Creep of Geomaterials (CREEP)

Slow time-dependent movements caused by creep of natural geomaterials affect the performance of infrastructure and cause high maintenance and repair costs, and the partial closures of infrastructure networks during the repair work have significant eomic and social impact. Although the phenomenon of creep is well-known for being a major design issue, there is currently no accepted sensus on the best way to model creep. Reliable calculation tools are either missing or - due to their scientific nature - out of reach for the engineer in charge. If as a sequence creep is underestimated in design, structures will possibly be damaged so that they will not reach their design life. On the other hand, if creep is overestimated, unnecessary countermeasures such as soil improvement, deep foundations, or additional structural reinforcement will take up additional resources. For sustainable building processes it is therefore imperative to adequately incorporate creep behaviour in analyses and design.The research topic of this Marie Curie action is creep behaviour of geomaterials and its incorporation in geotechnical design the project aims at establishing a sensus in creep modelling. The project shall supply tools and knowledge needed in creep analysis. Past research in the field of creep behaviour of soils has centrated mainly on soft silts and clays. Different theoretical frameworks and numerical models were proposed. Yet, creep is likewise observed in geomaterials such as peat, sand, rock fills, and warm permafrost. Key questions formulated by industry and academia are therefore: Can existing creep cepts be adopted equally for those materials? Can different creep cepts be unified? Of the alternatives proposed, which work best at both element level and real geotechnical problem level? This project intends to answer these questions by combining the practical experience gathered by industry with the theoretical cepts worked out by academia.

Partner organizations

  • Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (Academic, Norway)
  • University of Strathclyde (Academic, United Kingdom)
  • Shanghai Jiao Tong University (Academic, China)
  • Cold and Arid Regions Environmentaland Engineering Research Institute (Research Institute, China)
  • Stiftelsen Norges Geotekniske Institutt (Non Profit, Norway)
  • Stichting Deltares (Private, Netherlands)
Start date 01/02/2012
End date The project is closed: 31/01/2016
Projectleader: Minna Karstunen
All project members:
Claes Alén
Jelke Dijkstra
Jean-Philippe Gras
Mats Karlsson
Minna Karstunen
Tara Wood
Jorge Yannie
David Muir Wood
Contact: Minna Karstunen

External partners at the project
​Prof. Thomas Benz,  NTNU, Trondheim, Norway (Network Coordinator)
Prof. Minna Karstunen, Chalmers, Gothenburg, Sweden
Prof. Zhen-Yu Yin, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China
Dr Jilin Qi , CAREERI, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou, China
Dr Evert den Haan, DELTARES, Delft, NL
Dr Hand Petter Jostad, Norwegian Geotechnical Institute, Oslo, Norway

Funded by

  • European Commission (EC) (Public, Belgium)
​CREEP is an Industry-Academia Partnerships and Pathways (IAPP) project funded from the 7th Framework Programme of the EC under grant agreement PIAG-GA-2011-286397. Creep is a time dependent process in which materials accumulate strains (deformations) under the influence of constant (effective) stresses. Creep of geomaterials can be often observed in slopes where creep manifests as slow downhill movement of soil and rock masses. Creep is a consideration in all infrastructure projects on soft soils. For economic and functional design the magnitude of creep is to be known. The CREEP project aims at developing new design tools for creep in soft soils and frozen soils.

The project is carried out at the Division of GeoEngineering, research group Geotechnical Engineering.

Keywords: Geotechnical Engineering, Material Model, Finite Element Method, Creep, Soft soil, Organic soil, Permafrost, sand, Structure, Anisotropy

Chalmers Areas of Advance
Built Environment

Published: Thu 03 Sep 2020.