Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 145–156 | Cite as

Estimation of undrained shear strength in moderately OC clays based on field vane test data

Research Paper


The undrained shear strength (s u) of cohesive soils is a crucial parameter for many geotechnical engineering applications. Due to the complexities and uncertainties associated with laboratory and in situ tests, it is a challenging task to obtain the undrained shear strength in a reliable and economical manner. In this study, a probabilistic model for the s u of moderately overconsolidated clays is developed using the Bayesian model class selection approach. The model is based on a comprehensive geotechnical database compiled for this study with field measurements of field vane strength (s u), plastic limit (PL), natural water content (W n), liquid limit (LL), vertical effective overburden stress (\(\sigma_{\nu }^{\prime }\)), preconsolidation pressure (\(\sigma_{\text{p}}^{\prime }\)) and overconsolidated ratio (OCR). Comparison study shows that the proposed model is superior to some well-known empirical relationships for OC clays. The proposed probabilistic model not only provides reliable and economical estimation of s u but also facilitates reliability-based analysis and design for performance-based engineering applications.


Bayesian inference Empirical correlation Field vane test Model class selection Overconsolidated clay Undrained shear strength 



The authors would like to acknowledge the researchers who published the data in the literature but findings and conclusions expressed in this paper do not reflect the views of those researchers. The generous support from the research committee of the University of Macau under research Grant MYRG039(Y1-L1)-FST12-NIT is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Science and TechnologyUniversity of MacauTaipaChina

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