The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Elastic model for partially saturated granular materials

TitleElastic model for partially saturated granular materials
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHicher P-Y, Chang CS
JournalJournal of Engineering Mechanics, ASCE
Start Page505
Date Published05/2008
KeywordsElastic deformation, Granular materials, Micromechanics, Soil suction, Stress strain relations, Unsaturated soils

This paper presents the development of an elastic model for partially saturated granular materials based on micromechanical factor consideration. A granular material is considered as an assembly of particles. The stress-strain relationship for an assembly can be determined by integrating the behavior at all interparticle contacts and by using a static hypothesis, which relates the average stress of the granular assembly to a mean field of particle contact forces. As for the nonsaturated state, capillary forces at grain contacts are added to the contact forces created by an external load. These are then calculated as a function of the degree of saturation, depending on the grain size distribution and on the void ratio of the granular assembly. Hypothesizing a Hertz-Mindlin law for the grain contacts leads to an elastic nonlinear behavior of the particulate material. The prediction of the stress-strain model is compared to experimental results obtained from several different granular materials in dry, partially saturated and fully saturated states. The numerical predictions demonstrate that the model is capable of taking into account the influence of key parameters, such as degree of saturation, void ratio, and mean stress.