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Geotechnical Testing Journal, Vol. 34, No. 6 Paper ID GTJ102756 Available online at www.astm.

org

Fu-Chen Teng1 and Chang-Yu Ou2

Application of a Suction Control System in the Method of Specimen Saturation in Triaxial Tests

ABSTRACT: A new soil suction control system was developed to saturate soils in triaxial tests. The suction control system was used to reduce
the void ratio change during the saturation stage in triaxial tests and to preserve their small-strain behavior. A series of CK0UAC triaxial tests (K0 consolidation and undrained axial compression) on Taipei silty clay, saturated with and without suction control, are presented. The results are presented in terms of the stress-strain behavior during consolidation and undrained shearing. Bender element tests were also performed during the K0-consolidation stage. Results show that the new saturation method with suction control resulted in a better quality soil specimen than conventional saturation. Both the measured Youngs modulus and the shear modulus of the specimens saturated conventionally were underestimated by 20 % and 14 % compared with those saturated with suction control for the reconstituted soil. It is expected that such a difference would be much larger for soils sampled at greater depths. However, the proposed suction control system is not applicable to soil specimens with suctions greater than 100 kPa. The proposed approach would only be applicable for high air-entry value soils so that the suction does not cause desaturation in the soil specimen. Finally, two empirical equations are proposed to estimate the shear modulus of in-situ soils.

KEYWORDS: saturation, deformation control, suction control, small strain, stiffness, shear modulus, laboratory test, triaxial tests

Nomenclature

Introduction
The availability of appropriate laboratory procedures to test sampled soils is particularly important when trying to reliably determine soil properties. As a result, signicant research has been done to develop and compare techniques that reproduce the in situ state of soil (e.g., Bjerrum 1973; Ladd and Foott 1974; Ladd and De Groot 2003; Santagata and Germaine 2005). The majority of studies have focused on improving the reconsolidation stage using such methods as the recompression method and using the stress history and normalized soil engineering parameters (SHANSEP) (Ladd and Foott 1974). SHANSEP is an experimental procedure for mechanical soil testing, which was developed at MIT, and accounts for the effects of the stress history and the stress path. SHANSEP was developed to prevent disturbing the soil samples by loading the samples along the normal consolidation curve, which can break the cementation between the particles and lessen the small-strain modulus. As observed by Cho et al. (2007), the swelling of the clay specimens during saturation changes the soil structure and affects the stress-strain responses at strains less than 0.01 %. Thus, saturation is as important as the reconsolidation stage in a triaxial test. The saturation method commonly used in conventional triaxial tests applies a back pressure (ub ) that compresses the air voids within the soil specimens, resulting in the air voids dissolving into pore water. Simultaneously, a cell pressure, which is slightly greater than the back pressure, is applied to prevent the specimen from bulging, which can occur due to the back pressure. The very low effective stress in the conventional saturation method indicates that the specimen is in the unloading state (or swelling), i.e., the path BC in Fig. 1 (where B and C denote the stress state after sampling and after conventional saturation, respectively). In this

e0 Gs Gvh LL PI PL Spec. Trans. Vs V.C.L. ct r0sat r0vc r0v r0s x De=e0 Su =r0vc

initial void ratio specic gravity shear modulus measured by the bender element tests liquid limit plasticity index plastic limit specimen transportation elastic shear wave velocity virgin compression line total unit weight mean effective stress of the specimen during saturation effective vertical consolidation stress effective vertical stress measured suction in a soil specimen water content volume change normalized undrained shear strength

Manuscript received September 23, 2009; accepted for publication July 1, 2011; published online August 2011. 1 Department of Construction Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 43, Section 4, Keelung Rd., Taipei City, 10672 Taiwan, e-mail: D9405003@mail.ntust.edu.tw 2 Department of Construction Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, No. 43, Section 4, Keelung Rd., Taipei City, 10672 Taiwan

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FIG. 1Concept of saturation with suction control.

