Studies of Seismic Response of Clay Banks

by William D. Kovacs, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of Missouri-Rolla, Rolla, MO., and Staff Consultant, Law Engrg. Testing Co., Birmingham, AL,
H. Bolton Seed, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,
Izzat M. Idriss, (A.M.ASCE), Proj. Engr.; Woodward-Clyde and Assoc., Oakland, CA, and Asst. Res. Engr., Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 2, Pg. 441-455

Document Type: Journal Paper


Surface acceleration measurements on small scale clay banks show good agreement with predicted response using the finite element method of analysis incorporating laboratory determined dynamic soil properties. The model test embankments (i.e., a soil mass consisting of a slope with an extensive horizontal surface behind the crest and beyond the toe of the slope) were constructed of a soft kaolinite-montmorillonite mixture on the roughened surface of a horizontal shaking table. The embankments were 3 in. to 6 in. thick and 15 in. wide, and extended to about 10 ft. in length, and included a 4:1 slope. Response of the embankments studied was found to be independent of the width. Three different embankment configurations were studied. The embankments were subjected to sinusoidal base acceleration at various frequencies. Based on the success with the finite element method of analysis using laboratory determined moduli and damping characteristics, it seems reasonable to conclude that the response of full scale soil layers could be predicted with reasonable accuracy by the finite element method if appropriate soil parameters are included in the computations.

Subject Headings: Finite element method | Soil analysis | Soil dynamics | Slopes | Seismic tests | Seismic effects | Clays | Surface properties

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