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Strength and Porewater Pressure Generation for 1-D Seismic Site Response

Youssef M.A. Hashash, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE3

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1

Graduate Student, Dept. of Civil and Environ. Eng., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

Urbana. E-mail: xuanmei2@illinois.edu

2

Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environ. Eng., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,

Urbana. E-mail: olsons@illinois.edu

3

Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environ. Eng., Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana. E-

mail: hashash@illinois.edu

Abstract

Porewater pressure (PWP) generation leads to soil softening and potential liquefaction of sandy

soils during earthquakes, and can decrease ground motion amplitudes at high frequencies and

increase the predominant period of shaking. This paper presents an evaluation of the generalized

Quadratic/Hyperbolic constitutive model (Groholski et al. 2016) coupled with two PWP

generation models, termed GQ/H+u, as implemented in DEEPSOIL V 6.1 (Hashash et al. 2016).

The GQ/H+u model can represent large-strain shear strength and thus provides more realistic

response at liquefiable sites where large strains are expected. First, sets of cyclic direct simple

shear tests were used to evaluate the models. Comparisons of measured and computed stress-

strain loops and excess PWP generation illustrate that the model reasonably captures measured

cyclic stress-strain and PWP responses. The GQ/H+u model also can reasonably capture

acceleration time histories and response spectra measured in centrifuge tests in loose and dense

sands subjected to strong shaking.

INTRODUCTION

Soil softening and liquefaction in loose sandy soils are pervasive problems during earthquakes.

Furthermore, the generation of excess porewater pressure (PWP) and resulting soil softening can

significantly impact ground motion propagation due to the reduction in soil stiffness. These

effects result in significant design challenges for geotechnical and structural engineers. However,

in practice, liquefaction and site response analyses typically are performed in a total-stress

framework and do not consider the effects of PWP generation in the analyses.

In recent years, computational advances have enabled the introduction of PWP generation

in site response analyses to represent liquefaction. By coupling the constitutive model (which

describes soil stress-strain behavior during shaking) and PWP generation model (which predicts

PWP increase during shaking), more realistic soil behavior can be simulated. For example,

Matasovic (1993) proposed a quasi-coupled model by introducing degradation indexes for shear

stress and shear modulus to link the hyperbolic constitutive (MKZ) and Vucetic and Dobry (1986)

PWP generation models. However, typical hyperbolic constitutive models are not able to

represent properly large-strain shear strength. Numerous advanced, mechanics-based constitutive

models that more accurately capture cyclic soil behavior recently have been proposed; however

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 353

these models require many calibration parameters and evaluating these parameters is difficult,

limiting their use in practice.

Considering these issues, a simplified, generalized Quadratic/Hyperbolic constitutive

model coupled with PWP generation models proposed by Vucetic and Dobry (1986) and Polito et

al. (2008), termed GQ/H+u (Groholski et al. 2016), is evaluated in this paper. The GQ/H+u

model captures both small-strain soil behavior as well as shear strength at large strain. Therefore,

this coupled model can provide more realistic response at liquefiable sites where large strains are

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expected during shaking. Cyclic direct simple shear tests (Wu et al. 2003) were used to evaluate

model performance. Comparing stress-strain loops and excess PWP generation indicates that the

GQ/H+u model reasonably captures many important aspects of soil response, including stiffness

reduction and cyclic shear stress, until dilation is severe. The model then is used to evaluate

dynamic centrifuge tests involving liquefiable sands. The results indicate that although the

simplified GQ/H+u model cannot simulate dilation, it can still be used to evaluate sites where

liquefaction may occur and provides reasonable estimates of response spectra.

