A Constitutive Model for Soft Clays Incorporating Elastic and Plastic Cross-Anisotropy
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Natural clays exhibit a significant degree of anisotropy in their fabric, which initially is derived from the shape of the clay platelets, deposition process and one-dimensional consolidation. Various authors have proposed anisotropic elastoplastic models involving an inclined yield surface to reproduce anisotropic behavior of plastic nature. This paper presents a novel constitutive model for soft structured clays that includes anisotropic behavior both of elastic and plastic nature. The new model incorporates stress-dependent cross-anisotropic elastic behavior within the yield surface using three independent elastic parameters because natural clays exhibit cross-anisotropic (or transversely isotropic) behavior after deposition and consolidation. Thus, the model only incorporates an additional variable with a clear physical meaning, namely the ratio between horizontal and vertical stiffnesses, which can be analytically obtained from conventional laboratory tests. The model does not consider evolution of elastic anisotropy, but laboratory results show that large strains are necessary to cause noticeable changes in elastic anisotropic behavior. The model is able to capture initial non-vertical effective stress paths for undrained triaxial tests and to predict deviatoric strains during isotropic loading or unloading.