American Society of Civil Engineers

NorSand: Features, Calibration and Use

by Michael G. Jefferies, C.Eng., (Colder Associates Ltd, Burnaby & Visiting Professor, UMIST) and Dawn A. Shuttle, C.Eng., M.ASCE, (Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver)
Section: Invited Papers, pp. 204-236, (doi:

     Access full text
     Purchase Subscription
     Permissions for Reuse  

Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: Soil Constitutive Models: Evaluation, Selection, and Calibration
Abstract: NorSand is a generalized critical state model for soil based on the state parameter ∴ and incorporating familiar ideas in geomechanics, some of which date back more than a century. NorSand has associated plasticity but dilates similarly to actual soil through the introduction of limited hardening. Limited hardening causes yield in unloading, replicating observed soil behavior with second order detail. Principal stress rotation always softens NorSand, realistically representing cyclic loading effects. NorSand is a sparse model with just eight soil properties required to capture these many aspects of soil behavior over a wide range of density and confining stress. It has been validated over a range of conditions, including the practically important case of plane strain. The paper provides an introduction to NorSand, describing the idealizations and illustrating model performance/ validation. Determining soil properties and ∴ is discussed. Finally, implementing NorSand within finite element codes is reviewed. A spreadsheet with VBA open source code implementation of NorSand for common laboratory tests can be downloaded from the UBC website.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Constitutive models
Sand (material)