Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Feasibility of in-situ evaluation of soil void ratio in clean sands using high resolution measurements of Vp and Vs from DPCH testing

1 QuakeCoRE, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
2 Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

Special Issues: Characterization and Engineering Properties of Natural Soils used for geotesting

For engineering purposes, the density of soil is often expressed in terms of void ratio. Void ratio is a key parameter in critical state soil mechanics and governs our understanding of soil compressibility, permeability, and shear strength. Typically, in-situ void ratio is evaluated based on laboratory measurements on high-quality, "undisturbed" samples of soil. While undisturbed sampling of clayey soils is commonplace in geotechnical practice, high-quality samples of granular soils are difficult and expensive to obtain. Hence, void ratio of granular soils is typically estimated using empirical relationships to in-situ measurements from penetration testing. Even for clean sands there is significant variability in these estimates, and for mixed-grain soils the applicability and performance of the empirical relationships is quite uncertain. Therefore, a more reliable way of measuring in-situ void ratio is needed. This paper examines the feasibility of evaluating in-situ soil void ratio based on the theory of linear poroelasticity and the propagation velocity of compression and shear waves (i.e., vp and vs, respectively) through fluid-saturated porous materials. Specifically, soil void ratio is evaluated via a porosity relationship that is a function of vp, vs, and four additional parameters describing the physical properties of the soil (i.e., the Poisson's ratio of the soil skeleton, the bulk modulus and mass density of water, and the mass density of the solid soil particles). In this study, the effectiveness of using high-resolution vp and vs measurements from direct-push crosshole testing to estimate in-situ void ratios is investigated at ten, predominantly clean-sand case history sites in Christchurch, New Zealand, via a comparison with void ratio estimates developed from penetration testing measurements. The seismic-based void ratio estimates are shown to be particularly sensitive to vp, requiring a measurement error of less than 2%. Given the need to make such precise in-situ measurements of vp, the DPCH method is believed to show particular promise for enabling accurate, seismic-based estimates of void ratio in the future.
  Article Metrics


1. International Organization for Standardization (2005) ISO 22476-3:2005 Geotechnical investigation and testing-Field testing-Part 3: Standard penetration test. ISO, Geneva, Switzerland.

2. International Organization for Standardization (2012) ISO 22476-1:2012 Geotechnical investigation and testing-Field testing-Part 1: Electrical cone and piezocone penetration test. ISO, Geneva, Switzerland.

3. Kulhawy FH, Mayne PW (1990) Estimating Soil Properties for Foundation Design. EPRI Report EL-6800, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, 306.

4. Robertson PK, Cabal KL (2015) Guide to cone penetration testing 6th Edition.

5. Baldi G, Bellotti R, Ghionna V, et al. (1986) Interpretation of CPTs and CPTUs, Part Ⅱ: Drained Penetration in Sands, Proc. of 4th International Geotechnical Seminar on Field Instrumentation and In Situ Measurements, Singapore.

6. Salgado R, Mitchell JK, Jamiolkowski M (1997) Cavity expansion and penetration resistance in sand. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 123: 344-354.    

7. Jamiolkowski M, LoPresti DCF, Manassero M (2001) Evaluation of relative density and shear strength of sands from cone penetration test and flat dilatometer test. Soil Behavior and Soft Ground Construction (GSP 119), ASCE, Reston, VA, 201-238.

8. Salgado R, Prezzi M (2007) Computation of cavity expansion pressure and penetration resistance in sands. Int J Geomech 7: 251-265.    

9. ASTM International (2014) ASTM D4428/D4428M-14 Standard Test Methods for Crosshole Seismic Testing. Ann Book ASTM Stand 4.

10. Wyllie MRJ, Gregory AR, Gardner LW (1956) Elastic wave velocity in heterogeneous and porous media. Geophysics 21: 41-70.    

11. Raymer LL, Hunt ER, Gardner JS (1980) An improved sonic transit time-to-porosity transform. presented in Trans. Soc. Prof. Well Log Analysts, 21st Annual Logging Symposium.

12. Domenico SN (1984) Rock lithology and porosity determination from shear and compressional wave velocity. Geophysics 49: 1188-1195.    

