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EC
30,1

74
Received 9 September 2011
Revised 6 February 2012
9 February 2012
Accepted 15 February 2012

Implementation of an
elasto-plastic constitutive model
for cement stabilized clay in a
non-linear finite element analysis
N.N.S. Yapage and D.S. Liyanapathirana
School of Engineering, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, Australia
Abstract
Purpose Several constitutive models are available in the literature to describe the mechanical
behaviour of cement stabilized soils. However, difficulties in implementing such models within
commercial finite element programs have hindered their application to solve related boundary value
problems. Therefore, the aim of this study is to implement a constitutive model, which has the
capability to simulate cement stabilized soil behaviour, into the finite element program ABAQUS
through the user material subroutine UMAT.
Design/methodology/approach After a detailed review of existing constitutive models for
cement stabilized soils, a model based on the elasto-plastic theory and the extended critical state
concept with an associated flow rule is selected for the finite element implementation. A semi-implicit
integration method (cutting plane algorithm) with a continuum elasto-plastic modulus and path
dependent stress prediction strategy has been used in the implementation. The performance of the new
finite element formulation of the constitutive model is verified by simulating triaxial test data using
the finite element program with the new implementation and predictions from constitutive equations
as well as experimental data.
Findings The paper provides the implementation procedure of the constitutive model into
ABAQUS but this method is useful for the implementation of any other constitutive model into
ABAQUS or any other finite element program. Simulated results for the volumetric deformation of
cement stabilized soils show that the cement stabilized soils do not obey the associated flow rule at
high confining pressures. The parametric study shows that the influence of cementation increases the
brittle nature and the bearing capacity of treated clay. In addition the results show that proposed finite
element implementation has the ability to illustrate key features of the cement stabilized clay.
Originality/value This paper presents an implementation of an elasto-plastic constitutive model,
based on the extended critical state concept, for cement stabilized soils into a finite element
programme, which has been identified as an important and challenging topic in computational
geomechanics. This implementation is useful in solving boundary value problems in geomechanics
involving cement stabilized soils, incorporating key characteristics of these soils.
Keywords Cement stabilized soils, Constitutive modelling, Finite element method,
Cutting plane algorithm, Triaxial tests, Modelling, Soils
Paper type Research paper

Engineering Computations:
International Journal for
Computer-Aided Engineering and
Software
Vol. 30 No. 1, 2013
pp. 74-96
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited
0264-4401
DOI 10.1108/02644401311286017

1. Introduction
Soft ground improvement using cement stabilization has been widely used in coastal
and low lying regions since 1970s. Although there is a wide range of ground
The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support for this research provided by the
Australian Research Council and Coffey Geotechnics Pty Ltd under the Linkage project
LP0990581.

improvement methods available, cement stabilization has become an attractive


solution for soft ground related problems due to advantages such as:
.
cost-effectiveness;
.
better stiffness, strength and deformation properties of the treated ground than
the surrounding soil; and
.
suitability for fast-track construction.
When soils are mixed with cement, soil behaviour is totally different to natural or
reconstituted states as soil and cement form a new material. Then these soils are called
artificially structured soils. Therefore, classical constitutive models such as Modified
Cam Clay are inadequate to predict the behaviour of this new material. Hence new
constitutive models are required to model the induced soil-cement structure.
Constitutive models describe the mechanical behaviour of engineering materials
in the form of a relationship between stresses and strains. Constitutive models are
essential for all numerical calculations of routine boundary value problems in
geotechnical engineering. Basically constitutive models consist of a number of
mathematical equations and controlling parameters depending on the complexity of
the model and the ability of the model in describing the different facets of the soil
behaviour. Majority of the models are developed considering the behaviour of naturally
structured soils (Baudet and Stallebrass, 2004; Kavvadas and Amorosi, 2000; Rouainia
and Muir Wood, 2000; Taiebat et al., 2009; Wheeler et al., 2003). In artificially cemented
soils, size of the yield surface is predominantly related to the bond strength between
soil particles in addition to the void ratio. Hence cement stabilized soils possess a
tensile strength. Recently few constitutive models have been developed especially for
artificially cemented soils (Lee et al., 2004; Horpibulsuk et al., 2010; Kasama et al., 2000;
Suebsuk et al., 2010; Vatsala et al., 2001) within the framework of Modified Cam Clay
model. Accuracy and efficiency of these models are mostly verified simulating the
behaviour of a single gauss integration point of a soil element within the context of the
finite element method. Their implementation into finite element programs and then
application to boundary value problems are rather limited.
Numerical modelling using the finite element method has been carried out by many
researchers to study the behaviour of cement stabilized soft ground in the form of
deep cement mixed (DCM) columns in different geotechnical applications such as
embankments for railways and roads (Filz, 2007; Han and Gabr, 2002; Huang et al.,
2006), bearing capacity and settlement of treated soil (Dong et al., 2004) and seismic
mitigation applications (Namikawa et al., 2007). To model the cement stabilized soil,
Mohr-Coulomb model (Filz, 2007; Huang et al., 2006; Dong et al., 2004) and
Drucker-Prager model (Han and Gabr, 2002) have been used. However, neither
Mohr-Coulomb model nor Drucker-Prager model has the ability to describe the key
characteristics such as the strain softening behaviour of cement stabilized soil and may
lead to unsafe and uneconomical designs. The main reason for using these simple
models to simulate the cement stabilized soil behaviour is the lack of availability of
advanced soil models suitable for the simulation of cement treated soil in many
commercially available finite element programs.
When implementing new constitutive models into finite element programs,
algorithms are used to numerically integrate the rate constitutive equations and
then update the stress state. Existing approaches can be mainly classified as explicit

