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Evaluating the capabilities of some constitutive models in reproducing the experimental behaviour of stiff clay subjected to tunnelling stress paths

Valls-Marquez, Monica (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Accurate prediction of soil behaviour around tunnel excavations is vital for the assessment of its effects on existing infrastructures and services, both underground and surface, and evaluation of risks to enable safe designs. This thesis evaluates the capabilities of four constitutive models in reproducing the intrinsic experimental behaviour of stiff clay when subjected to tunnelling-induced stress paths. Relevant stress paths have been determined from 2D and 3D finite element analysis using PLAXIS. Reconstituted Speswhite Kaolin clay specimens have been prepared from slurry, their properties investigated in detail, and tested using state-of-the-art stress path equipment and on-sample instrumentation. The soil model testing software SM2D has been used to compare the models’ predictions to the experimental measurements. The results have shown that there are yet many limitations in terms of accurately simulating the response of overconsolidated clay when subjected to extension, essential in tunnelling problems. Also the only model considered that has features to account for small-strain behaviour has been found to be too crude in its current state to be applied to complex geotechnical problems without further reflection. Some suggestions for improvement have been given. The results presented should help in making a more informed selection of models for design purposes.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Chapman, David and Chan, Andrew and Ghataora, G.S. (Gurmel S.)
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
Department:School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
Subjects:TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:502
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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