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A constitutive model for structured soils


ARTICLE in GOTECHNIQUE JANUARY 2000
Impact Factor: 1.87 DOI: 10.1680/geot.2000.50.3.263

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Kavvadas, M. & Amorosi, A. (2000). Geotechnique 50, No. 3, 263273

A constitutive model for structured soils


M . K AV VADA S  a n d A . A M O RO S I {
Cette communication propose un Modele constitutif pour
Sols Structures (MSS) qui decrit les effets techniques du
developpement et de la degradation de la structure, par
exemple: rigidite intacte et resistance elevees, reduction
sensible de la rigidite et de la resistance sous l'effet de la
destructuration et de l'evolution de l'anisotropie induite par
la contrainte et la structure. Une des principales caracteristiques du modele est le traitement de pre-consolidation, en
tant que procede induisant la structure et la description
uniee de ces procedes a travers une Enveloppe a resistance
d'adhesion, qui est en rapport avec le debut d'une destructuration sensible et qui se distingue du debut de la deformation non elastique. Parmi les autres caracteristiques, on
indiquera les suivantes: un mecanisme de type d'endommagement, pour modeliser la degradation volumetrique et la
structure deviatrice, l'evolution de l'anisotropie induite par
contrainte et adhesion en utilisant un systeme a memoire
d'evanouissement; des dispositifs a prediction adaptables, en
fonction de la sophistication des donnees d'essai disponibles,
la modularite pour etendre son application a plusieurs types
de terrain; et la formulation mathematique dans un espace
d'allongement general, pour faciliter son incorporation dans
des codes aux elements nis. On evalue les capacites de
prevision du modele en fonction des resultats des tests de
laboratoire sur de l'argile Vallericca sur-consolidee rigide:
(i) tests de consolidation isotropiques et anisotropiques jusqu'a des pressions tres elevees et (ii) cisaillement triaxial
consolide par anisotropie a basse pression (reponse structuree de la matiere) et hautes pressions (reponse destructuree de la matiere).

The paper proposes a constitutive model for structured soils


(MSS) which describes the engineering effects of structure
development and degradation, such as: high intact stiffness
and strength, appreciable reduction of stiffness and strength
due to de-structuring, and evolution of stress- and structureinduced anisotropy. A key feature of the model is the
treatment of pre-consolidation as a structure-inducing process and the unied description of all such processes via a
`bond strength envelope' associated with the onset of appreciable de-structuring and distinguished from the onset of
plastic yielding. Other features include: a damage-type mechanism to model volumetric and deviatoric structure degradation, the evolution of stress- and bond-induced anisotropy
using a fading memory scheme, adaptable predictive capabilities depending on the sophistication of the available test
data, modularity to extend its applicability in several soil
types, and mathematical formulation in a general tensorial
space to facilitate its incorporation in nite element codes.
The predictive capabilities of the model are evaluated
against the results of laboratory tests on the stiff overconsolidated Vallericca clay: (a) isotropic and anisotropic consolidation tests up to very high pressures; and (b) anisotropically consolidated triaxial shearing at both low
pressures (structured material response) and high pressures
(de-structured material response).

KEYWORDS: constitutive relations; plasticity; fabric/structure of


soils; numerical modelling and analysis; anisotropy; clays.

stiff clays and clay shales (e.g. Calabresi & Scarpelli, 1985;
Rampello, 1989; Anagnostopoulos et al., 1991; Burland et al.,
1996; Cotecchia, 1996), granular soils (e.g. Mitchell & Solymar,
1984; Coop & Atkinson, 1993), residual soils (e.g. Vaughan,
1985, 1988; Wesley, 1990) and weak weathered rocks (e.g. Eliot
& Brown, 1985; Addis & Jones, 1990).
The importance of improving constitutive models to include
our present knowledge of the behaviour of structured soils has
been perceived by many researchers, who have generally followed three kinds of procedures

INTRODUCTION

The analysis of geotechnical problems requires constitutive


models which can describe the deformation and strength of
natural soils with reasonable accuracy. The development of such
models is usually based on experimental studies of reconstituted
soils and the classical principles of soil mechanics which
involve the current state of the material (expressed by the
effective stresses and the void ratio) and its stress history
(usually compounded in the maximum pre-consolidation pressure). The critical state theory and its extensions have provided
the theoretical basis for many such models in the last 30 years
(e.g. Roscoe & Burland, 1968; Nova & Wood, 1979; Gens &
Potts, 1982; Kavvadas, 1983; Al-Tabbaa & Wood, 1989; Whittle
& Kavvadas, 1994). At the same time, it has become recognized
that natural soils have components of stiffness and strength
which cannot be accounted for by classical soil mechanics and
stem from the inuence of structure caused by cementation,
ageing or even overconsolidation (e.g. Leroueil & Vaughan,
1990; Burland, 1990; Gens & Nova, 1993; Clayton & Serratrice,
1993; Muir Wood, 1995a; Burland et al., 1996). Experimental
evidence of the effects of structure is reported in a wide variety
of natural soils and weak rocks, including soft clays (e.g.
Leroueil, 1977; Tavenas & Leroueil, 1990; Smith et al., 1992),

(a) renement of the `small strain' response, by incorporating


stiffness non-linearity in the `elastic' domain (e.g. Dafalias
& Herrmann, 1980; Jardine et al., 1986, 1991; Gunn, 1993;
Whittle & Kavvadas, 1994);
(b) renement of the material's memory of its stress history, by
adding a number of `yield' or `history' surfaces which
record key characteristics of the stress path (e.g. Mroz et
al., 1978, 1979; Prevost, 1978; Hashiguchi, 1985; AlTabbaa & Wood, 1989; Stallebrass & Taylor, 1997);
(c) description of the effects of material structure by a damagetype mechanism which permits the reduction of the size of
the yield surface due to bond degradationwhile the
principles of such damage-type models have been known
for a long time (e.g. Nova, 1977; Wilde, 1977), their
systematic application in soil modelling is fairly recent (e.g.
Pastor et al., 1990; Kavvadas, 1995; Lagioia & Nova, 1995;
Muir Wood, 1995b; Chazallon & Hicher, 1998).

