Shear band formation observed in ring shear tests on sandy soils

Abouzar Sadrekarimi, Scott M. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Shear band formation is an important factor in understanding failures in soil. In this paper, shear localization and shear band formation and evolution are examined using ring shear tests performed on three sands prepared by air pluviation. A transparent outer confining ring was used to visualize formation and evolution of the entire shear band. By comparing the ring shear stress paths with visual observations made during shearing, the writers show that the specimen shears uniformly over its entire height prior to shear localization. Bifurcation under constant volume and drained conditions occurs as the soil fully mobilizes its effective friction angle, and subsequent shear displacements occur only within the shear band. Consistent with previous studies, the final thickness of the observed shear band ranged from 10 to 14 times the median particle diameter. Substantial particle damage occurred within the shear band after large displacements, particularly for dilative specimens, causing additional strain-softening in contractive specimens and a second phase transformation and considerable strain-softening in dilative specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number006002QGT
Pages (from-to)366-375
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Constant volume
  • Large shear displacement
  • Particle crushing
  • Ring shear tests
  • Sand
  • Shear banding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Environmental Science(all)


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