Strength loss and localization at silt interlayers in slopes of liquefied sand

Kulasingam, R., Malvick, E.J., Boulanger, R.W., and Kutter, B.L. 2004. "Strength loss and localization at silt interlayers in slopes of liquefied sand." ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 130(11), pp 1192 - 1202.

The role of void redistribution in the liquefaction behavior of saturated sand slopes with and without silt interlayers was investigated using a series of dynamic centrifuge model tests. Twelve centrifuge model tests are described that represent four different simple slope configurations, a range of initial relative densities (DR)(DR), and three different input motions with different sequences of application. These experimental results demonstrate that the potential for void redistribution induced shear localizations and slope instability depends on the sand’s initial DRDR, slope geometry (silt layer shape, sand layer thickness), and shaking characteristics (duration, intensity, and history). The archived experimental data set provides a good basis for assessing the ability of numerical modeling methods to distinguish between conditions leading to localization or not. Apparent residual shear strengths mobilized in the models were backcalculated using techniques common to practice. The experimental and analytical results demonstrate that the apparent residual shear strength is unlikely to correlate closely to pre-earthquake penetration resistance alone, but rather is a function of the initial shear stresses and numerous factors affecting the process of void redistribution and localization.

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