Seismic behaviour of soft clay and its influence on the response of friction pile foundations

Garala, TK 
Madabhushi, GSP 

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In recent years, much of the research in geotechnical earthquake engineering has focused on liquefaction of loose, saturated sands and silts. However, the dynamic behaviour of soft, clayey soils and their interaction with pile foundations during the earthquakes have received relatively little attention. In this study, an attempt is made to investigate the dynamic behaviour of soft clay and its interaction with pile foundations during earthquakes using high gravity centrifuge testing. A model single pile and two sets of 3×1 row model pile groups with different pile spacing were embedded in soft kaolin clay and tested under the action of model earthquakes at 50 times the earth’s gravity. The strength and stiffness of clay were evaluated using a T-bar test and an air hammer device respectively. The focus of this research is to investigate the dynamic response of friction piles in soft clay. However, this depends on the dynamic response of the soft clay layer around the pile. To this end, one-dimensional ground response analysis was performed using DEEPSOIL software to emphasise the importance of non-linear analysis in characterising the seismic behaviour of soft clays. It will be shown that clay response depends both on the earthquake intensity and the shear strength and stiffness of the clay layer. This has a direct bearing on the response of single piles and pile groups, with larger amplification occurring for small intensity earthquakes and attenuation occurring for stronger earthquakes.

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Centrifuge, Earthquakes, Pile group, Single pile, Soft clay
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Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC