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GEO-SLOPE International Ltd, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Modified Cam-clay triaxial test simulations
1 Introduction
This example simulates a series of triaxial tests which can be used to verify that Modified Cam-Clay constitutive model is functioning properly. The simulations include: Consolidating the sample to an initial isotropic stress state A drained strain-controlled test An undrained test with pore-pressure measurements A load-unload-reload test Consolidation with a back-pressure The verification includes comparisons with hand-calculated values and discussions relative to the Cam-Clay theoretical framework.

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Feature highlights

GeoStudio feature highlights include: Using the axisymmetric option to simulate a triaxial test Displacement-type boundary conditions to simulate a strain-controlled test Using the MCC model with a Load/Deformation analysis with no pore-pressure changes due to the loading A fully coupled analysis with specified initial pore-pressures A fully coupled analysis with zero-flow boundary conditions to simulate an undrained test

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Included files

Full details of this example and the GeoStudio files are included as: MCC-triaxial tests.gsz MCC-triaxial tests.pdf The specifics of each analysis are available in the GeoStudio data file.

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General Methodology

The simulated shearing phases are preceded by the simulation of the consolidation phase of a triaxial test. Consolidation is isotropic with the confining pressure equal to 100 kPa or 150 kPa. The isotropic stress state is simulated by applying a normal stress on the top and on the right side of the sample equal to 100 kPa or 150 kPa. The consolidation stage is set as the “Parent”; that is, the initial condition, for the subsequent simulations involving shearing.

SIGMA/W Example File: MCC - triaxial tests.doc (pdf) (gsz)

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84 degrees and an OCR of 1. The number of load steps defined in the shear stage simulations is generally 50 or 25 and the incremental y-displacement of the top of the specimen is defined as -0. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . non-linear models are not required for this and the value of E is not relevant 5 Initial yield surface with OCR 1.001) 40 30 20 10 0 -10 -10 0 10 20 30 40 metres (x 0. Total vertical y-displacements of 0. Alberta.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.005 m produce axial strains of 0.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 2 of 13 .025 m by 0. 50 and 25 load steps multiplied by a y-displacement of -0. Although the „time‟ steps are being defined.84 is equivalent to an Μ value of 1. The material has a Ø of 25.2 (or 20%) and 0.01 m and 0. consequently. Notice that Linear-Elastic parameters are used when setting up confining stresses.0002 m per load step results in a total vertical displacement of 0. which is half of the width and height of a conventionally sized triaxial specimen. Calgary.geo-slope.01 m and 0.com 60 50 metres (x 0.triaxial tests. it is more appropriate to think of the time steps as load steps.25. Absolute time has no meaning in the context of these analyses.0002 m (per load step). only ¼ of the specimen is simulated. where the negative sign indicates downward displacement. respectively.005 m. respectively.05 m. The dimensions of the simulation portion of the specimen are 0. Canada www.001) Figure 1 Triaxial test configuration for establishing initial stress state The shearing phase of the analysis is simulated as a strain-rate controlled test. A Ø of 25.0. Consequently.25 The Cam-Clay properties are in the data file.1 (10%). Symmetry is assumed about the vertical and horizontal centre-lines. The definition of the strain-rate involves defining the number of „time‟ steps and the displacement that occurs over each step.

