AbstractA significant increase in effective stress can be induced in hydrate-bearing reservoirs when the depressurization method is applied. A series of drained triaxial shear tests were performed on hydrate-bearing sediments with various hydrate saturations to investigate their mechanical characteristics under effective confining pressures of up to 20 MPa. The results show that significant particle crushing of the host sand occurs during shearing under high pressures, and there is no remarkable effect of hydrate saturation on the degree of particle breakage. As the effective confining pressure increases, the stress–strain curves of the hydrate-bearing specimen transformed from strain-softening to strain-hardening. The peak stress ratio and internal friction angle of the sediments gradually decrease and tend to be constant with the increased confining stress, whereas the cohesion in hydrate-bearing sediments exhibits an increasing tendency. The critical state line (CSL) of hydrate-bearing sediments in the e-lnp′ space under low-to-high effective confining pressures intersects with the normal consolidation line under the same hydrate saturation. Furthermore, the CSL moves upward and rotates clockwise as the hydrate saturation increases.

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