On equivalent granular void ratio and steady state behaviour of loose sand with fines
Void ratio has traditionally, been used as a state variable for predicting the liquefaction behaviour of soils under the Critical State Soil Mechanics framework. Recent publications show that void ratio may not be a good parameter for characterizing sand with fines. An alternative state variable referred to as equivalent granular void ratio has been proposed to resolve this problem. To calculate this alternative state variable, a bparameter is needed. This b-parameter represents the fraction of fines that actively participate in the force structure of the solid skeleton. However, predicting the “b” value is problematic. Most, if not all, of the b-values reported were determined by casespecific back-analysis, that is, the b-value was selected so that a single correlation between equivalent granular void ratio and the measured steady state strength (or cyclic resistance) could be achieved. This paper examines the factors affecting the “b” value based on published work on binary packing. This leads to a simple semi-empirical equation for predicting the value of “b” based on fines size and fines content. Published data appears to be in support of the proposed equation. A series of experiments were conducted on a specially designed sand-fines type in order to provide additional validation of the proposed equation and to reinforce the use of equivalent granular void ratio in a more generalized context.