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On the existence of an effective stress in poroplasticity

J.-F. Barthlmy & L. Dormieux

ENPC-LMSGC, Champs-Sur-Marne, France

ABSTRACT: This paper deals with the existence of an effective stress in the framework of poroplasticity. By
means of a micromechanical reasoning, a condition of existence of a plastic effective stress is obtained. The
latter allows to prove that the yield criterion is controlled by the Terzaghi effective stress if and only if the matrix
is purely cohesive. On the other hand, it is proved that, if the yield criterion of the matrix is mean stress sensitive,
neither an effective stress of the form of that controlling the elastic behavior, neither that controlling the strength
can be an effective stress for the macroscopic yield criterion.

1 INTRODUCTION domain, the behavior of the matrix is assumed to be

linear: cs denotes the stiffness tensor. As the matrix is
The behavior of a saturated porous medium is ruled elastoplastic, the strain tensor is the sum of an elastic
by an effective stress if the macroscopic stress ten- contribution el and a plastic one pl (both geometri-
sor ! and the fluid pressure p intervene in any of the cally incompatible in general). Thus, the stress tensor
constitutive equations only in a coupled way i.e. via a in the matrix is related to the elastic part of the strain

given function !(!, p). The issue of the existence of tensor by:
an effective stress in the formulation of the behavior
of a porous medium is of crucial importance. Indeed,
when such an effective stress exists, the determina-
tion of the effective response amounts to that of the The macroscopic constitutive laws are derived by con-
empty material. Considering a porous medium made sidering a purely elastic evolution of the r.v.e. so
up of an homogeneous linear elastic and perfectly plas- that the microscopic plastic strain field, which do not
tic matrix, it is known that, in the poroelastic phase, change, can be considered as given. Obviously pl can
the behavior is ruled by ! + pB involving the Biot not be prescribed in an experiment but it depends on
tensor B (Biot 1941). If the strength of the matrix is the loading history. The r.v.e. is loaded by the fluid
purely cohesive (von Mises, Tresca) or if its criterion pressure p and the macroscopic stress tensor ! defin-
is of conical shape (Drucker-Prager, Mohr-Coulomb), ing uniform stress boundary conditions on i.e.
micromechanical techniques also allow to identify an n = ! n where n denotes the unit normal outward
effective stress controlling the strength criterion (de vector to . From a mathematical point of view, we
Buhan and Dormieux 1996).As regards the poroplastic can consider, on the one hand, the macroscopic stress
behavior, the only available result concerns the purely tensor ! and the pore pressure p (which can be con-
cohesive matrix, for which the poroplasticity is gov- trolled during an experiment), and, on the other hand,
erned by Terzaghi effective stress ! + p1 (Dormieux the microscopic plastic strain field pl as two differ-
and Maghous 1999). One can then wonder whether ent loading parameters in the mechanical problem.
Terzaghi effective stress also applies to other materi- The macroscopic constitutive laws are defined by the
als and whether there exists and effective stress for the relationships between ! and p and their dual physi-
frictional type materials. cal quantities, namely the macroscopic strain tensor E
and the lagrangian porosity change (i.e. the ratio
between the volume change of p and the initial vol-
2 THE POROPLASTIC BEHAVIOR ume of the r.v.e. ) both related to the microscopic
strain field solution by:
2.1 The macroscopic state laws
We consider a representative volume element (r.v.e.)
of a porous medium made up of a pore phase p where o denotes the initial pore volume fraction
and a connex solid phase (matrix) s . In the elastic and < >w is the spatial average over the domain

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w (w = , p or s ). Those relationships also involve eigenstrain field pl in the matrix. The solution of
pl , which, according to a point of view developped in this problem represents the residual state of the r.v.e.
(Zaoui 1997), plays the role of an eigenstrain field, the after the (elastic) unloading i.e. the fields that remain
contribution of which is linearly superimposed to the after removing the macroscopic stress ! and the pore
effect of ! and p. Therefore E and both write as pressure p, provided that the unloading process be
the sum of an elastic part due to ! and p and a plastic reversible. Since pl is not generally geometrically
part due to pl : compatible, it cannot be equal to the strain field R
solution to this problem and the stress field R is not

