Mechanical behaviors of bimsoils during triaxial deformation revealed using real-time ultrasonic detection and post-test CT image analysis

  • Y. WangEmail author
  • C. H. Li
  • Z. Q. Hou
Original Paper


Real-time ultrasonic experiments were conducted to investigate the mechanical responses of block-in-matrix soil (bimsoil) samples under triaxial deformation. Although the mechanical behaviors of bimrocks and bimsoils have been widely studied, the rock-soil (block-matrix) interface cracking, rock-soil interaction, block occlusion, and interlocking effects during triaxial deformation are still incompletely understood. This paper aims to investigate the effect of confining pressure and block proportion on ultrasonic and mechanical properties of bimsoils using ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV). Conventional compaction soil testing was adapted to produce cylindrical bimsoil samples of different rock block percentages (RBP) with various hammer counts, to ensure roughly the same compactness of soil matrix. The experimental results show that UPV reflects the complex mechanical behavior of bimosils during deformation. UPV measurements became more variable as samples deformed at the pre-peak and post-peak stages. It is suggested that the UPV is affected not only by stress level but also the meso-structures that develop during failure in bimsoils. Observation of macroscopic fracture morphology combined with image analysis of mesoscopic computed tomography (CT) scans reveals that multiple localized tortuous bands form during deformation due to the presence of rock blocks in bimsoils. The changes of UPV are mainly attributed to the interactions of soil matrix and rock block. The post-test CT images further confirm this result.


Bimsoils Mechanical behaviors Ultrasonic testing Triaxial compression CT images 



The authors would like to thank the editors and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful and constructive comments.

Funding information

This work was supported by the National key technologies Research & Development program (2017YFC0804103, 2018YFC0808402, 2018YFC0604601), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2302017FRF-TP-17-027A1), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grants Nos. 41502294), and the State Key Laboratory for GeoMechanics and Deep Underground Engineering, China University of Mining & Technology (SKLGDUEK1824),

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Beijing Key Laboratory of Urban Underground Space Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering, School of Civil & Resource EngineeringUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeijingChina

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