Long-Term Response of Sand Subjected to Repetitive Simple Shear Loading: Shakedown, Ratcheting, and Terminal Void Ratio

Wonjun Cha, Junghee Park, Carlos Santamarina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Low-amplitude repetitive drained loading may hinder the long-term performance of engineered and natural systems. This study examines the volumetric and shear response of a uniform quarzitic sand subjected to repetitive drained simple shear loading under constant vertical stress while tracking the evolution of the secant stiffness and the small-strain shear modulus. We explore the effects of initial density, initial shear stress and cyclic shear stress amplitude to identify criteria that can be used to anticipate asymptotic volumetric and shear states. We analyze experimental results in reference to the sand response under monotonic simple shear loading. All specimens evolved toward some asymptotic terminal void ratio eT when subjected to simple shear cycles. Contractive specimens exhibited unceasing shear strain accumulation and ratcheting when the normalized shear stress exceeded τ∗=(τo+Δτ)/τult>0.85; on the other hand, dense-dilative specimens exhibited ratcheting only when the normalized shear stress exceeded τ∗=(τo+Δτ)/τult>1.25. The small-strain Gmax and the secant Gpp shear moduli increased during repetitive shear cycles to reflect early fabric changes followed by abrasion/fretting among enduring contacts. Results obtained in this study allow us to propose simple guidelines to predict the asymptotic shear and volumetric response of uniform sands subjected to repetitive simple shear loading for first-order engineering analyses.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 16 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science


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