The Steady State of Deformation

by Steve J. Poulos, (M.ASCE), Principal; Geotechnical Engrs., Inc., 1017 Main St., Winchester, Mass. 01890,

Serial Information: Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, 1981, Vol. 107, Issue 5, Pg. 553-562

Document Type: Journal Paper


The steady state of deformation for any mass of particles is that state in which the mass is continuously deforming at constant volume, constant normal effective stress, constant shear stress, and constant velocity. The steady state of deformation is achieved only after all particle orientation has reached a statistically steady-state condition and after all particle breakage, if any, is complete, so that the shear stress needed to continue deformation and the velocity of deformation remain constant. The similarities and differences between steady-state deformation and the current use of the term critical state are described. A special undrained triaxial test on a sand is presented to demonstrate clearly that a special flow structure exists during steady-state deformation, which is quite different from the initial structure, and which is credited to a nonrandom, i.e., statistically oriented, arrangement of the sand grains.

Subject Headings: Particle velocity | Shear stress | Soil deformation | Steady states | Deformation (mechanics) | Triaxial tests | Effective stress | Shear deformation

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