Development of a new family of normalized modulus reduction and material damping curves
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As part of various research projects [including the SRS (Savannah River Site) Project AA891070, EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) Project 3302, and ROSRINE (Resolution of Site Response Issues from the Northridge Earthquake) Project], numerous geotechnical sites were drilled and sampled. Intact soil samples over a depth range of several hundred meters were recovered from 20 of these sites. These soil samples were tested in the laboratory at The University of Texas at Austin (UTA) to characterize the materials dynamically. The presence of a database accumulated from testing these intact specimens motivated a reevaluation of empirical curves employed in the state of practice. The weaknesses of empirical curves reported in the literature were identified and the necessity of viii developing an improved set of empirical curves was recognized. This study focused on developing the empirical framework that can be used to generate normalized modulus reduction and material damping curves. This framework is composed of simple equations, which incorporate the key parameters that control nonlinear soil behavior. The data collected over the past decade at The University of Texas at Austin are statistically analyzed using First-order, Second-moment Bayesian Method (FSBM). The effects of various parameters (such as confining pressure and soil plasticity) on dynamic soil properties are evaluated and quantified within this framework. One of the most important aspects of this study is estimating not only the mean values of the empirical curves but also estimating the uncertainty associated with these values. This study provides the opportunity to handle uncertainty in the empirical estimates of dynamic soil properties within the probabilistic seismic hazard analysis framework. A refinement in site-specific probabilistic seismic hazard assessment is expected to materialize in the near future by incorporating the results of this study into the state of practice.