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Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

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Simulation of yielding and stress–stain behavior of shanghai soft clay

Maosong Huang a,⇑, Yanhua Liu a,b, Daichao Sheng c
Department of Geotechnical Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai 200092, China
School of Highway, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China
School of Engineering, University of Newcastle, NSW 2308, Australia

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: In this paper, a simple bounding surface plasticity model is used to reproduce the yielding and stress–
Received 16 March 2010 strain behavior of the structured soft clay found at Shanghai of China. A series of undrained triaxial tests
Received in revised form 30 November 2010 and drained stress probe tests under isotropic and anisotropic consolidation modes were performed on
Accepted 20 December 2010
undisturbed samples of Shanghai soft clay to study the yielding characteristics. The degradation of the
Available online 22 January 2011
clay structure is modeled with an internal variable that allows the size of the bounding surface to decay
with accumulated plastic strain. An anisotropic tensor and rotational hardening law are introduced to
reflect the initial anisotropy and the evolution of anisotropy. Combined with the isotropic hardening rule,
Soft clay
the rotational hardening rule and the degradation law are incorporated into the bounding surface formu-
Anisotropy lation with an associated flow rule. Validity of the model is verified by the undrained isotropic and aniso-
Yielding tropic triaxial test and drained stress probe test results for Shanghai soft clay. The effects of stress
Bounding surface model anisotropy and loss of structure are well captured by the model.
Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction clays, it is logical to start with a model that has had some success
in predicting the behavior of remoulded material and then add to it
The Modified Cam-clay (MCC) model, which is based on the some measure of structure and destructuration [24,1,5,20,28].
critical state theory, is one of the most widely used constitutive After all, a structured soil can eventually become something like
models for clay [23]. It was originally formulated for remolded a remolded soil given sufficient loading and destructuration.
clays under isotropic consolidation condition. Although the MCC Meanwhile, numerous constitutive models that account for plastic
model is widely used to represent the behavior of clayey soils, its anisotropy of natural clays have been proposed, in which S-CLAY1
prediction ability is not considered adequate for natural clay. This model proposed by Wheeler et al. [31] is a relatively simple elasto-
is because of the complicated properties such as anisotropy, struc- plastic anisotropic model. Most existing models in the literature
ture and strain rate. Structure and anisotropy are the essential nat- (e.g. [26,3,14]) account for either structure or anisotropy, but only
ure of naturally deposited soft clay, which have considerable few models consider both properties of natural clays (e.g. [16,2]).
influence on the strength and stress–strain response of natural The two properties can be related, but not always equivalent. Sev-
clays. Sometimes loading causes degradation of the initial struc- eral researchers (e.g. [15,24,11]) developed constitutive models for
ture, and this is particularly true in soft clays (e.g. Leda clay [21]; natural soils within the framework of kinematic hardening, which
Bothkennar clay [27]). Neglecting the anisotropy of soil behavior consider simultaneously the anisotropic and structural effect on
may lead to highly inaccurate predictions of soil response under the mechanical behavior of soils. Those models can in general
loading [33]. From engineering point of view, the last two decades achieve good results but often at a cost of complexity. They often
or so have seen an increased trend of construction activities on soft require special techniques to ensure that the current stress points
soils and hence a quantitative model that can accurately predict are located on the inner yield surface at every integration step in
the behavior of the soil is highly desirable. the finite element implementation [35]. An alternative approach
There are various approaches for the constitutive modelling of to avoid this complexity is to remove the kinematic hardening
natural clays (e.g. [22,6]). To model the destructuration of natural yield surface, only preserving the bounding surface [7,8]. Thus,
the kinematic hardening yield surface is degenerated to a loading
stress point, and the plastic modulus at the current stress point
can be defined by a simple interpolation rule using values at the
⇑ Corresponding author. Address: Department of Geotechnical Engineering,
Tongji University, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai 200092, China. Tel./fax: +86 21
bounding surface. By means of vanishing pure elastic region, the
65983980. classical kinematic hardening bounding surface model can be
E-mail address: (M. Huang). simplified into the single bounding surface model [9].

0266-352X/$ - see front matter Ó 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
342 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

The main purpose of this paper is to investigate the yielding q

characteristics of Shanghai soft clay and to demonstrate that a sim-
plified bounding surface model is sufficient to simulate both the
anisotropic and structural properties of natural clays. Experimental Bounding surface
data from undrained triaxial tests and drained stress probe tests on K0 line
Shanghai soft clay are presented to support the proposed model.
2. Model description
Reference surface