conventional saturation stage, the effective stress is almost equal to 0 and located at point C in Fig. 1. When the specimen was consolidated to the in situ stress state by the recompression method, as shown by the path CD in Fig. 1, the void ratio was changed by De1 . Such a considerable change in the void ratio indicates that the quality of the specimen may be poor. To minimize the changes in the void ratio during recompression, an effective stress should be maintained in the specimen during saturation. This objective can be achieved by rst maintaining the suction in the specimens and then removing the suction gradually while simultaneously applying a cell pressure equal to the removed suction. This process results in changing the suction into a positive cell pressure without causing any change in the effective

stress, i.e., the effective stress is still equal to the residual effective stress. The residual effective stress, namely r0s , in Figs. 1 and 2, is the effective stress remaining in the soil specimen after sampling, storage, and handling (Ladd and DeGroot 2003; Cho et al. 2007). Afterwards, the specimen is recompressed to the in situ stress, as indicated by point E in Fig. 1, inducing the void ratio change, De2 . Because the void ratio change (De2 ) in the path BE could be significantly smaller than that due to the path CD (De1 ), the quality of the soil sample is not degraded as much during the saturation process and also, small-strain behavior is preserved. To minimize the disturbance to the soil sample during the saturation stage, an apparatus that controls the suction in the soil specimens and that connects to the triaxial testing system was developed. Past studies that designed a suction control system (e.g., Cunningham et al. 2003, Jotisankasa et al. 2007) focused on unsaturated soil. Using the existing suction control systems in saturated soil tests has been limited because the suction force, when applied directly to the saturated soils, results in a decrease in saturation, which is not desirable, i.e., if the applied suction is greater than the air-entry suction. This paper describes a triaxial apparatus with a suction control capability that can improve the undesirable changes in the void ratio during saturation and preserve the small-strain behavior of soils. Triaxial tests with and without suction control were conducted on reconstituted Taipei silty clays. The effects of saturation with suction control were veried with the following parameters: (1) the void ratio change (De=e0 ) after recompression, (2) the shear modulus obtained from bender element tests during K0 consolidation, and (3) the stress-strain characteristics at small strains during undrained shearing.

Materials and Methods Soils


The soil tested was Taipei silty clay. The basic properties of the soil are shown in Table 1. The clay was dried in an oven for 24 h and then crushed and passed through a 425-micron sieve. The reconstituted samples were created by mixing the sieved soil powder with a water content of 93 %, more than twice the liquid limit, to form a slurry. The slurry was then subjected to a vertical consolidation stress of 120 kPa in four steps in the consolidation chamber. Reconstituted soil specimens were chosen to eliminate variability inherent in in situ soils.

TABLE 1Properties of the reconstituted soil. Unified Soil Classification System x (%) LL PL PI ct t=m3 FIG. 2Hypothetical stress path during tube sampling and specimen preparation of low OCR clay (after Ladd and DeGroot, 2003). Gs e0 CL 35 47 30 17 1.72 2.71 1.26

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TENG AND OU ON SATURATION WITH SUCTION CONTROL

FIG. 3Schematic experimental layout of the suction control system.

Development of the Suction Control System


Two vacuum ejectors, namely Venturi vacuum generators, were used to produce the two independent suctions needed in the suction control system, as shown in Fig. 3. The two suction lines were connected to the top and bottom caps to control the suction in the soil specimens more uniformly than if only one suction control line was used. Also, controlling the suction on the top and bottom caps separately was also done because different suctions may be needed in future studies. However, the top and bottom suctions were identical in this study. The lters placed in the top and bottom caps were made of porous ceramic with an air entry pressure of 1 bar. Two precise electropneumatic valves (E/P1 and E/P2 in Fig. 3) were placed on the lines in front of the vacuum ejectors to control

the ejectors. The output pressure of the valves and vacuum ejector were computer-controlled. A specied suction could then be generated through the vacuum ejectors. The error in the suction control was less than 0.5 kPa due to the control system being automatic and feedback-controlled. The negative water pressure was measured by pressure sensors, i.e., suc1 and suc2 in Fig. 3, which ranged from 1 to 0 bars. Figure 4 shows an example of the suction control on a soil sample during a triaxial test, where the initial suction was 40 kPa and decreased to 0 kPa in 20 min. Additional pressure measurements were made by a midplane pore pressure probe (M4P in Fig. 4), and an external Druck pressure transducer (Druck in Fig. 4) was used in addition to suc1 and suc2. The rate of suction adjustment was 2 kPa/step in this test, and each step ended with the pressure reading near the step goal.