triaxial tests.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. pc 1 2 p q2 2 p2 1 2 1 54.44 = 0.sin Ø = 1 – 0.com The first step in using the Cam-clay models is to establish the yield surface created sometime in the past under some particular stress state condition.482 12 88.682 88. as it properly should. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC .68 The shear stress q at the past mean stress is. The three means stresses computed above are marked on the diagram. Canada www. In the field this would be some past insitu condition. The initial confining stress is 100 kPa. The qpast and p΄past values form the starting point for establishing the initial yield surface. The past maximum-mean stress (pre-consolidation pressure) is. q 2 pc p 2 p2 Figure 2 shows the initial or past yield surface.25 = 125 kPa Ko = 1. the sample is isotropically consolidated to 100 kPa (σ΄x = σ΄y = σ΄z).15 p΄x is at the center of the yield surface where q is at its maximum value on the initial yield surface. Alberta. SIGMA/W uses the initial vertical stress specified together with a specified Ø value and a specified OCR (over-consolidation ratio) value to establish the past or starting yield surface.52) /3 = 88. p΄x = 122. Now that p΄c is known. The past vertical effective stress then is. the past stress state was higher than the current stress state. Since the sample is slightly over-consolidated.52 σ΄mean = (125 + 70.geo-slope.08 kPa. σ΄y = 100 x OCR = 100 x 1.15 / 2 = 61.68 122. This is referred to as the past or initial yield surface.56 (formula in SIGMA/W code) σ΄x = σ΄z = 125 x 0. we can draw the initial yield surface for an assumed range of p΄ values between 0.56 = 70.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 3 of 13 .0 and p΄c using the equation. q 1 ( 2 y x )2 ( z y )2 ( x z ) 2 = 54.48 kPa This is one point on the yield surface created by the past stresses.52 + 70. The maximum q value occurs where the yield surface passes through the CSL (critical state line). Currently. Calgary.

triaxial tests.25 (produced in EXCEL) 6 Analysis 1 – Drained-load deformation A drained test can be done with a Load/Deformation analysis. Alberta.68 pc = 122. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC .GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.q 50 40 CS 0 10 20 30 30 20 10 0 L 1 1 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 Mean stress .08 ppast = 88. Calgary. The total stress path (which is equal to the effective stress path in this case) on a q-p‟ plot for a triaxial test will have a slope of 1h:3v.geo-slope. During drained loading. the yield surface continues to increase in size as Figure 3. which does not involve any changes in pore-pressures due to the loading (straining).15 Figure 2 Initial yield surface for the past stresses at OCR = 1.08 qpast = 54.p' px = 61.com 80 70 60 qmax = 61.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 4 of 13 . Canada www. the stress path intersects the CSL at 150 kPa. This being the case.48 Shear stress .

Stress path 150 Deviatoric Stress (q) (kPa) 100 50 0 100 110 120 130 140 150 Mean Effective Stress (p') (kPa) Figure 4 Stress path under drained loading SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . The final vertical (y) stress will be the confining stress plus the deviatoric stress.p' Figure 3 Total stress path and final yield surface under drained loading The final deviatoric stress (q) will be 150 kPa.triaxial tests. Moreover. The next three figures from SIGMA/W confirm this behavior.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.geo-slope. Calgary.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 5 of 13 .q 100 CS L 1 Effective stress path & Total stress path 80 60 40 20 0 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 Mean stress . Canada www. Alberta. that is. 100 + 150 = 250 kPa. the sample will undergo some volumetric strain.com 160 140 120 3 Shear stress . this being a drained test.

05 0. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . but now using the fully coupled formulation with pore-pressure specified as a constant equal to zero pore-pressure.25 0. Alberta.35 0.1 0. Canada www.3 0. Notice in Figure 7 how the hydraulic boundary condition is specified at all nodes and outside edges.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.08 Volumetric Strain 0.triaxial tests.4 0.45 Y-Strain Figure 6 Volumetric strain versus load step number 7 Analysis 2 – Drained with fixed pwp This analysis is a repeat of the previous drained test simulation.strain 250 Y-Total Stress (kPa) 200 150 100 Y-Strain Figure 5 Vertical stress versus vertical strain volumetric:axial strain 0.02 0 0 0.geo-slope.06 0.15 0.com Y stress . Calgary.2 0.04 0. The specified porepressure becomes a specified hydraulic boundary condition.1 0.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 6 of 13 .

