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M Moradi , A Hamidi , Gh Tavakoli Mehrjardi ,
Volume 10, Issue 4 (Vol. 10, No. 4 Winter 2017 2017)

Consolidated-drained triaxial compression tests were conducted to compare the stress-strain and volume change response of sands and clayey sands reinforced with discrete randomly distributed poly-propylene fibers. The influence of various test parameters such as fiber content (0.0%, 0.5% and 1.0% by weight), clay content (0%, 10% and 20% by weight), relative density (50% and 90%) and confining pressure (100 kPa, 200 kPa and 300 kPa) were investigated. It has been observed that addition of clay particles to the sands decreased the shear strength of samples. Also, increase in clay content reduced dilation and increased compressibility of the mixed soil. Addition of the fiber to both sands and clayey sands samples improved the shear strength and increased ductility and axial strain at failure point. 

Gholamhosein Tavakoli Mehrjard, Fariba Motarjemi,
Volume 12, Issue 2 (Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 2018 2018)

The general failure mechanism of soil element in geotechnical structures is shear failure under static and dynamic loads. Therefore, assessment of soils’ shear strength parameters is very crucial in the performance of geotechnical structures, especially in slope stability. Tavakoli Mehrjardi et al. (2016) showed that by increasing soil grain size in unreinforced soil masses, bearing capacity of foundation increases due to increasing shear strength parameters of soil mass. Furthermore, Tavakoli Mehrjardi and Khazaei (2017) found out that generally, for all reinforced and unreinforced conditions, cyclic bearing capacity was enhanced by increasing the medium grains size of backfills. Taking into account the deficiency of studies on the shear characteristics of soil, a series of large direct shear test have been carried out to investigate and to compare effects of the soil’s physical properties such as aggregate size and relative density, besides of normal stress, on the shear characteristics of the backfills.
Material and Test Program
In this study, three types of uniformly graded soils as fill materials with the medium grain size (D50) of 3, 6 and 12 mm were considered. These soils are classified as SP and GP in the Unified Soil Classification System. It should be mentioned that these materials can be used in railroad as ballast and in retaining walls as fill materials. The current study aims to investigate strength characteristics of the backfills, influenced by different parameters such as relative density of the fill materials, normal stress on the shear plane and aggregate size of the fill materials. To cover all the matters, 18 large-scale direct shear tests have been scheduled. These tests encompass two relative densities of fill materials (50% and 70% which represent medium dense and dense backfill, respectively), three aggregate sizes of fill materials (3, 6 and 12 mm- selected based on the scaling criteria on size of shear box) and three normal stresses (100, 200 and 300 kPa- these values cover rather low to high vertical stress in a soil element of common geotechnical projects) have been examined. It should be mentioned that, prior to shearing, the normal stress was applied to the specimens for a period of 1 h, in order to stabilize the soil particles from any possible creep. As all materials used in this research are of coarse-grained type and the experiments were performed under dry conditions, the displacement rate of 0.5 mm/min was selected. During the tests, the applied normal stress, displacement of the lower box, shear force mobilized at the interface and vertical displacements of the cap were continuously recorded.
Results and discussion
The curves of shear stress as a function of shear displacement and also shear displacement-vertical displacement for samples show that shear stress dropped down to a specific amount of residual shear strength after reaching maximum amount of shear stress . It was observed that increasing the particle size and relative density of the fill materials mostly fortify interlocking of the grains which in turn, resulted in increasing the tendency to expansion through the shear plane. On the other hand, the initial compression has decreased and dilation was started from a smaller shear displacement. This may be interpreted that as the soil particles size increases, more expansion is required to reach the maximum shear strength. Moreover, comparing the observed behavior, it is found out that unlike the effect of grain size and density, increasing the normal stress caused the materials to be more compressed, resulted in reducing expansion and increasing the initial compression of the soil mass. This conceivably means that increasing normal stress, transferred on shear plane, can change the failure mechanism of materials, from dilatancy failure to bulging failure under shearing. From the results, it was found out that increasing medium grains size of soil from 3 mm to 12 mm ended to improvement in the maximum friction angle at relative density 50 and 70% by the value up to 4.4 and 5.8 degree, respectively. In fact, due to increasing grain size, the grains interlocking have been fortified. In order to have a comparison, the maximum dilation angles of all fill materials, mobilized at the shear plane, have been derived. Accordingly, the maximum dilation angle was increased with the increment of the fill grains size and relative density of the material. Nevertheless, by considering variation of peak dilation angle with normal stress, it is found out that the normal stress had a negative influence on the advancement of interface’s dilation angle. These findings can be directly interpreted by considering the compression/expansion of the materials during the increment of shear displacements.
The current study, consists of 18 large-scale direct shear tests, aims to investigate shear characteristics of soil which influenced by different parameters such as relative density of the fill materials, normal stress at the shear plane and aggregate size of the fill materials. Eventually, the following conclusions are presented:
  • Increasing relative density, soil particle size and normal stress have beneficial effect in shear strength improvement. But, the mechanisms of each parameter in this enhancement is different.
  • The dilation rate of shear interfaces directly complies with changes in the ratio of applied shear stress to vertical stress. So, the maximum dilation angle and the maximum ratio  mobilized at the shear plane have occurred around the same shear displacement.
  • Maximum values of friction and dilation angels have been occurred around the same shear displacement. Moreover, compaction effort leads to increase the required shear displacements to approach the maximum shear characteristics.

