Finite Element Analysis of Strain-Softening Clay

by Kaare Höeg, Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Stanford Univ., Stanford, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1972, Vol. 98, Issue 1, Pg. 43-58

Document Type: Journal Paper


Strain-softening stress-strain behavior and the resulting progressive type failure are of importance in many geotechnical problems. Available analyses are limited in scope or are empirical in nature as mathematical formulations become difficult. Stress-strain-strength models presented in the literature are reviewed, and it is noted whether the models can accommodate strain-softening behavior. An approach based on the theory of plasticity is suggested and applied by means of the finite element method, to determine the undrained load-deformation curve and bearing capacity for a circular foundation on saturated clay. The accuracy of the analysis in the plastic range is evaluated, and the results from computations with and without plastic strain-softening are compared. A dramatic increase in deformations and reduction in bearing capacity was found for only relatively modest amounts of strain-softening. The numerical analysis is used to evaluate deformation and bearing capacity data obtained from a circular test fill in the field.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Soil analysis | Load bearing capacity | Strain hardening and softening | Clays | Soil stress | Stress strain relations | Mathematical models

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