Clayton, C.R.I. and Bica, A.V.D
The design of diaphragm-type boundary total stress cells
Géotechnique, 43, (4), . (doi:10.1680/geot.1918.104.22.1683).
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The compliance of boundary total stress cells is normally the primary criterion governing their design. It is widely believed that they will not under-read the pressures applied to them by soil if the ratio of the diameter of the cell diaphragm to the displacement at its centre is not smaller than some threshold value (typically 2000). This Paper reports the results of experimental and finite element studies which show that this approach is unsound, and that boundary total stress cells are more properly designed by taking into account the relative stiffness of the diaphragm with respect to the soil. Care must be taken in the design of calibration experiments, and soil stiffness must be measured locally and at small strains. There is then good agreement between observed cell action factors and predictions made using finite element analyses. Charts are presented which may be used for the design of field and laboratory instrumentation.
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