Modelling resilient modulus seasonal variation of Silty sand subgrade soils with matric suction control

Farhad Salour, Sigurdur Erlingsson, Claudia Zapata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


The resilient modulus of unbound materials is an important parameter in the mechanistic design of pavements. Although unbound layers are frequently in a partially saturated state, a total stress approach is conventionally used in modeling the material behaviour, and therefore pore pressure effects are not considered. In fine-grained unbound materials, the saturation state can affect their mechanical behaviour due to pore pressure effects. In this study a modified test procedure and a predictive resilient modulus model that takes into account the subgrade soil matric suction as a stress state variable is presented. Two different silty sand subgrade materials were tested in unsaturated conditions using a series of repeated load triaxial tests under controlled pore suction conditions to study its influence on the resilient modulus. The test data were further used to obtain the resilient modulus model regression parameters that account for moisture content variations through the matric suction parameter. Generally, the prediction model could effectively capture the resilient modulus behaviour of the subgrades with respect to changes in the normal stress state and the matric suction. Given the completeness of this method, this prediction model is recommended as an improved approach in capturing the moisture content effects on the material stiffness properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1422
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - May 13 2013


  • Environmental effects
  • Matric suction
  • Moisture content
  • Resilient modulus
  • Subgrade
  • Unsaturated soil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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