Acoustic emission and yield in sand

  • A.L. Jackson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


An experimental investigation into the Acoustic Emission (AE) response of sand has been undertaken, and the use of AE as a method of yield point identification has been assessed.
Dense, saturated samples of sand were tested in conventional triaxial apparatus. The measurements of stresses and strains were carried out according to current research practice. The AE monitoring system was integrated with the soil mechanics equipment in such a way that sample disturbance was minimised.
During monotonically loaded, constant cell pressure tests the total number of events recorded was found to increase at an increasing rate in a manner which may be approximated by a power law. The AE response of the sand was found to be both stress level and stress path dependent. Undrained constant cell pressure tests showed that, unlike drained tests, the AE event rate increased at an increasing rate; this was shown to correlate with the mean effective stress variation. The stress path dependence was most noticeable in extension tests, where the number of events recorded was an order of magnitude less than that recorded in comparable compression tests. This stress path dependence was
shown to be due to the differences in the work done by the external stresses.
In constant cell pressure tests containing unload/reload cycles it was found that yield could be identified from a discontinuity in the event rate/time curve which occurred during reloading. Further tests involving complex stress paths showed that AE was a useful method of yield point identification. Some tests involving
large stress reversals were carried out, and AE identified the inverse yield points more distinctly than conventional methods of yield point identification.
Date of AwardJul 1986
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorC. Thornton (Supervisor)


  • accoustic emission
  • sand
  • triaxial tests
  • stress levewl dependency
  • yield point identification

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