A possible elastic-plastic framework for unsaturated soils with high-plasticity
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The paper proposes a new elastic-plastic framework for unsaturated, high-plasticity, clayey soils and sand-clay mixtures. The framework considers possible coupling of stress- and suction-induced hardening, leading to a yield surface that is closed or "capped" as suctions increase. This produces a stress state boundary surface in three-dimensional p-q-s stress space (where p is the net mean stress, q is the deviator stress, and s is the matric suction) which differs from that of other conceptual models of its kind. Yielding, a hardening law, and failure criteria for saturated soils are incorporated into the stress state boundary surface. Two parameters, equivalent pressure p(e) and stress ratio eta(s), are introduced to form the basis of the proposed elastic-plastic framework for highly plastic soils with high suctions. This provides an alternative for the stress variables net mean stress and matric suction that are commonly used in modeling unsaturated soils with lower plasticity and lower suctions. This framework has allowed results of experiments on an unsaturated sand-bentonite mixture to be successfully described using elastoplasticity. Yield and failure envelopes associated with the proposed state boundary surface in p-q-s space can be normalized using p(e) and eta(s) in such a way that they agree with a comparable envelope for saturated specimens.