α p
The constitutive model, which is presented in this section, is pc rpc
developed in p–q stress space, with p being the effective mean
stress and q the deviatoric stress. Attention is restricted to rate-
independent behavior and full saturation. Thus, the basic elasto-
plastic assumption is the additive decomposition of total strain
Fig. 1. Reference surface and bounding surface of anisotropic model for structured
rate e_ ij , into elastic and plastic parts, e_ eij and e_ pij clays.
e_ ij ¼ e_ eij þ e_ pij ð1Þ
The structure surface, which can be thought of as a bounding
The response associated with the elastic part is expressed in surface, controls the process of destructuration. For simplicity,
terms of the bulk and shear modulus, K and G, which are assumed we consider that the structure surface has the same elliptical shape
to depend on the current mean stress p as the reference surface. The mathematical equation of structure
p 3ð1  2mÞ surface is given by
K¼ ; G¼ K ð2Þ  
j ð1 þ mÞ R2 q2
c Þ p þ
F ¼ ðp  p c þ ðR  1Þ2 a ¼ 0
p ð6Þ
where m is a constant Possion’s ratio; j⁄ = j/(1 + e0); e0 is initial void R v
ratio and j is the slope of the swelling line in e-lnp plane.
The corresponding elastic incremental constitutive relation is qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
given by a¼ 3aij aij =2 ð7Þ
r_ ij ¼ Deijkl e_ ekl ð3Þ
pffiffiffiffiffiffiffi 1 a a 2
where Deijkl
is elastic matrix, being in general a function of K and G. qa ¼ 3J a ; Ja ¼ sij sij ð8Þ
The plastic part e_ pij is developed within the framework of the
critical state theory and the bounding surface plasticity. The for- saij ¼ sij  rkk aij =3 ð9Þ
mulation of the proposed model is given in detail in the following.
2.1. Bounding surface v ¼ ðM  aÞ½2aðR  1Þ2 þ M  a þ 4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2 =2
Based on the experimental observations, an anisotropic refer-
ence surface, which is an inclined ellipse on the p–q plane, is used where aij is the anisotropic tensor defining the anisotropy of clays;
to model the intrinsic behavior of the reconstituted soils. The a defines the inclination of yield surface in p–q stress space, which
anisotropic reference surface can describe the effect of initial is the second invariant of anisotropic tensor; rij is stress tensor; sij is
anisotropy caused by one-dimensional deposition and K0-consoli- deviatoric stress tensor; saij is the reduced deviatoric stress tensor;
dation process. A structure surface or bounding surface which qa is the reduced equivalent shear stress; Ja is the reduced second
has the same elliptical shape as the reference surface is adopted stress invariant; R is the shape parameter, which controls the ratio
to describe the effect of the initial structure and control the process of the two major axes of the yield surface; M is the slope of critical
of destructuration. For simplicity, the loss of structure is assumed state line in triaxial space, which is defined by the reduced Lode an-
to affect merely the size of yielding surface. A scalar variable r gle ha as follows:
" pffiffiffi   #
called structural parameter is defined: 1
1 3 3 Sa
ha ¼ sin ð11Þ
c =pc
r¼p ð4Þ 3 2 Ja

where p c is the structural yielding stress; pc is the initial consolida-  1

1 a a a 3
tion stress. Namely, r defines the ratio between the sizes of the Sa ¼ sij sjk sik ð12Þ
structure surface and reference surface. The curves of the reference
surface and structure surface are shown in Fig. 1. The value of r is  1=4
always larger than or equal to 1, due to its physical meaning. For 2m4
M ¼ Mc ð13Þ
r = 1.0, the soil is completely destructured and the size of the struc- ð1 þ m4 Þ  ð1  m4 Þ sin 3ha
ture surface is related only to pc, corresponding to the size of the
where Sa is the reduced third stress invariant; m is a material
reference surface. We consider that the yield surface for describing
parameter defined as m = Me/Mc in which Mc and Me are the critical
the behavior of the destructured or remolded soil, which is called
state stress ratios for triaxial compression and triaxial extension in
the reference surface, is an anisotropic elliptical form. According
p–q stress space. According to Sheng et al. [25], the yield surface is
to Ling et al. [19], the mathematical equation of the reference sur-
convex provided m P 0.6, which coincides with the Mohr–Coulomb
face is defined by
hexagon at all vertices in the deviatoric plane.
  As defined in Liang and Ma [18] and Ling et al. [19], the initial
R2 q2
f ¼ ðp  pc Þ p þ  pc þ ðR  1Þ2 a ¼ 0 ð5Þ anisotropic tensor a0ij are expressed through a constant A0 with
R v
the initial stress states
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 343

Z qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
a0ij ¼ A0 ; s0ij ¼ r0ij  pc dij ð14Þ epd ¼ ð1  BÞ  ðdepv Þ2 þ B  ðdeps Þ2 ð21Þ
For the initial stress ratio K 0 ¼ r03 =r01 , the components of the where depv is plastic volumetric strain increment; deps is plastic shear
tensor are given as follows: strain increment; B is a non-dimensional scaling parameter which
controls the relative contributions to damage of volumetric and dis-
a011 ¼ 2k0 ; a022 ¼ a033 ¼ k0 ; a012 ¼ a023 ¼ a013 ¼ 0 ð15Þ tortional plastic strain increments depv and deps . The form of Eq. (21)
suggests that for B = 1 the destructuration is entirely distortional,
where while for B = 0 the destructuration is entirely volumetric.
0 1  K0
k ¼ A0 ð16Þ 2.3. Mapping rule
1 þ 2K 0
For isotropic consolidated specimens K0 = 1.0, thus k = 0. For In the proposed model, the projection center is fixed at the ori-
the K0-consolidated specimen, A0 = 0.65–1.0 (Liang and Ma [18]). gin of p–q stress space. And following the linear radial mapping
rule (Dafalias and Herrmann [9]), for any actual stress point rij,
2.2. Hardening rules there is a unique image stress point r ij on the bounding surface
corresponding to the current stress point. The following relation-
The isotropic, rotational/anisotropic hardening rules, and ships are used in relating current stress states to those at the
destructuration law are used to control the size, rotation and the bounding surface:
process of destructuration of the bounding surface.
r ij ¼ brij ; b ¼ ð22Þ
2.2.1. Isotropic hardening d0  d
In line with the Cam-clay model, a volumetric hardening rule is where d and d0 denote respectively, the distance and the ultimate
adopted. The internal variable pc is used to reflect the effect of pre- distance between current stress point and image stress point.
consolidation, which is independent of the bonding of soils and Fig. 2 shows the mapping rule in the proposed model.
controls the size of the yield surface. pc is controlled only by the
plastic volumetric strain rate e_ pv , given by 2.4. Bounding plastic modulus

