Strain fields and mechanical response of a highly to medium fissured bentonite clay


Correspondence to: C. Vitone, Technical University of Bari, Italy.



This article presents the developments of an ongoing research aimed at modelling the influence of fissuring on the behaviour of clays. In particular, it recalls the main results of an extensive laboratory investigation on a fissured bentonite clay from the south of Italy and presents the data of a new investigation on the evolution with shearing of the strain fields developing within the clay, resulting from Digital Image Correlation (DIC).

Element test results are analysed in the framework of continuum mechanics and linked to the clay fissuring features, once characterised using the Fissuring IDentity (F-ID) chart. This article compares the bentonite behaviour with that of other fissured clays of different F-IDs, highlighting the common behavioural features.

Thereafter, the soil response at the macro level is related to the DIC-derived strain fields evolving within the clay with loading. For this purpose, DIC was successfully used to investigate the deformation processes active in the fissured clay and the sources of the localisation phenomena. DIC is shown to provide indications of the extent to which highly to medium fissured clays element test results can be of use to model the clay behaviour according to continuum mechanics. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.