Measurement of small strain behavior of a local soil by fiber Bragg grating-based local displacement transducers

Dong Sheng Xu, Lalit Borana, Jianhua Yin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


The small strain stiffness of soils has a significant role in geotechnical design and analysis. In laboratory, the small strain behavior is examined by different techniques including the bender element method for measuring the maximum shear modulus and local displacement transducer (LDT) for measuring Young’s modulus at small strains. However, most commonly used LDTs are based on electrical components and have limitations, such as electromagnetic interference and possibility of short circuit in the presence of water. To overcome these limitations, in the present study, a conventional triaxial apparatus has been modified to measure and study the stress–strain behavior of soils at small strains. The major modifications include addition of piezoceramic sensors (bender elements) for measuring the maximum shear modulus and fiber Bragg grating (FBG) sensor-based local displacement transducers (FBG–LDTs) for measuring the stress–strain behavior at small strains. The modified triaxial apparatus has been used to conduct several tests on a completely decomposed granite soil from a site in Hong Kong. The stress–strain behaviors measured by the newly developed FBG–LDTs and an external displacement transducer are compared and discussed. In particular, the shear modulus values obtained using the bender elements, FBG–LTDs, and the external displacement transducer are also compared, discussed, and evaluated. The comparison and assessment show that the FBG–LTDs are more suitable for measuring the small strain behavior of soils.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-943
Number of pages9
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Bender element
  • Fiber Bragg grating sensor
  • Local displacement transducer
  • Shear modulus
  • Small strain
  • Triaxial test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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