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Soil-structure dynamic interaction: influence of soil behavior nonlinearities

Ali Gandomzadeh, thesis defended on the 8th february 2011

Document type > *Mémoire/HDR/Thesis

Keywords >



Publication Date > 08/02/2011


The interaction of the soil with the structure has been largely explored the assumption of material and geometrical linearity of the soil. Nevertheless, for moderate or strong seismic events, the maximum shear strain can easily reach the elastic limit of the soil behavior. Considering soil-structure interaction, the nonlinear effects may change the soil stiffness at the base of the structure and therefore energy dissipation into the soil. Consequently, ignoring the nonlinear characteristics of the dynamic soil-structure interaction (DSSI) this phenomenon could lead to erroneous predictions of structural response.


The goal of this work is to implement a fully nonlinear constitutive model for soils into a numerical code in order to investigate the effect of soil nonlinearity on dynamic soil structure interaction. Moreover, different issues are taken into account such as the effect of confining stress on the shear modulus of the soil, initial static condition, contact elements in the soil-structure interface, etc. During this work, a simple absorbing layer method based on a Rayleigh/Caughey damping formulation, which is often already available in existing Finite Element softwares, is also presented. The stability conditions of the wave propagation problems are studied and it is shown that the linear and nonlinear behavior are very different when dealing with numerical dispersion. It is shown that the 10 points per wavelength rule, recommended in the literature for the elastic media is not sufficient for the nonlinear case.

The implemented model is first numerically verified by comparing the results with other known numerical codes. Afterward, a parametric study is carried out for different types of structures and various soil profiles to characterize nonlinear effects. Different features of the DSSI are compared to the linear case: modification of the amplitude and frequency content of the waves propagated into the soil, fundamental frequency, energy dissipation in the soil and the response of the soil-structure system. Through these parametric studies we show that depending on the soil properties, frequency content of the soil response could change significantly due to the soil nonlinearity. The peaks of the transfer function between free field and outcropping responses shift to lower frequencies and amplification happens at this frequency range. Amplification reduction for the high frequencies and even deamplication may happen for high level input motions. These changes influence the structural response.


We show that depending on the combination of the fundamental frequency of the structure and the the natural frequency of the soil, the effect of soil-structure interaction could be significant or negligible. However, the effect of structure weight and rocking of the superstructure could change the results. Finally, the basin of Nice is used as an example of wave propagation on a heterogeneous nonlinear media and dynamic soil-structure interaction. The basin response is strongly dependent on the combination of soil nonlinearity, topographic effects and impedance contrast between soil layers. For the selected structures and soil profiles of this work, the performed numerical simulations show that the shift of the fundamental

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Fabian Bonilla, the thesis supervisor


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