Design and Testing of a Synthetic Clay Soil

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Courtesy of ASTM International

A synthetic clay soil mixture was designed and fabricated to comply with similitude requirements set forth in a dynamic scale-model pile group foundation test. The prototype soil was a stiff, fissured, overconsolidated clay soil at the University of Houston Pile Test Facility. The dynamic response of the model soil was determined through testing by resonant column/torsional simple shear methods and by seismic wave velocity tests in the model test bed. The synthetic clay soil was more nearly linear elastic to higher strain levels with less damping than natural clays. The ability of the soil to regain its strength after disturbance was beneficial to the scale-model tests. The design, fabrication, and testing procedures utilized to obtain an appropriate geotechnical material for scale-model soil/structure interaction tests is detailed in this article.

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