p_ c ¼ pc ev =ðk  j Þ 
Experimental evidence from Shanghai soft clay and Korhonen

where k ¼ k=ð1 þ e0 Þ with k being the slope of the normal compres- and Lojander [17], suggests that the associated flow rule is a rea-
sion line in the e-lnp space. sonable approximation for natural clay when combined with an in-
clined yield curve. Thus the bounding surface function also serves
2.2.2. Rotational/anisotropic hardening as the plastic potential function. The plastic strain rate is deter-
The rotational rate of the bounding surface is controlled by the mined as
evolution of the anisotropic tensor aij. We adopt a similar form to
the anisotropic/rotational law proposed by Wheeler et al. [31]. e_ pij ¼ h/i
_ ð23Þ
The proposed form of modified hardening law is @r
     where /_ is the plastic loading index, is defined as follows
3sij sij  
a_ ij ¼ lq  aij  he_ pv i þ b  aij  e_ ps  ð18Þ 1 @F 1 @F
4p 3p /_ ¼ r_ ¼   r_ ij ð24Þ
 ij ij H
Hp @ r p @ rij
where the parameter b controls the relative effectiveness of plastic
shear strains e_ ps and plastic volumetric strains e_ pv in determining the Substituting the hardening rules and plastic loading index into
overall current target value for aij ; and the soil constant l controls the consistency conditions, the bounding plastic modulus is ob-
the absolute rate at which aij approaches its current target value tained as
[31] . An extra parameter q is introduced in order to control the  
change rate of aij as the stress ratio g = q/p approaches the critical  p ¼  @F q_ n ¼  @F p_ c þ @F a_ ij þ @F r_
H ð25Þ
@qn @pc @ aij @r
state value M. This suggests the following expression for q
D  g E where qn denote a set of internal variables of material. The deriva-
q ¼ 1    ð19Þ  mn can be evaluated in terms of @F=@I, @F=@J a and @F=@ 
tives @F=@ r ha .
M The details are presented in Appendix A of this paper. For details of

2.2.3. Destructuration law

The scalar variable r represents the progressive degradation of
soils, which controls the ratio between the sizes of structure sur-
face and reference surface. According to Rouainia and Muir Wood
[24], the scalar variable r is assumed to be a monotonically
decreasing function of the plastic strain. The following exponential
destructuration law is adopted
kd epd
r ¼ 1 þ ðr 0  1Þ exp ð20Þ
k  j

where r0 denotes the initial structure and kd is a parameter which

describes the rate of destructuration with strain. This equation
takes the main effect of damage by both plastic volumetric and
plastic deviatoric strains into account through the plastic destruc-
turation strain epd , which has the following form Fig. 2. Mapping rule in bounding surface model.
344 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

the derivatives of F with respect to hardening variables pc, aij and r, Wheeler et al. [31], it is difficult to suggest a simple and direct
the readers is also referred to Appendix A. method for deriving the value of l for a given soil. They proposed
The plastic modulus is related to the bounding plastic modulus to conduct model simulations with several different values of l
through the following relationships [18,13] and then to compare these simulations with the observed behavior
to select the most appropriate value for the parameter l. The most
^ H
Hp ¼ Hð  p ; d; rij ; q Þ
n suitable experimental tests would be ones involving significant
"   2 #" w #
@F d0 rotation of the yield curve. In practice, performing suitable labora-

¼ Hp þ 1Pa þ 1 ð26Þ
@p @q d0  d tory tests and then undertaking model simulations with different
values of l for each deposit may not be feasible. Zentar et al.

w ¼ w0 exp neps ð27Þ [34] suggested that the value of l for a particular soil will normally
R lie in the range 10/k to 15/k. With l in this range, the model
s _ ps ,
where e ¼ e which denotes the cumulative plastic deviatoric predicts that an anisotropic natural soil must be subjected to an
strain. The function w is introduced to reflect the effect of strain isotropic stress approximately three times larger than the yield
history on the plastic modulus. As eps increases continuously with stress if the anisotropy of plastic behavior is to be erased (this
loading, the plastic modulus Hp decreases. Pa is the atmosphere matches reported behavior for a number of clays). The model
pressure, 1 and w0 and n are the model parameters. For d = 0, the ac- parameter b defines the relative effectiveness of plastic shear
tual stress point rij will coincide with the image stress point r  ij , so strains e_ ps and plastic volumetric strains e_ pv in rotating the yield
the actual plastic modulus Hp will be equal to the bounding surface surface, which can be determined by the normally consolidated
plastic modulus H  p . It is emphasized that when the cumulative plas-
K0 stress ratio and the critical stress ratio. Wheeler et al. [31]
tic deviator strain eps acquires very large values, the function w will suggested the value of b/M between 0.5 and 1.0 for normally or
approach to zero, which may also result in Hp ¼ H  p . Nevertheless,
lightly overconsolidated natural soft clays.
that does not mean the actual stress rij has to equal the image stress The parameters for stiffness interpolation w0, n and 1 are ob-
r ij , and there is nothing wrong with such an eventuality. tained by best fitting the experimental results. The parameters
for stiffness interpolation w0, n and 1 are obtained by best fitting
2.5. Model parameters the experimental results.

