Explicit Formulation of At-Rest Coefficient and its Role in Calibrating Elasto-Plastic Models for Unsaturated Soils


Normally, suction-controlled triaxial tests are used to characterize soil behavior in constitutive modeling of unsaturated soils. However, this type of tests requires sophisticated equipment and is time-consuming. This has been one of the major obstacles to the implementation and dissemination of unsaturated soil mechanics beyond the research context. In contrast to suction-controlled triaxial tests, the suction-controlled oedometer test requires simpler equipment and a shorter testing period. Oedometer tests represent the at-rest earth pressure (K0) condition, which is an important stress state in any simulation. The major disadvantage of the oedometer test is that its lateral stress is controlled by the condition of zero lateral strain and remains unknown during the testing process. At present, no well-established, simple, and objective methods are available that take advantage of oedometer test results for constitutive modeling purposes. This paper derives an explicit formulation of the at-rest coefficient for unsaturated soils and develops an optimization approach for simple and objective identification of material parameters in elasto-plastic models for unsaturated soils using the results from suction-controlled oedometer tests. This is achieved by combining a modified state surface approach (MSSA), recently proposed to model the elasto-plastic behavior of unsaturated soils, with the quasi-Newton method to simultaneously calibrate all parameters governing virgin behavior in elasto-plastic models. The Barcelona Basic Model (BBM) is used to demonstrate the application of the proposed explicit formulation and calibration method. Results predicted using obtained parameters are compared with laboratory test results for the same stress paths in order to evaluate the simplicity and objectivity of the proposed method.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Constitutive models; Elastoplasticity; Newton-Raphson method; Soil mechanics; Soils; Barcelona; Elasto-plastic; Oedometer tests; State boundary surface; Unsaturated soils; Unsaturated polymers; Modeling; Oedometer test; Soil mechanics; Stress; Suction; Triaxial test; Unsaturated medium; Barcelona Basic Model; K0 conditions; Suction-controlled oedometer tests

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Article - Journal

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© 2016 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2016