Building a framework for predicting the settlements of shallow foundations on granular soils using dynamically measured soil properties
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In this dissertation, the framework is being developed for a new method to predict the settlements of shallow foundations on granular soil based on field seismic and laboratory dynamic tests. The new method combines small-strain seismic measurements in the field with nonlinear measurements in the field and/or in the laboratory. The small-strain shear modulus (Gmax ) of granular soil and the stress dependency of Gmax is determined from the shear wave velocity measurements in the field. Normalized shear modulus (G/Gmax ) versus log shear strain(log [gamma]) curves are determined from field or laboratory measurements or from empirical relationships. The G/Gmax -- log [gamma] curves and Gmax values are combined to determine the shear stress-shear strain response of granular soil starting from strains of 0.0001% up to 0.2-0.5%. The shear stress-shear strain responses at strains beyond 1.0-2.0 % are evaluated by adjusting the normalized shear modulus curves to larger-strain triaxial test data. A user defined soil model (MoDaMP) combines these relationships and incorporates the effect of increasing confining pressure during foundation loading. The MoDaMP is implemented in a finite element program, PLAXIS, via a subroutine. Measured settlements from load-settlement tests at three different sites where field seismic and laboratory dynamic measurements are available, are compared with the predicted settlements using MoDaMP. Predictions with MoDaMP are also compared with predictions with two commonly used methods based on Standard Penetration and Cone Penetration tests. The comparison of the predicted settlements with the measured settlements show that the new method developed in this research works well in working stress ranges. The capability of the new method has significant benefits in hard-to-sample soils such as in large-grained soils with cobbles and cemented soils where conventional penetration test methods fail to capture the behavior of the soil. The new method is an effective-stress analysis which has applicability to slower-draining soils such as plastic silts and clays.