13. Castagna JP, Batzle ML, Eastwood RL (1985) Relationship between compressional-wave and shear-wave velocities in clastic silicate rocks. Geophysics 50: 571-581.    

14. Han DH, Nur A, Morgan D (1986) Effects of porosity and clay content on wave velocity in sandstones. Geophysics 51: 2093-2107.    

15. Ederhart-Phillips D, Han DH, Zoback MD (1989) Empirical relationships among seismic velocities, effective pressure, porosity, and clay content in sandstones. Geophysics 54: 82-89.    

16. Biot MA (1956a) Theory of propagation of elastic waves in a fluid saturated porous solid. I: Low-frequency range. J Acoust Soc Am 28: 168-178.

17. Biot MA (1956b) Theory of propagation of elastic waves in a fluid saturated porous solid. Ⅱ: Higher frequency range. J Acoust Soc Am 28: 179-191.

18. Krief M, Garat J, Stellingwerff J, et al. (1990) A petrophysical interpretation using the velocities of P and S waves. Log Anal 31: 355-369.

19. Miura K, Yoshida N, Kim Y (2001) Frequency dependent property of waves in saturated soil. Soils Found 41: 1-19.

20. Foti S, Lai C, Lancellotta R (2002) Porosity of fluid-saturated porous media from measured seismic wave velocities. Géotechnique 52: 359-373.    

21. Foti S, Lancellotta R (2004) Soil porosity from seismic velocities. Géotechnique 54: 551-554.    

22. Lai CG, Crempien de la Carrera JGF (2012) Stable inversion of measured vp and vs to estimate porosity in fluid-saturated soils. Géotechnique 62: 359-364.    

23. Foti S, Passeri F (2016) Reliability of soil porosity estimation from seismic wave velocities. In Isc5-International Conference on Geotechnical and Geophysical Soil Characterisation, Gold Coast, Australia 1: 425-430.

24. Jamiolkowski M (2012) Role of Geophysical Testing in Geotechnical Site Characterization. Soils Rocks 35: 117-137.

25. Cox BR, Stolte AC, Stokoe KH Ⅱ, et al. (2019) A Direct Push Crosshole (DPCH) Test Method for the In-Situ Evaluation of High-Resolution P- and S-wave Velocities. ASTM Geotech Test J 42: 1101-1132.

26. Van Ballegooy S, Roberts JN, Stokoe KH Ⅱ, et al. (2015) Large-Scale Testing of Shallow Ground Improvements using Controlled Staged-Loading with T-Rex, 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand.

27. Wentz FJ, van Ballegooy S, Rollins KM, et al. (2015) Large Scale Testing of Shallow Ground Improvements using Blast-Induced Liquefaction, 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand.

28. Stokoe KH Ⅱ, Roberts JN, Hwang S, et al. (2014) Effectiveness of Inhibiting Liquefaction Triggering by Shallow Ground Improvement Methods: Initial Field Shaking Trials with T-Rex at One Site in Christchurch, New Zealand, In Orense RP, Towhata I, Chouw N (Eds.), Soil Liquefaction during Recent Large-Scale Earthquakes, CRC Press.

29. Wotherspoon LM, Cox BR, Stokoe KH Ⅱ, et al. (2015) Utilizing Direct-Push Crosshole Testing to Assess the Effectiveness of Soil Stiffening Caused by Installation of Stone Columns and Rammed Aggregate Piers, 6th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Christchurch, New Zealand

30. Stokoe KH Ⅱ, Roberts JN, Hwang S, et al. (2016) Effectiveness of Effectiveness of Inhibiting Liquefaction Triggering by Shallow Ground Improvement Methods: Field Shaking Trials with T-Rex at One Area in Christchurch, New Zealand, 24th Geotechnical Conference of Torino, Design; Construction & Controls of Soil Improvement Systems, Turin, Italy, 1-20.

31. Wotherspoon LM, Cox BR, Stokoe KH Ⅱ, et al. (2017) Assessment of the Degree of Soil Stiffening from Stone Column Installation using Direct Push Crosshole Testing, 16th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Santiago, Chile.

32. Hwang S, Roberts JN, Stokoe KH Ⅱ, et al. (2017) Utilizing Direct-Push Crosshole Seismic Testing to Verify the Effectiveness of Shallow Ground Improvements: A Case Study Involving Low-Mobility Grout Columns in Christchurch, New Zealand. Grouting 2017, 415-424.

