Shear strength of a compacted scaly clay in variable saturation conditions
Scaly clays are stiff and highly fissured clays often used as construction materials. This paper presents the results of triaxial compression tests carried out on saturated and unsaturated samples of a compacted scaly clay. Complementary investigation on the microstructural features and their evolution with the amount of water stored into the material are also presented in order to shed light on the evolution of the micro- and macroporosity with suction. The water retention behaviour of the compacted scaly clay is also addressed. The results from the controlled suction triaxial tests are used to discuss the applicability of a single-shear strength criterion to compacted double-structured clays when the effective stress concept for unsaturated soils is used. The choice of the degree of saturation to be included in the effective stress definition for obtaining a satisfactory representation of the shear strength is addressed. It is shown that the best results are obtained when the macropore degree of saturation is considered along with its evolution during the applied stress path.