Twodimensional stress paths

As discussed in Chapter 3, the state of stress in a soil sample can be shown graphically by a Mohr circle diagram. In a triaxial compressive test the axial strain of the test specimen increases up to failure and the various states of stress that the sample experiences from the start of the test until failure can obviously be represented by a series of Mohr circles. The same stress states can be represented in a much simpler form by expressing each successive stress state as a point. The line joining these successive points is known as a stress path.

Stress paths can be of many forms and we have already used some: the stress-strain relationships plotted in t—o space in Chapter 3 to show triaxial test results and the plots in e-logp space used in Fig. 9.9 to illustrate compression curves, etc. In his analysis of foundation settlement problems, Lambe (1964, 1967) used stress paths of maximum shear.

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