Investigation on the behavior of frozen silty clay subjected to monotonic and cyclic triaxial loading


This paper aims to assess the characteristics of the deformation and strength behavior of frozen soils at different temperatures under monotonic and cyclic triaxial conditions. The deformation and failure patterns of the specimens change from ductility to brittleness with decreasing temperatures under both monotonic and cyclic loadings. The development of axial strain and stiffness with increasing number of cycles for the soils under cyclic loading is presented and analyzed in detail. A collapse behavior in strength and stiffness is observed in tests of frozen soils at − 5 °C, − 7 °C and − 9 °C. The difference in frictional sliding between the samples with high ductility and those with high brittleness is attributed to the different patterns of deformation and failure. The dynamic modulus is plotted versus axial strain, and the state where the stiffness begins to decrease is employed as the criterion of cyclic failure. The proposed criterion of cyclic failure is verified to be more suitable for frozen soils with high brittleness and seems to be consistent with the peak strength under monotonic loading. Finally, the cyclic stress ratios are plotted against the number of cycles up to this failure criterion, and the effect of temperatures on cyclic strength is evaluated.

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  • 22 February 2020

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The authors appreciate the valuable comments from the anonymous reviewers which made the submitted paper very much improved. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of (1) the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51708522, 51769018, 51879131, 41627801 and 11702304), (2) the Heilongjiang Provincial Nature Science Foundation of China (Grant No. E2018059) and (3) the project supported by science and technology department of Jiangxi province of China (Grant No. 20161BBG70084).

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Correspondence to Qionglin Li.

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Xu, X., Li, Q. & Xu, G. Investigation on the behavior of frozen silty clay subjected to monotonic and cyclic triaxial loading. Acta Geotech. 15, 1289–1302 (2020).

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  • Cyclic strength
  • Deformation mechanism
  • Frozen soils
  • Stiffness
  • Triaxial test