Determination of the Residual Effective Stress


The residual effective stress is the effective stress remaining in the soil sample after sampling. The effective stress of the saturated soils is the difference between the total stress and the pore water pressure. When the soil element is removed from the ground, the total stresses decrease to zero. However, the nearly saturated sample retains a pore water pressure, which is negative because unloading has occurred. Terzaghis effective stress principle can be applied to the soil sample because the soil samples are nearly saturated. Thus, the effective stress remaining in the soil sample is equal to the value of the negative pore water pressure. The suction (s ua uw) for a nearly saturated soil is equal to uw because ua 0. Accordingly, the residual effective stress can be evaluated by measuring the suction in the soil sample. Measuring suction by the undrained, isotropic loading in a triaxial cell is relatively simple and convenient for a conventional triaxial testing system as discussed by Navaneethan et al. (2005). However, this technique is only reliable when the B value is very close to 1.0, where B is the Skemptons pore water pressure parameter. For a soil sample before full saturation, the B value may

FIG. 4Example of suction control.

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be much lower than 1.0 because of air bubbles in the drainage lines. Thus, the value of suction in the soil specimen is expected to be signicantly overestimated. The overestimated suction gives incorrect information about the residual effective stress and will result in extra isotropic consolidation on the specimen if the soil specimen is saturated at the residual effective stress. Therefore, a direct method to measure suction using pressure sensors that range from 1 to 0 bar and porous ceramic lters were adopted in this study. The proposed suction measurement method is applicable to soil with sufciently high air-entry suction such that the application of suction to the soil specimen does not cause desaturation. The lower limit of the suction measurement in this study was less than 2 kPa. The upper limit on the suction measurement was 100 kPa due to the methods and instruments used. To measure soil suction greater than 100 kPa, other methods are available, such as the lter paper method and using high capacity tensiometers. The performance of this measuring method will be seriously affected if the lter is not fully saturated. The initial saturation procedure for a ceramic lter is similar to that proposed by Ridley and Burland (1999) and Take and Bolton (2003). A chamber halffull of de-aired water was prepared prior to saturating the lters. The air-dry ceramic lter was placed above the water in the chamber. Then, a vacuum maintained at 1 bar was applied for one hour. Afterwards, the ceramic lter was slowly submerged in water while maintaining the vacuum for at least 30 min. Then, the vacuum was released and further time was allowed for saturating the lter under atmospheric pressure.

Experimental Apparatus
A triaxial testing system capable of performing tests at small strains and equipped for local measurements was developed in this study. The testing system, which consisted of an axial loading system, a pressure controller, and a data acquisition system, was

an automated, programmable, and feedback-controlled system. A high-accuracy, direct-drive servo motor (D.D. motor) was used to provide the axial displacement in the triaxial tests. As shown in Fig. 5(a), the D.D. motor (SN: NSK M-YSB 2020KN001) was xed on the loading frame, where the transmission was an extremely precise ball screw (SN: NSK DFT 2805-5) that was tightened on the motor directly, i.e., no indirect transmissions, such as gears or belts, were used in the axial loading system. The major advantages of a driving system with a D.D. motor are its high rigidity and the absence of transmission gears. Hence, the backlash during testing was minimized to a value below the detectible limit of the displacement sensors. The resolution of the motor was 819200 steps per revolution, and every round of rotation created a linear motion of 5 mm. Thus, the minimum single axial displacement was 6:1 106 mm ( 5=819; 200 mm), which is ideal for displacement-controlled tests. The maximum error due to the D.D. motor was 150 s in every round of rotation, i.e., the 150 s error was generated in each motor rotation, i.e., 360 degrees (360 degree 60 min=degree 60s=min 1; 296; 000 s). Thus, the largest possible error in the axial displacement was 0.0116 % ( 150/1,296,000), or 0.58 lm (0.0116 % 5 mm) in every round of rotation of the D.D. motor. Figure 5(b) shows the pressure controller used to control the cell pressure and the back pressure. The pressure controller was digital and connected to the testing system, and the resolutions for the control and the reading were 1 and 0.015 kPa, respectively. This testing system used internal measurements, including two axial and one radial local Hall effect transducers (Clayton et al. 1989), a submersible load cell (62 kN, Sensotec), two midplane pore pressure probes (7 bar, GDS Instrument), and bender elements (GDS Instrument). This small-strain measurement system was capable of resolving 0.003 kPa of pore pressure, 0.001 % of axial strain, and 0.005 kPa of axial stress. The Hall effect local strain sensors, which have a linear range of 63 mm around the

FIG. 5Schematic of (a) axial loading system and (b) pressure controller.