Mahmoud Behnia, Javad Tavakoli, Masoud Cheraghi Seifabad,
Volume 12, Issue 2 (Vol. 12, No. 2, Summer 2018 2018)

The rock block volumes are formed due to the intersection of discontinuities in the jointed rock mass. The block dimensions affected by joint spacing, joint orientation, joint sets, are taken to be the most important parameters determining the rock mass behavior, strength parameters, and deformations. In the numerical modeling using distinct element method, the creation of the discontinuities can affect the final results very much. Using 3DEC software, it is possible to create joint sets in four conditions: regular and persistent, regular and non-persistent, non-regular and persistent, irregular and non-persistent. As an important point to consider, the major effect of block dimensions on rock mass behavior, strength parameters and deformation modulus can help to decide which one is most suitable to indicate the real conditions of rock mass. As explained in the previous studies, the use of persistent joints leads to the block dimensions being considered as small ones. In this way, due to the high strength of intact rock compared to the joints, the possibility of instability increases.
Material and methods
In this research, from quantitative point of view, Geological Strength Index (GSI) is calculated, based on block dimensions as an influential parameter, to consider the most appropriate case for creating joints in the numerical method. In this regard, according to valuable studies in Bakhtiari dam structure, the characteristics of discontinuities system and GSI of rock mass are utilized to come up with real conditions. Then, the modeling is done with different conditions of joints, block volume distribution, GSI for each case, and the results are compared with quantitative ones. And then the most suitable case for creation of joints in numerical modeling is suggested by using 3 DEC software, regarding the blocks volumes, type of distribution function, and GSI value. Also, the accuracy of this finding is investigated for other structures, independently of input parameters, by making changes in spacing, and joints persistence as two effective parameters in rock blocks dimensions. Owing to the difficulty in the accurate definition of joints persistence, which is related to dimensions of the location, the numerical models for joint persistence are done in an acceptable level in order to create blocks with high conformity in terms of the dimensions. Then, the comparison is made between block dimensions from perspectives of numerical models and GSI values, to choose the best ones showing high conformity with real conditions.
Results and discussion
The comparison of the modeling results using creation of joints in different cases with quantitative results obtained according to geological strength shows that the created block volumes are not properly distributed due to the creation of joints as irregular ones in the two cases of persistent and non-persistent. In this case, the blocks volume changes from a few centimeter to cubic meter, and as the block dimensions increase, the created blocks become bigger. Thus, according to the created blocks volume and the obtained GSI range, the creation of joints is not a suitable method as an irregular one. The creation of regular and persistent joints is not an appropriate method either, as the most created blocks are small, and blocks volume distributions do not comply with quantitative distribution. But with creation of joints as regular and persistent ones, the distribution function of blocks volume in numerical method and quantitative method is log normal. Therefore, according to the created blocks dimensions and GSI range using 3DEC software, the most suitable case is the creation of joints as regular and non-persistent ones. 
According to the obtained results in the four cases, when the joints are considered only as regular and non-persistent ones, the blocks volume range is more compatible with real conditions and follows log normal distribution. Thus it can be concluded that the suggested method for creation of joints in the numerical modeling using 3DEC software is more suitable than others considering the rock blocks dimensions and their distributions. This method can be utilized in any structure to accurately define the persistence of joints regarding created blocks dimension.
Seyed Taha Tabatabaei Aghda, Ali Ghanbari, Gholamhosein Tavakoli Mehrjardi,
Volume 13, Issue 2 (Vol. 13, No. 2 2019)

