Soil cyclic degradation is a serious issue that should be considered in engineering design and maintenance. The hysteretic response causes strength degradation and excessive settlement of soil structure in engineered and natural geosystems. Hysteresis is essentially the coupling deformation of elastic and plastic components during reloading and unloading processes. Conventional hysteretic models for sand in the elastoplastic framework rely highly on yield surface or potential surface evolution and fall short on complexity and inaccuracy. This study proposes a decoupling method to describe the hysteretic response of sand. In contrast to the conventional elastoplastic approach, this decoupling method can directly decouple the elastic and plastic components by determining the boundary between the elastic strain extension domain and the plastic strain extension domain for each stress cycle. In this way, the elastic and plastic stress–strain branches during cyclic loading can be separately obtained, and the corresponding elastic and plastic parameters are employed to characterize mechanical behavior. With the respective evolution of elastic and plastic strains, the hysteretic behavior of sand is reproduced by combining all the branches. Finally, this decoupling method is validated by three conventional cyclic loading tests. The predictions are consistent with the experiments, indicating that the decoupling method is generally effective in describing the hysteretic behavior under cyclic loading. This decoupling method provides new insight to obtain elastic and plastic deformation behaviors separately, without recourse to complicated plastic surface and hardening law.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Grant 1105000492

Keywords and Phrases

cyclic degradation; decoupling method; hysteresis response; sand

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Document Type

Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Publication Date

01 May 2022