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
75

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76

integration methods and implicit integration methods. Explicit schemes are simple and
the implementation is straightforward. However, the calculated stresses may not
satisfy the yield criterion automatically. When stress state changes from elastic to
plastic, intersection of the stress state with the yield surface should be computed.
Accuracy of these schemes can be improved by introducing error control and
sub-stepping in the finite element formulation (Sloan, 1987, 2001).
Conversely, the finite element formulation of the implicit scheme is complicated.
The derivation of the consistent tangent modulus involves solution of a system of
equations but the advantage is the resulting stresses will automatically satisfy the
yield criterion to a specified tolerance (Sloan et al., 2001). However, the major
drawbacks of the implicit scheme when used for advanced constitutive models are:
.
there is a possibility for divergence; and
.
the difficulty of deriving the consistent tangent modulus.
To overcome these complexities of the implicit schemes, Oritz and Popov (1985) and
Simo and Taylor (1986) have introduced a semi-implicit return mapping approach
called the cutting plane algorithm (CPA), which bypasses the calculation of consistent
tangent modulus.
The aim of the present study is to implement the constitutive model developed by
Lee et al. (2004), which has the capability to simulate cement stabilized soil behaviour,
into the finite element program ABAQUS through the user material subroutine UMAT
(ABAQUS Inc., 2010). A semi-implicit algorithm based on CPA with a continuum
tangent modulus has been used. Although the implementation presented in this paper
is focused on ABAQUS, the steps involved in the integration process are applicable to
any other finite element program.
General steps used for integrating the stress-strain relationship with an isotropic
hardening law have been discussed. The implemented material subroutine is verified
by simulating the behaviour of cement stabilized soft clay presented by Lee et al. (2004)
based on the constitutive equations and drained triaxial test data. Also the paper
presents finite element simulations carried out for drained triaxial tests for cement
stabilized Ariake clay presented by Suebsuk et al. (2010).
2. Constitutive model for cement stabilized soil
The constitutive model selected for the finite element implementation is the model
developed by Lee et al. (2004) for artificially cemented clays. The model is formulated
within the framework of the critical state theory. The concept behind this model is that the
strength of bonds between soil particles increases by adding cement. When there is no
added cement, there is no added bond strength component in the model, and hence the
model behaviour is similar to the MCC model. With the increase in plastic deviatoric strain,
soil will reach the critical state due to breakage of cementation bonds between soil particles.
This model has assumed that the failure state line of cemented clay is parallel to that
of the reconstituted clay and the intercept of the failure state line exhibits the tensile
strength due to the effects of cementation similar to Horpibulsuk et al. (2010) and
Suebsuk et al. (2010). Therefore, cement stabilized clay has an elliptical yield surface in
the p 0 2 q stress space similar to that of the reconstituted clay, where p 0 is the mean
effective stress and q is the deviatoric stress. This concept has widely been employed by

many researchers (Horpibulsuk et al., 2010; Kasama et al., 2000; Suebsuk et al., 2010;
Liu et al., 2006; Muir Wood, 1990) and graphically shown in Figure 1.
It is assumed that the plastic potential, G, and the yield loci, F, change with the
plastic strain. The model follows associated flow rule obeying normality condition.
Considering cementation effect, modified effective stress concept is employed to get the
yield function by rearranging the yield function of the MCC model, as shown below:



0
0
G F q 2 M 2cs p 0 pt p 0 pc
1
0

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
77

parameter, which
where pc is the size of the initial yield surface, pt is the cementation
0
takes into account the effect of bonding between soil particles. pt controls
the size of the
0
yield surface in conjunction with the plastic deviatoric strain. pt is given by the
following equation:
0

pt pt;o e 2kp 1q

where 1qp

is the cumulative plastic deviatoric strain, kp is the bonding control parameter,


0
Mcs is the critical stress ratio. pt;o is the initial value of the cementation
parameter.
0
According to equation (2), when plastic deviatoric strain increases, pt decreases and it
becomes zero after complete elimination of bonds due to shearing. This stress state is
equivalent to the reconstituted state of the soil. Cumulative plastic deviatoric strain
component is calculated by getting the summation of all incremental plastic deviatoric
strain terms at each step. Incremental plastic deviatoric strain is calculated by
subtracting the total elastic deviatoric strain component from the total deviatoric strain
component. Equations (3)-(5) give the total plastic deviatoric strain, total deviatoric
strain and incremental elastic deviatoric strain components, respectively:
n 

X
1pq 1q 2
d1eq
3
i1

Figure 1.
Graphical representation
of the constitutive model

EC
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78

p 
1=2
3
2
1q
1rr 2 1zz 2 1zz 2 1uu 2 1uu 2 1rr 2 12rz
2
3
 
21 vk
d1eq
dqi
i
91 2 2v1 ep 0

4
5

where v is the Poissons ratio of the soil, k is the swelling index of the soil, p 0 is the mean
effective stress, dqi is the increment in deviatoric stress during the increment i, e is the
void ratio, 1rr, 1zz and 1uu are, respectively, the radial, vertical and tangential
components of the total direct strains and 1rz is the total shear strain component for an
axisymmetric situation. The number of strain increments is denoted by i and varies from
1 to n.
The bonding effect of cement stabilized clay increases the size of the yield surface
exhibiting tensile strength. Therefore, yield surface crosses the q axis and has a
negative value for p 0 in the p 0 2 q stress space, when q is zero. With the elimination of
bonds, yield surface shifts to the origin of the p 0 2 q stress space. In the model
proposed by Lee et al. (2004), it is assumed that l changes with the p 0 and the
corresponding void ratio, e.
Since the model uses associated plasticity, the vector of plastic strain increment d1 p
is in the direction of the outward normal to the yield surface. Therefore, the flow rule
can be defined as:

0
0
2
d1pv F=P t M cs 2p 0 2 pc pt
6

2q
F=q
d1pq
This model uses an isotropic hardening rule to describe the enlargement and shifting of
the yield loci and it mainly depends on the plastic volumetric strain increment as
shown below:
0

dpc

1 e 0
p d1pv
l 2 k c

This model is developed assuming that the cement stabilized soils behave in a drained
manner. This assumption is reasonable for cement stabilized soils created by the
dry mixing method, where dry cement is in situ mixed with soil. At the same time
the model has been developed assuming that the cement stabilized soils behave in
an isotropic manner. Haung and Airey (1998) and Rotta et al. (2003) showed that the
variation in mechanical properties in cement stabilized soil is fundamentally isotropic.
This model is simple and

 it requires only eight model parameters
0
0
M CS ; pt;0 ; l; k; k1 P; v; eo ; pc , which can be derived using standard laboratory tests.
3. Stress integration algorithm
The updating scheme for the path dependent materials like elasto-plastic materials
requires a numerical algorithm to integrate the plastic rate constitutive equations. It is
important to mention that the accuracy of the overall non-linear finite element scheme
depends on the accuracy of the numerical algorithm adopted to formulate the state update
procedures and this is currently an active research area (Clausen et al., 2006; Simo and
Taylor, 1986, 1985; Nazem et al., 2006; Simo and Hughes, 1998; Wang and Atluri, 1994).

When the stress integration method is robust, accurate and fast, then the performance
of the finite element program significantly improves, especially with advanced
elasto-plastic constitutive models. Stability, consistency and simplicity are the other
factors which contribute to the superiority of integration schemes.
The CPA used in this study is a special return mapping algorithm developed to
bypass the calculation of second derivative of the plastic potential as it uses a
continuum tangent modulus. Thus, it makes the implementation easier when dealing
with complicated constitutive models. However, Simo and Hughes (1998) showed that
the CPA method limits its use in practical finite element implementations with
Newton-Rhapson solution strategy due to lack of consistent linearization. Nevertheless,
Huang and Griffiths (2009) showed that this can be overcome using a path dependent
strategy and with that strategy, CPA can be made more stable and efficient. Therefore,
in this study, the CPA with the continuum elasto-plastic modulus in conjunction with a
path dependent strategy is implemented.
This algorithm consists of two major steps. They are the elastic predictor and
plastic corrector steps. Next sections describe the development of the stress integration
algorithm to update the new stress state using the strain increments computed within
the main finite element program and transferred to the UMAT.
3.1 Derivation of the continuum elasto-plastic tangent modulus
In this section the derivation of continuumum tangent modulus relating incremental
strains and stresses is discussed. Since the aim is to implement this model into a finite
element program, all derivatives, strains and stresses are given in the matrix form.
The yield function, F, for the model is given by equation (1). When the material is
plastic, the stress state should be on the yield surface and hence it should satisfy the
condition, F 0. Further loading will cause plastic deformations and changes the
stress state directing outwards the yield surface. If the hardening parameter remains
unchanged, this will make F . 0. However, plastic definitions are accompanied with
increasing hardening and the yield surface expands in such a way that the yield
surface passes through the current stress state of the material. Therefore, loading and
hardening together satisfy the condition that the material remains on the yield surface.
Hence dF 0 and using the chain rule of differentiation, the incremental change of the
yield function can be written as:


F T
F
F
dF
{ds 0 } p d1vp p d1qp 0
8
0
s
1v
1q
where d1pv is the plastic volumetric strain increment, d1pq is the plastic deviatoric strain
increment and {ds 0 } is the corresponding stress increment.
This implementation is explained for an axisymmetric condition. Therefore, {ds 0 }
is given by:
8 09
d sr >
>
>
>
>
>
>
0 >
>
=
< d sz >
9
{ds 0 }
0
>
d su >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
;
: dt 0 >
rz

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
79

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80

where dsr , d sz and dsu are, respectively, the 0 radial, vertical and tangential
components of the effective stress increment and d trz is the shear stress increment.
The incremental plastic strains d1pv and d1pq are related to the plastic potential
function, G. Since the material model follows associated plasticity, G F.
Consequently, the plastic strains are given by:


F
{d1 p } l
10a
s 0

F
10b
d1pv l
p 0

F
p
d1q l
10c
q
l is the scalar multiplier, which represents the magnitude of the plastic flow.
Constitutive behaviour can be written using the incremental stress {d s 0 } and the
incremental elastic strain {d1 e } assuming only the component of the elastic strain can
generate stresses through the elastic constitutive matrix as shown below:
{d s 0 } D e {d1 e }

11

where [D e] is the elastic constitutive matrix. For an axisymmetric situation, [D e] is a


4 4 matrix given by:
De  EMBED equation3

12

where K and m are material parameters defined as:


1 ep 0
k
31 2 2v
m
K
21 v
K

13
14

where m is the elastic shear modulus.