The proposed model requires 13 material parameters as well as 3. Simulations of experiments on Shanghai soft clay
the initial stress state parameters (e0, pc, r0, A0). The parameters are
related to critical state soil mechanics (k, j, Mc, Me, m), shape of 3.1. Summary of experiments
bounding surface (R), loss of structure (kd, B), evolution of anisot-
ropy (l, b), and interpolation of plastic modulus (w0, n, 1). A programme of tests on samples of Shanghai soft clay was
The procedure for determining soil parameter values and initial undertaken to investigate the validity of the proposed model. The
values of the state variables for the proposed model is relatively testing programme consisted of oedometer tests and triaxial tests.
straightforward. The initial state parameter r0 defines the degree The important aims were to determine the initial shape and size of
of initial structure, which can be determined by comparing struc- the structure surface, and to supply essential parameters for pro-
tural yielding stress and pre-consolidation stress in a one-dimen- posed model.
sional compression test on structural soft clays. Increasing r0 For the present study, undisturbed samples were taken at
increases the initial degree of structure so that a higher structural depths of 10 m, with in situ horizontal consolidation stress
stiffness is reached. In case of r0 = 1.0, the sample of natural soil has r0hc = 41 kPa and vertical consolidation stress r0v c = 68.6 kPa. The
little or nothing any initial structure, i.e., the structureless state is initial mean effective stress pc was determined to be 50.3 kPa.
received. The initial anisotropic state parameter A0 is a model cal- Some physical properties of Shanghai soft clay at the depth of
ibration constant, and typically in the range of 0.65–1.0 [18]. interest are presented in Table 1.
k and j are determined from isotropic consolidation tests. They
may also be obtained from the compression index Cc and swelling 3.1.1. Consolidation characteristics
index Cs of one-dimensional consolidation tests, where One-dimensional consolidation characteristics from 24 h
k ¼ C c =2:303 and j = Cs/2.303. Mc and Me are determined from oedometer tests are investigated in the present study. Fig. 3 shows
the slope of the critical state line or indirectly from the angle of the results of the oedometer tests on undisturbed samples. Based
internal friction /. m may be specified as a constant. on the results, the consolidation yield stress (r0y ) was determined
Shape parameter R is a material parameter. It geometrically to be 110.5 kPa. The initial structural parameter, r0 = 1.61, is deter-
controls the extent of the tensile section in the stress space diago- mined approximately from r0y /r0v C . The compression index and
nal (R P 2.0), which can be viewed as a parameter controlling the swelling index (Cc and Cs) of one-dimensional consolidation tests
shape of the yield function. Larger values of R imply a flatter shape are 0.489 and 0.107 respectively. k and j are obtained from Cc
of the yield function. Undrained stress path of the normal consol- and Cs where k ¼ C c =2:303 and j = Cs/2.303.
idated soil may be used to obtain the value of shape parameter R
as mentioned by Ling et al. [19], where R = 2.0 is a typical value. Table 1
Index properties of Shanghai soft clay.
According to Rouainia and Muir Wood [24], the structural
parameter kd influences the rate of destructuration with strain. A Index property Value
high value of kd can lead to very rapid loss of structure, whereas Water content, w(%) 51.8
this destructuration is much slower with a smaller value of kd. Liquid limit, wL(%) 44.17
The structural parameter B controls the relative contributions to Plastic limit, wP(%) 22.4
Plastic index, IP 21.77
damage of volumetric and distortional plastic strain increments
Liquid index, IL 1.35
depv and deps , the range of the value of B is 0–1.0. The structural Specific gravity, Gs 2.74
parameters can be determined by comparing triaxial compression Sensitivity, St 4.86
and one-dimensional compression tests [24]. Initial void ratio, e0 1.402
The anisotropic hardening parameter l controls the rate, at Over consolidation ratio, OCR 1.0
Coefficient of lateral pressure at rest, K0 0.6
which aij tends towards its current target value. According to
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 345

1.6 250
σ'vc=68.6 kPa CIU-2
1.4 200 CIU-3

Deviator stress: kPa

e0=1.402 σ'y=110.5 kPa CIU-4
1.2 K 0 line
150 CAU-1

1 100 M=1.277
0.8 ϕ'=31.8o

0.6 0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350

0.4 Mean effective stress: kPa

1 10 100 1000 10000
Fig. 4. Stress paths in undrained triaxial tests.

Fig. 3. Void ratio e-log r0v relationships in oedometer tests.

120 CIU-2
Table 2 CIU-3

Deviator stress: kPa

Test conditions for undrained triaxial tests on Shanghai soft clay. 100 CIU-4

0 0
Test number Horizontal and vertical reconsolidation stress r r (kPa)
r/ a
CIU-1 50/50
CIU-2 100/100 60
CIU-3 150/150
CIU-4 200/200 40
CIU-5 300/300
CAU-1 41/68.6, p0 = 50
CAU-2 81.8/136.4, p0 = 100
CAU-3 245/408.3, p0 = 300
0 5 10 15 20 25