Vucetic-Dobry Model. Vucetic and Dobry (1986) developed a unique relationship among PWP

ratio (ru), cyclic shear strain (γc), and number of loading cycles (Nc) based on the results of

undrained, strain-controlled cyclic triaxial compression tests, as:

( )

r , = Equation 1

( )

where ru,N = residual excess PWP ratio at cycle N; f = 1 or 2 depending on whether cyclic loading

is generated by one- or two-directional loading; p, F, and s = curve-fitting constants; and γtvp =

volumetric threshold shear strain, defined as the shear strain threshold below which no significant

PWP is generated during cyclic loading. This shear strain falls between 0.01 and 0.02% for most

sands (Dobry et al. 1982). Mei et al. (2015) recommended values of p = s =1 for the curve-fitting

parameters for clean sands. Figure 1 presents their proposed correlation between the parameter F

and soil index properties Dr (relative density) and CU (coefficient of uniformity).

GMP Model. Energy-based models attempt to link excess PWP generation to the energy

dissipated per unit volume of soil during cyclic loading. Although numerous energy-based

models exist, the Green-Mitchell-Polito (GMP) model proposed by Green et al. (2000) and Polito

et al. (2008) is best known. In the GMP model, ru is estimated as:

ru = ≤1 Equation 2

where Ws = energy dissipated per unit volume of soil divided by the initial effective mean stress;

and PEC = pseudo-energy capacity. For undrained cyclic triaxial and simple shear tests,

respectively, increments in Ws are related to increments in stress and strain as:

∆Ws = ∑ (τ + τ )(γ − γ ) Equation 3

stresses and shear strains at load increments “i” and “i+1”. Polito et al. (2008) related PEC to Dr

for sands with FC < 35% as:

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 354

The GMP energy-based model does not require transient earthquake excitation to be

converted to a number of equivalent harmonic loading cycles, and captures the effects of stress or

strain history on γ – ru response by relating Δu to ΔWs.

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Parameter, F

Backbone Curves. Selecting dynamic properties such as modulus reduction and damping curves

is necessary for site response analysis. In practice, when site-specific dynamic soil properties are

not available, constitutive model parameters are calibrated using generic modulus reduction and

damping curves correlated to site-specific soil index properties, such as those proposed by

Darendeli (2001) and Menq (2003). However, these generic curves often were derived from

resonant column tests, which measures stress-strain soil behavior at small shear strains (γ < 0.3%)

and the curves are extrapolated to larger shear strains. Hashash et al. (2010) showed that the

implied shear strength may be incorrect when the modulus reduction curve is extrapolated to

large shear strain. This can result in significantly over- or underestimating the shear strain profile.

Groholski et al. (2016) developed a new general Quadratic/Hyperbolic (GQ/H) model to

solve this issue. The GQ/H model provides a small-strain shear modulus equal to the measured

maximum shear modulus, and it reaches a maximum large-strain shear stress by forcing the

backbone curve to approach the target (implied) shear strength asymptotically. Matching the

implied shear strength is a significant improvement over typical hyperbolic models that yield

implied shear strengths that approach either infinity or zero as shear strain approaches infinity.

Considering that shear strains exceeding 0.3% is common at liquefiable sites, GQ/H model is

used in this research. The backbone curve in GQ/H model is defined as:

τ=τ 1+ − {1 + ( ) −4 Equation 5

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 355

where τ = shear stress; τmax =shear strength at failure; δG = modulus degradation index; γ =

current shear strain; δτ = shear stress degradation index; γr = Gmax/τmax; Gmax = maximum shear

modulus; and θτ = curve fitting parameter.

PWP generation is incorporated into the cyclic stress-strain response using the Matasovic

(1993) modulus and shear stress degradation indices, δG and δτ, respectively, which adjust the

unloading-reloading equations to incorporate stiffness reduction resulting from PWP generation.

The degradation indices are expressed as:

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= 1− Equation 6

=1− Equation 7

where ν = curve fitting parameter. During the second and subsequent cycles, as PWP is generated

and ru increases, and are updated. Shear modulus and shear stresses are thus degraded as

shear modulus and shear stresses are multiplied by the degradation indices.

