Rock and Soil Mechanics ›› 2021, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (6): 1557-1567.doi: 10.16285/j.rsm.2020.6502

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Effects of loading rate on SBPT responses of Zhanjiang structured clay

SHU Rong-jun1, 2, KONG Ling-wei1, 2, SHI Wen-zhuo1, 2, LIU Bing-heng1, 2, LI Cheng-sheng1, 2   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, Hubei 430071, China 2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Online:2021-06-11 Published:2021-10-22
  • Contact: KONG Ling-wei, male, born in 1967, PhD, Professor, PhD supervisor, research interests: mechanical properties of special soil and disaster prevention technology. E-mail:
  • About author:SHU Rong-jun, male, born in 1995, PhD candidate, focusing on mechanical properties of special soil.
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41877281).


The study on influence of loading rate on mechanical behavior of Zhanjiang clay, which is a kind of sensitive clay with high yield strength, could be noteworthy. In order to study the loading rate effects on intact mechanical properties of Zhanjiang clay, the self-boring pressuremeter tests (SBPT) under five different loading rates have been carried out. The influence of stress rate on undrained shear strength, linear stiffness and non-linear degradation of shear modulus of the soil have been discussed. It is shown that the greater stress rate results in higher undrained shear strength, proposing strong linear correlation between two variables, and that behaves differently from the results of tests controlling strain rate given in literature. The linear secant shear modulus Gur increases with stress rate and the undrained shear strengths varies within a class with small width after normalized by corresponding Gur, which indicates little effect caused by loading rate on the strain corresponding to the peak strength. The significant degradation of tangential shear modulus Gt, at higher gradient and the steeper Gt-γ decay curve have been observed when at higher stress rate. The value of shear strain where Gt decreases to less than Gur is about 0.1% for all stress rate conditions. The loading rate significantly affects the amplitude and the gradient of the decay of Gt in the corresponding class. The smaller the stress rate leads to the lower strain level where the decay of Gt mainly occurs. It is recognized that the special microstructure could account for the loading rate effects of Zhanjiang clay and this comment is preliminarily proved by super-mini-penetration tests conducted on both undisturbed and remolded samples. It is recommended that special attention should be paid to both the loading rate effects on in-situ mechanical properties and the influence of “loading rate history” on creep behavior of soils.

Key words:  structured clay, self-boring pressuremeter test, super mini-penetration test, rate effects, shear modulus, G-γ  decay curves