3.1.2. Yielding characteristics Axial strain: %

In this section, fundamental deformation and yielding charac-
Fig. 5. Stress–strain curve of CIU tests.
teristics of Shanghai soft clay, such as strain softening, yield or lim-
it surface, etc., are discussed based on the results of triaxial tests on
the Shanghai soft clay. The size of specimen was used: 39.1 mm in
diameter and 80 mm long. 100
CAU-2 Consolidated undrained tests. Undrained triaxial tests under 80
Deviator stress: kPa

isotropic and anisotropic (K0 = 0.6) consolidation modes were per-

formed on natural undisturbed samples. The initial horizontal
reconsolidation stress r0r and vertical reconsolidation stress r0r 60
are given in Table 2.
Figs. 4–6 show the stress paths and stress–strain relationships 40
of the CIU (isotropically consolidated undrained) and CAU (aniso-
tropically consolidated undrained) tests with a constant axial
strain rate.
In Fig. 4, with the progress of strain, it is observed that stress
paths reach their peak strength and finally approach a narrow zone 0
in the stress space. This phenomenon shows that the critical state 0 5 10 15 20 25
concept could be applied to natural clay at large strains. The slope Axial strain: %
of critical state line, M, was determined to be 1.277, which corre-
Fig. 6. Stress–strain curve of CAU tests.
sponds to effective angle of internal friction /0 = 31.8.
Figs. 5 and 6 present stress–strain data from CIU and CAU tests
of Shanghai soft clay. Strain softening is observed on the condition All samples were reconsolidated to the in situ stress state along
that mean effective stress is under yielding stress r0y , i.e., the stress path that retraced their normal consolidated stress histories. Point
decreases with an increase of strain after the stress has reached its A is p0 , q = 50.3, 27.6 kPa. From point A the specimens were either
peak. With the increase of mean effective stress, the relationship of sheared undrained (SEU and SCU tests) or subjected to continuous
stress–strain presents gradually hardening character. drained probing tests radiating from point A at a range of angles
(x = tan1Dq/Dp0 )-type SCD and SED tests. Consolidated drained tests. Several stress-controlled drained Defining yield is a useful approach to quantify deformation
triaxial tests plus a group of undrained tests were carried out in or- behavior of clays within the context of elasto-plasticity. So the
der to investigate progressively the yielding characteristics of yielding phenomenon has often been discussed for natural soft clay
Shanghai soft clay. The principal features of the yielding test pro- by many researchers [32,12,27,4]. According to Smith et al. [27], if
gramme are summarized in Table 3 and Fig. 7. an element of soil which located at a stable point in triaxial stress
346 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

Table 3 ceptually coincides with the conventional yield surface, and the
Triaxial tests performed for yielding study on Shanghai soft clay. large-scale changes in soil structure are delayed until the stress
Test number Comment path reaches the Y3 surface, i.e., the proportion of plastic strain in-
SCU Undrained test in compression, x = 90° creases progressively as the initial structure surface is approached.
SEU Undrained test in extension, x = 90° Therefore, the bounding surface (structure surface) in Fig. 1, which
SCD0° Drained probing test, x = 0° is related to Eq. (6), coincides with the Y3 surface. In view of single
SCD15° Drained probing test, x = 15° structural yield surface model proposed in this study, it is noted
SCD29° Drained probing on K0-line from point A, x = 29°
SCD50° Drained probing test, x = 50°
that the determinations of Y1 and Y2 surface are beyond the scope
SCD60° Drained probing test, x = 60° of this paper.
SCD72° Drained probing test, x = 72° It is rather complicated to define the yield points in the stress
SCD90° Drained probing test, x = 90° space. There are a number of approaches one can take to define
SED-15° Drained probing test, x = 15°
the stress state at yielding. The yield points determined by various
SED-29° Drained probing test, x = 29°
SED-56° Drained probing test, x = 56° plots of the deviator stress q against the shear strain es and the
mean effective stress p0 against the volumetric strain ev, etc., how-
ever, are not generally identical [30]. In addition, although the
yield points should be determined traditionally by the onset of
200 the development of plastic strain, it is rather difficult to divide
SCD90o SCD72o SCD60o SCD50o
the strain precisely into elastic and plastic components. Taking
the yielding characters of structure into account in the present pa-
SCU SCD29o per, therefore, the yield points are identified as the points where
100 the total strain develops extensively. In practice, as shown in
Fig. 9, a yield is defined herein at the foot of a perpendicular, at

which the intersection of rectilinear extrapolations of the pre-yield
A ω SCD0o
and post-yield portions of the stress–strain curve verticals to curve.
0 For each stress path, such points were identified both in the p0 –ev
0 100 200 300
SED-15o p'(kPa) curve and in the q–es curve. Then the average stress was taken as
a yield point. Data from the drained probing experiments (SCD
SEU SED-56o SED-29o and SED) and undrained triaxial tests (SCU and SEU) on the Shang-
-100 hai soft clay are presented in Appendix B where graphs of p0 plotted
against ev and q plotted against es represent a considerable amount
Fig. 7. Standard consolidation stress paths.
of data.
Fig. 10 shows the yield points obtained from SCD, SED, SCU and
space is loaded along a path such as that shown in Fig. 8, the stress SEU tests. The predicted limit state surface (structure surface) from
space within the initial bounding surface may be divided into three Eq. (6) is also shown in Fig. 10. In drawing the yield curve, the value
zones separated by yielding surface of different types termed as of M has been taken as 1.277, as estimated from undrained shear-
Y1–Y3. The innermost zone bounded by the Y1 surface (i.e., Zone ing in triaxial compression. The value of r0 = 1.61, giving the initial
1), where strains are fully recoverable and particles remain locked structure, was determined by one-dimensional consolidation test.
together, represents the ‘‘true’’ elastic region. In general, for softer And pc = 50.3 kPa for the initial stress state has been used. The
soils, the size of Zone 1 is extremely small in stress space. Because parameter A0 = 0.844 was determined from the experimental yield
of its limited size, it is difficult to map the Y1 surface. In Zone 2, points, which corresponds to a = 0.46, giving the inclination of the
which is enveloped by Y2 surface, soil behavior is characterized yield curve. Inspection of Fig. 10 shows that the yield curve expres-
by the rapid reduction of the tangent stiffness and hysteresis, with sion of Eq. (6) is a reasonable fit to the experimental data. When
stiffness being highly dependent on the recent stress and strain examined in detail, being similar to many other clays [32,29], the
history. The Zone 2 envelop can be mapped formally only by the shape of limit state surface which is approximately elliptical, is
performing of a large number of drained stress cycles. In Zone 3, not symmetrical with respect to the p0 -axis. However, in the case
where particles start to move relative to one another, soil behavior of Shanghai soft clay, the difference is that the limit state surface
is characterized by the hysteretic energy dissipation with irrecov- is not symmetrical as well with respect to the K0-line, just below
erable strains. Smith et al. [27] indicated that the Y3 surface con- the K0-line. This indicates that the clay is initially anisotropic and
that an anisotropic quasi-initial yield surface, not an isotropic
one like that used in the original Cam-clay model, is necessary
for the construction of an elasto-plastic constitutive model. At
q Bounding surface


