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Physical modeling and visualization of soil liquefaction under high confining stress

Lenart González1, Tarek Abdoun1‡, Mourad Zeghal1, Vivian Kallou2 and Michael K. Sharp3

  1. Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst. (RPI), Troy, NY, USA
  2. Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, 225 W 34th Street, New York, NY, USA
  3. US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS, USA

Abstract: The mechanisms of seismically-induced liquefaction of granular soils under high confining stresses are still not fully understood. Evaluation of these mechanisms is generally based on extrapolation of observed behavior at shallow depths. Three centrifuge model tests were conducted at RPI’s experimental facility to investigate the effects of confining stresses on the dynamic response of a deep horizontal deposit of saturated sand. Liquefaction was observed at high confining stresses in each of the tests. A system identification procedure was used to estimate the associated shear strain and stress time histories. These histories revealed a response marked by shear strength degradation and dilative patterns. The recorded accelerations and pore pressures were employed to generate visual animations of the models. These visualizations revealed a liquefaction front traveling downward and leading to large shear strains and isolation of upper soil layers.

Keywords: centrifuge modeling; high confining stress; liquefaction; system identification; visualization

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Copyright© 2009 IEM. Journal of Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Vibration. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except as described below, without written permission from the Publisher. Copying of articles is not permitted except for personal and internal use, to the extent permitted by national copyright law, or under the terms of a license issued by the National Reproduction Rights Organization of China.