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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 49 No. 6, p. 1369-1374
    Received: Jan 25, 1985
    Accepted: May 14, 1985

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A Pneumatic Fracture Method for Measuring the Tensile Strength of Unsaturated Soils1

  1. V. A. Snyder and
  2. R. D. Miller2



A new technique for measuring tensile strength of unsaturated soils is discussed, wherein applied stress, pore-air pressure, and pore-water pressure can be simultaneously and independently controlled. The method essentially involves enclosing the test sample in an adhesive membrane which is impervious to air, and then decreasing the external applied stress relative to the pore-air pressure until the sample ruptures or literally explodes due to the pressure difference across the adhesive membrane. Applied stress is hydrostatic, eliminating the need for knowing sample dimensions and ensuring the absence of unwanted bending moments which are a common source of error in most direct tension procedures. The system is designed in such a way that sample equilibration and tensile strength measurements are carried out in the same apparatus, avoiding dangers associated with the transfer of very weak samples from one apparatus to another. The method is shown to produce comparable results to those obtained by a direct tension procedure.

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