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Seismic Interaction of Adjacent Structures on Liquefiable Soils: Insight from Centrifuge and Numerical Modeling | Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering


Abstract

In urban environments, structures are often built in close proximity to each other. Seismic coupling and structure-soil-structure interaction (SSSI) are known to affect system accelerations, settlement, and tilt with consequential impact on structural damage. Yet, the extent and nature of these interactions are poorly understood, particularly on ground susceptible to liquefaction. In this paper, we use dynamic centrifuge and numerical modeling of isolated and neighboring, similar and dissimilar, shallow-founded structures on layered, level, saturated, and liquefiable soils to provide insight into (1) the mechanisms of SSSI; and (2) the relative influence of key parameters on system performance. Fully-coupled, nonlinear finite-element analyses of the centrifuge experiments indicated that in addition to a comprehensive calibration of the soil constitutive model parameters, use of higher-order elements and a sufficiently large domain size in three dimensions (3D) were critical ingredients to predicting the general trends in system response compared to centrifuge recordings. A limited numerical sensitivity analysis was performed subsequently. The results identified the key parameters affecting SSSI as spacing between the two foundations (

S

) in relation to their width (

W

) as well as the contact stress and geometry of the neighboring foundation-structure system. SSSI slightly decreased the permanent settlement of structures at the expense of a notable increase in their permanent tilt, particularly when

SW

. The foundation’s spectral accelerations were observed to amplify at shorter periods when near a taller and heavier building at

SW/3

, which was attributed to the added confinement. Increasing the uniform thickness of the critical liquefiable layer increased both adjacent structures’ permanent settlement, while not affecting their residual tilt or SSSI. Importantly, the impact of SSSI on foundation tilt and accelerations remained significant for building spacings exceeding

2.5W

. The results point to the importance of considering the impact of SSSI on structure’s key engineering demand parameters and the urgent need for improved guidelines when assessing and treating liquefaction in urban settings.



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