Modified state-surface approach to the study of unsaturated soil behavior. Part I: Basic concept Academic Article uri icon


  • The traditional state-surface approach to the study of unsaturated soil behavior is becoming much less popular these days, as it uses unique constitutive surfaces to represent unsaturated soil behavior. This approach is essentially a nonlinear elastic formation and cannot be used to explain complex stress-path dependency for unsaturated soils. In this paper, a modified state-surface approach (MSSA) is proposed to represent unsaturated soil behavior under isotropic stress conditions in which a conventional void-ratio state surface is considered to be made up of an elastic surface and a plastic hardening surface. The plastic hardening surface remains stationary at all times, whereas the elastic surface remains unchanged when the soil experiences elastic deformation and moves downward when there is plastic hardening occurrence. Using the MSSA, the loadingcollapse (LC) and the suction increase (SI) yield curves in the Barcelona basic model (BBM) are derived. The prediction of three typical cases of soils under isotropic conditions and experimental results using the proposed approach confirmed its feasibility, simplicity, and potential for the study of unsaturated soil behavior.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, X., & Lytton, R. L.

citation count

  • 52

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Xiong||Lytton, Robert L

publication date

  • May 2009