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A procedure for the assessment of the undrained shear strength profile of soft clays


In the geotechnical research community, there is widespread agreement that the choice of the
characteristic undrained shear strength (cuA) is very important and plays an essential role in the
design and stability analysis of various geotechnical constructions placed in or on soft clay
deposits. Thus, the choice of undrained shear strength, both conservative and non-conservative,
could have major economic (and social) consequences in many projects. This paper summarizes
the work carried out by engineers and scientists representing various institutions in Norway to
provide a sound engineering method to determine characteristic shear strength of soft clays. This
paper presents a recommendation on how to determine a characteristic cuA profile based on
laboratory and in situ testing methods and discuss the impact of stress history, strain rates,
Atterberg’s limits, and sample disturbance on the undrained shear strength of soft clays measured
at a single borehole location. The discussion is supported by the results obtained from laboratory
and field-testing. This paper highlights the key issues related to the extrapolation of undrained
shear strength of soft clay from a given borehole location to a large soil volume.
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Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Vikas Kumar Singh Thakur
  • Odd Arne Fauskerud
  • Vidar Gjelsvik
  • Stein Olav Christensen
  • Frode Oset
  • Steinar Nordal
  • Margareta Viklund
  • Stein-Are Strand


  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Multiconsult AS
  • Norwegian Geotechnical Institute
  • SINTEF Community / Infrastructure
  • Norwegian public roads administration
  • Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Directorate




Icelandic Geotechnical Society


Proceedings of the 17th Nordic Geotechnical Meeting




533 - 545

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