The undrained cyclic strength of undisturbed and reconstituted Christchurch sands
This paper presents insights from recent advanced laboratory testing of undisturbed and reconstituted specimens of Christchurch silty-sands. The purpose of the testing was to establish the cyclic strength of silty-sands from sites in the Central Business District (CBD), where liquefaction was observed in 4 September 2010, 22 February 2011, and 13 June 2011. Similar overall strengths were obtained from undisturbed and reconstituted tests prepared at similar densities, albeit with higher variability for the reconstituted specimens. Reconstituted specimens exhibited distinctly different response in terms of lower compressibility during initial loading cycles, and exhibited a more brittle response when large strains were mobilised, particularly for samples with high fines content. Given the lower variability in natural sample response and the possibility of age-related strength to be significant for sites not subjected to earthquakes, high quality undisturbed samples are recommended over the use of reconstituted specimens to establish the cyclic strength of natural sands.