The elastic part is deduced from the well known

poroelastic behavior obtained from a micromechani-
cal reasoning ((Auriault and Sanchez-Palencia 1977), In addition, it is deduced from (Zaoui 1997) that the
(Dormieux, Molinari, and Kondo 2002)): relationships between E pl and pl are affected by B:

By superposition of (8), (9) and R , one obtains the

where the drained macroscopic stiffness tensor chom is total stress state in the matrix:
obtained from a linear homogenization scheme (Zaoui
1997) and the Biot tensor B and the Biot modulus M
can be related to chom (Dormieux, Molinari, and Kondo

2.2 The macroscopic yield criterion

The matrix is perfectly plastic. The elastic domain G s
is defined by means of a yield criterion denoted by f s :

The elastic problem characterized by the loading !, p

with no eigenstrains in the matrix can be seen as the lin- The function f s and G s are both assumed to be convex.
ear superposition of the problem P for which the This section aims at defining the current macro-
stress defining the boundary condition is p1 and scopic elastic domain and its possible evolution if any
the pore pressure is p and the problem P for which the hardening is at stake. The idea is to build a relevant
stress defining the boundary condition is ! + p1 and macroscopic yield criterion F, being understood that
the pore pressure is 0. The matrix being homogeneous, a yield criterion is never defined in an unique way, and
the microscopic stress field solution to P is: to define its arguments.
At the local scale, f s indicates whether the local
stress state belongs to the interior (f s () < 0) or to
the boundary of G s (f s () = 0). If (x) belongs to the
The microscopic stress field solution to P writes interior of G s for all point of s , any infinitesimal
by means of a fourth-order concentration tensor B(x) macroscopic loading can not induce plasticity or, in
(Zaoui 1997) such that: an equivalent way, leads to a pure elastic evolution of
the r.v.e. i.e. F < 0. In turn, if there exists a subset of
s on which (x) belongs to the boundary of G s , plas-
ticity can occur at the microscopic scale and therefore,
according to (11) and (12), at the macroscopic one i.e.
The plastic part of the macroscopic laws is derived F = 0.
from an adaptation to the porous case of the reasoning Following (Suquet 1985), a possible choice for F is
developed in (Zaoui 1997) concerning heterogeneous then:
plastic materials. The problem leading to the plastic
part is characterized by a null stress vector on the
boundary of the r.v.e., a null pore pressure and an

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It is straightforward to see that F, given by (15), p ) satisfying
microscopic scale, the response to (!,
defines the macroscopic elastic domain G hom R7 as (19) should be purely elastic i.e.:
the set of couples (!, p) such that the stress field solu-
tion to the problem belongs to G s everywhere in the
matrix, which makes (!, p) the natural arguments of F.
According to (13), the microscopic stress state depends
not only on the current loading (!, p) but also on the In particular, at all points of spl , the yield criterion
residual stress field R (x) which rises from the load- should not be violated, which means:
ing history; this extends to the framework of saturated
porous media a result found in (Suquet 1985). The
residual stress field, which varies during the plastic
sequences, appears then as the hardening parameter
controlling the shape of the current macroscopic elas-
tic domain G hom ( R ). It is worth emphasizing that the
hardening parameter is a field and therefore contains
an infinite number of scalar hardening parameters. The and p are coupled by (19), the
Using the fact that !
macroscopic elastic domain and yield criterion satisfy: condition (21) rewrites:


Recalling that the loading (!, p ) satisfies (19) with-

out any restrictive condition about the sign of p , (22)


The present section investigates whether F depends on

! and p through an effective stress built as a function
of ! and p. Conversely, if the condition (23) is fulfilled, it comes
out that, if the loading (!, p ) satisfies (19) (i.e. !

3.1 A necessary and sufficient condition of remains constant), the criterion at all points of spl
existence keeps a null value for an elastic evolution (whereas
plasticity could have occurred). Therefore R remains
Let us assume that the yield criterion depends on ! unchanged and F is still null. Hence, F depends on

and p through an effective stress !: because it does not evolve for any
! and p through !
evolution of (!, p) letting !
Some authors have proposed to build a plastic effec-
tive stress by analogy with the elastic one (Coussy
Moreover, for a given fluid pressure p, the application 2004) i.e. ! + p Bpl where Bpl can be interpreted as
R6 R6 , ! !(!, p) is assumed to be inversible and a plastic Biot tensor. Considering such an effective
C 1 differentiable. stress, (23) becomes:
In order to examine the influence of the hypoth-
esis (18), we assume that F = 0 (according to (15)
there exists a non empty subset spl s on which
f s () = 0) and we consider an evolution (!, p ) such
that ! remains constant:

