The bounding effect of the water retention curve on the cyclic response of an unsaturated soil

Arash Azizi, Ashutosh Kumar, David G. Toll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The water retention properties of soils present in formation layers of roads and railways continuously vary due to repeated traffic loads and periodic rainfall events. This is important because the accumulated deformation and resilient modulus of such soils under cyclic loading are profoundly affected by water retention properties. This paper discusses the cyclic and water retention response of a clayey sand subjected to repetitive cyclic loading and wetting stages. The results show that the accumulated permanent strains and resilient modulus of the tested soil are dependent on the suction level while the main wetting water retention curve of the soil dictates the variation of the suction measured during cyclic loading and wetting. This bounding effect of the water retention curve is found to be dependent on the void ratio where the suction can even increase due to the accumulation of strains under cyclic loading while the degree of saturation increases. This contradicts the suction reduction typically observed with an increase in the degree of saturation. A void ratio dependent water retention model is developed accounting for the observed bounding effect and employed to predict the measured suction during repetitive cyclic loading and wetting. The suction values predicted by the void ratio dependent water retention model are in good agreement with the experimental data. The predicted suctions are then used in semi-empirical formulations to obtain the accumulated permanent strains and resilient modulus. A better correlation between model predictions and experimental data is achieved where the suction values predicted by the void ratio dependent water retention model are used. The results imply that predictive frameworks proposed for the cyclic behaviour of road and railway formation layers require water retention counterparts that incorporate the bounding effect of void ratio on soil water retention curves.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Geotechnica
Early online date31 Oct 2022
DOIs
Publication statusEarly online - 31 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Cyclic loading
  • Suction
  • Unsaturated soil
  • Water retention curve
  • UKRI
  • EPSRC
  • EP/P029671/1

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