Laminar box system for 1-g physical modeling of liquefaction and lateral spreading

S. Thevanayagam, T. Kanagalingam, A. Reinhorn, R. Tharmendhira, R. Dobry, M. Pitman, T. Abdoun, A. Elgamal, M. Zeghal, N. Ecemis, U. El Shamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Details of a large scale modular 1-g laminar box system capable of simulating seismic induced liquefaction and lateral spreading response of level or gently sloping loose deposits of up to 6 m depth are presented. The internal dimensions of the largest module are 5 m in length and 2.75 m in width. The system includes a two dimensional laminar box made of 24 laminates stacked on top of each other supported by ball bearings, a base shaker resting on a strong floor, two computer controlled high speed actuators mounted on a strong wall, a dense array advanced instrumentation, and a novel system for laboratory hydraulic placement of loose sand deposit, which mimics underwater deposition in a narrow density range. The stacks of laminates slide on each other using a low-friction high-load capacity ball bearing system placed between each laminate. It could also be reconfigured into two smaller modules that are 2.5 m wide, 2.75 m long, and up to 3 m high. The maximum shear strain achievable in this system is 15 %. A limited set of instrumentation data is presented to highlight the capabilities of this equipment system. The reliability of the dense array sensor data is illustrated using cross comparison of accelerations and displacements measured by different types of sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Earthquake
  • Lateral spreading
  • Liquefaction
  • Physical modeling
  • Sand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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