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Title: Seismic behaviour of shallow foundations on layered liquefiable soils
Author: Bertalot, Daniele
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 0374
Awarding Body: University of Dundee
Current Institution: University of Dundee
Date of Award: 2013
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Earthquakes have been historically perceived as one of the most damaging natural hazards. Seismic soil liquefaction is often one of the major sources of damage and disruptions, and has been observed to severely affect key lifelines. Settlement and tilting of shallow foundations resting on saturated sandy/silty soils has been repeatedly observed throughout the world as a consequence of liquefaction or softening of the foundation soil. Such settlements and tilts can render structures unusable, and homes uninhabitable, causing significant economic losses. Despite the undoubted relevance of this phenomenon, field data on the liquefaction induced settlement of shallow foundations are scarce. New data from 24 buildings that suffered settlement and tilting as a consequences of soil liquefaction during the February 27th 2010 Maule earthquake in Chile, are presented in this work to supplement the existing field cases database. Due to the complexity of this phenomenon, field data are not suffcient to fully understand the mechanisms controlling the settlement of structures resting on liquefied or softened ground.In this framework, centrifuge modelling provides a valuable tool for research by reproducing field conditions in a controlled environment. A series of 10 dynamic centrifuge tests were performed as part of this work. Thanks to the University of Dundee newly installed centrifuge-mounted servohydraulic earthquake simulator, scaled version of field earthquake motions were reproduced in the models tested, enhancing the reliability of experimental results. Particular attention was given to the effect of key parameters on the observed foundation settlement. These parameters are the bearing pressure of the foundation, the thickness of the liquefied soil layer and the soil's relative density. The effect of the soil layering pattern was also investigated, with particular attention to the effect of a low permeability soil crust overlying the liquefied soil. Results suggest that the excess pore pressure generation in the foundation soil is significantly influenced by the stress distribution due to the presence of the foundation itself. In particular, lower excess pore pressure where measured in soil subjected to high static shear stresses (i.e. below the edge of a footing). The soil stratification pattern, and the relative thicknesses of the liquefied and un-liquefied portions of the soil profile, were also found to play a crucial role in determining the seismic demand at foundation level and the type of failure mechanism leading to foundation settlement. Observed differences between centrifuge (i.e. field) and element testing soil response are also discussed. Experimental results are compared to field observations, with the aim of improving the current understanding of the behaviour of structures built on shallow foundations in the eventuality of seismic induced liquefaction of their foundation soil.
Supervisor: Brennan, Andrew Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Centrifuge modelling ; Liquefaction ; Shallow foundations ; Layered soils ; Earthquake