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Tensile behaviour of unsaturated compacted clay soils — A direct assessment method.

Stirling, R. A. and Hughes, P. N. and Davie, C. T. and Glendinning, S. (2015) 'Tensile behaviour of unsaturated compacted clay soils — A direct assessment method.', Applied clay science., 112-113 . pp. 123-133.


This paper presents a new method for testing the behaviour of soils placed under tensile load and demonstrates its suitability for testing a number of soil types under various conditions including saturation, compaction and stabilisation. Validation of the results obtained for the soils at relatively low saturation has been conducted using the established Brazilian (indirect) test for measuring the tensile strength of brittle materials. A fair comparison has been found and the results highlight the limited applicability of the Brazilian method to soils at very low water contents at which the tensile failure criterion has been assumed using this methodology. Optical characterisation of the performance of both testing methods has also been conducted using Digital Image Correlation. The consistent, accurate measurement of directly induced tensile strains using the proposed new method has been confirmed, verifying its capability to apply a direct tensile stress in the absence of shearing, a problem commonly associated with other tensile testing methods. The developed technique has then been used to investigate the water content–tensile strength relationship for compacted, unsaturated soils and offers significant advantages in the characterisation of clay soils subjected to variable climatic loading.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2015 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:13 April 2015
Date deposited:09 March 2016
Date of first online publication:23 May 2015
Date first made open access:23 May 2016

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