Modified State Surface Approach to Study Unsaturated Soil Hysteresis Behavior


Unsaturated soils are often used as a construction material in transportation infrastructures. In this situation, unsaturated soils are subjected to cyclic mechanical loading from traffic loads or wetting-drying cycles in seasonal climatic conditions. While mechanical hysteresis is a common feature of soils in general, hydraulic hysteresis is associated with unsaturated soils. Although several constitutive models for unsaturated soils have been proposed, the mechanical and hydraulic hysteresis behavior of unsaturated soils has been little studied. A modified state surface approach (MSSA) was first proposed for investigating the mechanical behavior of unsaturated soils. It was then extended to study the coupled hydro-mechanical behavior of unsaturated soils with a special focus on the consistency between different soil phases. However, hydraulic and mechanical hysteresis were neglected in MSSA formulations. In this paper, based on evidence from experimental results, the MSSA is extended further to study the coupled hydro-mechanical hysteresis behavior of unsaturated soils. The extended MSSA can reproduce several forms of mechanical and hydraulic behavior observed in experimental results that cannot be represented by existing constitutive models. To demonstrate the capabilities of the extended MSSA, typical behaviors are simulated and compared, qualitatively, with the characteristic trends of the behavior of unsaturated soils. Experimental results from the literature are then used to evaluate the model to predict, quantitatively, the observed behaviors. The agreement between measured and predicted results is considered satisfactory and confirms the possibility of the proposed approach to reproduce the hysteresis behavior of unsaturated soils.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0361-1981; 2169-4052

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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Publication Date

01 Jan 2020