Fully coupled elastoplastic hydro-mechanical analysis of unsaturated porous media using a meshfree method

Omid Ghaffaripour, Golnaz A. Esgandani, Arman Khoshghalb*, Babak Shahbodaghkhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the first application of an advanced meshfree method, ie, the edge-based smoothed point interpolation method (ESPIM), in simulation of the coupled hydro-mechanical behaviour of unsaturated porous media. In the proposed technique, the problem domain is spatially discretised using a triangular background mesh, and the polynomial point interpolation method combined with a simple node selection scheme is adopted for creating nodal shape functions. Smoothing domains are formed on top of the background mesh, and a constant smoothed strain, created by applying the smoothing operation over the smoothing domains, is assigned to each smoothing domain. The deformation and flow models are developed based on the equilibrium equation of the mixture, and linear momentum and mass balance equations of the fluid phases, respectively. The effective stress approach is followed to account for the coupling between the flow and deformation models. Further coupling among the phases is captured through a hysteretic soil water retention model that evolves with changes in void ratio. An advanced elastoplastic constitutive model within the context of the bounding surface plasticity theory is employed for predicting the nonlinear behaviour of soil skeleton. Time discretisation is performed by adopting a three-point discretisation method with growing time steps to avoid temporal instabilities. A modified Newton-Raphson framework is designed for dealing with nonlinearities of the discretised system of equations. The performance of the numerical model is examined through a number of numerical examples. The state-of-the-art computational scheme developed is useful for simulation of geotechnical engineering problems involving unsaturated soils.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1919-1955
Number of pages37
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • bounding surface plasticity
  • coupled analysis
  • meshfree method
  • smoothed point interpolation method
  • unsaturated soils


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