Research Paper

Acta Geotechnica

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 69-113

First online:

Large post-liquefaction deformation of sand, part I: physical mechanism, constitutive description and numerical algorithm

  • Jian-Min ZhangAffiliated withInstitute of Geotechnical Engineering, School of Civil Engineering/State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University Email author 
  • , Gang WangAffiliated withErtan Hydropower Development Company Limited

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This paper presents a theoretical framework for predicting the post-liquefaction deformation of saturated sand under undrained cyclic loading with emphasis on the mechanical laws, physical mechanism, constitutive model and numerical algorithm as well as practical applicability. The revealing mechanism behind the complex behavior in the post-liquefaction regime can be appreciated by decomposing the volumetric strain into three components with distinctive physical background. The interplay among these three components governs the post-liquefaction shear deformation and characterizes three physical states alternating in the liquefaction process. This assumption sheds some light on the intricate transition from small pre-liquefaction deformation to large post-liquefaction deformation and provides a rational explanation to the triggering of unstable flow slide and the post-liquefaction reconsolidation. Based on this assumption, a constitutive model is developed within the framework of bounding surface plasticity. This model is capable of reproducing small to large deformation in the pre- to post-liquefaction regime. The model performance is confirmed by simulating laboratory tests. The constitutive model is implemented in a finite element code together with a robust numerical algorithm to circumvent numerical instability in the vicinity of vanishing effective stress. This numerical model is validated by fully coupled numerical analyses of two well-instrumented dynamic centrifuge model tests. Finally, numerical simulation of liquefaction-related site response is performed for the Daikai subway station damaged during the 1995 Hyogoken-Nambu earthquake in Japan.


Centrifuge tests Constitutive model Earthquake Liquefaction Large deformation Numerical analysis Site response