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On the time-dependent behaviour of glacial sediments: a geotechnical approach

Altuhafi, FN; Baudet, BA; Sammonds, P; (2009) On the time-dependent behaviour of glacial sediments: a geotechnical approach. QUATERNARY SCI REV , 28 (7-8) 693 - 707. 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.07.016.

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Soft sediments can deform under both changes in stress and changes in strain rate, as well as during sustained loading (e.g. creep). In glacial conditions, soft subglacial sediments can contribute to glacier movements, and when the ice/sediment system is coupled, the rate-sensitivity of the sub-layer can affect the velocity of the glacier. These issues have been the object of studies by several geologists. In parallel, the effects of time and strain rate on the behaviour of soils have been studied for many years by geotechnical engineers, to estimate the long-term performance of ground structures. This paper applies the knowledge acquired in soil mechanics to a geological problem: results on two glacial sediments of different origins, obtained from advanced geotechnical laboratory tests, are presented and analysed in the light of recent advances in soil mechanics. Independently of time effects, the test data show that: the pre-failure behaviour is not elastic but that the sediments develop plastic strains before reaching their peak strength, with the stiffness gradually degrading. Results from tests performed with variable strain rates suggest that the time-dependent (viscous) behaviour of the sediments may be governed by their mineralogy, in particular the presence of plastic fines. The viscous behaviour observed in the plastic tills seems to affect the pre-failure behaviour only, for example the yield surface, stiffness, strength, but the criteria of failure, e.g. critical or residual angle of failure are found to be constant and independent of strain rate. The test data also suggest that the viscous behaviour may be related to stress level, being more prevalent at low stresses. These results, obtained under laboratory-control led conditions, over a large range of strains, pre- and post-peak strength, are a necessary step towards developing constitutive models for subglacial sediments rigorously. It is only after this has been achieved that such models should be implemented in finite element code to analyse ice/sediment systems, with the aim to understand glacier movements better. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: On the time-dependent behaviour of glacial sediments: a geotechnical approach
DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2008.07.016
UCL classification: UCL > Office of the President and Provost
UCL > School of BEAMS
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/105673
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