Actually.geo-slope.001) Figure 7 Hydraulic boundary conditions for coupled drained simulation q versus strain 150 Deviatoric Stress (q) (kPa) 100 50 0 Y-Strain Figure 8 Deviatoric stress versus y-strain for coupled drained test The results from the Coupled analysis are identical to the previous Load/Deformation analysis.001) 40 30 20 10 0 -10 -10 0 10 20 30 40 metres (x 0.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. but the hydraulic boundary conditions are specified as no flow. leaving the hydraulic boundary conditions undefined has the effect of zero flow across the SIGMA/W Example File: MCC .com 60 50 metres (x 0. This verifies that two different formulations give matching results. Canada www. This example also illustrates that drained conditions in a Coupled analysis can be simulated by fixing the pore-pressures with a specified boundary condition. Alberta. Calgary. 8 Analysis 3 – Undrained OCR 1.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 7 of 13 .25 The previous coupled analysis is now repeated.triaxial tests.

Canada www. 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 Mean stress . The final total mean stress is 122 kPa. Based on theoretical consideration for the MCC model. the path bends to the left and continues to rise slightly until it hits the CSL.triaxial tests. Once the effective stress path meets the past yield surface. the effective stress path should be vertical until it meets the past maximum yield surface as in Figure 9.q 3 Effective stress path 1 Total stress path Figure 9 Stress paths for undrained loading Two SIGMA/W output graphs below confirm these values.com perimeter. The SIGMA/W pore-pressure versus y-strain plot indicates the maximum pore-pressure is 56 kPa (Figure 11).doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 8 of 13 . The SIGMA/W q-p΄ plot ends at p΄ = q = 66 kPa (Figure 10). The effective mean stress where the effective stress path hits the CSL is 66 kPa. this analysis simulates a consolidated-undrained test with pore-pressure measurements. The total stress path again is straight line rising at a 1h:3v slope. By not allowing flow to exit from the sample. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . Calgary.p' u = 56 kPa Shear stress . Alberta.geo-slope.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. The final pore-pressure therefore is 122 – 66 = 56 kPa. The different between the total and the effective stress paths is the excess pore-pressure.

04 0.triaxial tests.08 0.1 0.geo-slope. 9 Analysis 4 – Load-unload-reload The MCC model treats the soil as elastic when the stress state is under the past maximum yield surface. Alberta.com Stress path 70 Deviatoric Stress (q) (kPa) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 Mean Effective Stress (p') (kPa) Figure 10 Effective stress under undrained loading pore-pressure:axial strain 60 Pore-Water Pressure (kPa) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 0. as it properly should be. Canada www. however.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.12 Y-Strain Figure 11 Excess pore pressure in undrained test The volumetric strain for this test is zero.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 9 of 13 .02 0. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . In an undrained test. undergoes some plastic strain. Calgary. Figure 12 reveals that this is indeed the case: the stress path resumes its non-linear behavior once the yield locus is crosses upon re-loading. which results in some strain-hardening and the yield surface consequently expands such that it passes thorough the point where the effective stress path meets the CSL. The sample.06 0. the effective p‟:q stress path is vertical inside the yield locus whether the loading path is one of unloading or loading.

0 = 500 kPa Ko = 1. σ΄y = 100 x OCR = 100 x 5. q 1 ( 2 y x )2 ( z y )2 ( x z ) 2 = 217.44 = 0.56 (formula in SIGMA/W code) σ΄x = σ΄z = 500 x 0. the past vertical effective stress is. This is discussed further in the next section. Currently.0 In this analysis.6 SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . the sample is isotropically consolidated to 100 kPa (σ΄x = σ΄y = σ΄z).7 2 354.sin Ø = 1 – 0. Alberta. The cell pressure is simulated with normal stress boundary conditions equal to 150 kPa.com p':q stress path 70 Deviatoric Stress (q) (kPa) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 65 70 75 80 85 90 95 100 105 Mean Ef f ective Stress (p') (kPa) Figure 12 Effective loading – unloading stress path 10 Initial yield surface with OCR 5.07 + 282.7 488. the sample is subjected to a cell pressure of 150 kPa and the back pressure is set to 50 kPa. The past maximum-mean stress (pre-consolidation pressure) is.triaxial tests. This makes the effective confining consolidation stress equal to 100 kPa.93 This is one point on the yield surface created by the past stresses.geo-slope. The back pressure is specified as a material activation PWP equal to 50 kPa.07) /3 = 354. The effective confining stress is again 100 kPa.07 σ΄mean = (500 + 282.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 10 of 13 . we will set the confining stress to 150 kPa with a back pressure of 50 kPa.71 The shear stress q at the past mean stress is.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. With and initial effective confining stress at 100 kPa.92 12 354. Since the sample is slightly over-consolidated.56 = 282. the past stress state was higher than the current stress state. Canada www. In this test. pc 1 2 p q2 2 p2 1 2 1 217. Calgary. The next step is to simulate a consolidated undrained test with pore-pressure measurements for an overconsolidated soil.

