Fracture Behaviour including Size Effect of Cement Stabilised Rammed Earth
Hanamasagar, Mahantesh M
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Rammed earth is a monolithic construction formed by compacting processed soil in progressive layers. Rammed earth is used for the construction of load bearing walls, floors, sub base material in roadways, airport runways, taxiways, aprons, foundations and earthen bunds. Soil, sand, cement and water are the ingredients used for the preparation of cement stabilized rammed earth (CSRE) specimens. The cracking in a rammed earth structure is due to the development of tensile stresses. The tensile stresses are generated due to various causes like unequal settlement of foundation, eccentric loading and / or lateral loading such as wind pressure and earthquake on an earth structure. The cracking in a rammed earth structure causes the failure of its intended function. For example formation of crack may lead to the instability of an embankment slope. And earthen dam can be destroyed gradually by erosion of soil at the crack surface (Harison et al. 1994). Hence, it becomes important to understand the fracture behaviour of cement-stabilized rammed earth structures. Well focused studies in understanding the fracture behaviour of CSRE structures are scanty. The present work attempts to address some issues on the fracture behaviour of CSRE including size effect. Through an experimental programme material properties viz. compressive strength, tensile strength and stress-strain relationships are generated for two chosen densities, 17 and 18.5 kN/m3 of CSRE both in dry and saturated condition. Soil composition, density, cement content and moisture content of the specimen during testing influence the characteristics of CSRE. In the present investigation keeping the cement at 10%, the density is varied choosing a soil-sand mixture having optimum grading limits. The basic raw materials used are soil, sand, cement and water in the ratio of 1 : 1.5 : 0.25 : 0.34 by weight. The strength properties studied alone are inadequate to predict the mechanics of fracture due to the presence of microscopic flaws, cracks, voids and other discontinuities. Therefore, some linear elastic fracture parameters such as mode I fracture toughness (KIc), critical energy release rate (GIc), net section strength (f net) and notch sensitivity are calculated, presuming that CSRE is still a brittle material because it is yet to be confirmed that CSRE is a quasibrittle material. In fact, in the present work, it is shown that CSRE has significant amount of softening. A comprehensive experimental work has been undertaken to test CSRE beam specimens for two densities, three sizes of beam and three notch to depth ratios under three point bending (TPB) in a closed loop servo-controlled machine with crack mouth opening displacement control. Results indicate that the CSRE in dry condition exhibits a greater resistance to fracture than the saturated specimen. The variation of net section strength with the notch depth is not significant. Therefore the CSRE material is notch insensitive, implying that it is less brittle. An experimental program was undertaken to determine the nonlinear fracture parameters of beam specimens both in dry and saturated condition. The influence of moisture content, density, size of the specimen as well as notch to depth ratio of the specimen on RILEM fracture energy (G F ) are presented. The GF values increase with increase in density and size of the specimen, while they decrease with increase in notch to depth ratio. Results clearly show that the total energy absorbed by the beams (W OF ) and RILEM fracture energy (G F ) for all specimens tested in dry state are higher compared to the specimens tested in saturated state, indicating that the dry specimen offers higher resistance to the crack propagation. The RILEM fracture energy GF , determined from TPB tests, is said to be size dependent. The assumption made in the work of fracture is that the total strain energy is utilized for the fracture of the specimen. The fracture energy is proportional to the size of the fracture process zone (FPZ), which also implies that size of FPZ increases with increase in the un-cracked ligament (d - a) of beam. This also means that FPZ is proportional to the depth d for a given notch to depth ratio, because for a given notch/depth, (d - a) which is also is proportional to d because is a constant. This corroborates the fact that fracture energy increases with size. Interestingly, the same conclusion has been drawn by Karihaloo et al. (2006). They have plotted a curve relating fracture process zone length and overall depth the beam. In the present study a new method namely Fracture energy release rate method proposed by Muralidhara et al. (2013) is used. In the new method the plot of GF /(d - a) versus (d - a) is obtained from a set of experimental results. The plot is found to follow power law and showed almost constant value of GF /(d - a) at larger ligament lengths. This means the fracture energy reaches a constant value at large ligament lengths reaffirming that the fracture energy from very large specimen is size-independent. This Fracture energy release rate method is used to determine size-independent fracture energy GRf , based on the relationship between RILEM fracture energy and the un-cracked ligament length. The experimental results from the present work agree well with the proposed new method. Similarly, the method is extended to determine nominal shear strength τv for large size beam. Results show that for both densities GRf decrease in saturated condition, while in dry condition as the density is increased from 17 to 18.5 kN/m3 the GRf decrease by 7.58%, indicating that the brittleness increases with higher density. The τv for large size beam increases with density both in dry and saturated condition. The size effect method for evaluating material fracture properties proposed by Bazant (1984) is applied to cement stabilised rammed earth. By measuring the peak loads of 2D geometrically similar notched beam specimens of different sizes, nonlinear fracture parameters such as fracture energy (Gf ), fracture toughness (KIc), effective length of the fracture process zone (Cf ), brittleness number (β), characteristic length (l 0) and the critical crack tip opening displacement (CT ODc) are determined for both dry and saturated conditions. The crack growth resistance curves (R-curve) are also developed for dry and saturated specimens. In the size effect method, for both densities 18.5 and 17 kN/m3 the values of nonlinear fracture properties, namely G f , Cf , KIc, CT ODc and l 0 are lower for the saturated specimen compared to those of the dry specimen. In dry condition as the density is increased from 17 to 18.5 kN/m3 the Gf decreases to 13.54%, indicating that the brittleness increase with higher density. The areas under the load-displacement and load-CMOD curves are a measure of the fracture energy and these areas are low for saturated specimens. The crack growth resistance curves (R-curve) plotted using the size-effect law from peak loads are the measure of resistance against crack growth R. The value of R is high for dry specimen compared to that of the saturated specimens. During aggregate pullout or the opening of crack, the interlock or friction between the crack surfaces may cause the energy dissipation through friction and bridging across the crack. Therefore the wet friction in case of saturated specimen must be smaller resulting in more brittleness compared to the larger dry friction for dry specimen. In the present investigation the Digital Image Correlation (DIC) technique is used to study the FPZ properties in cement stabilised rammed earth. The MATLAB package written by Eberl et al. (2006) is suitably modified and used for image correlation to suit our requirements. CMOD measured using DIC technique is validated by comparison with the CMOD measured using clip gauge. The FPZ properties such as the development of FPZ and crack opening displacements at different loading points as well as the influence of notch/depth ratio on FPZ length (lFPZ ) are evaluated for both dry and saturated conditions. At peak load the lFPZ are about 0.315 and 0.137 times the un-cracked ligament length respectively for specimens tested under dry and saturated conditions. In dry and saturated states the FPZ length decreases as the ratio increases. Lower values of lFPZ in saturated specimen indicates that it is relatively more brittle compared to dry specimen.
- Civil Engineering (CiE) 
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