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TENG AND OU ON SATURATION WITH SUCTION CONTROL TABLE 2Summary of the triaxial test results. Saturation With Suction Control Without Suction Control r0sat (kPa) 18.5 (suction) 10 5 2 r0vc (kPa) 200 200 200 300 B value 0.989 0.987 0.983 0.982 Su =r0vc 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 De=e0 0.063 0.081 0.084 0.091

Gvh (MPa) (at r0v 147 kPa) 30.3 28.15 27.55 26.16

electrical zero, were calibrated by a calibration rig equipped with a digital micrometer head (resolution 1 lm). A set of bender elements was embedded in the top cap and the bottom pedestal. The shape of the received signal and the uncertainties in determining the travel time of the shear wave in the bender element tests were affected by near-eld effects (Viggiani and Atkinson 1995; Jovicic et al. 1996; Brignoli et al. 1996). To understand the inuence of the different driven frequencies on the travel time of the shear waves, bender element tests with frequencies varying from 3 kHz to 15 kHz were performed on the soil specimens at a constant effective vertical stress after the K0 consolidation. The methods for determining the travel time were (1) the resonance method, (2) the visual inspection method, and (3) the cross correlation method (Viggiani and Atkinson 1995; Jovicic et al. 1996; Arulnathan et al. 1998; Lee and Santamarina 2005). The test results showed that a consistent travel time or velocity can be obtained if the input frequency is higher than the resonance frequency, which eliminates the near eld effects. Therefore, a driven frequency of 10 kHz was chosen for the bender element tests in this study.

Experimental Procedure
Table 2 summarizes the triaxial tests conducted in this work. Triaxial specimens were hand-trimmed from the reconstituted samples to the following dimensions: diameters of 50 mm and heights

FIG. 6Suction control in a triaxial test.

of 100 mm. After mounting a specimen to the triaxial cell and installing the on-specimen sensors, the residual effective stress of the specimen was measured with suction control. After suction control, the specimen was saturated at its residual effective stress. Details of the suction control procedure are presented below. Step 1. Measure the suction in the soil specimen by a pore water pressure transducer (range from 1 to 0 bars) with a porous ceramic lter. The measured suction (r0s ) is the initial point for controlling the suction. Step 2. Remove the suction from the specimen gradually by a value of r0s =N in single steps, where N is the number of steps. Simultaneously, the conning pressure in the triaxial cell is increased via the digital pressure controller, where the pressure increment is also equal to r0s =N . Hence, the effective stress of the specimen is kept unchanged. Step 3. Repeat Step 2 (N1) times. The suction in the specimen would be dissipated completely at the Nth step, and the effective stress of the specimen, which is equal to the residual effective stress, is then applied by the cell pressure. Step 4. Apply a back pressure to the specimen to increase the degree of saturation and simultaneously, the increment of the conning pressure (equal to the back pressure) should be applied until the effective stress in the soil is equal to the residual effective stress. Figure 6 shows the variations of the conning pressures, the effective stresses, and the pore water pressures in the specimen during the suction measurement and the suction control. The conning pressure was kept unchanged during the suction measurement stage, and the effective stress in the specimen should be equal to the measured suction. After the measured suction reached equilibrium, i.e., a suction of 18.5 kPa in Fig. 6, the suction control stage then began. The suction control process was separated into ve steps, as shown in Fig. 6, and the adjusted suction was increased approximately 4 kPa in every single step. The cell pressure was increased simultaneously for the purpose of keeping the effective stress unchanged in each step. The effective stress in the specimen shown in Fig. 6 was always equal to the initial suction (18.5 kPa) throughout the entire suction control process. For the specimens without suction control, the mean effective stresses during saturation (r0sat ) were set equal to 10, 5, and 2 kPa, respectively, all commonly used values in the conventional saturation procedure. Each specimen was recompressed under the K0 condition to an effective vertical stress of 200 kPa or 300 kPa with full saturation (B value >98 %). Thereafter, the specimens were subjected to the axial compression under the undrained condition at a strain rate of 0.2 %/h. Bender element tests were conducted in the consolidation stage using a single-pulse sinusoidal input wave with a driven frequency of 10 kHz. The trigger points of the bender element tests were

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FIG. 7Stress path for CK0UAC tests.

done after every two consolidation steps. The elastic shear wave velocity, Vs , was calculated using the wave travel time determined by the visual inspection method, which was very close to that determined by the cross correlation method with a chosen frequency of 10 kHz, and the tip-to-tip distance between transmitting and receiving bender elements. The shear modulus, Gvh can be calculated as Gvh qVs2 (1)
FIG. 9Void ratio change during recompression for tests with and without suction control.

where q bulk mass density of the specimen when Vs was measured.