Zone 3

Zone 1

Y1 Yield point

Zone 2

p Strain

Fig. 8. Definition of yield surface [27]. Fig. 9. Definition of the yield point.
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 347

q(kPa) CSL (a) 100
Experiment (CIU-1)
K0 line CSL Experiment (CIU-2)
60 80 Model of this paper

Deviator stress: kPa

MCC model
(p'0,q0) 60

α0 rpc P'(kPa)
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 20
0 20 40 60 80 100 120
Mean effective stress: kPa
(b) 100
Fig. 10. Yielding surface and plastic flow direction of Shanghai soft clay.


Deviator stress: kPa

40 60
deviation from normality
30 (clockwise)

Experiment (CIU-1)
20 Experiment (CIU-2)
average value -0.13
0 Model of this paper
-150 -100 -50 0 50 100 150 MCC model
-10 ω 0
0 5 10 15 20 25
Axial strain: %

(c) 100

Fig. 11. Relationship of plastic flow direction and stress path angle. 80
Pore pressure: kPa

the same time, the change in anisotropy can play an important role
in yielding of clays.
To verify the applicability of associated flow rule, the directions 40
of the plastic strain increment vectors at the appropriate yield
Experiment (CIU-1)
points were plotted in Fig. 10. The immediate impression is that 20 Experiment (CIU-2)
these plastic strain increment vectors are roughly normal to the Model of this paper
yield locus. Closer examination shows that the deviation from nor- MCC model
mality does vary between ±20° with an average value of about 0
0 5 10 15 20 25
0.13° as seen in Fig. 11. This indicates the proposition of normal-
Axial strain: %
ity is acceptable for Shanghai soft clay.
Fig. 12. Simulation of undrained triaxial compression tests on isotropically
consolidated clay. (a) Stress path; (b) stress–strain curve; (c) pore pressure-strain
3.2. Model simulations

Triaxial loading tests performed both on isotropically and aniso-

tropically (K0 = 0.6) compressed samples of Shanghai soft clay are
simulated with the proposed model and MCC model. The calibra- undrained triaxial tests and a series of drained stress probe tests
tion of material parameters was based on the results of isotropically have been simulated using previous material parameters. These
consolidated specimens, so that the behaviors of anisotropically values e0 = 1.402, pc = 50.3 kPa, r0 = 1.61, A0 = 0.844 for the initial
consolidated specimens were predicted. Table 4 shows the value stress state have been used for all simulations. In addition, to verify
of model parameters for Shanghai soft clay. Two groups of the effect of degradation of structure, the K0-consolidation test re-

Table 4
Model parameters for Shanghai soft clay.

Traditional Structural Anisotropic Stiffness interpolation

k j Mc Me m R kd B l b w0 n 1
0.212 0.046 1.277 0.9 0.2 2.0 0.65 0.5 50.0 0.7 10.0 1.5 3.0
348 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

(a) 100
(a) 200
SCD0 o

80 160
Deviator stress: kPa

K0 line
Experiment (CAU-1) 40
20 Experiment (CAU-2)
Model of this paper
Model of this paper
MCC model 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 εv(%)
Mean effective stress: kPa
(b) 100

(b) 100 SCD0 o


Deviator stress: kPa



40 q0
Experiment (CAU-1) Model of this paper
20 Experiment (CAU-2)
Model of this paper 0 1 2 3 4
MCC model
0 5 10 15 20 25
Fig. 14. Stress–strain curve of test SCD0° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.
Axial strain: %

(c) 100 (a) The general trend is well captured by the proposed model in
Experiment (CAU-1) terms of stress path, deviatoric stress and excess pore pres-
Experiment (CAU-2) sure versus strain response. The predicted effective stress
80 Model of this paper
paths converge towards ultimate remoulded undrained
Pore pressure: kPa