Manuscript received 16 December 1998; revised manuscript accepted 22


October 1999.
Discussion on this paper closes 26 September 2000; for further details
see p. ii.
 National Technical University of Athens, Greece.
{ Technical University of Bari, Italy; formerly University of Rome `La
Sapienza'.

This paper describes and evaluates a constitutive model for


structured soils (MSS) which combines and extends the above
procedures.
263

264

KAVVADAS AND AMOROSI

DESCRIPTION OF THE MSS MODEL

The proposed model is based on the theory of incremental


plasticity and the critical state concepts. Since the model
describes the response of the soil skeleton, all stresses are
effective stresses (the primes have been dropped for simplicity).
The dots over symbols indicate an innitesimal increment of
the corresponding quantity. Bold-face symbols indicate tensors.

Characteristic surfaces
The MSS model has two characteristic surfaces: an internal
plastic yield envelope (PYE) and an external bond strength
envelope (BSE). Fig. 1 depicts these surfaces in a stress space
which consists of the isotropic mean stress (  p) and the
deviatoric hyper-plane (s), or, equivalently, the transformed
deviatoric hyper-plane fS1 S2 S3 S4 S5 g (see Appendix 1).
While the ( , s) space is a tensorial space, geometrical insight
is preserved, since in the `triaxial' mode of deformation, the
deviatoric
hyper-plane has
p
p only one non-zero component,
S1 (2=3)( 1 3 ) (2=3)q and thus the representation
reduces to the common ( p, q) space. The internal surface
(PYE) plays the role of the classical `yield surface', that is it
delimits elastic and plastic states. The term `plastic' was added
to the `yield surface' to point out the difference between plastic
yielding and large-scale yielding (de-structuring) (e.g. Jardine et
al., 1991). Since most soils behave elastically in a very limited
domain, the model can accommodate an arbitrarily small PYE
without adverse side-effects, since the size of the PYE is
practically independent of the maximum pre-consolidation pressure (as in most classical models). A small plastic yield
envelope also helps in the realistic modelling of cyclic loading,
since it allows the accumulation of permanent strains even for
low-intensity stress cycles, the development of appreciable excess pore pressures during undrained loading (which may
eventually lead to liquefaction/cyclic mobility), and a progressive structure degradation due to a fatigue-type accumulation of
plastic strains.
The external surface (BSE) corresponds to material states
associated with appreciable rates of structure degradation. Since
plastic strains can develop inside the BSE, structure degradation
initiates before the material reaches the BSE, but, in this case,
the rate of de-structuring is small. Experimental evidence (e.g.
Vaughan, 1988; Smith et al., 1992; Lagioia & Nova, 1995)
suggests that the onset of appreciable de-structuring is usually
abrupt and easily identiable, thus facilitating the experimental
determination of the BSE by probing various directions in the
stress space.
In structured soils, the size of the BSE is controlled by the
magnitude of the bond strength, that is the pre-consolidation
pressure of overconsolidated clays and the strength of the
cementation/thixotropic bonds in cemented/aged clays. Since the
BSE is not necessarily spherical, the model can describe bonds
which degrade more easily by shearing than by compression.
Furthermore, since the BSE is not necessarily isotropic (i.e. it is

not centred on the isotropic axis), the model can account for
anisotropic bond development due to preferred particle orientations: for example, bonds may degrade more easily in extension
than in compression, or by shearing along a specic plane.
Finally, since the BSE is not necessarily circular in the deviatoric hyper-plane, the model can describe shear strength anisotropy by independently controlling the shear strength in various
modes of deformation (triaxial, plane strain, simple shear, etc.),
provided that such test data are available. In this way, the model
can improve the predictions of the modied CamClay (MCC)
family of models which over-predict the shear strength in
triaxial extension and simple shear when the model parameters
are selected by matching the shear strength in triaxial compression. (This feature of the model was not used in the following
evaluation, as the calibration of the model parameters with test
data of Vallericca clay was limited in the triaxial plane.)
In overconsolidated clays without appreciable ageing or cementation, the size and location of the BSE are controlled by
the stress history, in a way analogous to the classical critical
state models which determine the size of the (unique) yield
surface by the maximum pre-consolidation pressure. The proposed model generalizes this concept and records several other
characteristics of the stress history in the hardening variables of
the BSE (in addition to the maximum pre-consolidation pressure), namely the principal stress ratios and the directions of the
principal stresses at the maximum pre-consolidation pressure.
This is achieved via the degrees of freedom of the BSE (in
addition to its size along the isotropic axis), that is the
eccentricities along the deviatoric axes and the location of its
centre in the stress space. In strongly cemented soils, these
characteristics are controlled by the magnitude and spatial
distribution of the bond strengths, since the effects of the stress
history are masked by cementation. In weakly cemented soils,
both structure-inducing effects (i.e. the stress history and the
cementation bonds) have comparable magnitudes and the BSE
represents their combined effect. The MSS model allows standard overconsolidation to be modelled in the same way as any
other process causing irreversible bonding at the inter-particle
contacts (such as ageing and cementation), a fact which is also
appealing in conceptually unifying the effects of all these
processes.
The BSE is described by the function (the symbol `:'
indicates a summation of the products)
F(, K , ) 

(1)

which reduces to the yield function of the MCC model


FMCC (, ) 

1
s: s ( )2 2 0
c2

(2)

for K and s K 0. The geometrical representation of the


BSE in the stress space  ( , s) is an ellipsoid centred at
point K with coordinates K s K K I, where I is the
isotropic unit tensor. The half-axes of the ellipsoid are equal to
along the isotropic axis and equal to c along each of the
deviatoric axes. The size of the BSE along all deviatoric axes
need not be the same, that is the ellipsoid need not be
symmetric about the isotropic axis: the half-axis along each of
the ve deviatoric stress axes (S i ) may be equal to c i where ci
is the corresponding eccentricity. In this case, equation (1) can
be written as (see Appendix 1)
F

Fig. 1. Characteristic surfaces of the MSS model

1
(s s K ): (s s K ) ( K )2 2 0
c2

5
X
1
(S i S Ki )2 ( K )2 2 0
2
c
i1 i

The introduction of more than one material constant c i permits


the independent control of the shear strength in the various
shearing modes (triaxial, simple shear, plane strain, etc.). This
feature of the MSS model is very useful in modelling soils with
appreciable shear strength anisotropy; in such soils, the shear
strengths in the various modes are not interdependent and

