Rate-dependent behaviour of a saturated clay under different stress histories and k0 conditions


This paper investigates the results obtained from a series of K0-consolidated undrained triaxial tests, which were carried out on marine clay specimens under different stress histories and strain rates. All marine clay specimens were prepared from a slurry state and pre-consolidated in a consolidometer under a vertical pressure of 100 kPa. The specimens were then compressed to the same initial effective pressure of 400 kPa. Different over-consolidation ratios (= 1, 2 and 4) were achieved by unloading to 400, 200 and 100 kPa, respectively. After completing the K0-consolidation, specimens were sheared at three rates (= 0.1%/h, 1%/h and 10%/h). The responses of the marine clay under different strain rates and the influence of stress histories under K0 conditions are discussed. The results show that higher strain rates tend to result in higher undrained shear strengths and lower pore pressure for different over-consolidation ratios under K0 conditions. Conversely, higher over-consolidation ratios tend to result in lower shear strengths for all the strain rates. Further, two rate parameters used to study the strain rate effects are also discussed and interpreted, and the suitable rate parameters of the reconstituted clay are recommended in designs for the marine clay.

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q f :

Deviator stress at failure

q :

Deviator stress

\(\dot{\varepsilon}_{1}\) :

Axial strain rate

\(q_{\text{f(ref)}}\) :

Reference deviator stress at failure

\(\dot{\varepsilon }_{{ 1\left( {\text{ref}} \right)}}\) :

Reference strain rate

\(\sigma_{\text{h}}^{\prime }\) :

Effective horizontal stress

\(\sigma_{\text{v}}^{\prime }\) :

Effective vertical stress

\({\text{OCR}}_{\text{MAX}}\) :

The maximum over-consolidation ratio that the soil experienced

\(\phi^{\prime }\) :

The friction angle

ε 1 :

Axial strain

Δuf :

Pore pressure at failure

S u :

Shear strength


Effective stress


Normally consolidated




Over-consolidation ratio


K0-consolidated undrained


Normally consolidated


Liquid limit


Plastic index


Macau marine clay


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The financial support of this study was provided through the research grant MYRG066(Y1-L2)-FST12-LMH by the Research Committee of the University of Macau and ARC Linkage Project (LP16010064).

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Correspondence to Shengshen Wu.

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Wu, S., Lok, T., Xu, Y. et al. Rate-dependent behaviour of a saturated clay under different stress histories and k0 conditions. Acta Geotech. 15, 1501–1512 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11440-019-00854-2

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  • K0-consolidated
  • Over-consolidation ratios
  • Shear strength
  • Strain rate
  • Triaxial