Characterization and Constitutive Modeling of Red Clay Contaminated with Ammonium Carbonate


Conventionally, red clay is used for agricultural purposes in southern China. Fertilizers, especially urea, are commonly introduced into the red clay to improve the crop yields. However, due to the rapid urbanization in China, large areas of lands with red clays have been converted into sites for domestic and industrial constructions. Nevertheless, few researchers focused on the effect of urea on the strength and compressibility of red clay. In this research, the shear strength and compressibility of the red clay saturated by different concentrations of the (NH4)2CO3 solution (urea's hydrolysates) were experimentally investigated using direct shear as well as oedometer tests, respectively. It was noticed that both the shear strength and stiffness of the red clay significantly decreased after exposure to the urea solution. In addition, the micromechanisms of the strength and compressibility of the red clay treated by the (NH4)2CO3 were studied by the scanning electron microscope test and X-ray diffraction test. Based on the test results, a new model was developed to simulate the chemomechanical behavior of saturated clayey soil by modifying the Barcelona basic model (BBM) for unsaturated soils. The proposed model introduces four additional parameters, compared to the BBM, to account for the nonlinear shear strength behavior of the red clay. This model accounts for most of the complex features related to the strength and stiffness behavior of clayey soils. The parameter calibration procedures, by using the oedometer and direct shear test results, are also presented. To validate the proposed model, experimental results from the literature are considered in which illite clay samples were either mechanically or chemically or both mechanically and chemically loaded. Part of the experimental results is used to calibrate the model parameters and the other part along with the calibrated parameters is used to verify the proposed model. A comparison between experimental data and predicted results demonstrated that the proposed model is able to capture the main features related to the chemomechanical coupling behavior of saturated soils.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

characterization; constitutive modeling; contamination; elastoplastic behavior; oedometer; plastic hardening; red clay

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Dec 2020