For the case of a small strain increment, the total strain increment {d1} consists of
elastic, {d1 e} and plastic, {d1 p} strain increments. Hence {d1 e} can be written as:
{d1 e } {d1} 2 {d1 p }

15

Therefore, the following constitutive relationship can be derived using equations


(10a)-(10c), (11) and (15):



F
0
e
p
e
{ds } D {d1} 2 {d1 } D  {d1} 2 l
16
s 0
Using equations (8), (10), (11), (15) and (16) following equation for l can be derived:

{F=s 0 }T D e {d1}




{F=s 0 }T D e {F=s 0 } 2 F=1pv F=p 0 2 F=1pq F=q

17

Finally the continuum tangent modulus relating incremental stresses and strains is
given by:
h

{ds 0 } D e  2 D e {F=s 0 } 0 {F=s 0 }D e ={F=s 0 } 0 TD e {F=s 0 }
i
 
 
2 F= 1pv F=p 0 2 F= 1pq F=q {d1}
18
Equation (18) is the elasto-plastic constitutive equation in the form of
{d s 0 } D ep {d1}, where [D ep] is the continuum elasto-plastic tangent stiffness
matrix (continuum Jacobian).
When deriving the tangent stiffness matrix, the stress gradients of the yield
function are calculated as follows:
9
8
F p 0 F q >
>
>
>

>
>
>
>
>
p 0 sr0 q sr0 >
>
>
>
>
>
>
> F p 0 F q >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
> 0
0
0 >

>
=
<

s
z
z
F
19

0
F p
F q >
>
s 0
>
>
>
>

0
0
>
>
>
p 0 s u q su >
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
F q
>
>
>
>
>
>
;
:
q trz
where, for an axisymmetric problem, p 0 and q are given by:
 0
0
0
sr s z s u
0
p
3

1=2
  0
2  0

1
0
0 2
0
0 2
2
q p
sr 2 sz sz 2 su su 2 sr 6trz
2

20
21

Derivatives of the yield function with respect to p 0 and q are given below:
h
i
F
0
0
2
0

M
2p

p
2
p
t
c
cs
p 0

22

F
2q
q

23

Gradient of the stress invariants p 0 and q can be computed as follows:

p 0
p 0 p 0 1

0
sr0 su sz0 3
0

24
0

q
2 s 2 sz 2 su
q
2s 2 sr 2 sz
q
2 sz 2 su 2 sr
;
;
r
u
0
sr0
2q
sz0
2q
2q
su

25

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
81

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82

Finally, {F=s 0 } can be evaluated as follows:


8
0
0
0
M 2cs
>
>
> 2sr 2 sz 2 su 3
>
>
2

>
 >
< 2s 0 2 s 0 2 s 0 M cs
F
u
r
z
3

>
0
0
0
s 0
M2
>
>
2sz 2 su 2 sr 3cs
>
>
>
>
:
6trz

9
0
0
2p 0 pt 2 pc >
>
>
>
>
>
 0

0
0 >
2p pt 2 pc =
 0
0
0 >
>
2p pt 2 pc >
>
>
>
>
;


26

A change in the yield surface updates d1pv and d1pq . Hence, F=1pv and F=1pq in the
continuum tangent modulus can be evaluated using the chain rule as shown below:
0

F
F pc
0
p
1v pc 1pv
0

27

F=pc and pc =1pv can be evaluated using:



 p
F
1 e 0
0
2
0
c
pc

2M
p

0
t ;
cs
pc
1pv l 2 k
0

28

F
F p t
0
p
1q pt 1pq
0

29

F=pt and pt =1pq can be evaluated using:



 p


F
0
2
0
0
p
t
0 M cs p 2 pc ;
p 2kp p t;o exp 2kp 1q
pt
1q
0

30

3.2 Cutting plane algorithm (CPA)


In this algorithm, the calculation of plastic strain increment and the occurrence of
convergence at the time tn 1 are completed at the end of the step and therefore the
integration scheme can be described as below.
At the beginning of each stress update step (n 1), the total strain increment
0
{d1n1 } as well as total strain {1n}, total plastic strain {1pn }, total effective stress {sn }
and state variables (void ratio, e and preconsoildation pressure, p 0c ) saved at the end of
previous stress update, n, are given as input parameters. In the elastic predictor step,
assuming total strain increment is completely elastic, a trial stress state is calculated as
shown below:
n 0 o n 0o
trial
n1
31
sn D e {d1n1 }
Then0 the yield condition is checked. If the yield function meets the condition
trial
# 0, then the trial stress0 state is inside the yield surface and the material
Fsn1
trial
behaviour is elastic. Therefore, sn1
is the actual stress state. Otherwise the stress
state is outside the yield surface and hence the stress state is plastic. Then the plastic
corrector step is employed. The Newton-Raphson method is used to iteratively return

the trial stress state to the updated yield surface by correcting the plastic strain
increment using the plasticity parameter l The derivation of plasticity parameter is
described in Section 3.2.
In the CPA algorithm, the yield function is linearized around the current stress state,
k
{sn1
}. Hence, the yield function at the iteration k 1 and k are related as shown
below:

 k1 k  F
F
sn1 2 sn1 p d1pv p d1pq
F k1 F k akn1
1v
1q

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
83

32

By combining equations (10a)-(10c), (17) and (32), and F k 1 0, the plasticity


parameter can be written shown below:

lk
n1 n

ak
n1

oT

F k
33
n
o
p
0 2 F=1p F=q
D e  ak

F=

F=

p
2

v
q
n1

The process with respect to 0 CPA is graphically shown in Figure 2.


corrector
} is calculated as:
The plastic corrector, {sn1


n 0
o
F
corrector
sn1
ln1 D e {an1 }; {a}
s 0
Therefore, the corrected stress state is calculated as:
n 0 o n 0 o
trial
sn1 sn1
2 ln1 D e {an1 }

34

35

The iteration loop can be summarised as shown below.


