Soil flow mechanisms of full-flow penetrometers in layered clays through particle image velocimetry analysis in centrifuge test

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Abstract

This paper reports the soil flow mechanisms observed in centrifuge tests around full-flow (T-bar and ball) penetrometers in layered clays. The layered clay samples consisted of soft–stiff, stiff–soft, soft–stiff–soft, and stiff–soft–stiff soil profiles. Particle image velocimetry (PIV), also known as digital image correlation (DIC), allowed accurate resolution of the flow mechanism around the faces of the T-bar and half-ball penetrated adjacent to a transparent window. For the T-bar, overall, a full symmetrical rotational flow around the T-bar dominated the behavior. A novel “trapped cavity mechanism” was revealed in stiff clay layers, with the evolution of the trapped cavity being tracked. No soil plug was trapped at the base of the advancing T-bar regardless of penetration from stiff to soft layer or the reverse. For the ball, two key features of the soil flow mechanism were identified, including (i) a combination of vertical flow, cavity expansion type flow, and rotational flow for a fully embedded ball and (ii) a stiff soil plug trapped at the base of the ball advancing in a stiff–soft clay deposit. For both penetrometers, a squeezing mechanism mobilized as they approached a soft–stiff layer interface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1719-1732
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Volume57
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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