The Barcelona basic model (BBM) successfully explained many key features of unsaturated soils and received extensive acceptance. It is also one of the few elastoplastic constitutive models for unsaturated soils that have been implemented within finite element codes and applied to the analysis of real boundary value problems. The BBM was proposed in incremental forms according to theories of soil plasticity in which individual aspects of the isotropic virgin behavior are controlled by multiple parameters, whereas at the same time, a single parameter controls more than one aspect of soil behavior. Although a variety of methods have been recently developed for calibrating model parameters for elastoplastic soil models, at present, there are no well-established, simple, and objective methods for selecting parameter values in the BBM from laboratory tests. This has been one of the major obstacles to the dissemination of this constitutive model beyond the research context.
This article presents an optimization approach especially developed for simple and objective identification of material parameters in the BBM. This is achieved by combining a modified state surface approach, recently proposed to model the elastoplastic behavior of unsaturated soils under isotropic stress conditions, with the Newton or quasi-Newton method to simultaneously determine the five parameters governing isotropic virgin behavior in the BBM. The comparison between results using the proposed method and an existing method for the same laboratory tests was discussed from which the simplicity and objectivity of the proposed method were evaluated. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.