A unified bounding surface plasticity model for unsaturated soils

AR Russell, N Khalili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


A unified constitutive model for unsaturated soils is presented in a critical state framework using the concepts of effective stress and bounding surface plasticity theory. Consideration is given to the effects of unsaturation and particle crushing in the definition of the critical state. A simple isotropic elastic rule is adopted. A loading surface and a bounding surface of the same shape are defined using simple and versatile functions. The bounding surface and elastic rules lead to the existence of a limiting isotropic compression line, towards which the stress trajectories of all isotropic compression load paths approach. A non-associated flow rule of the same general form is assumed for all soil types. Isotropic hardening/softening occurs due to changes in plastic volumetric strains as well as suction for some unsaturated soils, enabling the phenomenon of volumetric collapse upon wetting to be accounted for. The model is used to simulate the stress-strain behaviour observed in unsaturated speswhite kaolin subjected to three triaxial test load paths. The fit between simulation and experiment is improved compared to that of other constitutive models developed using conventional Cam-Clay-based plasticity theory and calibrated using the same set of data. Also, the model is used to simulate to a high degree of accuracy the stress-strain behaviour observed in unsaturated Kurnell sand subjected to two triaxial test load paths and the oedometric compression load path. For oedometric compression theoretical simulations indicate that the suction was not sufficiently large to cause samples to separate from the confining ring.
Translated title of the contributionA unified bounding surface plasticity model for unsaturated soils
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181 - 212
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Volume30 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Wiley


Dive into the research topics of 'A unified bounding surface plasticity model for unsaturated soils'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this