Effect of Composition on the Compressibility and Shear Strength of Dredged Cohesive Sediment

M. Barciela Rial*, P.J. Vardon, Thijs van Kessel, Jasper Griffioen, J.C. Winterwerp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Progressively, more dredged sediments are being reused for engineering projects. For example, the Marker Wadden is a new wetland constructed in lake Markermeer, the Netherlands, with dredged cohesive sediments originating from the bed of the lake. Such dredged sediments are often dominated by cohesive sediment particles with varying amounts of sand and organic matter. In addition, during and after the construction process, the material consolidates and is often compressed from a very loose state into a significantly denser condition. To assess the mechanical behavior of this material, the compressibility of the Markermeer dredged sediment samples with various sand and organic matter contents was analyzed with incremental loading oedometer tests, whereas the undrained shear strength was studied using the fall cone test. The behavior was theoretically analyzed assuming a fractal structure of the sediment and applying power law constitutive equations for effective stress, hydraulic conductivity, and undrained shear strength. These constitutive equations, usually used at low initial sediment densities, worked well at the relatively high initial densities studied and proved to be a useful tool to identify the transition fines content TFC. The constitutive equations were put in context with indicators traditionally used in soil mechanics. Samples, each with an identical composition of the fines fraction (particles< 63 μm), but with a sand content varying from 9 to 40%, showed the same compressibility and undrained shear strength behavior when considering the sand a filler material. For a natural sand content of 70%, the behavior was dominated by sand. The organic matter oxidation was observed to drastically decrease the compressibility and the shear strength, and even to decrease the amount of sand needed to exhibit sand-dominated behavior, showing the importance of the reactivity or state of organic matter on the TFC
Original languageEnglish
Article number786108
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in earth science
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • dredged sediment
  • organic matter
  • compressibility
  • cohesive
  • shear strength
  • fractal structure
  • composition


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