Vallejo, Univ of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Geotechnical Aspects of Stiff and Hard Clays


Many stiff clays forming part of natural slopes and earth dams exist in the fissured state. When these cracks are subjected to gravity induced normal and shear stresses they may propagate. The present discussion presents a theoretical method to calculate the propagation direction of cracks under stress fields similar to those found in the field. The theoretical method is substantiated by laboratory results in the form of uniaxial compressive tests on samples of stiff kaolinite clay with pre-existing cracks. The results obtained from the theoretical method and the laboratory results agree well.

Subject Headings: Shear stress | Cracking | Clays | Soil stress | Soil compression | Slopes | Earthfill dams | Gravity forces

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