MCC model
strengths on the critical state line. In tests on the isotropic
60 consolidation samples, the peaks of the stress–strain curves
are obtained after approximately 2% of axial strain. And the
peak shear stress occurs after approximately 1–2% axial
strain in the process of undrained compression tests on
anisotropic consolidation specimens. In addition, the charac-
20 ters of high stiffness and strain softening for structured clay
are well reflected by the proposed model.
(b) In general, the results predicted by the MCC model were less
0 5 10 15 20 25 satisfactory in tests on both the isotropic samples and the
Axial strain: % anisotropic samples, because the behaviors of anisotropy
and structure are not estimated effectively. Under the rela-
Fig. 13. Simulation of undrained triaxial compression tests on anisotropically tively higher consolidation stress (p0 = 100 kPa) which is on
consolidated clay. (a) Stress path; (b) stress–strain curve; (c) pore pressure-strain the verge of yield stress, however, the MCC model performs
slightly better than under the lower consolidation stress
(p0 = 50 kPa) because of the damage of structure. At the same
time, the prediction for isotropic tests is somewhat better
sult for Shanghai soft clay is simulated respectively by the struc- than anisotropic tests.
tural model of this paper and non-structural model which the struc- (c) Though underpredicting the yield stress in both consolida-
tural mechanism is switched off. tion modes, the MCC model gives a relatively better predic-
Fig. 12a–c presents the undrained compression behavior of tion for pore pressure, especially under the low mean
Shanghai soft clay with two different isotropic consolidation pres- effective stress.
sures of 50 and 100 kPa. Fig. 13a–c shows the comparison between
the results of two models and the experimental data for two un- Figs. 14–25 in Appendix B show the simulated results on rosette
drained compression tests on anisotropically reconsolidated speci- of drained stress paths by the proposed model. It can be seen that
mens. The solid and dashed lines show the predicted results by the the general quality of the simulations is good. Comparing the pre-
proposed model and MCC model, respectively. The open and closed dicted results between compression paths (SCD and SCU series)
points are the experimental results for the isotropic tests and aniso- and extension paths (SED and SEU series), the former is better.
tropic tests, respectively. Several conclusions were obtained as Fig. 26 shows the comparison results between K0-consolidation
follows: test and structural model proposed by this paper. As shown in
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 349

(a) 200
SCD15o (a) 200

160 160

120 120

80 80

p'0 p'0
40 40
Experiment Experiment
Model of this paper Model of this paper
0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
εv(%) εv(%)

(b) 100
SCD15o (b) 200

80 160

60 120

40 80

20 40
Experiment q0 Experiment
Model of this paper Model of this paper
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
εs(%) εs(%)

Fig. 15. Stress–strain curve of test SCD15° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es. Fig. 17. Stress–strain curve of test SCD50° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.

(a) 200
(a) 80

120 50 p'



p'0 20
40 Experiment Experiment
Model of this paper 10
Model of this paper
0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
εv(%) εv(%)

(b) 120
(b) 120
100 100

80 80


60 60

40 40
q0 q0
20 Experiment 20 Experiment
Model of this paper Model of this paper
0 0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
εs(%) εs(%)

Fig. 16. Stress–strain curve of test SCD29° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es. Fig. 18. Stress–strain curve of test SCD60° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.
350 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

(a) 80
(a) 200




30 80

20 p'0
Experiment Experiment
Model of this paper Model of this paper
0 0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
εv(%) εv(%)

(b) 100
(b) 40

SED-15o q0
80 20


-8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1

40 -20

20 -40
Experiment Experiment
Model of this paper Model of this paper
0 -60
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24
εs(%) Fig. 21. Stress–strain curve of test SED-15° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.

Fig. 19. Stress–strain curve of test SCD72° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.

(a) 200


(a) 80
SCD90o 120



p0 p'0
40 40
30 Model of this paper
20 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16
Experiment εv(%)
Model of this paper

0 40
0 1 2 3 4
εv(%) q0

(b) 80
-8 -7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 1

60 -20


40 Experiment
Model of this paper
Fig. 22. Stress–strain curve of test SED-29° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es.
Model of this paper
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 Fig. 26, the compression curve of K0-consolidation test can be well
εs(%) interpreted by two parts in the e-lgp plot, i.e., pre-yield state and
post-yield state. In the pre-yield state which refers to that the ap-
Fig. 20. Stress–strain curve of test SCD90° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es. plied stress level is less than the consolidation yield stress, the
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 351

(a) 200

160 1.4

120 1.2


p'0 0.8
Model of this paper Experiment
0.6 Structural model
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Non-structural model
εv(%) 0.4
1 10 100 1000
(b) SED-56 o
εs(%) Fig. 26. Simulation of K0-consolidation test on Shanghai clay.
-22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 2
-40 enters into post-yield state, in which a small increment of force
can lead to greater change of void ratio in that the original struc-
ture of soil is mostly destroyed. Though a little difference, the
Experiment structural effect was captured on the whole by the proposed mod-
Model of this paper -120

el. When the structural mechanism is switched, the predicted

-160 curve presents straight line corresponding to the remoulded

Fig. 23. Stress–strain curve of test SED-56° (a) p0 –ev; (b) q–es. 4. Conclusions

A simple model, based on the critical state concept and bound-

80 ing surface plasticity, has been formulated to describe structure
and plastic anisotropy of natural soft clay. The model considered
isotropic, rotational hardening and degradation of structure using
60 a total of 13 material parameters as well as the initial stress states.
The anisotropic reference surface used here is proposed by Ling

et al. [19], which introduced the shape parameter of distorted el-

lipse suggested originally by Dafalias [10]. Based on the anisotropic
q0 reference surface, a structural inner variable is introduced to de-
scribe the structure of soft clay. With the process of destructur-
Experiment ation, the structural parameter which is a monotonically
Model of this paper decreased function, controls the contraction of structure/bounding
0 surface to the reference surface. When the structure of clays is full
0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 destroyed, the structure/bounding surface is the same with the ref-
εs(%) erence surface. The proposed form of bounding surface equation
has been validated by a substantial programme of stress probe
Fig. 24. q–es Curve of test SCU. tests on Shanghai soft clay. As compared to the kinematic harden-
ing model recently developed by Rouainia and Muir Wood [24], the
present model has the advantage of being much simpler as a result
SEU of removing the kinematic hardening yield surface. The compari-
sons with undrained triaxial and drained triaxial stress path test
εs(%) results of Shanghai soft clay under isotropic and anisotropic con-
0 solidation modes, revealed the predictive capability of the pro-
-24 -22 -20 -18 -16 -14 -12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 posed model.
This research is jointly supported by the National Natural Sci-

