The influences of partial saturation on cone penetration tests in silty gold tailings

Adrian Russell, Thanh Vo, Juan Ayala, Yanzhi Wang, David Reid, Andy Fourie

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Laboratory-controlled cone penetration test results of a silty gold tailings in a variety of saturated and unsaturated states, obtained using two calibration chambers, are presented then interpreted using a state parameter-based approach. The research was conducted as part of the TAILLIQ project (, funded by the Australian Research Council and six mining companies, and involving four Australian universities.Cone penetration resistances, which increase due to the presence of suction when the tailings are unsaturated, can be normalised using the initial mean effective stress to establish a relationship with the initial state parameter. The relationship is applicable to saturated and unsaturated conditions, as long as the presence of suction hardening as well as the influence of suction on the mean effective stress are accounted for, and as long as the cone penetrations occur under pseudo drained conditions. The relationships enable state parameters and void ratios to be back-calculated from normalised cone penetration resistances.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16007
Number of pages5
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Apr 2023
Event8th International Conference on Unsaturated Soils, UNSAT 2023 - Milos, Greece
Duration: 2 May 20235 May 2023

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