Materials and Structures

, 51:112 | Cite as

Modelling the poroplastic damageable behaviour of earthen materials

  • Longfei Xu
  • Henry WongEmail author
  • Antonin Fabbri
  • Florian Champiré
  • Denis Branque
Original Article


This paper presents a new constitutive model on the poroplastic behaviour of earthen materials accounting for stiffness degradation, using the approach of continuum damage mechanics. The poroplastic behaviour is modelled based on the bounding surface plasticity (BSP) theory and the concept of effective stress while isotropic damage is modelled using a scalar variable. Plastic flow and damage evolution occur simultaneously in a coupled process which take into account the impact of suction. The model was successfully validated against results of triaxial compression tests performed at different relative humidities and confining pressures. Despite the relatively small number of material parameters, this model can reproduce the essential features of earthen materials behaviour observed experimentally: suction-induced hardening and stiffening, post-peak softening, as well as the progressive transition from contractant to dilatant volumetric behaviour. Use of the BSP theory allows to reproduce a smooth stress–strain relation as experimentally observed, instead of an abrupt change upon plastic yielding predicted by classic elastoplastic models. Furthermore, the present model also furnishes a quantitative description on the degradation of elastic properties hitherto not accounted for, thanks to the additional scalar damage variable.


Unsaturated rammed earth Bounding surface plasticity Suction Damage Degradation 



The present work has been supported by the French Research National Agency (ANR) through the ‘‘Villes et Bâtiments Durables” program (Project Primaterre no. ANR-12-VBDU-0001). The first author is supported by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) with a PhD Scholarship (File No.201406300070) for his research work.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© RILEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LTDS (UMR 5513 CNRS), ENTPEUniversité de LyonVaulx-en-VelinFrance
  2. 2.MEEM/DGPR/SRNH/STEEGBH, Bureau, d’Etude Technique et de Contrôle des Grands Barrages (BETCGB)GrenobleFrance

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