Aspects of Mechanical Behavior and Modeling of a Tropical Unsaturated Soil


The research studies the applicability of two elastoplastic models for the collapse prediction of the lateritic soil profile from Southeastern Brazil. These tropical soils have peculiar geotechnical behavior, due to their mineralogical composition and porous structure coming from intense process of formation. Two elastoplastic models were analyzed: the Barcelona Basic Model (BBM) and another one based on BBM, however developed for tropical soils. Oedometric tests with suction control were performed at three distinct depths of the soil profile. The BBM was not suitable for the upper layer of the soil profile, because BBM considers the compressible behavior of the soil in function of the reduction of the elastoplastic compressibility index with the increase of the matric suction. The model developed for tropical soils showed better suited to the compressible behavior of the soil profile, resulting in good prediction of the collapse potential, mainly by accepting increasing values of the elastoplastic compressibility index of the soil profile with the matric suction rise.

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The authors would like to express their sincere appreciation to São Paulo State Research Support Foundation for assistance in research studies 2005/00164-7 and 2008/00016-6 and for the master’s stipend 2008/02162-0.

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Correspondence to Julio César Beltrame Benatti.



See Table 4.

Table 4 Correspondence between the formulations presented by Futai et al. (1999) and Alonso et al. (1990)

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Benatti, J.C.B., Rodrigues, R.A. & Miguel, M.G. Aspects of Mechanical Behavior and Modeling of a Tropical Unsaturated Soil. Geotech Geol Eng 31, 1569–1585 (2013).

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  • Elastoplastic models
  • Collapse prediction
  • Oedometric tests with suction control
  • Tropical soils