The small-strain shear modulus and damping ratio of quartz and volcanic sands

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Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


The dynamic properties of soils in the region of very small strains are essential for any seismic design. This paper aims to investigate the dynamic small-strain shear modulus (GO) and damping ratio (DO) of reconstituted dry sands of variable mineralogy, shape, and grain-size distribution. In particular, the low-amplitude torsional resonant column test results of 31 specimens are synthesized, 19 specimens of natural and quarry sands predominately composed of quartz particles, and 12 specimens of volcanic sands composed of rhyolitic glassy rock of porous particles. It is concluded that the volcanic sands exhibit significantly lower GO values and slightly lower DO values in comparison to the quartz ones whilst the response of the quartz sands is significantly affected by the shape of the particles. The differences in the observed responses between quartz and volcanic sands are partially attributed to the variability in particles density, morphology, and mineralogy, as well as the higher void ratio and the lower dry density that the volcanic sands exhibit in comparison to the quartz ones. Overall, the effects of the mean effective confining pressure (σr m), the void ratio (e), and the grain-size distribution on the dynamic response of the volcanic soils follow a similar trend as in the quartz sands. Using the general form of available relationships presented in the literature, and after modifying the "constant" parameters, appropriate equations, stemming from the low-amplitude resonant column data test, are proposed that may be used for the estimation of the small-strain shear modulus and damping ratio separately for natural quartz sands, quarry quartz sands, and volcanic granular soils. Copyright © 2012 by ASTM International.

Research Area(s)

  • Damping ratio, Quartz sands, Resonant column testing, Shear modulus, Volcanic soils