33. McLaughlin KA (2017) Investigation of false-positive liquefaction case history sites in Christchurch, New Zealand. M.S. Thesis. The University of Texas at Austin.

34. Cox BR, McLaughlin KA, van Ballegooy S, et al. (2017) In-Situ Investigation of False-Positive Liquefaction Sites in Christchurch, New Zealand: St. Teresa's School Case History. 3rd International Conference on Performance-based Design in Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering, Vancouver, Canada.

35. Tamura S, Tokimatsu K, Abe A, et al. (2002) Effects of the air bubbles on B value and P wave velocity of a partially saturated sand. Soils Found 42: 121-129.    

36. Valle-Molina C (2006) Measurements of vp and vs in Dry, Unsaturated and Saturated Sand Specimens with Peizoelectric Transducers. Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Texas at Austin

37. Valle-Molina C, Stokoe KH Ⅱ (2012) Seismic measurements in sand specimens with varying degrees of saturation using piezoelectric transducers. Can Geotech J 49: 671-685.    

38. Bates CR (1989) Dynamic soil property measurements during triaxial testing. Géotechnique 39: 721-726.    

39. Nakagawa K, Soga K, Mitchell JK (1997) Observation of Biot compressional wave of the second kind in granular soils. Géotechnique 47: 133-147.    

40. Kumar J, Madhusudhan BN (2010) Effect of relative density and confining pressure on Poisson ratio from bender and extender elements tests. Géotechnique 60: 561-567.    

41. Wichtmann T, Triantafyllidis T (2010) On the influence of the grain size distribution curve on P-wave velocity, constrained elastic modulus Mmax and Poisson's ratio of quartz sands. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 30: 757-766.    

42. Wagner W, Prusß A (2002) The IAPWS Formulation 1995 for the Thermodynamic Properties of Ordinary Water Substance for General and Scientific Use. J Phys Chem Ref Data 31: 387.    

43. Kusuda T, Achenbach PR (1965) Earth temperature and thermal diffusivity at selected stations in the United States. NBS Report 8972, National Bureau of Standards, Gaithersburg, MD, USA.

44. Kell GS (1975) Density, thermal expansivity, and compressibility of liquid water from 0. deg. to 150. deg.. Correlations and tables for atmospheric pressure and saturation reviewed and expressed on 1968 temperature scale. J Chem Eng Data 20: 97-105.

45. Lubbers J, Graaff R (1998) A simple and accurate formula for the sound velocity in water. Ultrasoun Med Biol 24: 1065-1068.    

46. Lambe TW, Whitman RV (1967) Soil Mechanics. John Wiley & Sons.

47. Hardin BO, Richart Jr FE (1963) Elastic Wave Velocities in Granular Soils. J Soil Mech Found Div ASCE 89: 33-65.

48. Hardin BO, Black WL (1968) Vibration Modulus of Normally Consolidated Clay. J Soil Mech Found Div ASCE 94: 353-369.

49. Hardin BO (1978) The nature of stress-strain behavior of soils. Proceedings, Geotech. Eng. Div. Specialty Conf. on Earthquake Eng. and Soil Dynamics 1, ASCE, Pasadena, 3-90.

50. Menq F (2003) Dynamic properties of sandy and gravelly soils. Ph.D. Dissertation. The University of Texas at Austin.

51. Beyzaei CZ (2017) Fine-Grained Soil Liquefaction Effects in Christchurch, New Zealand. PhD Thesis. The University of California, Berkeley.

52. Beyzaei CZ, Bray JD, Cubrinovski M, et al. (2018) Laboratory-Based Characterization of Shallow Silty Soils in Southwest Christchurch. Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 19: 93-109.

53. Taylor ML (2015) The Geotechnical Characterisation of Christchurch Sands for Advanced Soil Modelling. Ph.D. Thesis. The University of Canterbury.

54. Bray JD, Cubrinovski M, Zupan J, et al. (2014) Liquefaction Effects on Buildings in the Central Business District of Christchurch. Earthq Spectra 30: 85-109.    

© 2019 the Author(s), licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Article outline

Show full outline
Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved