Scale issues and interpretation of ball penetration in stratified deposits in centrifuge testing

Mi Zhou, Muhammad Shazzad Hossain, Yuxia Hu, Hanlong Liu

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    © 2016 American Society of Civil Engineers.
    A full-flow ball penetrometer is now routinely used in centrifuge testing for characterizing single-layer clay, silt, sand, and stratified soil samples. The behavior of the standard ball penetrometer (including the shaft) used in the field, penetrating through single and two-layer uniform clays, has recently been investigated. However, the ball penetrometers used in centrifuge testing has either a similar or higher area ratio (of the shaft to the ball) and significantly greater equivalent prototype diameter compared with the standard one used in the field. The thickness of the soil layers, however, are scaled accurately mimicking strength profiles in the field, leading to lower relative thickness of the soil layers. Large deformation finite element (LDFE) analyses were, therefore, carried out for the centrifuge ball penetrometers to investigate its performance in characterization of single- and double-layer clays. The results were validated against plasticity solutions and other previously published finite element (FE) results prior to undertaking a detailed parametric study, exploring a range of normalized soil properties and layer thickness. Three commonly used centrifuge balls were studied. For single-layer uniform clay, the area ratio of shaft to ball was shown to have significant influence on the deep bearing factors and the critical penetration depth of attaining that factor. For two-layer uniform clays, the undrained shear strength of the top layer was mostly underestimated because of the lower thickness of that layer relative to the centrifuge ball diameter. In addition, the shear strength of the bottom layer was mostly overestimated because of trapping of stiff clay at the base of the ball, advancing in stiff-over-soft clay deposits. To interpret a reference undrained strength profile, taking into account the scale effects of the penetrometer relative to layer thickness, a framework has been proposed accounting for these effects, with the LDFE data used to cali
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number04015103
    Pages (from-to)04015103-1 - 04015103-12
    JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
    Issue number5
    Early online date4 Jan 2016
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


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