Initialization and elastic predictor step: initialize the input parameters at the
beginning of the iteration loop (k is the iteration number), and calculate the trial stress:
n
o
p
k 0 : 1p0
l0
36a
n1 1n ;
n1 0

(a) Hardening

(b) Softening

Figure 2.
Graphical interpretation
of semi-implicit
algorithm (CPA)

n 0 o

n
o
0
d sn1
D e  {d1n1 } 2 d1p0
n1
n 0 o n 0o n 0 o
0
0
sn1
sn dsn1

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30,1

36b
36c

Check the yield condition and convergence at kth iteration:

84

n
o
F k F sk
n1

37

If Fk , TOL, convergence is ok. Otherwise, proceed to the plastic corrector step.


Plastic corrector step: compute the plastic corrector (plasticity parameter), lk
n1
given in equation (33).
Obtain the stress correction:
n
o
k
{ds k } 2ln1
D e  ak
38
n1
Update the plastic and elastic strains as well as the stress state:
n
o n
o
n
o
pk1
pk
} 1pk
1pk
1n1
n1 {d1
n1 ln1 {an1 }
n

o n
o
n
o
ek1
pk
1n1
} 1ek
1ek
n1 {d1
n1 ln1 {an1 }
n 0
o n
o
0
k1
k
sn1
}
sk
n1 2 {d s

39a
39b
39c

k k 1, go to equation (37).
This iteration loop continues until the convergence is achieved.
3.3 Development of subroutine, UMAT
The numerical procedure described in the previous section can be used to implement
any constitutive model into a finite element program. In this paper, the numerical
procedure has been used to implement a constitutive model for cement stabilized soils
(Lee et al., 2004) and incorporated into the finite element software, ABAQUS/Standard
through the user material subroutine (UMAT). Implementation of the material model,
stress updates and tangential modulus computation (material Jacobian matrix) are
carried out within the UMAT subroutine.
UMAT performs two main functions necessary for an analysis:
(1) Computes incremental stresses based on the strain increments passed into
UMAT from the main program.
(2) Computes the updated tangential stiffness modulus based on the constitutive
model used for the material modelling, for the global Newton-Raphson iteration
employed by main program to solve non-linear problems.
The total stress, strain and the user-defined solution-dependent state variables
(STATEV) from the last converged equilibrium state and the total strain increment for
the current step, total analysis time, time increment and other predefined field

variables are passed into the UMAT subroutine. From the equilibrium state at time tn,
based on the applied incremental
ABAQUS computes the total strain increment d1total
n
loading at the time increment Dtn to find the updated stress state according to the
constitutive law used for the material behaviour. After that the convergence is checked
using the updated stresses and this procedure is performed iteratively until the
convergence is reached. The maximum number of iterations and convergence tolerance
used in the subroutine are 50 and 102 3, respectively.
Within the UMAT subroutine, increments of total stress, plastic strain, state
variables and tangential stiffness matrix, which is called the material Jacobian matrix
(DDSDDE), are computed. The steps involved within the ABAQUS user defined
material subroutine, UMAT, from time tn to tn 1 can be illustrated using the flow chart
shown in Figure 3.

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
85

Initialization of history variables to the UMAT


at t = tn
Total strain total
n
Total stress total
n
Total strain increment dtotal
n
Time increment tn

Call UMAT
Specify new t in UMAT
Obtain stress increments dn
p
Update plastic strain n+1
total
Update total stress n+1 using semi
implicit integration method

Convergence

No

Yes
Calculate the material tangent modulus

Update state variables

ABAQUS main programme updates strain


total
total
total
n+1 = n + dn
Compute the global stiffness matrix
Generates new strain increment
dtotal
n+1 at tn+1

Figure 3.
Flow chart for the UMAT
in ABAQUS/Standard

EC
30,1

After the solution is converged to 0the correct stress state, the degree of cementation, pt ,
and the size of the yield surface, pc , are updated at the end of each time increment using
equations (2) and (40) (Borja and Lee, 1990), respectively:


1 en1
0
0
40
d1pv;n1
pcn1 pcn exp
ln1 2 k

86

Then the continuum Jacobian is calculated using equation (18). The Jacobian should be
accurate to achieve the fast convergence and the accuracy of the overall solution as the
main finite element program needs this constitutive matrix to compute the global
tangent stiffness matrix, which is used to estimate the strain increment for the next step.
Performance of the UMAT and the constitutive model are investigated in the
following sections using the drained triaxial test data reported by Lee et al. (2004) and
Suebsuk et al. (2010).
4. Verification of the formulation
The performance of the new finite element formulation of the constitutive model is
verified using an Excel spreadsheet program developed by the authors to compute the
stress paths and variation of volumetric strain with the axial strain at a single Gauss
integration point. This is the only possible method we can use to verify the formulation
because results given by Lee et al. (2004) are incorrect due to some errors in the equations
(derivatives) in Formulation of the Constitutive Model section of their paper.
Due to the symmetry of the triaxial specimen, finite element mesh is developed only
for a quarter of the cylindrical specimen of 5 cm in diameter and 10 cm in height. The
element type used for this analysis is an eight-node axisymmetric continuum element
and reduced integration (four Gauss integration points). Table I shows the material
properties used for the finite element analysis carried out using ABAQUS/Standard.
Figure 4 shows the variation of deviatoric stress with axial strain and Figure 5 shows
the variation of volumetric strain with the axial strain for a triaxial test with confining
pressures of 20 and 160 kPa obtained from the finite element analysis and the Excel
spreadsheet program based on the constitutive equations for a single Gauss integration
point. Finite element simulation results overlap with the Excel spreadsheet results
calculated for a single Gauss point. These results confirm that the numerical
implementation presented in the paper is in agreement with the cement stabilized soil
behaviour described by the constitutive model.
5. Effect of confining pressure on the cement stabilized soil behaviour
Drained triaxial tests are simulated using the constitutive model implemented in
ABAQUS/Standard by varying the confining pressure from 50 to 400 kPa. The model
parameters used for this simulation are given in Table II.
Figure 6 shows the variation of deviatoric stress with axial strain when the
confining pressure increases. According to this figure, the deviatoric stress developed

Table I.
Model parameters for the
drained triaxial test

v
0.25

k
0.003

Model parameters for soil type used by Lee et al. (2004)


MCS
kp
p 0t (kPa)
Confining pressure (kPa)
1.9

10, 45

250

20, 160

1,200

Deviatoric stress (kPa)

Simulation-160 kPa
1,000

Simulation-20 kPa

800

Experimental-160 kPa

600

Experimental-20 kPa

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
87

Single Gauss-160 kPa

400

Single Gauss-20 kPa


200
0
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.2

0.25

Axial strain (ea)

Source: Experimental data by Lee et al. (2004)

Figure 4.
Variation of deviator
stress with axial strain

0.01

Volumetric strain (en)

0.005

Axial strain (ea)


0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0
Simulation-160 kPa

0.005

Simulation-20 kPa

0.01

Experimental-160 kPa

0.015

Experimental-20 kPa

0.02

Single Gauss-160 kPa


0.025
Single Gauss-20 kPa

0.03

Source: Experimental data by Lee et al. (2004)

v
0.25

k
0.01

Model parameters for soil type used by Lee et al. (2004)


MCS
kp
p 0t (kPa)
Confining pressure (kPa)
1.4

20, 40, 45, 50

200

50, 100, 200, 400

within the soil sample increases with the increasing confining pressure. However, the
rate of destructuring decreases with the increasing confining pressure. Therefore, the
cement stabilized soil shows highly brittle behaviour under low confining pressures
and the ductile behaviour under high confining pressures. Furthermore, at higher
confining pressures, the soil can undergo large strains before failure.

Figure 5.
Variation of volumetric
strain with axial strain

Table II.
Model parameters used to
investigate the effect of
confining pressure

EC
30,1

Deviatoric strain, q (kPa)

1,000

88
Figure 6.
Effect of confining
pressure on deviatoric
stress

Confining Pressure
50 kPa
100 kPa
200 kPa
400 kPa

800
600
400
200
0
0

0.05

0.1
0.15
Axial strain (ea)

0.2

0.25

Figure 7 shows the variation of volumetric strain with axial strain when the confining
pressure is increasing. This figure shows that the soil samples subjected to low
confining pressures behave more dilatantly than the samples subjected to high
confining pressures. This is due to the higher bonding degradation at low confining
pressures and lower bonding degradation of samples at higher confining pressures.
Furthermore, the volume change characteristics during drained shear are largely
influenced by the confining pressure. These results explain that the cement stabilized
soil behaviour is similar to the behaviour of highly overconsolidated clays or soft rocks.
6. Cement stabilized soil vs same soil at the reconstituted state
In order to investigate the influence of additional structure due to cementation
bonds
0
on the soil behaviour, another set of simulations were performed using pt 0, which
depicts the reconstituted state of the cement stabilized soil (i.e. when the cementation
bonds are completely removed from the cement stabilized soil). The model parameters
used for this study are given in Table III. According to Figure 8(a), after breaking all

Volumetric strain (en)

Figure 7.
Effect of confining
pressure on volumetric
behaviour

Table III.
Model parameters used
for cemented and
remoulded clay

0.05

Axial strain (ea)


0.1
0.15

0.2

0.25

0.01
Confining Pressure
50 kPa
100 kPa
200 kPa
400 kPa

0.02
0.03
0.04
0.05

v
0.25

k
0.01

Model parameters for soil type used by Lee et al. (2004)


MCS
kp
p 0t (kPa)
Confining pressure (kPa)
1.85

50

0, 200

100

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model

Deviatoric stress, q (kPa)

700
600
500
400
Cement treated
clay

300

89

Uncemented
clay, OCR = 1

200
100
0

0.05

0.1
0.15
Axial strain (ea)

0.2

0.25

0.2

0.25

(a)

Volumetric strain (en)

0.005
0.01

0.05

Axial strain (ea)


