A conceptual constitutive model unifying slurried (saturated), compacted (unsaturated) and dry states

Pedrotti, M. and Tarantino, A. (2019) A conceptual constitutive model unifying slurried (saturated), compacted (unsaturated) and dry states. Geotechnique, 69 (3). pp. 217-233. ISSN 0016-8505

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    Reconstituted and compacted soils are commonly assumed to exhibit a fundamentally different behaviour due to different microstructure. However, inspection of pore size distribution of the same soil in compacted and reconstituted states suggests that the boundary between these two states is more blurred. This paper explores the continuity between the microstructure of reconstituted and compacted states of kaolin clay and formulates a conceptual constitutive model unifying these states. Clay samples were prepared by saturating the pore space with different fluids (water, acetone and air) and the effect of pore-fluid fraction on the micro- and macroscale response of the clay was investigated experimentally. A conceptual constitutive model for unsaturated clays for quasi-isotropic stress states was therefore formulated, which allows the modelling of various unsaturated hydro-mechanical paths based on constitutive parameters only derived from the compression behaviour of clay under dry and saturated conditions (testing on samples formed from dry powder and slurry, respectively).