Uniqueness of a constitutive shear modulus surface for unsaturated soils

Corrie Walton-Macaulay, L. Sebastian Bryson, Brian T. Hippley, Bobby O. Hardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The measurement of shear modulus at small strains in unsaturated soil is critical to evaluating the deformation behavior of soils at working loads. However, little has been done to determine if the small-strain shear modulus surface is unique during variation in either net mean stress or matric suction. In this context, uniqueness is defined as similar samples subjected to different stress paths that converge to the same stress state. Research is presented herein in which a unique constitutive shear modulus surface was established by independently controlling mean net and matric suction stress in a modified resonant column apparatus. Uniqueness was also investigated using data extracted from literature studies. Uniqueness of the shear modulus surface was shown for single-direction stress and hydraulic paths, by the convergence of modulus and by the agreement between predicted and measured modulus. The presence of a unique shear modulus surface allows for the use of a constitutive relationship based on soil type that describes the small-strain shear modulus in terms of the stress state variables.

Original languageEnglish
Article number06015002
JournalInternational Journal of Geomechanics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Matric suction
  • Mean net stress
  • Modulus
  • Small-strain shear modulus
  • Specific water volume
  • Unsaturated soils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science


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