0.1
0.15

Cement treated
clay
Uncemented
clay, OCR = 1

0.015
0.02

0.025
0.03

(b)
Notes: (a) Deviatoric stress vs axial strain; (b) volumetric strain vs axial strain

cementation bonds, cemented sample reaches a state, which is exactly similar to the
failure state of the reconstituted soil. However, the cement stabilized soil can sustain
higher loads than the reconstituted soil. Figure 8(b) shows the higher peak values for
the volumetric deformation than that of the reconstituted clay because the cement
stabilized soil contains larger void ratio within the same volume compared to the same
soil at the reconstituted state. After breakage of bonds created by the added cement,
additional void ratio sustained by the cement stabilized soil diminishes. Hence only the
cement stabilized sample shows dilatancy behaviour.
7. Simulation of the experimentally observed behaviour of cement
stabilized clay
In this section, the experimentally observed behaviour of cement stabilized soil is
simulated using the finite element formulation presented in Section 3 to investigate the

Figure 8.
Comparison of model
simulations for cement
treated and untreated clay

EC
30,1

90

applicability of the constitutive model as well as the numerical implementation for the
simulation of cement stabilized soil behaviour. The experimental results given by
Lee et al. (2004), Horpibulsuk et al. (2010) and Suebsuk et al. (2010) for drained triaxial
tests carried out for cement stabilized soils are used in this section.
Figures 4 and 5 show the drained triaxial test data given by Lee et al. (2004). The soil
type used to prepare the cement stabilized soil or the cement content used to prepare the
soil samples are not given in their paper. These figures clearly show the capability of the
finite element implementation as well as the constitutive model in describing the key
characteristics of the cement stabilized soil. It is clear that after the deviatoric stress
reaches the peak value, it starts to decrease due to the crushing of the soil-cement
structure. After that soil reaches a residual value at the critical state condition
while the axial strain further increases. This is because the cement stabilized soil reaches
the reconstituted state due to the complete elimination of its structure. Figure 5 shows
the dilation behaviour of the cement stabilized soil after the peak volumetric strain.
Another simulation was carried out to simulate the behaviour of Ariake clay with
cement content of 9 per cent given by Suebsuk et al. (2010). The cement content Aw is
defined as the ratio of cement to clay based on the dry mass. In the constitutive model,
l is not a constant. It varies with the mean effective stress and the void ratio. Isotropic
consolidation curves in the e 2 ln p0 space for different soils are different. The
constitutive model uses a third-order polynomial equation to get the void ratio at
different mean effective stresses as shown in Figure 9. Therefore, equation (41) is
derived to fit the experimental data given by Horpibulsuk et al. (2004) for Ariake clay
with cement content of 9 per cent:
0

e 4:355 2 2 1026 p02 2 9 10211 p 3

41

Therefore, l0 is given by the following equation:

l0

de
de
0 p0 24 1026 p0 2 27 10211 p02  p0
0
dln p dp

42

where p0 is in kPa and the equation (41) is derived using p0 in the range of 0-1430 kPa.
Comparisons of simulated model results with experimental data for Ariake clay
with Aw 9 per cent are shown in Figures 10(a) and (b). According to Figure 10(a),
4.5

Void ratio, e

Regression line

Figure 9.
Regression method for the
variable l 0 for isotropic
compression behaviour of
the cemented Ariake with
Aw 9 per cent

Aw = 9%

3.5

Aw = 0%

3
2.5
2
1.5

100
1,000
10
Mean effective stress, p' (kPa)

Source: Experimental data by Horpibulsuk et al. (2004)

10,000

Deviatoric stress, q (kPa)

900

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model

Confining Pressure

800

50 kPa

700

100 kPa

600

200 kPa

500

Simulations

91

400
300
200
100
0
0

10
15
20
Deviatoric strain, ed (%)

25

30

25

30

(a)

10

Deviatoric strain, ed (%)


15
20

0
Confining Pressure

Volumetric strain, en (%)

50 kPa

100 kPa
6

200 kPa

Simulations

10
12
14
16
18
(b)

Notes: (a) Deviatoric stress vs axial strain; (b) volumetric


strain vs axial strain
Source: Experimental data by Suebsuk et al. (2010)

simulations have given the same peak deviatoric stresses as in the experimental results
for the range of confining pressures considered for the analysis. For high confining
pressures, the experimental results show high strain softening behaviour but the
simulations do not show any softening. At low confining pressures, model simulations
agree well with the experimental results demonstrating the softening behaviour of the

Figure 10.
Comparison of simulated
model results
with experimental
data for Ariake clay with
Aw 9 per cent

EC
30,1

92

cement stabilized soil. Although the experimental results given by Suebsuk et al. (2010)
show strain softening at high confining pressures, the experimental results given by
Lee et al. (2004) does not show softening at high confining pressures. The contradictory
experimental results given by Suebsuk et al. (2010) and Lee et al. (2004) needs to be
further investigated by carrying out drained triaxial tests for clay soils with different
percentages of added cement by varying the confining pressures applied to the soil
samples.
According to Figure 10(b), model simulations successfully describe the dilation
behaviour of cement stabilized Ariake clay. However, some discrepancy in volumetric
deformation can be seen especially at high confining pressures. This deviation
inherently comes from the MCC model as all models belonging to MCC family follow
the associated flow rule and according to Lee et al. (2004), volumetric strain at high
confining pressure does not exactly follow the associated flow rule. However,
Suebsuk et al., 2010 has stated that this is because of the influence of anisotropy. This
has become a controversial point and needs further development of constitutive models
for cement stabilized soils with non-associated flow rules, taking into account the
influence of anisotropy on the volumetric behaviour.
In order to understand the effect of cementation on the maximum shear stress,
another simulation was carried out changing the cement content of Ariake clay. The
relationships between void ratio and mean effective stress of the cement mixed Ariake
clay at different cement contents are shown in Figure 11 and the model parameters for
Ariake clay with different cement contents are given in Table IV.
The following equations describe the isotropic consolidation regression lines for
cement stabilized Ariake clay with cement contents of 6 and 18 per cent, respectively:
4.5

