Plasticity with generalized hardening: Constitutive modeling and computational aspects

Claudio Tamagnini, Matteo O. Ciantia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, an extended theory of plasticity with generalized hardening is proposed to describe the response of geomaterials under both mechanical and environmental processes, which include as special cases several elastoplastic constitutive equations proposed in the literature to model such processes as desaturation or suction hardening, thermal softening, chemo-mechanical coupling effects in fine-grained soils, as well as weathering of soft rocks. In the formulation of the theory, the coupling between mechanical and environmental processes takes place at two levels: first, as an additional direct contribution to the constitutive stress changes, taking place in both elastic and elastoplastic processes; and second, as a result of the evolution of the internal state variables induced by changes in the environmental process variables. This last effect is incorporated through a set of generalized hardening rules. As an example of application, the general formulation is specialized to the particular case of weak calcarenite rocks undergoing degradation processes due to plastic deformations, changes in degree of saturation (short-term debonding) and chemical dissolution of the bond material and the solid grains (long-term debonding). The resulting model is implemented in a FE code by means of an implicit generalized backward Euler algorithm, suitably modified to incorporate the full formalism of plasticity with generalized hardening. Results of numerical simulations carried out at the element level show the accuracy and efficiency properties of the proposed stresspoint algorithm. The simulation of a representative initialboundary value problem demonstrates the practical relevance of environmental degradation effects in practical applications, over periods of time comparable with the life cycle of most geotechnical structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-623
Number of pages29
JournalActa Geotechnica
Issue number3
Early online date12 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Computational plasticity
  • Coupled multiphysics processes
  • Environmental loading
  • Plasticity with generalized hardening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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