The aim of the study was to determine the shear strength of mineral and anthropogenic soil as a function of the applied shear rate and water saturation. Stability calculations using the finite element method of the road embankment model were also carried out to demonstrate the variation in factor of safety values depending on the adopted values of the angle of internal friction and cohesion. The tests were carried out in a direct shear apparatus in a 100 x 100 mm box with a sample height of 20.5 mm. The samples were formed directly in the apparatus box at optimum moisture content until a compaction index of IS = 1.00 was obtained. Tests were carried out under conditions without and with water saturation at shear rates of 0.01, 0.05, 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 mmmin-1. The results showed that the effect of shear rate on the strength parameters was not unequivocal and was much smaller than the changes caused by saturation of samples. An increase in shear rate resulted in small changes in the angle of internal friction with a tendency towards a decrease. In contrast, cohesion varied over a much larger range with increasing shear rate, with an apparent initial decrease and subsequent increase. The results obtained from the road embankment model stability calculations confirmed that soil saturation had a greater influence on the factor of safety values obtained than the shear rate.
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