Enhancing the Bolzon-Schrefler-Zienkiewicz constitutive model for partially saturated soil

R. Santagiuliana, B. A. Schrefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


This paper presents an enhanced version of the elasto-plastic model for partially saturated soil first proposed by Bolzon, Schrefler and Zienkiewicz in 1996, "BSZ" model, which uses the effective stress tensor and suction as independent stress variables. It is recalled that the effective stress tensor proposed by Lewis and Schrefler in 1982 is thermodynamically consistent and, compared with other choices of stress tensors, results particularly suitable for partially saturated soil mechanics. A hydraulic constitutive relationship and a hydraulic hysteresis are introduced in the model, to take into account the irreversible deformation during cyclic drying and wetting until structural collapse. For this reason the plastic rate of strain is split into the sum of two components: one depending on the effective stress tensor and the other one on suction. This is the new feature of the BSZ model. This enhanced model is then cast into a thermodynamical framework at macroscopic level and it is shown that it is possible to derive the constitutive law from the Helmholtz free energy and a dissipation function, both for associative and non-associative plasticity. Finally the model predictions have been compared with experimental data for Sion slime, with particular emphasis on the deviatoric part, and model predictions of hysteretic behaviour have been investigated in case of a wetting and drying cycle on compacted betonite-kaolin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Constitutive relation
  • Dissipation function
  • Helmholtz free energy
  • Hydraulic hysteresis
  • Partial saturation
  • Plasticity
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Catalysis


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