Measurement of bulk mechanical properties and modeling the load-response of rootzone sands. part 2: Effect of moisture on continuous sand mixtures

B. Mittal, H. Yi, V. M. Puri, A. S. McNitt, C. F. Mancino

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The compression and failure responses of four rootzone sand mixtures (with different types of particle shapes) were analyzed, compared, and modeled at two different moisture states (air dried and 30 cm tension). Differences in particle packing characteristics arising from particle shape and moisture were quantified. The air-dried and moist samples of the sand mixtures had initial bulk density (IBD) values ranging from 1.55 to 1.67g/cc and 1.23 to 1.48g/cc, respectively. The low IBD values observed for moist mixtures were attributed to the particle-particle agglomeration effects that take place in the presence of moisture. In addition, it was observed that the sand mixture’s porosity increased with decreasing particle sphericity. During compression testing, moist samples underwent a greater volumetric deformation compared to the air-dried samples for the same pressure levels, e.g., at 69kPa, the volumetric strain of moist round sand mixtures was 8% higher than that of the air-dried round sand mixtures. Therefore, moisture acted as lubricant during volumetric compression of sand mixtures. Also, the bulk modulus values decreased with increasing moisture content and decreasing particle sphericity. During shear testing, the moist samples underwent a larger amount of strain deformation compared to the air-dried samples for the same stress difference values. This suggests that the presence of moisture makes the sand mixtures ductile during shear testing, unlike the usual brittle response in air-dried state. Shear modulus values linearly increased with the increase in mean pressure for the air-dried samples, whereas, for moist samples, the shear modulus values increased gradually or remained practically constant. The effect of pressure, moisture, and particle shape was also quantified for two elastoplastic parameters (consolidation and swelling indices). It was generally observed that the average consolidation index values decreased with pressure but increased with moisture and particle angularity. On the other hand, average swelling index values increased with pressure, moisture, and particle angularity. Overall, it was concluded that the moisture and particle shape had a decisive influence on the compression and shear profiles of continuous rootzone sand mixtures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-386
Number of pages18
JournalParticulate Science and Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)

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