A CONSTITUTIVE MODEL FOR STRUCTURED SOILS


certainly cannot be predicted by knowing the value of the shear
strength in triaxial compression.
For numerical simplicity, the PYE is assumed to be geometrically similar to the BSE (scaled by a factor  1) and is
described by the function
1
f (, L , )  2 (s s L ): (s s L ) ( L )2 ()2 0
c
(3)
The PYE is centred at point L with coordinates L s L L I,
has size along the isotropic axis equal to , size along each of
the deviatoric axes equal to cor c i and is fully contained inside the BSE. Although the size of the PYE is scaled
to the size of the BSE, this dependence is very weak, as the
scaling factor is a very small number (of the order of 0001).
Hardening rules
The MSS model requires the hardening variables (; K , L )
which control the size and position of the characteristic surfaces. The evolution of the hardening variables during plastic
deformation is described by the hardening rules. Following
standard plasticity, it is assumed that the material does not
harden during elastic deformation (i.e. when the state is inside
the PYE). The proposed model possesses isotropic and kinematic hardening rules. The isotropic hardening controls the size
of the BSE, that is it describes the evolution of material
structure, while the kinematic hardening governs the motion of
the characteristic surfaces in the stress space, that is it describes
the evolution of the anisotropy.
Isotropic hardening. The change of the size of the BSE due to
the plastic strain increment (_pv , _ pq ) is



1e
_
v exp(v , pv ) _ pv
k

fq q exp(q , pq )g_pq
(4)
where _ pv  _ p : I is the plastic volumetric strain increment, _ pq 
p
[(2=3)(_ep :ep )] is the modulus of the plastic deviatoric strain
increment [_ep  _ p (_pv I=3)], (pv , pq ) are the accumulated plastic volumetric and deviatoric strains, e is the void ratio, (, k)
are the intrinsic compressibility parameters during virgin compression and rebound, (v , v ) are the volumetric structure
degradation parameters, and (q , q , q ) are deviatoric structure
degradation parameters. Equation (4) reduces to the hardening
rule of the MCC model if all structure degradation parameters
are zero. The isotropic hardening of the MSS model has two
components, as follows.
(a) A volumetric component, which depends on the plastic
volumetric strain increment _ pv and models the intrinsic
volumetric hardening and the volumetric-strain-induced
structure degradation. In non-structured soils (v
v 0), the volumetric component is identical to the
isotropic hardening of the MCC model, that is the intrinsic
virgin compression is linear in a (log pe) plot. In
structured soils, the parameters (v , v ) dene the rate of
volumetric structure degradation in an exponential damagetype form analogous to that proposed by Wilde (1977),
Kavvadas (1995), Muir Wood (1995b) and Lagioia & Nova
(1995). This form decays at large accumulated plastic
strains with a rate depending on the value of the positive
parameter v. Positive values of the parameter v tend to
reduce the size of the BSE (and thus decrease the shear
strength) with the accumulation of plastic volumetric
strains. This collapse-type behaviour cannot be predicted
by classical critical state models, where volume reduction is
always associated with an increased shear strength.
(b) A deviatoric component, depending on the modulus of the
plastic deviatoric strain increment _ pq , which uses an

265

exponential damage-type form similar to the volumetric


component and decays at large plastic shear strains with a
rate depending on the parameter q. A non-zero value of the
parameter q gives permanent structure degradation (or
hardening) but, in most applications, q 0. The deviatoric
component can be used to model shear-induced structure
degradation (q . 0), since shearing can cause a gradual
reduction in the size of the BSE even for stress paths inside
the BSE (fatigue-type structure degradation).
Kinematic hardening. The kinematic hardening describes the
evolution of material anisotropy during plastic deformation. This
is achieved by the translation of the characteristic surfaces (BSE
and PYE) in the stress space, that is by controlling the motion of
their centres K and L.
During plastic deformation, the centre K of the BSE moves
as follows.
For material states inside the BSE
_ K

_
K

(5a)

that is, the centre K of the BSE moves along a radial path
passing through the origin. In this respect, the proposed model
reduces to the MCC model if K I.
For material states on the BSE


_
_

s
_ K K
(5b)
sK

K
where , are parameters. The second term of the above
expression causes the centre K of the BSE to deviate from the
radial direction, that is to move in the deviatoric hyper-plane,
thus altering the anisotropy.
The kinematic hardening rule introduces a primary anisotropy tensor, b K  s K = K which controls the offset of the centre
K of the BSE from the isotropic axis and depicts the tangent of
the angle of OK with the isotropic axis (Fig. 1). The model also
uses a secondary anisotropy tensor, b L  s L = L , which controls
the deviation of the centre L of the PYE from the isotropic
axis. It can be seen that the MCC model lacks both types of
anisotropy, since its (single) yield surface is always centred on
the isotropic axis. The primary anisotropy of the proposed
model changes only during plastic deformation from material
states on the BSE and thus it represents the bond strength
anisotropy. During plastic deformation inside the BSE, the
centre K moves along a radial path (equation (5a)), and thus
the primary anisotropy does not change. The primary anisotropy
also does not change during loading along stabilized radial
stress paths, that is after sustained loading along a radial stress
path so that the material anisotropy has fully adjusted to the
preferred directions of this path. In fact, equation (5b) implies
that when a radial stress path (with direction s= ) has been
stabilized (i.e. the centre K also moves on a radial path), the
primary anisotropy of the material is such that s=
(s K = K ), that is the centre K moves along a radial path with
slope (s K = K ) which forms an angle with respect to the stress
path (s= ) controlled by the material constant .
During plastic deformation, the centre L of the PYE moves
as follows (see Fig. 1).
For material states on the BSE (i.e. when the two characteristic surfaces are in contact at a point corresponding to the
current stress state), the two surfaces remain in contact and the
position of L is dictated by the position of K
L K
(6)

) L (1 ) K

For material states inside the BSE, the motion of point L is


such that the PYE moves towards point M9, which is the
conjugate of the current state (point M). The geometric similarity of the two surfaces permits the denition of conjugate points
(M and M9) on the PYE and BSE, respectively, such that the
normal vectors at these points are parallel. The stress at the

