Skip to main content

An Extension to Barcelona Basic Model Predicting the Behavior of Unsaturated Soils


Slope failures along highways can highly affect the stability of road structure. In this respect, the analysis of the wetting process in unsaturated media is of great importance to slopes and pavements. In this study, the Barcelona basic model (BBM) was implemented in finite difference-based program to investigate the geomechanical behavior of fine-grained unsaturated soils subjected to wetting. This numerical modeling has been verified against some data in the literature. The application of the model was investigated for the response of a compacted fill slope involving suction-induced problems. The study also considered the effect of the over-consolidation ratio (OCR) in unsaturated soils, especially stress paths, as a modification to BBM. The simulations also include using BBM and modified BBM in FLAC to evaluate the response of deep soil mixing (DSM) improvement method in subsurface areas of the pavements in unsaturated media. Finally, modified BBM codes in the finite-difference program were presented for dealing with problems associated with soil slope and the DSM method to improve the foundation of pavements. Also, over-consolidation ratio has been added to BBM to optimize its application in suction various processes. Overall, it has been found that the modified BBM leads to more occurred results.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6
Fig. 7
Fig. 8
Fig. 9
Fig. 10
Fig. 11
Fig. 12
Fig. 13
Fig. 14
Fig. 15
Fig. 16
Fig. 17


  • Alipour R., Khazaei J.S., Pakbaz M., and Ghalandarzadeh A.: “Settlement control by deep and mass soil mixing in clayey soil.” Intl Civil Engineering Institution, Paper 160008, (2016)

  • Alonso, E.E., Gens, A., Hight, D.W.: Special Problem Soils, General Report. Proc., 9th Eur. Conf. on Soil Mech. and Found. Engrg., Dublin. 3, 1087–1146 (1987)

  • Alonso, E.E., Gens, A., Josa, A.: A constitutive model for partially saturated soil. Geotechnique. 40(3), 405–430 (1990)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Alonso, E.E., Vaunat, J., Gens, A.: Modeling the mechanical behavior of expansive clays. Eng. Geol. 54, 143–183 (1999)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bishop, A.W.: The Principle of Effective Stress. Lecture delivered in Oslo, Norway, in 1955, published in: Teknish Ukeblad. 106(39), 859–863 (1959)

  • Cerato, A.B., Miller, G.A., Hojjat, J.: The influence of cold size and structure on wetting-induced volume change of compacted. J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 1620–1628 (2009).

  • Fredlund D.G., Rahardjo H.:” Soil mechanics for unsaturated soils.” Wiley, New York, (1993)

  • Fredlund, D.G., Rahardjo, H., Fredlund, M.D.: Unsaturated soil mechanics in engineering practice. John Wiley & Sons Inc. (2012)

  • Gallipoli, D., D’Onza, F., Wheeler, S.J.: A sequential method for selecting parameter values in the Barcelona basic model. Can. Geotech. J. 47(11), 1175–1186 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Garcia L.M., “Influence of moisture content on pullout resistance of geotextiles in marginal quality soils.” Master’s thesis, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, (2010)

  • Gens, A., Sanchez, M., Sheng, D.: On constitutive modeling of unsaturated soils. Acta Geotech. 1(3), 137–147 (2006)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hatami, Y.K., Miller, G.A.: Numerical modeling of wetting-inducedsettlement of embankments. GeoCongress 2013, Stability and Performance of Slopesand Embankments III, ASCE, Reston, VA, 333–342 (2013)

  • Hatami, A., Tourchi, S.: A thermomechanical constitutive model for unsaturated clays. Intl J Geotechn Eng. 12(2), (2018)

  • Hatami, K., Granados, J.E., Esmaili, D., Miller, G.A.: Influence of gravimetric water content on geotextile reinforcement pullout resistance in MSE walls with marginal soils. Transp. Res. Rec. 13(3836), 66–74 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ho, H., Hesieh, C.C.: Numerical modeling for undrained shear strength of clays subjected to different plasticity indexes. J Geong. 8(3), (2018)

  • Hosseinpour, I., Riccio, M., Almeida, S.S.M.: Verification of the plane strain model for the analysis of encased granular columns. J Geongineering. 12(4), 137–145 (2017)

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoyos, L., Pérez-Ruiz, D., Puppala, A.: Refined true triaxial apparatus for testing unsaturated soils under suction-controlled stresspaths. Int. J.Geomech. 281–291 (2012).

  • Jayanth, S., Kannan, K.R.I., Singh, D.N.: Continuous determination of drying path SWRC of fine grained soils. Geomech Geoeng. Int J. (2012).

  • Josa, A.: “Un modelo eslastoplastico para suelos no saturados.” PhD. thesis, Univ. of Politencnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain, (1988)

  • Li, L., Aubetin, M.: An analytical solution for the nonlinear distribution of effective and total stresses in vertical backfilled stopes. Geomech Geoeng, Int J. 5(4), 237–245 (2010)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lyu S., Hon C.K.H., Chan A.P.C., Wong F.K.W., Javed, A.A.: Relationships among safety climate, safety behavior, and safety outcomes for ethnic minority construction workers. Int’l J. Environmental Reasearch and Public Health. 15(484) (2018)

  • Mojezi, M., Biglari, M., Kazem, M., Ashayeri, J.: Determination of shear modulus and damping ratio of normally consolidated unsaturated kaolin. Intl J Geotech Eng. (2018).

