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A constitutive model for clays and plastic silts in plane-strain earthquake engineering applications


A plasticity model for representing clays and plastic silts, as opposed to purely nonplastic silts or sand, in geotechnical earthquake engineering applications is presented. The PM4Silt model builds on the framework of the stress-ratio controlled, critical state based, bounding surface plasticity PM4Sand model, and is coded as a user defined material for use with the program FLAC. The model was developed to provide reasonable approximations of monotonic undrained shear strength, cyclic undrained shear strength, and shear modulus reduction and hysteretic damping responses. The model does not include a cap, and therefore is not suited for simulating consolidation or reconsolidation settlements (i.e., volumetric strains) or strength evolution with consolidation stress or seismic loading history. The primary input parameters are the undrained shear strength ratio (or undrained shear strength), the shear modulus coefficient, and the contraction rate parameter. All secondary input parameters are assigned default values based on a default calibration, but may be adjusted when calibrating against advanced laboratory test data or performing sensitivity studies. The calibration process is described and illustrated by calibrations for three different normally consolidated, fine-grained soils with plasticity indices ranging from 4 to 20. The model is shown to provide reasonable approximations of behaviors important to many earthquake-engineering applications and to be relatively easy to calibrate.

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