Modelling the behaviour of unsaturated non-active clays in saline environment
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2021

The chemical composition of pore fluid and matric suction rule the mechanical behaviour of soils. In case of clays, their fabric changes in line with those variables. Since both the increase in matric suction and salinity cause a transition from an open to a close microstructure of low and medium activity clayey materials, a unique framework could tackle problems where salinity and saturation changes are expected. This paper presents a simple elasto-plastic model capable of reproducing the behaviour of unsaturated clayey soils in saline environments. Changes in the pore fluid composition are addressed through the use of osmotic suction as a variable. The proposed model extends the Barcelona Basic Model for partially saturated soils to consider the effect of osmotic suction. The model, implemented in the Thebes code, is calibrated for Boom Clay. The reproduced tests include mechanical loading at different matric and osmotic suctions in oedometric conditions, as well as more complex chemo-mechanical stress paths. Despite the simplicity of the formulation, the agreement between the experimental results and the simulations is encouraging. It seems that the modelling approach addresses the most important features of partially saturated soils with saline pore fluid which are slightly or moderately expansive.

Osmotic suction

Matric suction

Constitutive relations

Barcelona Basic Model

Unsaturated clays

Clay microstructure


Giulia Scelsi

Politecnico di Milano

Ayman Abed


Chalmers, Arkitektur och samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geologi och geoteknik

Gabriele Della Vecchia

Politecnico di Milano

Guido Musso

Politecnico di Torino

W. Solowski


Engineering Geology

0013-7952 (ISSN)

Vol. 295 106441



Teknisk mekanik

Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap



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