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Vol. 4(6), 367-372, 1977.

Pergamon Press.

Printed in USA.


D. Kolymbas
I n s t i t u t fUr Bodenmechanik und Felsmechanik, University of Karlsruhe,
(Received 1 July 1977; accepted for print 17 October 1977)

A c o n s t i t u t i v e equation of the rate type is presented here which removes the
d i f f i c u l t i e s impeding the application of the usual p l a s t i c i t y theory. These
d i f f i c u l t i e s arise because of rate-dependence and because of the so-called incremental nonlinearity of i r r e v e r s i b l e deformation of solids. The results presented here are obtained from the consideration of soil behaviour (sand and
clay) but i t is asserted that they remain valid - at least in principle - for
the deformation of any solid.
Handicaps of the conventional theory of p l a s t i c i t y
The application of conventional p l a s t i c i t y theory in soil mechanics is handicapped in two ways. F i r s t , the rate independence requirement of p l a s t i c i t y
theory does not hold for any i r r e v e r s i b l e solid deformation El]. All solids
exhibit a rate-sensitivity

in the sense that a change of the deformation ve-

l o c i t y ~ produces a change of stress which is proportional to the change of

Int. This r a t e - s e n s i t i v i t y

( i . e . d~/d In~) becomes increaseingly important

as the strength of the material is reduced E2]. For example, the rate-sensitivity

of sand is almost equal to the rate s e n s i t i v i t y of clay, but i t is of

importance only in (soft) clay, being negligible for sand and s t i f f

clay. In

taking mathematical account of r a t e - s e n s i t i v i t y attention should be paid to

the fact that the very nature of this phenomenon does not permit the use of
the familiar decompositions ~= f(E) + g(E) and E = h(~) + k (0), where~,~
and e are the stress, stress-rate, strain and strain-rate respectively.
The second major disadvantage of the conventional p l a s t i c i t y theory is its
Scientific Con~nunication - Abbreviated


D. K O L Y M B A S

inadequacy to describe the experimentally confirmed incremental





is the o s t e n s i b l y s e l f - e v i d e n t

of two small s t r e s s - (or s t r a i n - )

as the a p p l i c a t i o n


assumption t h a t the

increments has the same e f f e c t

of t h e i r vector sum, when these increments tend to zero.

The c o n s t i t u t i v e


The c o n s t i t u t i v e

equation proposed here is of the rate type [ 4 ] and has the

f o l l o w i n g general form:
: h (T D ) + g ( D,D 2 )
(Tensor n o t a t i o n as in [ 4 ] ,

~ is the c o - r o t a t i o n a l


stress r a t e ) .

The tensor

valued f u n c t i o n h describes the rate-independent deformation behaviour (which

is c o n v e n t i o n a l l y

called "plastic")

and g , the rate-dependent behaviour. Equ.

(1) applies f o r simple m a t e r i a l s of rate type which are i s o t r o p i c .


i s proposed t h a t :

g( D, D2 ) : _i

, Dz

C2 + T



where B and C are constants with the dimensions of a stress and a s t r a i n - r a t e


The f u n c t i o n

g vanishes so long as D is constant. Therefore

materials are not recognized as such when tested with hard tes-

t i n g machines at constant v e l o c i t y .

An a c c e l e r a t i o n of the s t r a i n - r a t e ( D ~ X D )

leads, according to (2), to a stress increase equal to

B (sinh-l(XDll/C)-sinh-l(Dll/C))

The f u n c t i o n h has to f u l f i l
pic (due to o b j e c t i v i t y )
dence of t h i s p o r t i o n ) .

~ B lnX.

the f o l l o w i n g requirements:

and p o s i t i v e l y
The a d d i t i o n a l

h should be i s o t r o -

homogeneous in D (due to rate-indepenrequirement of h -

to be continuously

in a neighbourhood of D =O (which led to h y p o e l a s t i c i t y )

- will

not be adopted here. Consideration of the above formulated requirements in comb i n a t i o n with the appropriate r e p r e s e n t a t i o n theorems from [ 4 ] ,

behaviour, taken mainly from [ 5 ] ,



and the actual

led to the f o l l o w i n g re-

p r e s e n t a t i o n of b which is assumed to be c o n s t i t u t e d from a d e v i a t o r i c

and a

volumetric p a r t :
~" = h l ( D ~ -

+ h2. ~ h2 l t r D, 2

1 )




~ tr T = h 3 t r D + h~

The s t a r (~) denotes the d e v i a t o r i c


+ hs

tr(.T" D"z}


part of a tensor.



