The monotonic shear response of natural low-plastic Fraser River silt was investigated using constant volume direct simple shear tests, employing specimens prepared from undisturbed field samples and by reconstitution of the same silt material at different initial confining stress levels. The specimens of undisturbed silt, despite having a looser density under identical consolidation stress conditions, exhibited extensively more dilative response and larger shear resistance in comparison to those displayed by counterpart reconstituted specimens. In addition to consolidation stress conditions and resulting void ratios, it appears that other naturally inherited parameters such as soil fabric and aging effects would critically influence the shear response of natural silt. It is possible that the shear response observed from reconstituted specimens may result in unduly conservative design parameters, in turn, demonstrating the value testing specimens from undisturbed samples to assess the expected field behaviour of natural silt.
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