text-only page produced automatically by Usablenet Assistive Skip all navigation and go to page content Skip top navigation and go to directorate navigation Skip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation
design element
Search Awards
Recent Awards
Presidential and Honorary Awards
About Awards
Grant Policy Manual
Grant General Conditions
Cooperative Agreement Conditions
Special Conditions
Federal Demonstration Partnership
Policy Office Website

Award Abstract #0321789

Collaborative Research: Dynamic Behavior of Slickensided Surfaces

Div Of Civil, Mechanical, & Manufact Inn
divider line
Initial Amendment Date: February 27, 2004
divider line
Latest Amendment Date: April 4, 2006
divider line
Award Number: 0321789
divider line
Award Instrument: Continuing grant
divider line
Program Manager: Richard J. Fragaszy
CMMI Div Of Civil, Mechanical, & Manufact Inn
ENG Directorate For Engineering
divider line
Start Date: March 1, 2004
divider line
End Date: February 28, 2007 (Estimated)
divider line
Awarded Amount to Date: $160,000.00
divider line
Investigator(s): James Duncan jmd@vt.edu (Principal Investigator)
divider line
Sponsor: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Sponsored Programs 0170
BLACKSBURG, VA 24061-0001 (540)231-5281
divider line
NSF Program(s): Geotechnical Engineering and M
divider line
Program Reference Code(s): 1039, CVIS
divider line
Program Element Code(s): 1636


"Slickensides" are surfaces of weakness formed in stiff clays as a result of large shear displacements - on the order of 50 mm to 250 mm - concentrated on a discrete surface of sliding. Platy clay particles become aligned parallel to the surface of sliding, resulting in the formation of a smooth surface with shear strength that is much lower than the strength of the adjacent clay through which the slickensided surface forms.

As a result of this low shear strength in comparison with the adjacent clay, slickensided rupture surfaces are likely loci of displacements during earthquakes. However, there have been no studies of the behavior of slickensided surfaces when subjected to the rapid cyclic loading that occurs during earthquakes. As a result, engineers must rely on assumption and judgment when estimating strengths for seismic deformation analyses, and these vary considerably among practicing engineers. For example, for one particular project in northern California, the difference of opinion regarding the shear strength that should be used resulted in recommendations for stabilization of the slopes that differed in cost by a factor of ten. At present, there is no way to determine whether one of these designs was dangerously inadequate, or the other was wasteful overkill.

The broader impacts of this research program include opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the laboratory experiments at Virginia Tech, and for freshman through senior-level students to observe the centrifuge experiments at UC Davis, and to work as assistants in preparing the centrifuge models. Both UC Davis and Virginia Tech have very active programs to recruit minority students to participate in research through the Minority Opportunities for Research in Engineering at UC Davis, and the Office of Minority Engineering Programs and coalition with Historically Black Colleges and Universities at Virginia Tech. The project also involves an active collaboration with Dr. Binod Tiwari of Niigata University, who has considerable experience in the types of experiments involved and will spend time at Virginia Tech and UC Davis, which will help to establish closer relationships between researchers in Japan and in the United States.


Please report errors in award information by writing to: awardsearch@nsf.gov.



Print this page
Back to Top of page
Research.gov  |  USA.gov  |  National Science Board  |  Recovery Act  |  Budget and Performance  |  Annual Financial Report
Web Policies and Important Links  |  Privacy  |  FOIA  |  NO FEAR Act  |  Inspector General  |  Webmaster Contact  |  Site Map
National Science Foundation Logo
The National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
  Text Only Version