Void ratio, e

Aw = 0%

2.5

Aw = 6%

Figure 11.
Isotropic compression
behaviour of Ariake clay
with different cement
contents

Table IV.
Model parameters for
cemented Ariake clay
with different cement
contents

3.5

1.5

Aw = 18%

10
100
1,000
Mean effective stress, p' (kPa)

10,000

Source: Horpibulsuk et al. (2004)

Aw
6%
9%
18%

v
0.25
0.25
0.25

Model parameters for Ariake clay Suebsuk et al. (2010)


k
MCS
Kp
p 0t (kPa)
Confining pressure (kPa)
0.06
0.024
0.001

1.6
1.45
1.35

30
30, 45, 50
30

50
100
650

50
50, 100, 200
50

e 4:336 2 7 1023 p0 9 1026 p02 2 3 1029 p03

43

e 3:760 2 3 1025 p0 2 1 1028 p02 2 3 10212 p03

44

where p0 is in kPa and for equation (43), p0 varies from 0 to 760 kPa and for equation (44),
p0 varies from 0 to1500 kPa.
For the Ariake clay with cement content of 9 per cent, regression line is shown in
Figure 9 and the relationship between the void ratio and the mean effective stress is
given by equation (41).
0
The parameter describing the bond strength, pt , increases with the increasing
cement content. Figures 12(a) and (b) show the variation of deviatoric stress and
volumetric strain with deviatoric strain. According to Figure 12, with increasing
cement content, an increase in the peak deviator stress as well as dilation behaviour are
predicted for the same confining pressure. However, according to Figure 11, the
additional void ratio sustained by the clay-cementation structure of the Ariake clay
with cement content of 18 per cent is much lower than that of 9 per cent cement content.
Therefore, it can be seen from Figure 12(b) that the maximum volumetric strain for
Aw 18 per cent is lower than that of Aw 9 per cent.
With the increasing degree of cementation, the compression index should increase
due to the sudden breakdown of clay-cementation structure (Horpibulsuk et al.,
2004a, b; Lorenzo and Bergado, 2004). Nevertheless, the experimental curve of cement
content of 18 per cent shown in Figure 11 shows some discrepancy based on
this concept. However, this parametric study shows that with the increasing cement
content, maximum shear stress that can be applied to the clay sample before failure
increases. Furthermore, at low cement percentages, post-peak stress decreases
gradually with strain showing ductile behaviour. Conversely, post-peak stress
suddenly drops with increasing strain, demonstrating the brittle nature of treated clay
at higher cement percentages.
8. Conclusions
This paper presented a finite element implementation based on the CPA for the
constitutive model developed by Lee et al. (2004) for cement stabilized clays. Variation
of volumetric strain and deviatoric stress with the axial strain predicted by the finite
element implementation agrees well with the model predictions simulated for a single
Gauss integration point using constitutive equations.
Some discrepancy in volumetric deformation simulated by the model and the
experimental data could be seen, especially at high confining pressures, due to the fact
that the cement stabilized soils do not obey the associated flow rule under high
confining pressures as assumed in the model development and the model does not take
into account the anisotropy of the cemented clay. The parametric study showed that
the influence of cementation increases the brittle nature and the bearing capacity of
treated clay.
The applicability of the model to predict behaviour of the cement stabilized soils
are investigated by simulating drained triaxial test data published by Lee et al. (2004)
and Suebsuk et al. (2010). Although deviatoric stress vs axial strain agrees well
with the data provided by Lee et al. (2004), at high confining pressures, deviatoric
stress vs axial strain deviates from the data for Ariake clay presented

An elasto-plastic
constitutive
model
93

EC
30,1
Deviatoric stress, q (kPa)

94

1,400
1,200
Aw = 6%

1,000
Aw = 9%

800

Aw = 18%

600
400
200
0

10

15

20

25

30

25

30

Deviatoric strain, ed (%)


(a)
Deviatoric strain, ed (%)

Figure 12.
Simulated consolidated
drained test results
of cemented Ariake
clay under confining
pressure, 50 kPa
with cement contents
of Aw 6-18 per cent

Volumetric strain, q (kPa)

10

15

20

Aw = 6%

Aw = 9%

Aw = 18%

4
5
6
7
8
9
(b)

Notes: (a) Deviatoric stress vs deviatoric strain; (b) volumetric strain vs


deviatoric strain

by Suebsuk et al. (2010). It was observed that the experimental data provided by
Lee et al. (2004) and Suebsuk et al. (2010) also contradict each other at high confining
pressures. Hence this needs to be further investigated using experimental data.
Finally, the results presented in the paper showed that the proposed finite element
implementation has the ability to illustrate key features of the cement treated clay such
as softening with destructuring and the dilation behaviour after the peak stress state.
Therefore, this numerical implementation is a valuable tool for geotechnical engineers
to solve boundary value problems related to the structures founded on ground
improved with dry soil mixing.

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Corresponding author
D.S. Liyanapathirana can be contacted at: s.liyanapathirana@uws.edu.au

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