A discrete model for unsaturated granular soils has been developed. Three discrete entities have been
defined: particles, water menisci and pores. Local interaction forces and water transfer mechanisms have
been integrated into a model through the appropriate equilibrium and balance equations. The results of
several numerical tests using this model have been described and discussed. Simulations include wetting
and drying under load tests, the application of suction cycles and the effect of a deviatoric stress ratio on
wetting-induced collapse. The model reacts just as true granular soil samples behave in laboratory tests.
The model provides a new insight into the internal mechanisms leading to large-scale features of behaviour
such as wetting-induced collapse or the increase in soil strength provided by suction. The paper also
stresses that matric suction changes acting on a granular structure are capable of explaining most of the
macroscopic features of stress–strain behaviour.
CitationGili, J.A.; Alonso, E.E. Microstructural deformation mechanisms of unsaturated granular soils. International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics (2002, vol. 26, no. 5, pp. 433-468).
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