Figure 2 compares an example backbone curve generated by the GQ/H model and a

commonly used hyperbolic model, MKZ (Matasovic 1993). The Darendeli (2001) modulus

reduction curve was used as the reference curve, and a large-strain friction angle of 30° was

assumed. As shown in Figure 2, the modulus reduction and backbone curves are similar to the

reference curve at small shear strain. However, at large shear strain the GQ/H backbone curve

approaches the target shear strength asymptotically and shows stiffer behavior than the MKZ

model which does not match the large-strain shear strength.

G/Gmax

/ 'v0

Figure 2. Comparison of curve fitting results between GQ/H model and MKZ models

Hysteretic Behavior. Hysteretic behavior often is simulated using the extended Masing rules

(Masing 1926). However, Masing rules-based hysteretic damping overestimates damping at large

shear strain. To overcome this shortcoming, Phillips and Hashash (2009) proposed a modulus

reduction factor, F(γmax), to modify the Masing rules.

F(γ ) = p − p (1 − ) Equation 8

where p1, p2, and p3 are parameters used to fit the target damping curve. Combining the Masing

rules and reduction factor F(γmax), the unloading-reloading equation can be expressed as:

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 356

τ = F(γ ) − 1+ − 1+ − 4δ θ −

G δ (γ − γ ) +G δ (γ − γ )+τ Equation 9

where Gγmax = shear modulus at γmax; β and s = curve-fitting parameters; γr = reference shear

strain; γrev = reversal shear strain; γmax = maximum shear strain; and τrev = reversal shear stress.

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Cyclic direct simple shear (cDSS) tests from Wu et al. (2003) were used to evaluate the GQ/H+u

model’s ability to capture soil stress-strain response and PWP generation (using Vucetic-Dobry

and GMP models) under relatively simple shearing conditions.

Figure 3 shows an example cDSS test (MS 65J) performed on Monterey sand. The results

indicate that the Vucetic-Dobry and GMP models both generally capture PWP generation when ru

< 0.7. When ru > 0.7, the Vucetic-Dobry model reasonably follows the measured PWP generation

while the GMP model overpredicts excess PWP. In deriving calibration parameters for the

Vucetic-Dobry model, Mei et al. (2015) incorporated indirectly the effect of compressibility on

PWP generation, resulting in improved ru estimates.

model; (b) GMP model. Residual PWP = ru value at point in loading cycle when τ = 0.

different ru values from the same cDSS test, and Figure 5 compares the entire measured and

computed stress-strain response during the test. Analytical stress-strain loops were computed

using the test-measured shear strains and Eqs. 5 and 9. Values of ru computed from Vucetic-

Dobry and GMP models were updated at strain reversals to incorporate the effect of soil

softening. The comparison for the GMP model in Figure 5(d) is terminated when the computed ru

= 1. As shown in the figures, the reduction in soil stiffness and cyclic shear stresses are simulated

reasonably by the GQ/H+u model for ru < 0.7. However, when ru > 0.9, the effects of soil dilation

become obvious and are not represented by the model.

To quantitatively evaluate the GQ/H+u model, the tangent modulus was computed between

the two reversal shear strains (for each hysteresis loop) at different ru values for each test. Figure

6 presents a comparison between measured and computed tangent modulus for the same cDSS

test. This comparison illustrates that the GQ/H+u model generally captures the reduction in

stiffness until ru is large and dilation is severe. Nevertheless, as discussed in the next section,

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 357

while the GQ/H+u model cannot simulate dilation at large ru values, computed response using the

GQ/H+u model still reasonably matches measured response spectra of liquefiable sands.

Shear Stress (kpa)

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different ru. (a) ru = 0.3; (b) ru = 0.56; (c) ru = 0.7; and (d) ru = 0.9.