3.2 The purely cohesive material

In this section, we consider that the yield criterion of
the matrix is not affected by the confining pressure:
In such an evolution, no plastic load can occur and
the residual stress field remains then constant. At the

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This property is satisfied, for instance, by Tresca and not be equal to 1 since the right hand side of (24) is
von Mises criteria. Recalling (17) and taking advan- not null. Indeed, (28) implies:
tage of (25) for such materials, the macroscopic yield
criterion writes:

We now analyze the response of the r.v.e. to a radial

stress path of the form ! = !(t)(1 Bpl ) and p = 0
where !(t) is a monotonic decreasing function, start-
Without any assumption made on the microscopic flow ing from !(0) = 0. The microscopic stress field is
rule, (26) proves that, if the yield criterion of the matrix deduced from (13):
satisfies (25), the macroscopic yield criterion is gov-
erned by Terzaghis effective stress ! + p1. It is worth
mentioning here that it has been shown in (de Buhan
and Dormieux 1996) that the latter was the relevant We assume that the null macroscopic stress state
effective stress controlling the macroscopic strength (balanced by R ) is located in the interior of the macro-
criterion. scopic yield criterion. Therefore, R , which plays the
Conversely, let us now investigate the consequence role of a prestress or the initial stress state in (32),
at the microscopic scale of the choice of Terzaghis complies with:
effective stress. In this case, (24) with Bpl = 1 implies:

It is assumed that the macroscopic yield criterion of

such a r.v.e. is bounded, which is the case provided that
It is straightforward to show that the condition (27) is t be small enough (de Buhan and Dormieux 1996).
equivalent to (25). The evolution of in (32), when !(t) is decreasing,
is purely elastic ( R remains constant) until ! reaches
3.3 The criteria sensitive to the confining the boundary of the macroscopic yield domain for the
pressure value ! < 0 of !(t). Multiplying (24) by ! and
taking advantage of (32), we obtain:
Let us now consider a yield criterion sensitive to the
confining pressure and examine whether any plastic
effective stress ! + p Bpl could be relevant for this kind
of matrix. The matrix yield criterion is then taken in
the form: Using (31) and ! < 0, we deduce that the left hand
side of (34) is strictly negative. This is not consistent
with the positive sign of the right hand side of (34)
which comes from the convexity of f s . Indeed, using
where m and d denote the microscopic mean and (33) and the fact that f s () = 0 on spl , we have:
deviatoric stress:

So as to comply with the convexity of f s , the function Consequently, a plastic effective stress of the form
g must be concave. Moreover, we assume that the null ! + pBpl cannot be relevant for the class of materials
stress state belongs to the interior of the microscopic described by (28).
domain i.e. g(0) > 0. In the following, we focus on
strictly decreasing functions g (i.e. g (m ) < 0). For 3.4 The cone-shaped criteria
instance, the Drucker-Prager criterion meets all these
conditions as g is an affined function: Let us now consider that the yield criterion of the
matrix defines a cone-shaped elastic domain such that:

If ! + pBpl is the plastic effective stress, the condition where h 0 is the tensile strength of the solid. Mohr-
(24) is fulfilled. It is worth recalling that Bpl should Coulomb and Drucker-Prager criteria for instance

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meet the property (36). It is worth pointing out that As (42) is satisfied whatever the sign of p , we have:
the tensile part of the strength domain of geomate-
rials is not as precisely experimentally identified as
the compressive part, so that h is more a geometrical
parameter used to define the apex of the domain than
a physical one. It is shown in (de Buhan and Dormieux
1996) that the macroscopic strength criterion of porous Besides, it is readily seen by differentiation of (36)
media made up with that kind of matrix depends on ! that:
and p through the effective stress:

The issue of whether this effective stress also controls

the yield criterion is raised. Taking = 1/(1 + p/h) Taking = 1/(1 + p/h) in (44) and recalling (13), we
(p > h) in (36), we obtain: obtain:

Taking advantage of (38), (17) rewrites:

With the help of (45), (44) rewrites:

Differentiating again (43) with respect to the time

Recalling that the multiplication of F by any strictly while ! and R remain constant, we have:
positive function of (!, p) does not change the shape
of the elastic domain nor the activation criterion of
plasticity, F in (39) can be replaced by:

where 2 f s / 2 denotes the (positive) Hessian of f s .

