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Comportement mécanique des sols grossiers hétérogènes à matrice

Abstract : Coarse-grained soils, which are materials containing grains ranging from micrometers to several tens of centimeters, are frequently used in various geotechnical projects such as dikes and embankments. The determination of their shear strength in standard laboratory devices is difficult because of the presence of large grains. Different approaches (scalping, substitution, and parallel gradation) could be used to reduce the grain size of the tested sample. However, these techniques involve a change in the percentage of each fraction in comparison to the initial sample. Therefore, it is important to know how the shear strength is altered by the variation in the grain size distribution curve. The aim of this study was to establish a methodology for estimating the shear strength of coarse-grained soils with matrix by testing their fraction compatible with the available shear device size. The parallel gradation method was used and the influence of the fines content increase in the reconstituted soil was investigated. Two soils with different fines content were studied: a limestone aggregate with 1.9% fines and a natural gravel with 15% fines. The shear strengths of parallel graded samples of these soils at the same dry density under saturated and unsaturated conditions were determined in devices with different sizes. The results showed, for the soil with fines content lower than 4%, a suitable estimation of the initial soil shear strength for a low grain breakage ratio. This low grain breakage ratio is ensured for low normal stresses, under 100 kPa in the case of the studied aggregate. For the soil with higher fines content, it has been shown that the initial soil friction angle is correctly estimated when the reconstituted soil has the same grain arrangement as the initial soil, i.e., for a fines content lower than 30%. However, the difference in fines content between the initial and reconstituted soils led to an overestimation of the initial soil cohesion. A cohesion – fines content relationship was proposed to predict the cohesion of the initial coarse-grained soil. Furthermore, when the fines content in the reconstituted soil is higher than 30%, it was shown that the scalping method provides a suitable estimation of the initial soil shear strength when the density and percentage of scalped grains criteria are fulfilled. Recommendations were made to determine the shear strength of coarse-grained soils with matrix based on their characteristics and the size of the available device.
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N’guessan Kouakou. Comportement mécanique des sols grossiers hétérogènes à matrice. Génie civil. Université de Lorraine, 2020. Français. ⟨NNT : 2020LORR0043⟩. ⟨tel-02939423⟩

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