Experimental determination of the shear strength of peat from standard undrained triaxial tests: Correcting for the effects of end restraint

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Conventional triaxial tests on peats are strongly criticised due to the very high shear strength parameters obtained from standard data elaboration, leading to unrealistic factors of safety when used in geotechnical design and assessment. Various operational approaches have been proposed in the literature to overcome this difficulty; however, they seem to lack consistent mechanical background. Some of the issues related to the shear strength evaluation of peats from triaxial tests come from the non-uniform stress and strain states developing in the samples well before failure is attained, due to end restraint effects. Undrained triaxial compression tests were performed on reconstituted peat to examine the influence of end restraint on the deviatoric stress, excess pore pressure and deviatoric strain response. Samples were tested with standard rough end platens and with modified platens to reduce the friction between the sample and bottom and top caps. Four different initial height-to-diameter ratios were examined, to reduce the consequences of rough end platens on the sample response. The results indicate that end restraint contributes dramatically to overestimating the shear strength of peat, due to the increase in both the calculated deviatoric stress and the measured excess pore pressure at the bottom of the sample. Suggestions are given to quantify the influence of end restraint in the interpretation of standard data, in an attempt to suggest viable procedures to determine more reliable effective and undrained shear strength parameters from standard triaxial tests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-87
Number of pages12
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • organic soils
  • pore pressures
  • shear strength

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