Discussion on the direct shear test for Geotechnical Engineering

Direct Shear (Strength)


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  1. Introduction
  2. A paragraph on the importance of the direct shear test for Geotechnical Engineering

projects and applications. Show the reader you are knowledgeable on this particular

concept of Geotechnical Engineering.


Direct shear testing is a common, relatively simple method of testing the strength parameters of a soil. This test and these parameters are essential to understanding how soil types deform and become malleable in compression and shearing conditions. The direct shear test consists of packing the direct shear test mold with the soil specimen. The mold has two halves that can move across each other, creating a shear plane for the specimen. The soil is then subjected to a specific stress along the Z axis and left to completely consolidate. After consolidation the soil the mold is pushed, shearing the soil at a constant deformation rate. The force needed to deform the specimen at this constant rate is measured and graphed. Once this is done three or more times at different Z axis stresses, the results are graphed on a Mohr’s Coulomb chart. This plots the Z axis stress on the X axis and the shearing force on the Y axis. These tests for a straight line, the equation of which gives the strength parameters.


In this equation, Φ’ is known as the friction angle and c’ is known as the effective cohesion. These parameters are the same for every consolidation ratio of the same material because these parameters are independent of effective stress.


  1. Body (Organize in a reasonable manner)
  2. Please watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqwOOZ4eCT0&t=10s
  3. Please review Strength handout from reader
  4. Using the aforementioned links as well as any other research you may conduct,

please organize the body of this report to demonstrate your understanding of direct

shear and its significant elements. Be very detailed; especially when discussing strength



  1. Conclusion


  1. Cited references (list them; at least 3)


“CE 326 Mod 12.9a Direct Shear Test.” YouTube, lecture by William A. Kitch, 2015,


Valdes, J. 2020. CIVE 462 Geotechnical Engineering READER, San Diego: CalCopy



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