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Determination of the shearing behaviour of root-permeated soils with a large-scale direct shear apparatus

Yildiz, A., Graf, F., Rickli, C., Springman, S.M.
Catena 2018 v.166 pp. 98-113
landslides, roots, shear strength, soil, vegetation
Soils with roots or root-like inclusions have often been tested in direct shear to quantify the effects of vegetation on the shear strength of soil, and in turn, the stability of slopes. However, a straightforward evaluation of root reinforcement is challenging due to the complex nature of roots, and the dependency of soil behaviour on many factors. An Inclinable Large-scale Direct Shear Apparatus (ILDSA) was built to study the shearing behaviour of root-permeated soils. Planted specimens, consisting of two different sets of species, were prepared with a moraine, sampled from a recent landslide location, and tested in direct shear subsequent to saturation. Relationships of peak stress ratio with dry weight of roots, maximum dilatancy angle and void ratio were investigated to evaluate the behaviour of root-permeated soil. The combined approach, of taking both presence of roots and dilatant behaviour of soil into consideration, results in a more realistic understanding and quantification of the effects of root reinforcement, at least, for laboratory testing of root-permeated soils.