Modelling of simple shear tests on volcanic unsaturated sands

Mariagiovanna Moscariello*, Yanni Chen, Sabatino Cuomo, Giuseppe Buscarnera

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In landslide susceptibility analysis, a relevant issue is the proper modelling of the complex mechanisms that regulate the failure and post-failure stages. In this paper, simple shear experiments replicating the kinematics of failure in landslide-prone areas are interpreted through an elastoplastic strain-hardening constitutive model for both saturated and unsaturated soils. The material tested is an air-fall volcanic (pyroclastic) soil from Southern Italy which originated from the explosive activity of the Somma-Vesuvius volcanic apparatus. Data from triaxial and shear tests performed on remoulded specimens characterized by saturated and unsaturated conditions are used to calibrate the model parameters. The evolution of shear stress, volumetric and shear strain measured during the experiments are reproduced by means of a model formulation specific for simple shear conditions. To capture the strength emerging under different states of saturation, non-associated flow rule, and a suction-dependent yield surface are used. Examination of the experimental data available for various testing conditions enabled the quantification of the variability of fundamental model constants, such as those controlling frictional resistance and water retention behaviour. To account for such scatter in the physical properties, the constitutive analyses are performed by employing varying model constants within a band of admissible values. The resulting model performance is validated by comparing the simulations with the experimental results at different saturation conditions. The results show that the combination of the proposed model with a data-driven determination of the range of variation of hydro-mechanical properties is crucial to satisfactorily simulate the essential features of the soil response under a variety of simple shear testing regimes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number02021
JournalE3S Web of Conferences
StatePublished - Oct 16 2020
Event4th European Conference on Unsaturated Soils, E-UNSAT 2020 - Lisboa, Portugal
Duration: Oct 19 2020Oct 21 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Energy(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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