Strain Softening response of loose unsaturated tailings samples in undrained triaxial tests

Felipe Urbina, David Reid, Andy Fourie

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


For a soil that is contractive and strain softening at fully saturated conditions the question remains on which degree of saturation can trigger a strain softening response. A common engineering practice is to adopt a saturation threshold (e.g., 85%) and then assume a fully saturated response when saturation is above that value. This study aims to understand how the strain softening response change when tailings are not fully saturated and to propose a systematic method for determining the saturation threshold. A restraint when preparing unsaturated loose samples is that it is likely to have collapse during flashing, thus changing void ratio and making comparisons between different degrees of saturation problematic. A simple procedure to obtain loose samples at different degrees of saturation but at similar post-flushing void ratios is explained and preliminary results of undrained shear strength obtained for gold tailings in triaxial device are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16009
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2023
Event8th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils, UNSAT 2023 - Milos, Greece
Duration: 2 May 20235 May 2023

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