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Simplified Constitutive model for Simulation of Cyclic Response of Shallow Foundations: Validation against Laboratory Tests

Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
American Society of Civil Engineers
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1061/(asce)gt.1943-5606.0000534
  • Engineering


The nonlinear response of shallow foundations has been studied experimentally and analytically. However, the engineering community is not yet convinced on the applicability of such concepts in practice. A key prerequisite is the ability to realistically model such effects. Although several sophisticated constitutive models are readily available in the literature, their use in practice is limited, because : (i) they typically require extensive soil testing for calibration ; (ii) as they are implemented in highly specialized numerical codes, they are usually restricted to simple superstructures ; and (iii) in most cases, they can only be applied by numerical analysis specialists. Attempting to overcome some of these difficulties, this paper develops a simplified but fairly comprehensive constitutive model for analysis of cyclic response of shallow foundations. Based on a kinematic hardening constitutive model with Von Mises failure criterion (readily available in commercial finite element codes), the model is made “pressure-sensitive” and capable of reproducing both the low-strain stiffness and the ultimate resistance of clays and sands. Encoded in ABAQUS through a simple user subroutine, the model is validated against : (a) U.C. Davis centrifuge tests of shallow footings on clays under cyclic loading, and (b) large-scale tests of a square footing on dense and loose sand under cyclic loading, conducted in the European Laboratory for Structural Analysis for the TRISEE project. The performance of the model is shown to be quite satisfactory, while discrepancies between theory and experiment are discussed, and potential culprits are identified. Requiring calibration of two parameters only, and being easily implemented in commercial FE codes, the model is believed to provide a practically applicable engineering solution.

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