In some ports, the dredging and accumulation of a large amount of sedimentary material turned to a serious challenge, because of their sequent environmental and economic effects. These problems clarify the necessity of reusing dredged materials. Often, owing to their poor mechanical properties, they are not applied directly in technically engineering uses, so they require to be improved. Geocell application is one of the methods used for the improvement of soil behavior, which confines the sand mass through itself in the three-dimensional structure. These methods ease the speed of applying emerged it into a perfect option for stabilizing of the granular soil.
 In Shahid Rajaee port, by the dredging process for developing new phases, a large amount of calcareous sand is being accumulated near the Persian Gulf coastline. Therefore, in order to provide a solution to reuse these materials, this study attempts to investigate the beneficial influence of reinforcing sand by geocell on its load-beneficial behavior experimented by the plat loading test. For this purpose, a large scale model including circular foundation on reinforced and unreinforced sand has been employed under cyclic loading process.
Material and Methods
Two types of soils were used in this study. The first type was the sand derived from the dredging process of Shahid Rajaee port which has been used in different layers of the models. The second type of soil was well-graded gravel which has been used only in the cover layer.
The geocell in this study were made of heat-bonded non-woven polypropylene geotextiles. Single cells were 110 mm long, 100 mm wide and 100 mm height.
Plate load test
In order to determine the bearing capacity of backfills, repeating plate load test was used with 150 mm diameter. Loading process included four stress levels (250, 500, 750 and 1000 kPa) consisting of 10 cycles each.
Test backfills
Four backfills was made by manually compacting the dredged sand, with tamper up to 350 mm in reinforced cases and 450 mm in unreinforced cases. Then geocells placed and dredged sand filled with accuracy in cells. Finally, a 50 mm thick sand or gravel cover layer, was placed. All lifts were compacted to 70% of relative density with 4% moisture content.
Results and Discussion
PLT results are summarized in Table 1. According to the results, only geocell reinforcement backfills can carry standard truck wheel load (550 kPa). Geocell can increase the ultimate strength of backfills with a sand cover layer by 70% (from 416 kPa to 725 kPa) while in backfill with a gravel cover layer showed 80% increase (from 520 kPa to 960 kPa) in ultimate strength. The gravel cover layer in unreinforced backfills increases the ultimate strength by 25 percent (from 416 kPa to 520 kPa).
Table 1. Results of PLT and performance ratings
Backfill name UR-S GR-S UR-W GR-W
Maximum stress (kPa) 416 725 520 960
Settlement at failure (mm) 4.6 9.0 15.5 14.9
Plastic settlement (mm) 3.5 7.0 12.5 12.0
Number of load cycles 10 20 20 30
Bearing capacity ratio (BCR) 1 1.74 1.25 2.32
Performance rating 4 2 3 1
Base on Table 1, bearing capacity ratio (BCR) has been increased up to 2.3 and has best when geocell reinforcement and gravel cover layer were used together. Geocell utilization as reinforcement for sand backfills, improves the stress-settlement behavior. Dredged sand can be used as backfill material for yards and access roads when reinforced with geocell and covered with a layer of well-graded gravel../files/site1/files/132/3Extended_Abstracts.pdf
Ehsan Amjadi Sardehaei, Gholamhosein Tavakoli Mehrjardi,
Volume 13, Issue 5 (English article specials 2020)

This paper presents a feed-forward back-propagation neural network model to predict the retained tensile strength and design chart to estimate the strength reduction factors of nonwoven geotextiles due to the installation process. A database of 34 full-scale field tests was utilized to train, validate and test the developed neural network and regression model. The results show that the predicted retained tensile strength using the trained neural network is in good agreement with the results of the test. The predictions obtained from the neural network are much better than the regression model as the maximum percentage of error for training data is less than 0.87% and 18.92%, for neural network and regression model, respectively. Based on the developed neural network, a design chart has been established. As a whole, installation damage reduction factors of the geotextile increases in the aftermath of the compaction process under lower as-received grab tensile strength, higher imposed stress over the geotextiles, larger particle size of the backfill, higher relative density of the backfill and weaker subgrades.


Mr. Seyed Ali Ghaffari, Prof. Amir Hamidi, Dr. Gholamhossein Tavakoli Mehrjardi,
Volume 14, Issue 5 ( English articles 2021)

This paper investigates response of triangular shell strip footings situated on the sandy slope. A series of reduced-scale plate load tests were conducted to cover different parameters including three shell footing types with different apex angles in addition to a flat footing, four different distances for strip footings from the crest of the slope namely “edge distance” and reinforcement status (unreinforced and geotextile-reinforced statuses). Bearing capacity of shell footings adjacent to crest of the slope, bearing capacity ratio, shell efficiency factor, influence of apex angle on settlement of footings and the mechanism of slope failure are discussed and evaluated. Also, empirical equations for determination of the maximum bearing capacity of triangular shell strip footings are suggested. As a whole, it has been observed that decrease of shell’s apex angle as good as increase of edge distance could significantly improve the bearing capacity. However, as the edge distance increases, the effect of apex angle on the bearing capacity got decreased. Also, it was found out that the beneficial effect of reinforcement on the bearing capacity decreased with increase of the edge distance. Furthermore, the efficiency of shell footings on bearing capacity was attenuated in reinforced slopes compared to the unreinforced status.

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