266

KAVVADAS AND AMOROSI

conjugate point M9 is (M9) K ( L )= and the direction vector is


1
 MM9 (M9) ( L ) ( K )
(7)

According to the above, the translation of the centre L is


_
_ L L _

(8)

where the factor _ is evaluated below. The rst term of this


_
rule, [(=)
L ], is a homothetic transformation which preserves
parallelity of the direction of the vector and as such it ensures
that the characteristic surfaces do not intersect even for nite
increments of the material state; when the two surfaces come
into contact, they contact at conjugate points which coincide
with the stress state. Similar translation rules have been proposed by Hashiguchi (1985), Al-Tabbaa & Wood (1989) and
Stallebrass & Taylor (1997). The factor _ is determined from
the `consistency condition', that is a requirement that during
plastic deformation the stress point remains on the PYE
( f_ 0), which gives
_

_
_
(1=c )(s s L ): (_s (=)s
( L )(_ (=)
)
2 [(1=c2 )(s s L ): (s s K ) ( L )( K ]

(9)

Flow rule
The ow rule determines the plastic strain increment _ p and
generally has the form
_
_ 1 (Q: )
_
_ p P
(10)

H
_ and the plastic potential P give the magnitude and
The scalar
the direction of the plastic strain increment, _ is the corresponding effective stress increment, H is a `plastic modulus' as
described in a following section, and Q  @ f =@ is the gradient of the PYE. The plastic gradient Q has the following
isotropic and deviatoric components (using equation (3))
@f
2( L )
@


1
@f 1 @f
2
Q9  Q QI

: I I 2 (s s L )
3
@s 3 @s
c
Q  Q: I

(11)

The proposed model uses an associated ow rule, that is


P Q.
Elasticity
The elastic component describes the behaviour inside the
PYE where deformation is by denition elastic. According to
standard plasticity, strain increments consist of elastic (i.e.
reversible) and plastic (i.e. irreversible) components which can
be split into volumetric and deviatoric parts as follows
_ _ e _ p ) _ v _ ev _ pv and e_ e_ e e_ p

(12)

The elastic component of the strain increment is assumed to be


linearly related to the corresponding effective stress increment
via an elastic stiffness C e
_ C e : _ e

(13)

In linear isotropic elasticity, the elastic stiffness depends on two


material constants, the bulk modulus K and the shear modulus
G, and the stressstrain relationships are
_ K _ ev

s_ 2Ge_ e

(14)

Critical state models usually employ poro-elasticity, which assumes that the elastic volume compressibility is linearly related
to the logarithm of the mean effective stress. Such models have
a pressure-dependent bulk modulus given by K (1 e) =k,
where k is the CamClay compressibility parameter. In order to
improve the accuracy of the predictions (e.g. Wroth et al.,
1979; Houlsby, 1981), the elastic shear modulus is also assumed

to be pressure dependent (i.e. G=K constant). This choice


can lead to theoretical and numerical difculties, especially in
cyclic loading, since the elasticity becomes non-conservative
(Houlsby, 1985). A solution which preserves the pressure dependence of (K, G) and, at the same time, maintains the conservative nature of elasticity, is hyper-elasticity. Hyper-elasticity has
the additional advantage of introducing coupling between the
volumetric and shear components in the stressstrain relationships, a fact commonly observed in practice.
The MSS model uses either poro-elasticity (equation (14)) or
hyper-elasticity (Houlsby, 1985)



 e  
v
1
3
e 2 e
1
(q ) _ v
_ p r exp 
k
k
2k



2
e
e
_

(15a)
(e  e )
k

 e   

2
s_ pr exp v
(15b)
ee _ ev 2 e_ e
k
k
Poro-elasticity requires the material constants k and G=K, while
hyper-elasticity requires material constants k k=(1 e),  ,
and a reference pressure p r . An additional advantage of hyperelasticity (compared to isotropic poro-elasticity) is the ability to
predict the development of shear-induced excess pore pressures
during elastic undrained loading, and the related improvement
of the predicted effective stress path.
Plastic modulus H
For material states on the BSE, the plastic modulus is
determined from the `consistency condition', which ensures that
the stress point remains on the BSE (see Appendix 2)
H 2RT

(16)

It can be seen that the critical state (where H 0) is achieved


at the top of the BSE, where R 0 (since P 0 and shearinduced degradation has ceased). For material states inside the
BSE, the plastic modulus is determined from the requirement
for a continuous variation of its magnitude as the PYE approaches the BSE. This requirement is satised if the plastic
modulus is obtained from the following interpolation rule (see
Appendix 2)
H H 0 j H 0jf[1 (=o )] 1g

(17)

where H 0 is
the
! value of the plastic modulus at point M 0
where vector OM intersects the BSE (Fig. 1), and is the
normalized length of MM 0 (M is the current state). Equation
(17) interpolates between: H 1 (upon initiation of yielding)
and: H H 0 (when the stress state reaches the BSE). More
details are included in Appendix 2.
Summary of model parameters
The MSS model requires the following eleven parameters.
Four of them are the parameters of the MCC model, while the
remaining seven control the structure degradation and anisotropic characteristics of the proposed model.
(a) k: poro-elastic compressibility. The corresponding parameter in hyper-elasticity is k k=(1 e).
(b) G=K or  : elastic shear parameter in poro-elasticity or
hyper-elasticity, respectively.
(c) : intrinsic compressibility.
(d ) c (or c i ): eccentricity of the BSE. Controls the shear
strength in the appropriate mode (if different ci values are
used). In the simplest case, it is p
proportional to the M
parameter of the MCC model: c (2=3)M.
(e) (v , v ) and (q , q ): volumetric and deviatoric structure
degradation parameters.
( f ) (, ): parameters controlling the evolution of material
anisotropy, that is the motion of the BSE in the deviatoric
space.

