Probabilistic characteristics analysis for the time-dependent deformation of clay soils due to spatial variability

Feiyang Wang, Hongwei Huang, Zhenyu Yin, Qiang Huang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Consolidation and creep are two types of time-dependent deformation of clay soil. However, the soil deformation presents probabilistic behaviours when the spatial variability is considered. The Monte–Carlo method is used to sample anisotropic random fields that are mapped into two-dimensional random finite element models (RFEM) to analyse the influences of spatial variability on the time-dependent deformation of clay soil. The anisotropic random fields of soil parameters are generated by a spectral representation method (SRM) to describe the spatial variability of clay soil. The consolidation and the creep problems are modelled by Biot’s consolidation theory and the creep model proposed by Yin et al. (2010) respectively. The spatial variability of Young modulus and permeability coefficient in probabilistic consolidation analysis and the secondary consolidation coefficient in probabilistic creep analysis are emphasized by the RFEM simulation. The results show that the scale of fluctuation (SOF) in vertical direction and the coefficient of variation (COV) of Young modulus and permeability have significant influences on the probabilistic characteristics of consolidation behaviour. Besides, the bunched region of low permeability soil produces a blockage effect, which seriously affects the consolidation characteristics. It is found that the uncertainty of creep deformation will accumulate over time until it remains constant. The variability of creep deformation increases with the increase in the vertical SOF and COV of the secondary consolidation coefficient. The research also provides insightful clues for the time-varying reliability design related to the time-dependent deformation of clay soil.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Environmental and Civil Engineering
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • blockage effect
  • Clay soil
  • horizontally stratified anisotropic random field
  • scale of fluctuation
  • spatial variability
  • time-dependent deformation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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