KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering

, Volume 23, Issue 9, pp 3777–3792 | Cite as

Quantitative Analysis of Microstructure Properties and their Influence on Macroscale Response

  • J. David Frost
  • Nimisha RoyEmail author
  • Chien-Chang Chen
  • Jin-Young Park
  • Deh-Jeng Jang
  • Ye Lu
  • Jie Cao
Geotechnical Engineering


The shear behavior of soils is typically related to the state of the soil in terms of the initial global void ratio and effective confining stress. However, laboratory tests on reconstituted sand specimens have shown that the shear behavior is also dependent upon the specimen preparation method. This paper describes the findings of a series of studies, which quantitatively evaluated the differences in the inherent microstructure of dilatant sand specimens prepared by air pluviation, moist tamping and water deposition. Quantitative measures such as local void ratio distribution, local void ratio distribution entropy and particle orientation entropy were found to be dependent on the preparation method. Microstructure evolution in the sand specimens during triaxial compression testing was also investigated. Measuring global properties of the specimens was shown to mask the complex and evolving internal conditions during shear. The global response was found to be strongly dependent on the shear induced microstructure which in turn was directly influenced by the preparation method dependent inherent microstructure.


sand microstructure specimen preparation local void ratio distribution void ratio distribution entropy orientation entropy shear behavior 


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The research described in this paper was supported in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation contract CMS-9457549. Additional support was provided for researchers in the NSF funded ERC on Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG). The support of NSF through PTE Federal Award No. EEC-1449501 is acknowledged. Discussions on the merits of entropy that the senior author had with P.L. Bourdeau were most valuable.


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Copyright information

© Korean Society of Civil Engineers 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil and Environmental EngineeringGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.AECOMLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.North Carolina Department of TransportationRaleighUSA
  4. 4.California Department of TransportationOffice of Geotechnical Design SouthSacramentoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Civil EngineeringShanghai UniversityShanghaiChina
  6. 6.Golder AssociatesRedmondUSA

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