A CONSTITUTIVE MODEL FOR STRUCTURED SOILS


( g) : parameter controlling the variation of the elasto-plastic
modulus ( H) in the early stages of structure degradation
(i.e. before the BSE is engaged). It controls the stiffness of
the stressstrain curve after the onset of plastic strains.
The MSS model may use the following optional parameters.
(a) : ratio of the sizes of the BSE and PYE. Controls the size
of the elastic domain. Usually it is set to a small number
(typically 0:0050:05).
(b) q : steady-state deviatoric structure degradation/hardening
parameter (usually q 0).
Each of the above parameters controls a specic aspect of
the model (modulus, strength, structure, anisotropy, etc.) without
appreciable interaction among parameters. In this way, the
determination of their values for a specic soil using standard
laboratory tests is simplied. Furthermore, the model parameters
are such that the sophistication of the predictions is adaptable
to the available test data.
In addition to the above parameters, the implementation of
the proposed model requires the determination of the initial
state of the material, which involves the following state variables.
(a) : effective stress components
(b) e: void ratio
(c) : size of the BSE (controls the bond strength and
consequently the shear strength)
(d ) K : position of the centre of the BSE (controls the primary
structure anisotropy)
(e) L : position of the centre of the PYE (controls the
secondary anisotropy).

267

parison of laboratory test results with model predictions. The


experimental programme and the testing procedures are described in detail by Amorosi (1996); a brief summary is given
below, with the objective of providing the necessary information
for the evaluation of the model parameters and the comparisons
with the model predictions.
Large block samples of the natural clay were used for
trimming 38 mm dia. and 78 mm high cylindrical specimens for
triaxial testing. The experimental programme was performed in
three computer-controlled stress path triaxial apparatus, capable
of applying cell pressures up to 3, 10 and 14 MPa. It consisted
of two series of shear tests on samples consolidated to relatively
medium and high pressures, the results of which are shown in
Figs 27.
The rst series of tests, referred to as medium-pressure (MP)
tests, was performed on samples anisotropically consolidated
along the effective stress path shown by dotted lines in Fig. 5.
This stress path was selected to ensure that the radial strain was
very close to zero. All samples were compressed from an initial
isotropic effective stress state ( pk 400 kPa) to a nal state
having mean effective stress pmax 1770 kPa, and deviatoric
stress qmax 1210 kPa (effective stress ratio 3 = 1 0:53).
The vertical effective stress at the nal state ( vmax 2570 kPa)
is slightly lower than the vertical stress ( vy 2600 kPa) corresponding to the onset of appreciable rates of structure degradation, that is to the intersection of the stress path with the BSE.
After consolidation, performed in small steps to ensure minimal

The MCC model requires only the rst three state variables,
since it does not include strength anisotropy.
EVALUATION OF THE PROPOSED MODEL

The capabilities of the proposed model are investigated by


comparing its predictions with the results of a series of laboratory tests on Vallericca clay, a natural Plio-Pleistocene marine
clay from a site a few kilometres north of Rome (Italy).
Vallericca clay is a stiff, overconsolidated, medium plasticity
and activity material characterized by a calcium carbonate content of about 30% and a remarkable absence of major macrostructures. Its average index properties are listed in Table 1.
Vallericca clay has been extensively studied in the last
decade (e.g. Rampello et al., 1993); a considerable proportion
of this research has been aimed at the investigation of the role
of structure in the mechanical behaviour of the material.
Burland et al. (1996) identied the inuence of microstructural
effects on the compressibility and shear strength of Vallericca
clay, comparing the results of oedometer and triaxial tests
carried out on natural and reconstituted samples. Further experimental research on Vallericca clay, recently carried out by
Amorosi (1996), conrmed that the mechanical behaviour of the
soil is signicantly affected by its natural structured state;
depending on the direction of the stress path, de-structuring can
occur during both the consolidation and the shear stages of the
tests, and is related to the cumulative volumetric and deviatoric
plastic strains. These features are explicitly described by the
proposed constitutive model, thus making meaningful the com-

Table 1. Average index properties of Vallericca clay


Property
Clay fraction (,2 m)
Calcium carbonate content (CaCO3 )
Liquid limit
Plasticity index
Plastic limit
Natural moisture content
Specic gravity

Value: %
47
32
55
29
26
264
278

Fig. 2. Vallericca clay. Comparison between model prediction and


experimental data in: (a) anisotropic compression, (b) isotropic
compression

268

KAVVADAS AND AMOROSI


2000

q : kPa

q : kPa

2000

1000

1000

OCR = 1, undrained
0

OCR = 1, drained

5
Axial strain: %

10

5
Axial strain: %
5

Volumetric strain: %

u : kPa

1000

500

5
Axial strain: %

10

Model
Experiment

10

10

Fig. 3. Medium-pressure undrained and drained compression tests on anisotropically consolidated Vallericca clay. Normally consolidated samples (vo vmax 2570 kPa). Comparison
between model predictions and experimental data. Plots of deviatoric stress and excess pore
water pressure versus axial strain

1000
Model

q : kPa

q : kPa

q : kPa

2000

2000

2000

1000

1000

Experiment
0

5
Axial strain: %

10

1000

5
Axial strain: %

1000

5
Axial strain: %

10

500

5
Axial strain: %

10

OCR = 4
u : kPa

u : kPa

u : kPa

OCR = 24

500

500

OCR = 17

10

5
Axial strain: %

10

500

5
Axial strain: %

10

Fig. 4. Medium pressure undrained triaxial compression tests on anisotropically consolidated Vallericca clay (vmax 2570 kPa). Overconsolidated samples: OCR 17 (vo 1512 kPa), OCR 24 (vo 1071 kPa), and OCR 4 (vo 642 kPa). Comparison between model
predictions and experimental data. Plots of deviatoric stress and excess pore water pressure versus axial strain

excess pore water pressure, the samples were either sheared


(OCR vmax = vo 1) or rebounded to OCR values of 17,
24 and 4 and then sheared. Drained and undrained shearing
was carried out at axial strain rates equal to 11% and 58% per
day, respectively. The comparison of the proposed model with
the results of the MP series of tests allows us to assess the
model capability in predicting material behaviour for deviatoric
stress paths intersecting the initial BSE.
The second series of tests, referred to as high-pressure (HP)
tests, was performed on samples anisotropically compressed in
small steps along the extension of the consolidation path of the
MP tests, that is a path corresponding to a constant effective
stress ratio ( 3 = 1 0:53); the consolidation path of the HP
tests is shown by the dotted line in Fig. 7. At the nal state
( pmax 4630 kPa, qmax 3160 kPa), the vertical effective stress
( vmax 6750 kPa) is equal to about 26 times the value corresponding to the intersection of the consolidation path with the
BSE ( vy 2600 kPa). After consolidation, the samples were
either sheared directly (OCR 1) or rebounded to OCR values
of 17 and 24 prior to shearing. The comparison of the

