A bounding surface model for saturated and unsaturated soil-structure interfaces

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9 Citations (Scopus)


In many geotechnical systems, such as reinforced slopes and embankments, soil-structure interfaces are often unsaturated. Shear behaviour of unsaturated interfaces is strongly dependent on their matric suctions, as revealed by the results of extensive laboratory tests. So far, constitutive models for unsaturated interfaces are very limited in the literature. This paper reports a new bounding surface model for saturated and unsaturated interfaces. New formulations were developed to incorporate suction effects on the flow rule and plastic modulus. To examine the capability of the proposed model, it was applied to simulate suction- and stress-controlled direct shear tests on unsaturated soil–cement, soil–steel and soil–geotextile interfaces. Measured and computed results are well matched, demonstrating that the proposed model can well capture key features of the shear behaviour of unsaturated interfaces, including suction-dependent dilatancy, stress–strain relation and peak and critical state shear strengths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2412-2429
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • critical state
  • dilatancy
  • soil-structure interface
  • suction
  • unsaturated

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials


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