The undrained strength - liquidity index relationship

P. J. Vardanega, S. K. Haigh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)
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A database of 641 fall cone tests on 101 soil samples from 12 countries has been analysed to determine the best mathematical relationship linking undrained shear strength with liquidity index. From the database, it is shown that the use of a linear relationship linking liquidity index and the logarithm of undrained shear strength that uses the commonly assumed 100-fold factor increase in strength from the liquid to plastic limit overpredicts the measured data of soil strength. The use of a factor of about 35 for the ratio between the strength at liquid limit and that extrapolated to the plastic limit is shown to be more realistic. Logarithmic liquidity index is examined and found to also correlate strongly with the logarithm of undrained shear strength; however, it is shown that no great statistical improvement is present compared with the semi-logarithmic formulation. When considering data of individual soils a power law fitting is statistically shown to be the preferred mathematical function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1086
Number of pages14
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number9
Early online date14 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • fall cone tests
  • clay strength
  • soil classification
  • Atterberg limits
  • Statistical analysis
  • liquidity index
  • logarithmic liquidity index


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