Seismic performance and design of bridge foundations in liquefiable ground with a frozen crust.

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Seismic performance and design of bridge foundations in liquefiable ground with a frozen crust.
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    Two major earthquakes in Alaska, namely 1964 Great Alaskan earthquake and 2002 Denali earthquake, occurred in winter season when the ground crust was frozen. None of the then-existing foundation types was able to withstand the force from the frozen crust overlying liquefied soils. This project aims to study how the frozen ground crust affects the performance of bridge pile foundations and how one can estimate the loads imposed by the frozen ground crust. A shake table experiment was conducted to gain in-depth understanding of the mechanism of frozen ground crust-pile foundation interaction and collect data to validate a solid-fluid coupled finite element (FE) model and a simplified method, i.e. the beam-on-nonlinear-Winkler-foundation (BNWF) or p-y approach. Loads imposed on pile foundations by the frozen crust were studied through solid-fluid coupled FE analyses of a typical Alaskan bridge foundation under two soil conditions‒one with an unfrozen crust and the other with a frozen crust‒and by comparison of results obtained from these two cases. The effectiveness of the p-y approach in predicting the response of piles subject to frozen ground lateral spreading in liquefiable soils was evaluated by comparing the analyses of results with those obtained from the FE modeling. Finally, guidelines were proposed for design practitioners to analyze the performance of pile foundations embedded in liquefiable soils subject to frozen ground crust lateral spreading with the p-y approach.
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