The quality and reliability of cohesive soil laboratory test data can be significantly affected by sample disturbance during sampling or sample preparation. Sample disturbance may affect key design and modelling parameters such as stiffness, preconsolidation stress, compressibility and undrained shear strength, and ultimately determine particle mobilization and shear plane development. The use of X-ray computed tomography (X-CT) in the study of soil is restricted by the inverse relationship of specimen size and obtainable image resolution. This has led to the testing of miniature specimen sizes which are far less than conventional laboratory sample size in a bid to obtain high resolution images and detailed particle-scale soil properties; however, these miniature soil specimens are more prone to sample disturbance. In this work 2% muscovite was mixed with speswhite kaolin clay as a strain marker for use in X-CT. The clay soil sample was prepared from slurry and either consolidated using an oedometer or a gypsum mould. Specimens obtained from a 7 mm tube sampler were compared to lathe trimmed specimens with a diameter (Ø) of 7 mm. Results from X-CT imaging were used to study the influence of sampler type on specimen disturbance, by analysing the muscovite particle orientation of the obtained 3D images. The results show that; for samples subjected to large consolidation stress (>200kpa) lathe trimmed specimens may be subject to lesser disturbance compared to tube sampled specimens.
- X-ray computed tomography (X-CT)
- soil mechanics