PEER Research Project Highlight: "Liquefaction Evaluation of Gravelly Soils: An integrated Laboratory Testing and Numerical Modeling Approach"

August 12, 2021

The impact of a PEER funded research project "Liquefaction Evaluation of Gravelly Soils: An integrated Laboratory Testing and Numerical Modeling Approach" is highlighted below. The project Principal Investigator (PI) is Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, UC Berkeley. The Research Team includes Jongchan Kim, Postdoctoral Researcher, UC Berkeley; Bofei Xu, Ph.D. Student, UC Berkeley; Nathaniel Wagner, Ph.D., P.E., Slate Geotechnical Consultants; Misko Cubrinovski, Professor, University of Canterbury, NZ.

Download the Research Project Highlight which includes the abstract (PDF)

Research Impact

One of the most challenging problems in geotechnical engineering is characterizing gravelly soils in a reliable, cost-effective manner for routine engineering projects. Such deposits are encountered widely, and their liquefaction is commonly a critical consideration in the stability of our nation’s ports, dams, levees and in general, civil infrastructure. Dam engineers are frequently called upon to assess the potential for liquefaction in gravels that are in the dam foundation soils with no proper guidelines and liquefaction mitigation costs often run into millions of dollars. This study will complement additional ongoing research efforts by the PI and her collaborator from NZ and provide a fundamental understanding as well as practical guidance on assessing liquefaction triggering and post-liquefaction response of gravelly soils, both with simplified procedures but also dynamic analyses. The improved procedures will enhance the resiliency of these facilities and will help avoid unnecessary expenses when gravel liquefaction is not really an issue, or more importantly, highlight the need for stabilization when gravel liquefaction is indeed expected. The PI will initiate a virtual gravel liquefaction database that will be able to index and document all available case histories of gravel liquefaction.

(a) Large Size Cyclic Simple Shear testing device (left) and representative monotonic and cyclic test results (right). (Hubler et al. 2017, Zekkos et al. 2018)