Acquisition of a Vardoulakis-Type Plane Strain Device for Advanced Testing of Soils

It is well-known that all three principal stresses play a role in the stress-strain-strength-volume response of solids and granular materials, yet conventional triaxial compression tests and direct shear tests are typically used for the determination of design parameters for granular materials, even when field conditions may be plane strain (e.g., long embankments, retaining structures, shear zones in landslides). That is, despite the ubiquity of plane strain conditions in the field, there is a scarcity of plane strain laboratory data because there are only a few devices capable of making these measurements. Since most laboratories lack the ability to perform plane strain (PS) compression tests, stress-strain-strength-volume parameters are typically measured in conventional triaxial compression (CTC) or direct shear (DS) and used for design, even though field conditions have not been accurately reproduced in the laboratory. This is assumed to be conservative since it is generally recognized that friction angles measured in CTC will be less than those measured in PS or that DS most closely mimics PS conditions. These simplifications do not address the effects of different pre- and post-yield responses that are observed in PS versus CTC loading or the rotation of principal stresses and significant boundary effects that are associated with DS loading. The only way to accurately model certain field conditions in the laboratory is through a PS stress path, which highlights the need for this research. This work seeks to acquire and assemble a used Vardoulakis-type plane strain device from the University of Southern California and to subsequently use it to perform PS compression tests on standard sands to confirm operability. This device will provide us an opportunity to perform research – both theoretical and applied – in an area that is relevant to the needs of the profession, particularly as applied to the interface be-tween the natural environment and our built transportation infrastructure. The device will be assembled in the Oregon State University (OSU) geotechnical engineering laboratory and outfitted with compressed air, vacuum, pressurized de-aired water, and automated data acquisition. Once assembled and functional, we will perform PS, CTC, and DS tests on standard sands at the same initial relative density and compare the response across stress paths.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $7500
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium

    University of Washington
    More Hall Room 112
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Oregon State University, Corvallis

    School of Civil and Construction Engineering, 101 Kearney Hall
    Corvallis, OR  United States  97331-2302
  • Project Managers:

    Evans, T. Matthew

  • Performing Organizations:

    Oregon State University, Corvallis

    School of Civil and Construction Engineering, 101 Kearney Hall
    Corvallis, OR  United States  97331-2302
  • Principal Investigators:

    Evans, T. Matthew

  • Start Date: 20161215
  • Expected Completion Date: 20180131
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers
  • Subprogram: Research
  • Source Data:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01631074
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT13-G-UTC40
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Mar 28 2017 5:01PM