Micaceous sands: Microscale mechanisms and macroscale response

Jong Sub Lee, Maria Guimaraes, J. Carlos Santamarina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


The presence of mica changes the mechanical behavior of sandy soils. In this study, micro- and macroscale tests are used to explore the unique packing characteristics that develop in mixtures made of round and platy particles, and the effects that mica exerts on small, medium, and large strain parameters. Mixtures are prepared with different mica contents and various mica-to-sand size ratios, Lmica/Dsand. Results provide a comprehensive characterization of mixtures made of spherical and platy particles. Mica plates change sand packing through pore filling, bridging, ordering, and mica-mica interaction; bridging prevails and leads to open fabrics when Lmica/Dsand ≥1. As the mica content increases in mixtures with Lmica/ Dsand≥1, the shear-wave velocity decreases and it becomes more sensitive to the state of stress; the constraint modulus decreases; and the peak and residual friction angles decrease. Remixing during disordered granular flow prevents mica alignment and diminishes the otherwise weakening effect of mica on large-strain strength.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1136-1143
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sept


  • Compression
  • Density
  • Fabrics
  • Localization
  • Residual soils
  • Sand
  • Shear modulus
  • Stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science


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