A constitutive mechanical model for gas hydrate bearing sediments incorporating inelastic mechanisms

Marcelo Sánchez, Xuerui Gai, Carlos Santamarina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Gas hydrate bearing sediments (HBS) are natural soils formed in permafrost and sub-marine settings where the temperature and pressure conditions are such that gas hydrates are stable. If these conditions shift from the hydrate stability zone, hydrates dissociate and move from the solid to the gas phase. Hydrate dissociation is accompanied by significant changes in sediment structure and strongly affects its mechanical behavior (e.g., sediment stiffenss, strength and dilatancy). The mechanical behavior of HBS is very complex and its modeling poses great challenges. This paper presents a new geomechanical model for hydrate bearing sediments. The model incorporates the concept of partition stress, plus a number of inelastic mechanisms proposed to capture the complex behavior of this type of soil. This constitutive model is especially well suited to simulate the behavior of HBS upon dissociation. The model was applied and validated against experimental data from triaxial and oedometric tests conducted on manufactured and natural specimens involving different hydrate saturation, hydrate morphology, and confinement conditions. Particular attention was paid to model the HBS behavior during hydrate dissociation under loading. The model performance was highly satisfactory in all the cases studied. It managed to properly capture the main features of HBS mechanical behavior and it also assisted to interpret the behavior of this type of sediment under different loading and hydrate conditions.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-46
Number of pages19
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
StatePublished - Nov 30 2016

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to acknowledge the financial support from NETL (National Energy Technology Laboratory), DOE, USA, through Award No.: DE-FE0013889. The authors would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr. Ajay Shastri for his involvement in the initial developments associated with this model and also Miss Maria De La Fuente for the fruitful discussions.


Dive into the research topics of 'A constitutive mechanical model for gas hydrate bearing sediments incorporating inelastic mechanisms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this