proposed model with the results of the HP series of tests allows


us to assess the model capability in reproducing the mechanical
behaviour of Vallericca clay as observed after the de-structuring
process induced during high-pressure anisotropic consolidation.
The numerical predictions of the observed response during
the MP and HP series of tests were obtained using the set of
model parameters listed in Table 2. A very small elastic domain
was assumed ( 0:005) and behaviour in that region was
described by the hyper-elastic option of the model. The elastic
parameter k was determined from the slope of the initial
portion of the unloadingreloading line during anisotropic consolidation plotted in an ln pln(1 e) plane. The elastic parameter  was determined from the orientation of the initial part
of the stress paths obtained from undrained triaxial compression
tests carried out on overconsolidated samples, as suggested by
Borja et al. (1997).
The isotropic hardening parameters of the model were estimated by a trial and error procedure, as described below, taking
into account the different relative weights of the deviatoric and
volumetric hardening during drained and undrained conditions.

A CONSTITUTIVE MODEL FOR STRUCTURED SOILS


Model

2000

269
Model

4000
D

3000

OCR = 1

q : kPa

q : kPa

1500

OCR = 1

2000

1000
OCR = 17

1000
OCR = 4

OCR = 24

500

OCR = 17

0
0

OCR = 24
0

500

1000

2000

4000
1500

3000

4000

5000

Experiment

2000
3000

Experiment

q : kPa

2000

1000

OCR = 1

2000

1500
OCR = 17

q : kPa

1000
OCR = 1

OCR = 24

1000
0
0

1000

2000
3000
p : kPa

OCR = 4
500

OCR = 24
0
500

1000
p : kPa

1500

2000

4000

3000

3000

3000

Experiment

5
Axial strain: %

2000
1000

Model
0

q : kPa

4000

1000

10

3000

5
Axial strain: %

10

3000

5
Axial strain: %

10

1000

5
Axial strain: %

10

OCR = 24

2000

u : kPa

u : kPa

1000

3000
OCR = 17

2000

2000
1000

OCR = 1
u : kPa

The deviatoric hardening parameters (q , q ) were evaluated by


matching the observed behaviour along the undrained shearing
stress paths, while the volumetric hardening parameters (v , v )
were determined by a similar process using data from the
anisotropic consolidation and the drained shearing stress paths.

4000

q : kPa

q : kPa

Fig. 5. Medium-pressure triaxial compression tests on anisotropically consolidated Vallericca clay ( vmax 2570 kPa). Normally consolidated samples OCR 1 ( No vmax ) (D drained, U undrained); overconsolidated samples (u): OCR 17 (vo 1512 kPa),
OCR 24 (vo 1071 kPa), and OCR 4 (vo 642 kPa). Comparison between model predictions and experimental data. Effective
stress paths in p q plane

2000

5000

Fig. 7. High-pressure undrained triaxial compression tests on


anisotropically consolidated Vallericca clay (vmax 6750 kPa).
Normally consolidated and overconsolidated samples: OCR 1
(vo 6750 kPa), OCR 17 (vo 3970 kPa), and OCR 24
(vo 2812 kPa). Comparison between model predictions and
experimental data. Effective stress paths in p q plane. The stress
paths of the medium-pressure tests are also shown for comparison

OCR = 17

4000

5
Axial strain: %

10

2000

1000

5
Axial strain: %

10

Fig. 6. High-pressure undrained triaxial compression tests on anisotropically consolidated Vallericca clay (vmax 6750 kPa). Normally
consolidated and overconsolidated samples: OCR 1 (vo 6750 kPa), OCR 17 (vo 3970 kPa), and OCR 24 (vo 2812 kPa).
Comparison between model predictions and experimental data. Plots of deviatoric stress and excess pore water pressure versus axial strain

270

KAVVADAS AND AMOROSI


Table 2. Values of the model parameters for Vallericca clay
Parameter
k


Value

Parameter

Value

Parameter

Value

0013
103
0118
085

v
v
q
q

5
50
3
05

1
01
14
0005

The parameter (q ) was set to zero, based on the hypothesis of


a negligible residual rate of structure degradation at large
deviatoric strain. The volumetric hardening parameter () was
evaluated with reference to the nal stages of the anisotropic
consolidation path in the HP series of tests; it can be seen that
the slope of this curve in an eln p plot is not exactly equal to
, as it would be according to classical critical state theory,
because the material is not fully de-structured and its compressibility is also inuenced by the structure degradation parameters. For the selected values of the structure degradation
parameters, the model predicts a more rapid degradation due to
volumetric plastic strains than due to deviatoric plastic strains.
However, since the magnitude of the deviatoric strains is larger
than that of the volumetric strains, structure degradation is
caused by a combination of both mechanisms.
The kinematic hardening parameters were selected assuming
that the motion of the BSE in the stress space was relatively
slow ( 0:1) and that, for continuous radial stress paths, the
centre of the BSE is located on the line of the stress path
( 1).
The parameter c1 was estimated from the results of undrained
triaxial compression tests carried out on the MP and HP normally consolidated samples. It was further assumed that c2
c3 c1 , since only tests in the triaxial plane were available and
evidence regarding shear strength anisotropy off the triaxial
plane could not be substantiated. However, as the model permits
independent control of the shear strength in the various shearing
modes (by varying c1 , c2 , c3 , c4 and c5 ), calibration off the
triaxial plane can be performed without affecting the calibration
in the triaxial plane, provided that such test data are available.
The material parameter () controlling the variation of the
plastic modulus H inside the BSE was evaluated from the
undrained triaxial compression tests carried out on overconsolidated samples.
For each of the MP and HP tests, the proposed model was
used to simulate the complete sequence of the consolidation,
rebound and shearing stress paths followed by the specimen in
the laboratory, starting from an initial isotropic effective stress
state ( pk 400 kPa). In particular, the simulations were performed under stress-controlled conditions during the consolidation and rebound stages of the tests, followed by the straincontrolled shearing stage. The initial size of the BSE was
determined from the anisotropic consolidation tests shown in
Fig. 2, and specically from the state where an abrupt stiffness
loss was observed ( vy 2600 kPa, hy 1378 kPa). This state
was considered to represent the intersection of the consolidation
path with the BSE. Using this information, the initial values of
the state variables were determined as: K 1400 kPa,
S1 K 230 kPa. Fig. 2 also shows the observed and predicted
compression curves during isotropic consolidation plotted in the
log p versus specic volume (1 e) plane. The two types of
tests are reproduced well by the proposed model. The elliptical
shape of the BSE appears to represent reasonably well the
structural characteristics of Vallericca clay, since the stress level
corresponding to a major loss in stiffness is accurately predicted
along both the isotropic and the anisotropic consolidation paths.
Figures 3 and 4 compare the experimental and the predicted
curves of the deviatoric stress (q) and the excess pore pressure
(u)/volumetric strain (v ) observed in selected undrained and
drained MP tests. The corresponding effective stress paths are
plotted in Fig. 5. The hyper-elastic formulation employed in the
model reproduces well the stiffness and the slope of the effec-

