Physical modeling and analysis of site liquefaction subjected to biaxial dynamic excitations

  • Omar El-Shafee
  • Tarek Abdoun
  • Mourad Zeghal
Technical Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection from GeoMEast 2017 – Sustainable Civil Infrastructures: Innovative Infrastructure Geotechnology


The paper presents a series of centrifuge tests of level sites consisting of a granular soil deposit, with and without an embedded structure subjected to various biaxial and uniaxial base excitations. The tests were conducted at RPI NEES centrifuge facility to assess the dynamic response characteristics of level deposits and soil-structure interaction (SSI) under multidimensional conditions. Synthetic sinusoidal waves were used as base excitations to test soil models under biaxial and uniaxial shaking. A dense array of accelerometers was used to monitor the deposit response along with pore water pressure transducers. One uniaxial test and two biaxial shaking tests were conducted on three similar soil models, to study the effect of multidirectional shaking on the generation of soil liquefaction for dense deposits. The observed acceleration and pore pressure are used along with non-parametric identification procedures to evaluate the corresponding dynamic shear stress–strain histories. The measured results along with the obtained time histories are used to shed light on the mechanisms of liquefaction occurring through the stratum under multiaxial shaking. It also shows the effect of soil relative density on soil behavior when subjected to biaxial shaking. The soil–structure interaction test showed significant differences in soil behavior at different locations beneath the footing when subjected to biaxial shaking. This difference is associated with coupling in stress–strain in both experiments compared to the more known uniaxial soil behavior.


Centrifuge modelling Dynamics Earthquakes Liquefaction Soil-Structure-Interaction 


  1. 1.
    Youd TL (1992) Liquefaction, ground failure, and con-sequent damage during the 22 April 1991 Costa Rica Earthquake. In: Proceedings of the NSF/UCR US-Costa Rica Workshop on the Costa Rica Earthquakes of 1990–1991: effects on soils and structures. Oakland, CA: Earthquake Engineering Research InstituteGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Seed HB, Idriss IM (1971) Simplified procedure for evaluating soil liquefaction potential. J Soil Mech Found Div, ASCE 97(SM9):1249–1273Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Earthquake Basics Brief No. 1 (1994) “Liquefaction” earthquake engineering Research Institute Publication, Oakland, CA, 1994; 1–8Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dashti S, Bray JD, Pestana JM, Riemer M, Wilson D (2010) Mechanisms of seismically induced settlement of buildings with shallow foundations on liquefiable soil. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 136(1):151–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ng CWW, Li XS, Van Laak PA, Hou DYJ (2003) Centrifuge modeling of loose fill embankment subjected to uni-axial and bi-axial earthquakes. J Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 24:305–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Su D, Li XS (2006) Centrifuge modeling of pile foundation under multi-directional earthquake loading. Phys Model Geotech 6th ICPMG 1:1049–1055Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Su D, Li XS (2008) Impact of multidirectional shaking on liquefaction potential of level sand deposits. J Geotech 58(4):259–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Su D (2012) Resistance of short, stiff piles to multidirectional lateral loadings. J Geotech Test 35(2):1–17Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Liu L, Dobry R (1992) Seismic response of shallow foundation on liquefiable sand. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 123(6):557–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Coelho PALF, Haigh SK, Gopal Madabhushi SP, O’Brien TS (2007) Post-earthquake behavior of footings employing densification to mitigate liquefaction. Proc Inst Civ Eng Ground Improve 11(1):45–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gajan S, Kutter BL (2009) Effects of moment-to-shear ratio on combined cyclic load-displacement behavior of shallow foundations from centrifuge experiments. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 135(8):1044–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Mason HB, Chen Z, Jones KC, Trombetta NW, Bray JD, Hutchinson TC, Bolisetti C, Whittaker AS, Choy BY, Kutter BL, Fiegel GL (2010) Soil-foundation-structure interaction effects on model building within a geotechnical centrifuge. Proceedings of the 9th US National and 10th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering. Toronto, ON, Canada, pp 5168–5177Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Tamura S, Kuriki A, Tokimatsu K (2012) Ultimate response of superstructure supported by spread foundation during strong earthquakes. J Disast Res 7(6):718–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kokkali P, Abdoun T, Anastasopoulos I (2015) centrifuge modeling of rocking foundations on improved soil. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 141(10):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Ghaboussi J, Dikmen SU (1981) Liquefaction analysis for multidirectional shaking. J Geotech Eng Div, ASCE 107(GT5):605–627Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Graves RW, Pitarka A, Somerville PG (1998) Ground-motion amplification in the santa monica area: effects of shallow basin-edge structure. Bull Seismol Soc Am 88(5):1224–1242Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bielak J, Xu J, Ghattas O (1999) Earthquake ground motion and structural response in alluvial valleys. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 125:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Skarlatoudis AA, Papazachos CB, Theodoulidis N (2012) Site-response study of Thessaloniki (northern Greece) for the 4 July 1978 M 5.1 aftershock of the June 1978 M 6.5 sequence using a 3D finite-difference approach. Bull Seismol Soc Am 102(2):722–737CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Boaga J, Renzi S, Vignoli G, Deiana R, Cassiani G (2012) From surface wave inversion to seismic site response prediction: beyond the 1D approach. J Soil Dyn Earthq Eng 36:38–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Arias A (1970) A measure of earthquake intensity. In: Hansen RJ (ed) Seismic design for nuclear power plants. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 438–483Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    El-Shafee O (2016) Physical and computational modeling of biaxial base excitation of sand deposits. (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses databaseGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Elgamal AW, Zeghal M, Tang HT, Stepp JC (1995) Evaluation of low-strain site characteristics using the Lotung seismic array. J Geotech Eng 121(4):350–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Zeghal M, Elgamal AW (1993) Lotung site: downhole seismic data analyses. Report, Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, TroyGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Zeghal M, Elgamal AW, Tang HT, Stepp JC (1995) Lotung downhole array. II: evaluation of soil nonlinear properties. J Geotech Eng 121(4):363–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    El-Shafee O, Zeghal M, Abdoun T (2017) Analysis of site liquefaction subjected to biaxial dynamic base excitation. J Soil Dyn Earthq Eng (under review)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteTroyUSA

Personalised recommendations