Volume 46, N. 3

July-September 2023

The 8th Victor de Mello lecture: role played by viscosity on the undrained behaviour of normally consolidated clays


Volume 46, N. 3, July-September 2023 | DOWNLOAD PDF (218 downloads)


Phenomena that do not obey Terzaghi’s principle of effective stress (PES) are related to strain rate and time effects. This issue led the author to refer to early articles in soil mechanics, which used to consider the shear resistance of clays as a combination of two components: a frictional and a viscous one. In these articles the viscous component was assigned to the distortion of highly viscous adsorbed water layer in the contact points between grains along the plane where shearing takes place. Assuming the shear resistance of plastic soils comprises frictional and viscous resistance components, a shear stress equation can be added to the PES. It is shown that Mohr’s circle of effective stress is the sum of two ellipses: the viscosity and the friction ellipses. The ordinates of the viscosity and the friction ellipses represent the viscous and the frictional components of shear resistance in different planes, respectively. This approach leads to a failure criterion considering strain rate, according to which failure takes place whenever the friction ellipse touches the strength envelope, which is the φ´e sloped straight line passing through the origin, φ´e being the Hvorslev’s true angle of friction. By adding such shear stress equation to the PES, a model that explains strain rate and time effects is developed. Predictions of the proposed model are compared to results from tests carried out on San Francisco Bay Mud specimens.

Keywords: Strain-rate effects, Soft clay, Creep, Stress relaxation, Stress-strain-strain-rate, relationships,

Submitted on May 18, 2023.
Final Acceptance on May 18, 2023.
Discussion open until November 30, 2023.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2023.006123