This paper presents a simple concept which can be used for simulating a range of soil mechanics problems. The study is motivated by the observation that many experimental results are commonly described in terms of lines or curves according to a phenomenological approach. Frequently, these relations are based on rather different formulations from one application to another, and in complex forms for some cases. This leads to complications for the calibration of parameters as well as constitutive modelling. Thus, a general framework referred to as “reference curves” has been developed. This framework provides a unique treatment of the macroscopically observed behaviour of clays, sands, and structured materials under isotropic compression, as well as the water retention characteristics of granular materials and geotextiles. Several examples are provided illustrating the good accuracy of models developed with this concept. The proposed framework may be equally applied to any other behaviour where reference lines are easily identifiable from a macroscopic scope, such as some non-linear failure envelopes for granular materials. In addition, we show that the incorporation of the proposed equations into constitutive models is quite straightforward.
Computers and Geotechnics Vol. 36, Issue 1-2, p. 149-165