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Published comparisons of complex moduli in dry and saturated soils have shown that viscous behavior is only evident when a sufficiently massive viscous fluid (like water) is present. That is, the loss tangent is frequency dependent for water saturated specimens, but nearly frequency independent for dry samples. While the Kelvin-Voigt (KV) representation of a soil captures the general viscous behavior using a dashpot, it fails to account for the possibly separate motions of the fluid and frame (there is only a single mass element). An alternative representation which separates the two masses, water and frame, is presented here. This Kelvin-Voigt-Maxwell-Biot (KVMB) model draws on elements of the long standing linear viscoelastic models in a way that connects the viscous damping to permeability and inertial mass coupling. A mathematical mapping between the KV and KVMB representations is derived and permits continued use of the KV model, while retaining an understanding of the separate mass motions.

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This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Journal of Geomechanics, published by American Society of Civil Engineers. Copyright restrictions may apply. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)1532-3641(2006)6:3(158)