tive stress paths in the early stages of shearing, that is before


the onset of plastic strains and the initiation of structure
degradation. Fig. 3 shows that the model can reproduce well the
brittle stressstrain behaviour and the post-peak strain softening
observed in the normally consolidated undrained tests. The
model is also successful in predicting the monotonic strain
hardening observed in the drained test. The observed rates of
excess pore pressure development in the undrained tests and the
volumetric compression in the drained test are also reasonably
well predicted. According to the proposed model, structure
degradation inuences drained and undrained shearing differently: drained specimens are subjected to larger de-structuring
than undrained specimens, because of the additive deleterious
effects of the volumetric and deviatoric strains in the drained
specimen. Despite that, strain-softening is observed and predicted only in the undrained tests; this is due to the appreciable
volumetric compression of the drained tests, which enhances the
frictional shearing resistance of the material and masks the
deleterious effects of de-structuring, causing a net enlargement
of the BSE. In contrast, in the undrained tests, the size of the
BSE decreases due to the prevailing effects of shear-induced
structure degradation (since volumetric hardening is nil).
The MP overconsolidated samples sheared in undrained mode
(Figs 4 and 5) exhibit a brittle stressstrain behaviour which is
reproduced reasonably well by the proposed model. The samples
strain harden until the effective stress paths are inside the BSE.
When the paths reach the BSE, the rate of de-structuring
becomes appreciable and the material starts to strain soften. As
the OCR increases, the dilatant behaviour of the soil is enhanced,
while the rate of de-structuring decreases due to the larger
accumulated shear strains inside the BSE (Figs 4 and 5). This
type of behaviour is correctly reproduced by the proposed model.
The capabilities of the proposed model are also evaluated
using the results of the HP series of tests. Figs 6 and 7 compare
the experimental and predicted deviatoric stress and excess pore
pressure curves and the associated effective stress paths in
specimens anisotropically consolidated to very high pressure
(well above the BSE) and then sheared undrained at
OCR 1:0, 17 and 24. The experimental results show a brittle
stressstrain behaviour, coupled with an increase of u in the
nal part of the tests. Accordingly, the stress paths bend to the
left after peak strength, showing decreasing values of p and q.
This feature can only partly be attributed to the initial structured
state, as the high-pressure consolidation stage is likely to have
caused an appreciable amount of structure degradation. The
observed behaviour is more likely to be related to the anisotropic consolidation stress path imposed prior to shear. In fact,
similar softening responses were also observed on reconstituted
samples of other clays sheared undrained after anisotropic compression and swelling (e.g. Gens, 1982; Rossato et al., 1992).
To reproduce such observations, the model was calibrated in
order to retain some deviatoric structure degradation even at
high pressure. Figs 6 and 7 indicate that the model satisfactorily
reproduces the stressstrain behaviour during the HP shearing,
while it tends to overestimate the corresponding excess pore
water pressure. It should be pointed out that the model was
calibrated mainly by using the consolidation and MP test results
and was then employed in a comparison with the HP test
results. While this last comparison is not always satisfactory, it
should be realized that the stress levels of the MP and HP tests
are very different and thus the model was used under `unfavourable' circumstances.

A CONSTITUTIVE MODEL FOR STRUCTURED SOILS


CONCLUSIONS

The paper describes and evaluates a critical-state incremental-plasticity model for structured soils (MSS). The model
simulates the engineering effects of processes causing structure
development (pre-consolidation, ageing, cementation, etc.) and
structure degradation (remoulding by volumetric and/or deviatoric straining), such as high stiffness and strength at the intact
states, appreciable reduction of stiffness and strength during destructuring, and the evolution of stress-induced and structureinduced anisotropy. A novel feature of the model is the treatment of pre-consolidation as a structure-inducing process and
the unied description of all such processes via the BSE. The
proposed model distinguishes the concepts of `yielding' (i.e. the
onset of irreversible deformation upon reaching the PYE) and
the onset of major de-structuring which occurs when the BSE is
engaged. Thus, the model avoids the large elastic domain of
critical state models and permits the development of irreversible
strains even for small variations of the stress levels. Other
features of the MSS model include
(a) a general-purpose damage-type mechanism which can
model the structure degradation induced by volumetric
and deviatoric strains
(b) stress- and bond-induced anisotropy as well as memory of
the stress history, achieved by recording the offset of the
two model surfaces from the isotropic axisthese characteristics are gradually erasable (fading memory) as the
surfaces move and the material state adapts to more recent
stressing
(c) formulation in a tensorial space consisting of the isotropic
axis and the deviatoric hyper-planethis formulation
ensures the generality required for incorporation in nite
element codes without losing the geometrical insight of the
triaxial pq plane, and it facilitates the modelling of shear
strength anisotropy by decoupling the shear strength
parameters in the various shearing modes (triaxial, plane
strain, simple shear, etc.), thus permitting independent
control of the shear strength in these modes
(d ) downward compatibility with the MCC model when all
structural and anisotropic features are turned offfurthermore, these features can be turned on and off according to
the type of the available test data, thus adapting the level of
predictive sophistication to the available data.
The model is evaluated by comparing the predicted and
observed behaviour of the stiff overconsolidated Vallericca clay.
The experimental data used to investigate the predictive capabilities of the model consist of drained and undrained triaxial
compression tests performed on natural samples after consolidation and swelling along anisotropic stress paths to reach different levels of maximum stress and overconsolidation ratio. For
samples re-consolidated to stress levels below the BSE (MP
tests), the model predictions are in good agreement with the
observed behaviour. These results are of particular interest in
the prediction of the behaviour of geotechnical structures, since
most of these interact with natural soils subjected to low stress
levels. For samples re-consolidated to stress levels well above
the BSE (HP tests), the model satisfactorily reproduces the
stressstrain behaviour during undrained shearing. Comparison
of the observed and predicted effective stress paths of all tests
indicates that the model can reproduce with a satisfactory
degree of accuracy the overall behaviour of Vallericca clay as
observed in a wide range of stresses and loading conditions.