The s c a l a r c o e f f i c i e n t s

hi are functions of simultaneous invariants of T and D . For soils only hI is

a function, h2 being a material dimensionless modulus and h3, h4, h5 being
multiples of hI : hj = h j h i , '

h--j = const, j = 3, 4, 5.

Besides rendering a r e a l i s t i c combination of plastic and viscous behaviour

the equations proposed here furnish a set of particular relationships which
are in close agreement to experimental facts. They will only be b r i e f l y summarized below. A detailed exposition will be given in a later publication.
(1) Proportional (i.e. straight) strain-paths starting from the stress-free
state produce proportional stress-paths. This experimentally obtained property is stated in [ 5 I .
(2) Straight strain-paths which do not start from the stress-free state produce stress-paths which take a direction asymptotically as i f they had started
from the stress-free state. This statement which follows from the constitutive
equations should be compared whith the statement R2 in [5].
(3) The "deviatoric flow rule" is a relationship between the directions of the
deviatoric parts of stress and strain-rate. These directions in the stressspace and the strain-rate-space respectively can be given through the angles
mT (for proportional strain paths ~=ST) and ~D which are defined in [5] by
cos 3 a T : = ' ~

( tr

tr T ~ ~
T "~2 ) 312 and

tr D" 3

3~ -D :


( tr D,Z}

respectively. Since~Tcan be calculated by means of equ.(3) for any given

strain-rate D ,the curves of FIG.1 are obtained, each one for an assumed value
of h2 (cf.experimental results in FIG.4 of [5]). The case h2 = 0 corresponds
to the PRANDTL-REUSSequations; see also FIG.8 of [6].
(4) The "volumetric flow rule" is a relationship between the angles @Tand @D
which are defined by
tr T
cot ~ ! - -~-3 tr --~
T" 2'


cot q)D " =

tr D

For proportional strain-paths started from the stress-free-state this relationship is experimentally obtained and stated in [7]. For this case equ.(4)
furnishes :


D. K O L Y M B A S

cot d) T = h 3

cot d)D + hz, 3tr~ "2


+ hs ~-r-~.-~-t~D~,Z-~ .ton d)T

Equation (5) turns out to be numerically equivalent to the corresponding relationship

stated in [ 7 ] .

the " l i m i t



From t h i s equivalency a r i s e s , f u r t h e r ,

the form of



H2=0 .e




,;Oc05{ 3


x2=o ,2
= .


Influence of hz on the deviotoric flow rule

(5) The " l i m i t


Influence of h2 on the limit condition

can be represented as a surface in the stress-space

separating possible from impossible s t r e s s - s t a t e s .

As shown in [ 5 ] the l i m i t

c o n d i t i o n must be a conical

t i o n curve with any d e v i a t o r i c

plane ( i . e .


Its intersec-

a plane in the stress-space f o r

which t r T = const holds) may be calculated from equations (3) and (4) and
the equivalency requirement stated above. Such curves c a l c u l a t e d f o r several

values are sketched in FIG.2 and should be compared with the experimenresults

in FIG. 3 of L5}.

(6) The d i l a t a n c y behaviour of sand, as described in [ 8 ] ,

duced by the proposed equations.
the p r o p e r t i e s



I t is worth mentioning at t h i s p o i n t t h a t

(5) and (6) are described by the c o n s t i t u t i v e

t i o n s when only three material


is very well repro-

constants ( f o r a given s o i l )


are known (the

( I ) and (2) are of general nature and hold f o r any value of the

involved parameters).
(7) The experiments normally used in soil mechanics to determine material


strength (e.g. the t r i a x i a l


test) consist in approaching, in some way, the

l i m i t condition s t a r t i n g from, say, a h y d r o s t a t i c a l l y stressed state. During

this process the slope of the stress-strain-curve,

given essentially by hI ,

diminishes monotonically and becomes almost zero at incipient f a i l u r e (at

the so-called "peak"). The states at and beyond peak do not f a l l

into the

scope of the equations proposed here. (The rupture of the sample can be considered as a phase t r a n s i t i o n changing the material symmetry properties, which
under appropriate conditions can become those of a subfluid.) hI is proposed


