Application of a finite deformation multiplicative plasticity model with non-local hardening to the simulation of CPTu tests in a structured soil

Kateryna Oliynyk (Lead / Corresponding author), Matteo O. Ciantia

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In this paper an isotropic hardening elastoplastic constitutive model for structured soils is applied to the simulation of a standard CPTu test in a saturated soft structured clay. To allow for the extreme deformations experienced by the soil during the penetration process, the model is formulated in a fully geometric non-linear setting, based on: i) the multiplicative decomposition of the deformation gradient into an elastic and a plastic part; and, ii) on the existence of a free energy function to define the elastic behaviour of the soil. The model is equipped with two bonding-related internal variables which provide a macroscopic description of the effects of clay structure. Suitable hardening laws are employed to describe the structure degradation associated to plastic deformations. The strain-softening associated to bond degradation usually leads to strain localization and consequent formation of shear bands, whose thickness is dependent on the characteristics of the microstructure (e.g, the average grain size). Standard local constitutive models are incapable of correctly capturing this phenomenon due to the lack of an internal length scale. To overcome this limitation, the model is framed using a non-local approach by adopting volume averaged values for the internal state variables. The size of the neighbourhood over which the averaging is performed (characteristic length) is a material constant related to the microstructure which controls the shear band thickness. This extension of the model has proven effective in regularizing the pathological mesh dependence of classical finite element solutions in the post-localization regime. The results of numerical simulations, conducted for different soil permeabilities and bond strengths, show that the model captures the development of plastic deformations induced by the advancement of the cone tip; the destructuration of the clay associated with such plastic deformations; the space and time evolution of pore water pressure as the cone tip advances. The possibility of modelling the CPTu tests in a rational and computationally efficient way opens a promising new perspective for their interpretation in geotechnical site investigations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th UK Travelling Workshop
Subtitle of host publicationGeoMechanics: from Micro to Macro (GM3), Dundee, 2021
EditorsMatteo Ciantia, Marco Previtali, Malcolm Bolton
Place of PublicationDundee
PublisherUniversity of Dundee
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameGM3 Travelling Workshop Proceedings


  • PFEM
  • Finite deformations
  • Structured soils
  • CPTu


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