Experimental Results Comparisons Between the Two Saturation Methods During K0 Consolidation
Typical stress paths for triaxial tests (CK0U-AC) saturated with suction and without suction control (r0sat 10; 5; and 2 kPa) are

shown in Fig. 7. A K0 value of approximately 0.5 was observed, which is reasonable for the chosen clay. The variation of K0 with the effective vertical stress for the tested clay is shown in Fig. 8. In the consolidation stage, the K0 value decreased from the initial value of 1.0 at the isotropic stress state until the end of consolidation. The nal K0 values for all the tests almost all converged to the value as calculated by the following equation (Mayne and Kulhawy 1982) K0 1 sin /0 OCRsin /
0
0

(2)

FIG. 8Variation of the K0 value with the effective vertical stress for the tested clay.

where / is the effective friction angle, and OCR is the overconsolidation ratio Here, the K0 value estimated by Eq 2 was 0.53. Nevertheless, the K0 value for the specimen saturated with suction control is much closer to 0.53 than that of the specimen saturated without suction control when the effective vertical stress reached the preconsolidation stress. In addition, the K0 values for the tests without suction control were all smaller than those with suction control before the effective vertical stress attained the preconsolidation stress. Figure 9 shows the void ratio versus the logarithmic effective consolidation stress during consolidation for the tests saturated with suction control (r0sat 18:5 kPa) and without suction control (r0sat 5 kPa). The point A in Fig. 9 represents the stress state of the soil before the sampling, i.e., at the in situ state, where r0v 120 kPa. Once sampling has occurred, the stress state goes to point B, i.e., the residual effective stress. In the conventional saturation method, i.e., when r0sat 5 kPa, the stress state falls to point C, with some swelling occurring. When the soil specimens were recompressed to the in situ stress, De1 ( 0.063) for the test with suction control, i.e., r0sat 18:5 kPa, was smaller than De2 ( 0.081) for the test without suction control, i.e., r0sat 5 kPa. The recompression processes for both specimens

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TENG AND OU ON SATURATION WITH SUCTION CONTROL

Comparisons Between the Two Saturation Methods During Undrained Shearing


After the K0 consolidation, all the specimens were subjected to undrained axial compression. Figure 11 illustrates the differences at the beginning of the stress-strain responses by plotting the Youngs modulus normalized by the undrained shear strength. Although all the degradation curves of stiffness were similar, the small-strain stiffness of the specimen saturated at r0sat 2 kPa was approximately 20 % lower than that of the specimen saturated with suction control. Comparing the stiffness at the small strains indicates that the conventional saturation method reduced the initial stiffness of the soils, and the saturation method with suction control preserves the sample quality. The undrained failure characteristics for the reconstituted clay for different r0sat are summarized in Table 2. Unlike the stressstrain behavior at a small-strain level, all the tests exhibited the same normalized undrained shear strength, i.e., Su =r0vc 0:3. This result may imply that the undrained failure characteristics were not that affected by the saturation procedure.
FIG. 10Bender element test results.

Discussion
saturated with and without suction control were identical. However, they resulted in different void ratio changes during recompression. It may be concluded that the quality of a specimen can be improved by the proposed suction control system. The variation in the Gvh values measured by the bender elements during recompression is shown in Fig. 10. The specimen saturated with suction control exhibited higher values of Gvh than other specimens. As an example, at the effective vertical stress equal to 100 kPa, the Gvh of the specimen saturated with suction control (r0sat 18:5 kPa) was 19 % higher than that saturated without suction control (r0sat 5 kPa). Both the suction measurements and the vacuum source used were in a range of 1 to 0 bars. The proposed method for specimen saturation in triaxial tests is limited to specimens with a suction less than 100 kPa from the measurement point of view and the control point of view. For specimens with suctions less than 100 kPa, the proposed saturation method is effective in improving the quality of the specimens as discussed below. The sample quality can be evaluated by either the void ratio change during recompression or the shear modulus computed from the bender elements measurements. The void ratio changes during recompression for both tests saturated with and without suction control, i.e., r0sat 18:5; 10; 5 and 2 kPa, are listed in Table 2. The De=e0 value for the specimen saturated with suction was signicantly lower than that without suction control. According to the sample quality classications suggested by Lunne et al. (1997), listed in Table 3, the specimen saturated with suction control can be considered as good to fair, whereas the quality of the specimen saturated without suction control is regarded as fair to poor. The improvement of the sample quality can be quantied by   De=e0 with SC De=e0 without SC Improvement (3) De=e0 with SC
TABLE 3Classication for the sample quality based on the void ratio change during recompression. Sample Quality and Process Very Good Good to Fair Fair to Poor Very Poor Volume Change (De=e0 ) <0.04 0.040.07 0.070.14 >0.14