Experiment ence Foundation of China through Grant No. 50778132 and the Na-
Model of this paper tional Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars of China
through Grant No. 50825803.
Fig. 25. q–es Curve of test SEU.
Appendix A
mechanical behavior of soil is hardly unchanged because of the
resistance of initial structure. When the applied load is beyond The purpose of this appendix is to provide detailed expressions
the consolidation yield stress, the compressive behavior of soil for the normal to the bounding surface @F=@ r
 mn and derivatives of
352 M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353

bounding surface function F with respect to the hardening (2) Derivative of bounding surface function with respect to the
variables. hardening variables
Derivative of F with respect to pc:
(1) Normal to the bounding surface
@F 2
¼  r½p þ rðR  2Þpc  ð45Þ
The normal to the bounding surface is given by @pc R
@F @F @I @F @J a @F @ ha Derivative of F with respect to r:
Lmn ¼ ¼  þ  þ  ð28Þ
 mn @ I @ r
 mn @ J a @ r
 mn @ ha @ r
@F 2 2
¼  ppc  2rp2c 1  ð46Þ
where @r R R
 ij dij ð29Þ Derivative of F with respect to aij:

1 a a 2 @F @F @ v @ a @ v @M @ ha @F @ qa
Ja ¼ sij sij ð30Þ ¼ þ þ ð47Þ
2 @ aij @ v @ a @ aij @M @ ha @ aij a @ aij
" pffiffiffi   # where
1 1 3 3 Sa
ha ¼ sin ð31Þ
3 2 Ja @F ðR  1Þ2 q
¼ ð48Þ
@v v2
1 a a a 3  qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi
Sa ¼ sij sjk sik ð32Þ @v 1
3 ¼  2aðR  1Þ2 þ M  a þ 4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2
@a 2
The reduced second stress invariant Ja and third stress invariant 2 3
Sa are defined in terms of the reduced deviatoric stress tensor saij as M  a6 2 2ðR  1Þ2 M  ðM  aÞ 7
follows: þ 42ðR  1Þ  1 þ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi5 ð49Þ
4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2
saij ¼ sij  rkk aij =3 ð33Þ
@a 3aij
sij ¼ rij  rkk dij =3 ð34Þ ¼ ð50Þ
@ aij 2a
The normal to the bounding surface Lmn can be determined:
  @v 1
@F 1 @F 2 1 ¼ ½2aðR  1Þ2 þ M  a þ 4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2 
¼ ¼ p  rp ð35Þ @M 2
@I 3 @ p
 3 R c 2 3
pffiffiffi M  a6 2aðR  1Þ2 þ ðM  aÞ 7
@F pffiffiffi @F 2 3ðR  1Þ2 q
a þ 41 þ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi5 ð51Þ
¼ 3 ¼ ð36Þ 4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2
@J a a
@q v
@F @F @ v @M @M 3M 5 ð1  m4 Þ
¼ ð37Þ ¼ cos 3ha ð52Þ
@ ha @ v @M @ ha @ ha 8m4 M4c

@F ðR  1Þ2 q
2a @ ha @ ha @J a @ ha @Sa
¼ ð38Þ ¼ þ ð53Þ
@v v 2 @ aij @J a @ amn @Sa @ amn
 qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi pffiffiffi
@v 1 @ ha 3 3 S3a
¼ 2aðR  1Þ2 þ M  a þ 4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2 ¼ ð54Þ
@M 2 @J a 2 cos 3h J 4a
2 3
M  a6 2aðR  1Þ2 þ ðM  aÞ 7 pffiffiffi
þ 41 þ qffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffiffi5 ð39Þ @ ha 3 3 S2a
2 ¼ ð55Þ
4aðR  1Þ2 M þ ðM  aÞ2 @Sa 2 cos 3h J 3a

@M 3M 5 ð1  m4 Þ @J a 1
¼ cos 3ha ð40Þ ¼ pSa ð56Þ
@ ha 8m4 M 4c @ amn 2J a mn

@Sa 1
@I ¼  2 pSamk Sank ð57Þ
¼ dmn ð41Þ @ amn 3Sa
  @F @ qa @F @J a
@J a 1 1
¼ Samn  dmn aij Saij ð42Þ ¼ 
a @ aij @ J a @ aij
 mn 2J a 3
@ ha 1 @ Sa 1 @J a @F pffiffiffi @F 2 3ðR  1Þ2 q
¼ tan 3h  ð43Þ  ¼ 3 ¼ ð59Þ
@r mn Sa @ r
 mn J a @ r
 mn @ Ja @ 
q a v
@ Sa 1 1
2 @J a 1 a
¼ 2 Samk Sank  2J a dmn þ aij Sajk Saki dmn ð44Þ ¼  pS ð60Þ
@r mn 3S
3 @ aij 2J a ij
M. Huang et al. / Computers and Geotechnics 38 (2011) 341–353 353

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