Effects of soil skeleton deformations on hysteretic soil water characteristic curves: Experiments and simulations



[1] Soil water characteristic curves (SWCCs) represent the relationship between suction and water content in unsaturated soils. The SWCCs exhibit hysteresis during wetting-drying cycles; however, the empirical expressions used to describe SWCCs have typically ignored the hysteresis. Additionally, the shape of the SWCC will vary depending on the void ratio of the soil and changes resulting from soil skeleton deformations, which may also show hysteretic behavior under various loading conditions. Therefore, it is important to investigate, both experimentally and theoretically, the relationship between soil skeleton deformations and the SWCC for different soils. There is limited information in the literature that examines, both experimentally and theoretically, the complex coupling between the soil skeleton deformation and SWCC behavior, and generally, this behavior is not well understood. This paper presents laboratory test results of SWCCs determined under different confining stresses on similarly prepared samples of a silty soil; drying, wetting, second drying, and scanning curves were obtained. The influence of soil skeleton deformations on SWCCs is inferred from the curves measured in an oedometer under different stress conditions. An elastoplastic phenomenological constitutive model based on the bounding surface plasticity theory was utilized to simulate the coupled mechanical-hydraulic behavior of measured results. This research demonstrates that the model is capable of predicting hysteresis in SWCCs and soil skeleton deformation and the coupling between the hydraulic and mechanical behavior of unsaturated soils.