FIG. 11Secant Youngs modulus degradation curves.

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where De=e0 with SC is the void ratio change during recompression for tests with suction control, and De=e0 without SC is that for tests without suction control. It should be noted that all the specimens tested were produced by the same reconstitution procedure and should be the same quality before the tests. However, the improvement of the sample quality for the saturation tests with suction control ranged from 29 % to 45 % in this study, indicating that using the proposed saturation method for triaxial tests results in a better quality of the sample. For further comparison, the shear moduli measured by the in situ cross-hole method, which represents the undisturbed quality and the no-void ratio change, and those of the reconstituted samples with/without suction control measured by the bender elements are plotted against the void ratio change in Fig. 12. The measurements from the in situ tests and the lab tests of the reconstituted specimen were both unaffected by any disturbance due to the sampling. Thus, the comparison between the undisturbed and the reconstituted specimen is appropriate in investigating the degree of the disturbance by the different saturation methods. Clearly, the shear modulus of the specimen saturated with suction control was much closer to that of the in situ state than when the specimens were saturated conventionally. Figure 12 also shows that the void ratio change during recompression can be used to evaluate the reduction ratio of the shear moduli for specimens with different degrees of disturbance. The reduction ratio of the shear moduli, R, was obtained by the regression of the data points in Fig. 12 and as listed below R GLab 4:126De=e0 0:996 GIn-situ (4)

For example, as calculated by Eq 4, the shear modulus measured in the laboratory test is only 66 % of that measured in the in situ state if the void ratio change by recompression is equal to 0.08. In other words, once the shear moduli is measured in the laboratory tests and once the void ratio changes are known, the in situ shear moduli can be determined by Eq 4. The relationship, considering the effect of the anisotropic stress state on the shear moduli Gvh, was proposed by Hardin and Blandford (1989) and can be expressed in the following relationship  0  0 Gvh r nv rh nh Afe OCRm v (5) Pa Pa Pa where Gvh =Pa is the normalized shear modulus obtained by the bender element tests, Pa is the reference pressure (101.3 kPa), f e is the void ratio function, r0v =Pa and r0h =Pa are the normalized effective stresses in the vertical and horizontal directions, respectively, A is a dimensionless material constant, and m, nv, and nh are all empirical exponents. The void ratio function, f e 7:32 e2 =1 e, as proposed by Kokusho et al. (1982), was chosen in this study. The coefcients and exponents, i.e., A, m, nv, and nh, can be determined by performing the least-square analysis on the data of Gvh measured in the recompression stage (see Fig. 11) and the corresponding stress states, OCR values, and void ratios. Thus, Eq 5 can be rewritten as  0 0:0879  0 0:5807 Gvh 7:32 e2 r rr OCR0:0497 a 16:05 (6) Pa 1e Pa Pa

where GLab is the shear moduli of the specimens measured by the bender element tests, GIn-situ is the shear moduli measured by the eld tests, and De=e0 is the void ratio change during recompression.

FIG. 12Comparison of the shear modulus at different void ratio change.

FIG. 13Comparison of the shear modulus from different methods.