  • Mun, W., McCartney, J.S.: Compression mechanisms of unsaturated clay under high stress levels. Can. Geotech. J. 52(12), 2099–2112 (2015)

  • Nishimura T., Hirabayashi,Y., Delwyn G. Fredlund, Julian K.-M. Gan.: Influence of stress history on the strength parameters of an unsaturated statically compacted soil. Can. Geotech. J. 36, 251–261 (1999)

  • Nuth, M., Laloui, L.: Effective stress concept in unsaturated soils: clarification and validation of a unified framework. Int. J. Numer. Anal. Methods Geomech. 32(7), 771–801 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pakbaz, S.M., Alipour, R.: Influence of cement addition on the geotechnical properties of an Iranian clay. Appl Clay Sci. 1(4), 67–68 (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  • Power, S.B., Delage, F.P.D.: El Niño–Southern oscillation and associated climatic conditions around the world during the latter half ofthe Twenty-First Century. J. Clim. 31(15), 6189–6207 (2017)

  • Rao, R.R., Rahardjo, H., Fredlund, D.G.: Closed form heave solutions for expansive soils. J. Geotech. Eng. 114(5) (1988)

  • Roscoe, K.H., Burland, J.B.: On the generalized stress-strain behavior of Wet Clay. Engineering Plasticity, eds: J. Heyman and F. A. Leckie, Cambridge University Press, 535–609 (1968)

  • Saffih-Hdadi, K., Défossez, P., Richard, G., Cui, Y-J., Tang, A-M., Chaplain, V.: A method to predict the soil susceptibility to compaction of surface layers as a function of water content and bulk density. Soil Tillage Research J. 105, 96–103 (2009)

  • Sexton, B.G., McCabe, B.A.: Modeling stone column installation in an elasto visco plastic soil. Intl J Geotech Eng. 9(5) (2015)

  • Shen, D., Oki, T., Shingiro, K., Hanasaki, N., Otsomi, N., Kiguchi, M.: Projection of future world water resources under SRES scenarios: an integrated assessment. Hydrological Science J. 59(10), 1775–1793 (2014)

  • Sheng, D., Sloan, S.W., Gens, A.: A constitutive model for unsaturated soils: thermomechanical and computational aspects. Comput. Mech. 33(6), 453–465 (2004)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sheng D., Zhou A.N.: Coupling hydraulic with mechanical models for unsaturated soils. Can Geotech J. 48(5), 453–465 (2011)

  • Vanapalli, S., Oh, W.: A model for predicting the modulus of elasticity of unsaturated soils using the soil-water characteristic curve. Int J Geotech Eng. 4(4), (2014)

  • Wheeler S.J., Sharma, R.S., Buisson, M.S.R.: Coupling of hydraulic hysteresis and stress strain behavior in unsaturated soils. Géotechnique. 53(1), 41–54 (2003)

  • Wu, Y. X., Shen, S.L., Wu, H.N., Xu, Y.S., Yin, Z.Y., Sun, W.J.: Environmental protection using dewatering technology in a deep confined aquifer beneath ashallow aquifer. Eng. Geol. 196, 59–70 (2015)

  • Wu, H.N., Shen, S.L., Yang, J.: Identification of tunnel settlement caused by land subsidence in soft deposit of Shanghai. J. Perform. Constr. Facil. 31(6) (2017)

  • Xiong, Y-l., Ye, G-l., Yi, X., Ye, B., Zhang, S., Zhang, F.: A unified constitutive model for unsaturated soil under monotonic and cycling loading. Acta Geotechnica. 14(3) (2019)

  • Xu, Y.S., Shen, S.L., Lai, Y., Zhou, A.N.: Design of sponge city: Lessons learnt from an ancient drainage system in Ganzhou, China. J.Hydrol. 563, 900–908 (2018)

  • Yegian, M.K., Eseller-Bayat, F.E., Alshawabkeh, A., Ali, S.: Induced-partial saturation for liquefaction mitigation: experimental investigation. J. Geotech. Geoenviron. Eng. 133(4) (2007)

  • Zhang, X., Lytton, R.L.: A modified state surface approach on unsaturated soil behavior study. I: basic concept. Can. Geotech. J. 46(5), 536–552 (2009a)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, X., Lytton, R.L.: A modified state surface approach on unsaturated soil behavior study. II: general formulation. Can. Geotech. J. 46(5), 553–570 (2009b)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang, X., Xiao, M.: Using modified state surface approach to select parameter values in the Barcelona basic model. Int. J. Numer. Anal. Methods Geomech. 37(12), 1847–1866.11 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zheng, X., Lytton, R.L.: A modified state surface approach onunsaturated soil behavior study. III: Modeling of coupled hydraumechanicaleffect. Can. Geotech. J. 49(1) 98–120 (2012)

  • Zheng, Y., Hatami, K., Miller, G.A.: Numerical modeling of wetting-induced settlement of embankments. GeoCongress 2013, Stability and Performance of Slopes and Embankments III, ASCE, Reston, VA, 333–342 (2013)

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ali Noorzad.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Sadeghabadi, A., Noorzad, A. & Zad, A. An Extension to Barcelona Basic Model Predicting the Behavior of Unsaturated Soils. Transp. Infrastruct. Geotech. 9, 133–154 (2022).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Road construction
  • Barcelona basic model
  • Unsaturated soil
  • Over-consolidation ratio
  • Soil improvement
  • Finite difference analysis
  • Soft soil