20 20

(a) (b)

10 10

0 0

-10 -10

-20 -20

-2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 -2 -1.5 -1 -0.5 0 0.5 1 1.5 2

Shear Strain (%) Shear Strain (%)

Figure 5. Comparison of measured and computed stress-strain response using the

GQ/H+u model with (a) Vucetic-Dobry PWP model; and (b) GMP PWP model.

To further evaluate the GQ/H+u model, computed site response was compared to the response of

a centrifuge test conducted by Wilson et al. (1997). Test CSP02 consisted of 9 m of loose (Dr =

35%) Nevada sand overlying 11 m of dense (Dr = 75%) Nevada sand, a uniform, fine-grained

sand with a hydraulic conductivity of 3.9 to 6.6 x 10-3 cm/s in this Dr range (Arulmoli et al. 1992).

To calibrate the Vs profile for site response analysis, a weak motion (pga = 0.05g) that generated

little excess PWP and induced small shear strains was used. Correlations from Seed and Idriss

(1970), Bardet et al. (1993), and Menq (2003) were used to compute maximum shear modulus.

Darendeli (2001) modulus reduction and damping curves were used in the analysis. Site response

analyses using the GQ/H+u model indicated that Gmax computed by Menq (2003) provided the

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 358

best fit to the measured response. The GQ/H+u model using both the Vucetic-Dobry and GMP

PWP models then was evaluated using a strong motion (pga = 0.5g).

Tangent Modulus (GPa) Tangent Modulus (GPa)

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Figure 6. Comparison of measured and computed tangent modulus at different ru. (a) ru

= 0.3; (b) ru = 0.56; (c) ru = 0.7; and (d) ru = 0.9.

Figure 7. Comparison of measured and computed results in dense and loose layers of

centrifuge test subjected to strong ground motion.

Figure 7 compares the measured and computed results. In the dense layer, the computed

acceleration time history and response spectrum using both PWP models agree with the measured

© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 359

response, indicating the good performance of the GQ/H+u model for ru < 0.5. In the loose layer,

the GQ/H+u results also reasonably agree with the measured response. Differences are observed

in the acceleration time history and response spectrum at high frequencies because the GQ/H+u

cannot simulate dilation spikes at high ru values. However, dilation did not occur until ru was high

(soil was nearly liquefied), and as shown in Figure 7, the dilation spikes had a limited effect on

PWP generation. Although the dilation spikes cause ru to drop temporarily, ru generally increases

steadily. Lastly, although differences are observed at high frequency, spectral accelerations at

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medium to long periods are well-estimated, which can be important for structural design.

Although PWP dissipation was not considered in this paper, DEEPSOIL can couple the

GQ/H+u model with Terzaghi 1-D consolidation theory to allow users to consider PWP

dissipation (Hashash et al. 2016). Lastly, DEEPSOIL does not compute plastic volumetric

deformations and associated settlements. Future research and validation are needed to solve this

issue.

CONCLUSION

Here, the authors use cyclic laboratory tests and a dynamic centrifuge test to evaluate a simplified

generalized Quadratic/Hyperbolic constitutive model (Groholski et al. 2016), termed GQ/H+u,

which represents large-strain shear strength and is coupled with PWP generation models

proposed by Vucetic and Dobry (1986) and Polito et al. (2008). The GQ/H+u model is shown to

reasonably approximate stress-strain and porewater pressure (PWP) response over a fairly wide

range of relative density. However, the GQ/H+u model cannot simulate dilation when the excess

PWP ratio is high (ru > 0.9). This causes some differences in high frequency response; however,

dilation spikes generally occur when ru is high (soil is nearly liquefied) and dilation has a limited

effect on PWP generation. Furthermore, although differences in measured and computed

response spectra occur at high frequencies, spectral accelerations at medium to long period are

well-estimated, which may be more important for structural design. These observations suggest

that the GQ/H+u may be valid for evaluating liquefaction in an effective-stress analysis.

REFERENCES

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© ASCE

Geotechnical Frontiers 2017 GSP 281 360

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