Constant volume ring shear apparatus

Timothy D. Stark, Iván A. Contreras

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper describes a constant volume ring shear apparatus that allows the measurement of the undrained peak and residual shear strengths of cohesive soils. The undrained peak and residual strengths are applicable to seismic stability evaluations of slopes comprised of or founded on cohesive soil. The constant-volume ring shear apparatus is equipped with a mechanism to adjust the normal stress during shear and a new specimen container that allows undisturbed specimens to be trimmed directly into the container. The normal stress is adjusted during shear such that the height of the soil specimen remains constant. This results in a constant volume or undrained shear condition. The results of constant volume ring shear tests on normally consolidated Drammen clay are compared with the results of undrained direct simple shear tests. The comparison reveals that the undrained peak shear strength obtained using the constant volume ring shear and direct simple shear apparatuses are in agreement. However, the constant-volume ring shear apparatus allows the measurement of the undrained residual strength because it permits unlimited continuous shear displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-11
Number of pages9
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1996


  • Clay shales
  • Residual strength
  • Ring shear tests
  • Slope stability
  • Soft clays
  • Torsion shear tests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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