Monotonic and cyclic undrained behaviour and liquefaction resistance of pumiceous, non-plastic sandy silt

Experimental data related to the mechanical behaviour of crushable pumiceous soils are limited compared with those for hard-grained soils. The main focus of previous studies has been on pumiceous sands, whereas pumiceous silts have not been investigated to date. In this paper, several series of monotonic and cyclic triaxial tests were performed to investigate the undrained behaviour and liquefaction resistance of a natural volcanic-ash derived, non-plastic pumiceous silt from northern New Zealand. Particle crushing due to sample reconstitution and triaxial testing was analysed by quantifying the changes in grain-size parameters and pumice contents. The main results can be summarized as follows. (1) The pumiceous silt showed a contractive response, even at medium to high relative densities, leading to high flow liquefaction susceptibility. (2) When subjected to cyclic undrained loading, the silt exhibited similar trends in terms of excess pore water pressure and axial strain accumulation to those established for hard-grained soils as opposed to those for pumiceous sands. (3) The liquefaction resistance of both medium-dense and dense samples was within the lower range compared to published cyclic resistance curves of both hard-grained soils and pumiceous sands. (4) The material did not undergo significant particle crushing after testing. Result (4) was considered to be the main factor that contributed to the fact that, in general, the cyclic undrained behaviour of the pumiceous silt was close to the trends established for those of hard-grained soils.
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This is an author’s accepted version of an article published in the journal: Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering. © 2023 Elsevier Ltd.