6 / 2 = 244. the effective stress path bends to the right and rises slightly until it intersects the total stress path. The qpast and p΄past values form the starting point for establishing the initial yield surface. After this point the excess pore-pressure diminishes until the effective stress path intersects the CSL. After meeting the yield surface. Now that p΄c is known. 350 300 250 qpast = 217.30 ppast = 354. Canada www.0 and p΄c using the equation.30 kPa. as illustrated in Figure 14.GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.93 q . Calgary. The soil behaves in a elastically up to this point. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC . q 2 pc p 2 p2 Figure 13 shows the initial or past yield surface.61 Figure 13 Initial yield surface for OCR = 5 Now the effective stress path starts at 100 kPa and rises vertically until it hits the initial yield surface. Alberta. Beyond this point the soil behaves in a plastic manner with no further change in load or pore-pressure. we can draw the initial yield surface for an assumed range of p΄ values between 0. This is the point at which the excess pore-pressure is zero.kPa 200 150 100 L CS 50 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 p' .geo-slope. The maximum q value occurs where the yield surface passes through the CSL (critical state line) as it properly should.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 11 of 13 .kPa 300 350 400 450 500 px = 244.triaxial tests. The three p‟ stresses computed above are marked on the diagram.com p΄x is at the center of the yield surface where q is at its maximum value on the initial yield surface. p΄x = 488.71 pc = 488.

This is in response to dilation that occurs once the stress path meets the initial yield surface.triaxial tests.kPa 200 150 Effective stress path 100 Total stress path 50 0 0 50 100 150 200 250 p' .0 The following graphs from SIGMA/W confirm this behavior. Canada www.0 Page 12 of 13 . Calgary.geo-slope.doc (pdf) (gsz) CS L 300 u = -39 u = 0.kPa 300 350 400 450 500 Figure 14 Effective stress for over-consolidated case (produced in EXCEL) Of significance in this case is the fact that the effective stress path remains below the initial yield surface. Alberta.com 350 250 q . The effective stress path is vertical until meets the initial yield surface. 11 Analysis Undrained OCR 5. Stress path 250 Deviatoric Stress (q) (kPa) 200 150 100 50 0 80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 Mean Effective Stress (p') (kPa) Figure 15 Effective stress path with OCR = 5 SIGMA/W Example File: MCC .GEO-SLOPE International Ltd. Then it bends over to the right and continues to the right until the path meets the CSL.

geo-slope. which is the starting back pressure. The ending pore-pressure is around 10 KPa.05 0.25 Figure 16 Pore-pressure variations with OCR = 5 The pore-pressure starts at 50 kPa.doc (pdf) (gsz) Page 13 of 13 . Canada www. SIGMA/W Example File: MCC .GEO-SLOPE International Ltd.1 Y-Strain 0. Without the initial back pressure. this means the pore-pressure must be positive. so the SIGMA/W results can be compared with the hand-calculated values in Figure 14.15 0. In SIGMA/W the MCC model is actually formulated only for saturated conditions and in the SIGMA/W formulation. This is the reason for the back pressure. After that.2 0. Alberta. the ending pore-pressure would be around -40 kPa. The pore-pressure in this case can fall below the initial value and yet remain positive.triaxial tests. the pore pressure diminishes due to the tendency for dilation until it approaches the CSL. The pore-pressure then rises until the effectives stress path meets the initial yield surface.com pore-pressure:axial strain 120 Pore-Water Pressure (kPa) 100 80 60 40 20 0 0 0. Calgary.