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TENG AND OU ON SATURATION WITH SUCTION CONTROL

Knowing the void ratios, the over-consolidation ratios, and the stress states, the normalized shear moduli can thus be estimated by Eq 6. To validate the proposed equation, a well-documented excavation case in Taipei, named TNEC, was chosen. Considerable investigations of the soil characteristics at the TNEC site have been done by laboratory tests and eld tests, e.g., the in situ crosshole test (Ou et al. 1998; Kung 2007). The comparison of the shear moduli between the test results from the tube samples at TNEC and those calculated by Eq 6 are plotted in Fig. 13. The gure shows that the shear moduli calculated by Eq 6 are generally in good agreement with those measured from the tube samples. However, the gure also shows that there are several discrepancies between the shear moduli, either calculated by Eq 6 or measured from the tube samples and those measured by the cross-hole test. It is reasonable to assume that such discrepancies are due to sample disturbance during the sampling process, which caused the soil to swell and resulted in higher void ratio changes by recompression. Equation 4, which evaluates the reduction of the stiffness due to the void ratio change, was therefore adopted to modify the shear modulus estimated for the sampled soils. The shear moduli measured on specimens sampled from the TNEC site using the bender elements were modied by Eq 4 and are shown in Fig. 13. The result shows that the measured shear moduli of the sampled soils with the modication of Eq 4 agree well with those measured by the cross-hole tests. Furthermore, by substituting GLab into Eq 4 with the Gvh in Eq 6, Eq 4 can be rewritten to estimate the in situ shear modulus, GIn-situ, as follows: GIn-situ Gvh 16:05 R 0:996 4:126 De=e0  0 0:0879  0 0:5807 7:32 e2 r rr OCR0:0497 a Pa 1e Pa Pa (7) The normalized shear moduli calculated by Eq 7, denoted by triangles in Fig. 13, are based on the soil properties obtained from sampled soils at the TNEC site. The result shows that the shear moduli estimated by Eq 7 are very similar to the measurements from the cross-hole tests. The proposed method of specimen saturation with the suction control system is efcient in reducing the effect of swelling during saturation and the void ratio change during recompression. The concept of the proposed method is similar to an alternative saturation method used in oedometer tests, i.e., when a zero-volume change is maintained during the initial phase of saturation. This deformation-controlled system may be applicable on specimens with suction greater than 100 kPa. However, the application of the zero-volume change saturation in triaxial tests is difcult to achieve because the deformation of the specimens in triaxial tests is two-dimensional, whereas it is only one-dimensional in oedometer tests. Furthermore, the current measurement of volume change in the triaxial tests is insufcient in maintaining a zerovolume change during saturation. Thus, the suction control system should be acceptable in reducing the volume changes during saturation despite its limitations.

Conclusions
A new method for saturation with suction control for triaxial testing systems has been presented in this paper. The improvement of soil quality on specimens saturated with suction control was investigated through the use of undrained triaxial compression tests performed on reconstituted samples, where the suction before the triaxial testing was measured to be 18.5 kPa. The test results show that the Youngs modulus of a specimen saturated without suction control, e.g., r0sat 2 kPa, at a small strain was underestimated by approximately 20 %, compared with a sample saturated with suction control. This implies that the stress-strain behavior at small strains is affected by the change in soil structure due to the conventional saturation method. The void ratio change during recompression was signicantly reduced by 29 % to 45 % on specimens saturated with suction control. The shear modulus, as measured by bender elements for specimens without suction control, was underestimated by approximately 14 % compared with a sample with suction control. Both the void ratio change and the shear modulus measured during recompression indicated that the conventional saturation method can yield poor specimen quality. It may be concluded that the proposed method of saturation is useful in minimizing (1) the change in soil structure due to swelling during conventional saturation and (2) the degradation of the specimen quality evaluated either by the void ratio change or the shear modulus. The soil still swelled slightly after sampling, which resulted in a void ratio change. The in situ shear moduli, which were measured in the laboratory, even with suction control, were still lower than those in the eld. Thus, two empirical equations were derived to estimate the in situ shear modulus. The in situ shear modulus can be estimated using the proposed equations with the measured shear modulus of sampled soils. As seen in this study, with a measured suction pressure of 18.5 kPa, the Youngs modulus at a small strain or the shear modulus obtained from tests using suction control was signicantly larger than in those without suction control. Theoretically, the suction pressure of the soil after sampling should increase at increasing soil depths. It is thus expected that the stiffness of the soil at deeper levels measured with suction control should be much greater than that without suction control. The limitation of the suction control system proposed was 100 kPa. The proposed system is not applicable for use on specimens with suctions greater than 100 kPa.

Acknowledgments
Financial support by the National Science Council that provided the funding (Grant No. NSC-95-2221-E011-055MY3) for this work is gratefully acknowledged.

References
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