In addition to inducing uncertainty in the predicted response, natural spatial variability of soil properties affects the mechanical response of geotechnical structures. When a failure surface is involved in the response, this surface can deviate from its theoretical location to pass through weaker zones of material. For the case of seismically induced soil liquefaction, it has been found that a larger amount of excess pore water pressure is generated in a soil exhibiting small-scale variability of its properties than in the corresponding uniform soil having geomechanical properties equal to the average properties of the heterogeneous soil. An explanation for this important phenomenon is provided in this paper based on the results of centrifuge experiments and numerical simulations of heterogeneous and homogeneous saturated soil deposits subjected to seismic loads. It is demonstrated, based on a detailed analysis of the results, that partial drainage during the earthquake, consisting of pore water inflow from loose soil zones that liquefy first toward surrounding dense areas, may trigger softening of dilative soils. The water inflow effects in terms of volumetric strains leading to reduced cyclic resistance of dense sands are compared with results of specially designed cyclic triaxial tests reported by other researchers.


Architectural Engineering

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URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/aen_fac/152