An elastoplastic strainhardening model for soil allowing for hydraulic bonding-debonding effects

Giuseppe Buscarnera*, Roberto Nova

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The paper presents a strainhardening constitutive model for unsaturated soil behaviour based on energy conjugated stress variables in the framework of superposed continua. The proposed constitutive law deals with hydro-mechanical coupling phenomena. The main purpose is to develop within a consistent framework a model that can deal with possible mechanical instabilities occurring in partially saturated materials. The loss of capillary effects during wetting processes can, in fact, play a central role in unstable processes. Therefore, it will be shown that the bonding effects due to surface tensions can be described in a mathematical framework similar to that employed for bonded geomaterials to model weathering or diagenesis effects, either mechanically or chemically induced. The results of several simulations of common laboratory tests on partially saturated soil specimens are shown. The calculated behaviour appears to be in good qualitative agreement with that observed in the laboratory. In particular it is shown that volumetric collapse phenomena due to hydraulic debonding effects can be successfully described by the model. Finally, it will be highlighted the ability of the model to naturally capture the transition to a fully saturated condition and to deal with possible mechanical instabilities in the unsaturated regime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1086
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jun 10 2009


  • Bonding-debonding processes
  • Constitutive modelling
  • Elastoplasticity
  • Hydro-mechanical coupling
  • Unsaturated soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials

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