A constitutive model for soft clayey rocks that includes weathering effects

Microstructural and mineralogical observations of claystones reveal the presence of clay aggregates bonded by a skeleton of inert minerals such as calcium carbonate. The behaviour of these natural materials evolves from a rock-like behaviour, when undisturbed, to clay-like soil when weathered or when subjected to straining. A model has been developed to simulate the constitutive behaviour of these transitional materials. Following the proposal made by Vaunat & Gens, the material is conceived as a composite medium made of a clay matrix and a quasibrittle bonding microstructure. The basic model has been modified and extended to reproduce the expansive behaviour of the clay matrix, a fundamental aspect to simulate weathering effects, induced largely by drying-wetting cycles. The clay matrix reacts to stress and suction changes, whereas the bond component is not affected by suction changes. An elasto-plastic double-structure model for expansive clay soils describes the clay matrix. The bonding structure follows a damage model. The inter-action between the two constitutive models derives from strain compatibility conditions and energy considerations. The model performance is first illustrated by means of a sensitive analysis that explores the effect of initial bond strength, bond damage rate, bonding concentration, and wetting-drying cycles. Simple stress paths (uniaxial deformation; triaxial compression) are used to highlight the features of the formulation and the role of significant parameters. Some published tests are also reproduced with the model. They have been selected to show some relevant features of evolving soft clay rocks: stiffness and strength degradation during loading and enhanced rebound during unloading, and the effect of drying–wetting cycles on subsequent stiffness and strength degradation. (A)

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • PINYOL, N
    • VAUNAT, J
    • Alonso, E E
  • Publication Date: 2007-3


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 137-151
  • Serial:
    • Geotechnique
    • Volume: 57
    • Issue Number: 2
    • Publisher: Thomas Telford Limited
    • ISSN: 00168505

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01055011
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Aug 6 2007 2:18PM