Mechanical behaviour of compacted earth with respect to relative humidity and clay content : experimental study and constitutive modelling

Abstract : Compacted earth is regarded as a granular mixture in which clay plays a role of binder but it also exhibits an important interaction with water. During their service life, compacted earth can be subject to large changes in relative humidity. Those perpetual changes of environmental conditions induce continuous changes of water content of the earth that impact significantly its mechanical performances. The present work aimes at studying the mechanical behavior of compacted earth with respect to relative humidity and clay content. It involves an extensive experimental study and a constitutive modelling. In the first part of this thesis, four kinds of local earth are identified with different clay contents. A comparison of compaction method was then conducted between a double static compaction and dynamic compaction. Three types of specific tests: suction test by filter paper method, shrinkage test and sorption-desorption test were carried out, thereby providing a preliminary insight on the interaction effects between clay and water. In the second part, the impact of clay and moisture contents on the shear behavior of compacted earth was investigated taking into account loading-unloading cycles. Adopting a particular definition of Bishop's effective stress, failure states of all samples were observed to lie approximately on a unique failure line crossing the origin in the (p'-q) plane regardless of matric suction and confining pressure. Finally, based on the above experimental results, a new constitutive model was proposed, based on the theories of Bounding Surface Plasticity and continuum damage mechanics, aiming to simulate mechanical behaviour of compacted earth.
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Longfei Xu. Mechanical behaviour of compacted earth with respect to relative humidity and clay content : experimental study and constitutive modelling. Mechanics of materials [physics.class-ph]. Université de Lyon, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018LYSET005⟩. ⟨tel-02174201⟩

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