These transformed stress and strain measures are energy conjugate and,
compared to the standard tensorial quantities (, ), have the advantage
that the size of the space required to represent any loading path is the
absolute minimum; for example, a triaxial test can be represented in the
two-dimensional space ( , S1 ), a plane strain test in the threedimensional space ( , S1 , S2 ), etc.

APPENDIX 2. CALCULATION OF THE PLASTIC MODULUS H


For material states on the BSE, the plastic modulus is determined
from the `consistency condition', which requires that the material state
should remain on the BSE, that is
@F
@F
@F
@F
F_ 0 )
: _
_ 0
s_ K
_ K
@
@ K
@s K
@
However
@F
: _
@

(18)


1
1 _
@F
2( K );
Q : _
H;

@ K

@F
2
2 (s s K );
@s K
c
_ K



_
_
_

@F
K ; s_ K s K
s
2
sK ;

K
@

It can be seen that, in such cases, the material state () coincides with
the contact point of the PYE and the BSE. Furthermore (using equation
(10))
_ and _ p  p [2(_ep : e_ p )] (sign )
_
_ p [2(P9: P9)]
_ pv P
q
3
3
where P and P9 are the volumetric and deviatoric components of the
plastic potential tensor P, respectively.
_
Thus, equation (4) gives _ R,
where



1e
R
v exp(v pv ) P
k
p p 2
_
(sign )f
q q exp(q q )g [3(P9: P9)]
Substitution of the above into equation (18) gives the plastic modulus
H 2RT
where
T ( K )

(19)



1

(s s K ): s s
sK
2
c
K

For material states inside the BSE, the plastic modulus H can be
determined from the requirement for a continuous variation of its value
as the PYE approaches the BSE and eventually the two surfaces come
into contact. At that nal stage, the material state will be located on the
BSE and the plastic modulus will be determined from equation (19). It is
noted that the consistency condition has already been used in the
determination of the translation of the PYE (equation (9)).
The requirement for a continuous variation of H is satised if the
plastic modulus is obtained from the following interpolation rule
H H 0 j H 0jf[1 (=o )] 1g

(20)

where H 0 is the value of the plastic modulus at a state corresponding to


!
point M 0 where vector OM intersects the BSE (Fig. 1) and is computed
via equation (19). Point M 0 has coordinates ( > 1) and M is the
current stress state (coordinates:
). The parameter is computed from
p
the relationship: [(B B2 A )]=A, where
A

1
1
1
(s: s) 2 ; B 2 (s: s K ) K ; 2 (s K : s K ) 2K 2
c2
c
c

The parameter is the normalized length of MM9, dened by the


relationship
S

APPENDIX 1. TRANSFORMED STRESS AND STRAIN SPACES


The MSS model is formulated in a general effective stress space
(Prevost, 1978; Kavvadas, 1983) consisting of the isotropic (mean) stress
axis ( x y z )=3 and the deviatoric
hyper-plane fS1 pS2
p
S3 S4 Sp5 g, where Sp1 (2 y x pz )= 6, S2 ( z x )= 2;
S3 xy 2, S4 xz 2 and S5 yz 2. The corresponding strain
measures consist of the volumetric strain v ( x y z ) and pthe
deviatoric vector
1 (2 y x z )=p 6,
p fE1 E2 E3 E4pE5 g where Ep
E2 ( z x )= 2, E3 xy = 2, E4 xz = 2 and E5 yz = 2.

271

Q
:
2kQk

and o is the value of the parameter upon initiation of yielding; that is,
o is reset to the value of each time yielding is reinitiated. Thus,
=o 1 upon initiation of yielding, =o , 1 at any later stage, and
0 when the material state lies on the BSE. Equation (20) is
essentially an interpolation rule between the value H 1 upon
initiation of yielding, and the value: H H 0 when the stress state
reaches the BSE. The material constant . 0 determines the rate of
variation of H in the range (1, H 0).

272

KAVVADAS AND AMOROSI

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance and


support offered by Professor G. Calabresi, Professor S. Rampello and Dr M. R. Coop during the experimental research on
Vallericca clay.

NOTATION

BSE
c (or ci )
dot (over a symbol)
e
e (superscript)
G=K
F
f
H
I
OCR
p (superscript)
PYE
q
R
s
Si
T

v
q
v , v , q , q
q
k
k

, p
vmax
vo

K
L

(, )

bond strength envelope


eccentricity of the BSE and the PYE
innitesimal increment of this quantity
void ratio
elastic component of strain
elastic shear parameter in poro-elasticity
function of the BSE
function of the PYE
elasto-plastic modulus
unit second-order tensor
overconsolidation ratio
plastic component of strain
plastic yield envelope
scalar stress deviator
auxiliary scalar quantity (dened in Appendix 2)
tensorial stress deviator
deviatoric stress components
auxiliary scalar quantity (dened in Appendix 2)
size of the BSE
elastic shear parameter in hyper-elasticity
parameter controlling the variation of the elastoplastic modulus ( H)
excess pore pressure
strain tensor
volumetric strain
scalar deviatoric strain
volumetric and deviatoric structure degradation
parameters
steady-state deviatoric structure degradation/
hardening parameter
poro-elastic compressibility
hyper-elastic compressibility
intrinsic compressibility
mean effective stress
maximum vertical pre-consolidation pressure
vertical consolidation pressure
effective stress tensor
coordinates of the centre of the BSE in the stress
space
coordinates of the centre of the PYE in the stress
space
ratio of the sizes of the BSE and PYE
parameters controlling the evolution of material
anisotropy

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