A constitutive model for sand

R. Nova, D. M. Wood

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    205 Citations (Scopus)


    Although there is a large number of constitutive models for sand available in the literature it is believed that a fresh approach, striking a balance between complexity and theoretical rigour, is desirable.

    The approach here has certain conceptual links with the Cam Clay series of elastic–plastic models, but includes the more general starting assumption that the yield function, plastic potential and failure locus should be given quite distinct mathematical expressions. Possible physical bases for the proposed forms are discussed.

    Ways in which the parameters required to define the model may be determined are suggested and the use of the model is then demonstrated. Firstly, it is shown that, where a limited set of experimental data is available, the model is flexible enough to be able to match the test results. Secondly, it is shown that, where a wide range of test results has been produced, it is possible to determine the model constitutive parameters from a small number of tests and proceed to make satisfactory predictionsfor other, quite different, types of test.

    The model is developed for sand at a single initial density, but the way in which the constitutive parameters might be expected to vary with density is discussed. The model is described for conditions of triaxial compression, and extension to more general stress states will be needed before it can be put to the test of incorporation in, for example, a finite element program.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)255-278
    Number of pages24
    JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1979


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