• constitutive relations;
  • soil models;
  • plasticity;
  • hyperstreamlines;
  • glyphs;
  • stress tensor;
  • strain tensor;
  • visualization


Results of numerical analyses of boundary value problems in geomechanics include output of three-dimensional stress and strain states. Two-dimensional plots of stress–stress or stress–strain quantities, often used to represent such output, do not fully communicate the evolution of stress and strain states. This paper describes the use of glyphs and hyperstreamlines for the visual representation of three dimensional stress and strain tensors in geomechanics applications. Glyphs can be used to represent principal stress states as well as normal stresses at a point. The application of these glyphs is extended in this paper to represent strain states. The paper introduces a new glyph, called HWY glyph for the representation of shear tensor components. A load step-based hyperstreamline is developed to show the evolution of a stress or strain tensor under a general state of loading. The evolution of stress–strain states from simulated laboratory tests and a general boundary value problem of a deep braced excavation are represented using these advanced visual techniques. These visual representations facilitate the understanding of complex multidimensional stress–strain soil constitutive relationships. The visual objects introduced in this paper can be applied to stress and strain tensors from general boundary value problems. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.