Co exp

C1 t r T - ~ ~

Cz trT tr D" 2


where Co , C1, C2 are constants. This equation enables the calculation of the
stress-strain-curve for any deformation process.
(8) A characteristic property of the observed stress-strain-curves
the " d u c t i l i t y "

is that

increases with increaseing hydrostatic pressure. I . e . , when

two similar experiments are conducted at d i f f e r e n t levels of hydrostatic

pressure, the experiment with higher hydrostatic pressure w i l l

reach the ma-

ximum stress value at a greater strain. This property is in accordance with

(9) As seen from equ.(6) the instantaneous stiffness

(given essentially by

hi) depends on the actual stress state as well as on the s t r a i n - r a t e D to be

performed. A reversal of the deformation (D-~-D) results in a drastic increase of hI which thereafter decreases again. This behaviour has been experimentally observed [9].
(10) The compressional behaviour of soils is usually represented by de =
-const d In t r T , where e is the void r a t i o . This behaviour can also be given by equation (4).
(11) The proposed c o n s t i t u t i v e equations permit a description of creep. For
a given creep mode, say, a plane isochoric deformation with


the following d i f f e r e n t i a l

equation for ~ = ~ ( t )

is obtained:


D. K O L Y M B A S

hi@ + B ~ / ~ C Z + ~ 2~= 0
Since a p p r o x i m a t e l y s i n h - l ( E / C )


ln(2E/C), one


gets the s o l u t i o n as



hi C e K/B t + 1
B 2
Equ.(8) agrees with the observed diminishing of creep rate with time, s. for
example [101. The s o - c a l l e d t e r t i a r y


creep phase f a l l s

out of

the scope of the proposed equations being a rupture phenomenon. As expected,

for a given t ~ i n c r e a s e s with d e c r e a s i n g h I .
Corollary: As known, the solution of the d i f f e r e n t i a l
on an i n i t i a l

equation (7) depends

condition concerning the rate ~ at t = O; here 4 ( 0 ) = T


This fact could serve as a rational foundation for the notion of t h i x o t r o ht C eK/Bt
py. The influence of the i n i t i a l rate vanishes with increaseing t as-B--7
increases by comparison to 1.
Acknowledgement: The author wishes to thank Prof.Dr.-Ing.G.Gudehus and Dr.Ing. M. Goldscheider for t h e i r many s~mulating and f r u i t f u l


[ I ] PRANDTL, L.:"Ein Gedankenmodell zur kinetischen Theorie der festen
K~rper", ZAMM, 8/2, p. 85, 1928
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! n s t . o f Phys. Conf. Ser. No.21, p.3, 1974
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Sand..." in '~Finite Elements for Geomechanics", John Wiley, New
York, 1977.
[41TRUESDELL, C.A., NOLL, W.:"The Nonlinear Field Theories of Mechanics",
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3, p.463, 1976.
[6] HILL, R.:"The mathematical theory of p l a s t i c i t y " , Oxford 1960.
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c o n t r i b . t o GAMM-Conf."Kontinuumsmech.fester K~rDer"Oberwolfach 1977.
[81GOLDSCHEIDER, M.:" Dilatanzverhalten von Sand bei geknickten Verformungs.
wegen", Mech. Res.Comm.2, p.143, 1975.
[9] WOOD, D.M.:"Explorations of principal stress space with kaolin in a
true t r i a x i a l apparatus", G~otechnique 25, No.4, p.783, 1975.
[lOJ SINGH,A., MITCHELL, J.K.:"General Stress-Strain-Time Function for
Soils" Journal of SMFD ASCE, p.21, Jan.1968
Abbreviated Paper - For further information, please contact the author.