Differentiating (44) with respect to and taking again
= 1/(1 + p/h), it comes out from (47) that:
It comes out from (40) that, starting from R = 0 (nat-
ural initial state), the first plastification criterion is
controlled by ! (37):

Invoking the positivity of the Hessian 2 f s / 2 due to

the convexity of f s , (48) implies then:

When the initial state is prestressed ( R = 0), the

expression of the criterion (40) written as a function
of (! , p, R ) explicitly depends on p, which suggests
that ! is not an effective stress controlling the macro-
We now consider an evolution of ! involving macro-
scopic plasticity. Let us prove that the assumption
scopic plasticity (i.e. F = 0 and F = 0. The differenti-
according to which ! would be an effective stress
ation of (46) with respect to the time gives:
leads to inconsistencies. In a state where F = 0, we
consider an evolution (!, p ) letting ! constant. Fol-
lowing the same reasoning as in section 3.1, we deduce
that such an evolution does not induce plasticity at the
macroscopic and microscopic scales. Using (40), this
implies: Taking advantage of (49), (50) becomes:

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Introducing the decomposition (13) in (51), we get: pressure, it is shown that a Biot-type effective stress
can never be a good candidate. It is also proved that
the poroplasticity of a porous medium made up with
a matrix of cone-shaped criterion can not be governed
by the effective stress controlling both the strength
As the matrix is perfectly plastic, the right hand side of domain and the first plastification criterion of such a
(52) is non positive. This implies that the elastic part medium. In spite of those negative conclusions, find-
of the evolution of the microscopic stress field does ing a way to take advantage of results about dry porous
not lead to a violation of the criterion: media (with a frictional matrix) to characterize the
behavior of the saturated ones should be an interesting

In other words, the response of the r.v.e. to the pre-
scribed evolution ! is purely elastic ( = EL ). Thus, Auriault, J.-L. and E. Sanchez-Palencia (1977). tude du
any evolution ! is not able to induce plasticity and comportement macroscopique dun milieu poreux satur
then ! can not be a relevant effective stress. This neg- dformable. J . Mc. 16(4), 575603.
ative conclusion can also be put in evidence by solving Barthlmy, J.-F. (2005). Approche micromcanique de la
the problem of a fluid-saturated sphere (Barthlmy rupture et de la fissuration dans les gomatriaux. Thse
2005). de doctorat, cole Nationale des Ponts et Chausses.
Biot, M.A. (1941). General theory of threedimensional
consolidation. J. of Appl. Phys. 12, 155164.
4 CONCLUSION Coussy, O. (2004). Poromechanics. New-York: Wiley.
de Buhan, P. and L. Dormieux (1996). On the validity of
the effective stress concept for assessing the strength of
After recalling the poroplastic state laws, we have saturated porous materials: a homogenization approach.
built the macroscopic yield criterion of a saturated J. Mech. Phys. Solids 44(10), 16491667.
porous medium. This criterion determines whether the Dormieux, L. and S. Maghous (1999). Poroelasticity and
macroscopic loading (!, p) belongs or not to the yield Poroplasticity at Large Strains. Oil and Gas Science and
domain which depends on the residual stress field. Technology, Rev. IFP 54, 773784.
The latter appears as an infinite number of harden- Dormieux, L., A. Molinari, and D. Kondo (2002). Microme-
ing parameters. Using a micromechanical reasoning, chanical approach to the behavior of poroelastic materials.
a condition of existence of an effective stress has been J. Mech. Phys. Solids 50(10), 22032231.
Suquet, P. (1985). Elastic perfectly plastic constituents. In
derived. This condition allows to show that the poro- E. Sanchez-Palencia andA. Zaoui (Eds.), Homogenization
plasticity is controlled by Terzaghi effective stress if Techniques for Composite Media, Udine, Italy, pp. 245
and only if the matrix is purely cohesive. For other 278. CISM: Springer-Verlag.
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