Soil flow mechanisms around cone penetrometer in layered clays

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The cone penetrometer test is widely used for in situ site investigations and for establishing direct penetrometer-to-foundation or -anchor design correlations. This paper focuses on soil flow mechanisms during the continuous penetration of a cone penetrometer in layered clays. A series of centrifuge tests was conducted with the cone penetrating through soft-stiff, stiff-soft, soft-stiff-soft and stiff-soft-stiff clay profiles. Particle image velocimetry allowed accurate resolution of the soil flow mechanism around the cone where a half-cone model was penetrated into layered clays against a transparent window. The observed soil movement was compared both with previous observations for piles/cones and with movement from the shallow strain path method (SSPM). A comparison with SSPM results showed that the SSPM can provide reasonable evaluations on maximum lateral and vertical displacements even though the upheave movement can be overestimated. The effect of soil layering on the failure mechanisms was studied extensively by exploring soil flow mechanisms and soil displacement paths at various distances from the advancing cone centreline and soil layer interface. The reported characteristics of cone penetration in layered soils provided in-depth understanding of cone penetration responses that will lead to the development of mechanism-based theoretical models for cone penetration in layered fine-grained soils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-128
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics
Issue number3
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Aug 2022


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