Liquefaction centrifuge modeling of sands of different permeability

Michael K. Sharp, Ricardo Dobry, Tarek Abdoun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents the results of six centrifuge model tests of liquefaction and earthquake-induced lateral spreading of fine Nevada sand using an inclined laminar box. The centrifuge experiments simulate a gently sloping, 10 m thick stratum of saturated homogeneous sand of infinite lateral extent and relative densities ranging from 45 to 75%. Such idealized models approach some field situations and they provide significant general insight into the basic mechanisms and parameters influencing the lateral spreading phenomenon. The layer was subjected to lateral base shaking with prototype peak acceleration ranging from 0.20 to 0.41 g. a frequency of 2 Hz, and duration of approximately 22 cycles. The simulated field slope angle was 5°. The model deposits were all saturated with a viscous fluid 50 times more viscous than water, so that testing under the increased gravitational field (50 g) produced a deposit with the prototype permeability of the same fine-grained sand saturated with water in the field. Detailed discussions and comparisons of the six centrifuge tests are included. The observed effects of relative density Dr and input peak acceleration amax on the following measured parameters are summarized: thickness of liquefied soil Hl, permanent lateral displacement DH, and ground surface settlement S. Comparisons and discussions are also presented on the effect of permeability for a Dr = 45% deposit. This is done by comparing the results reported herein using a viscous pore fluid, with other published centrifuge tests where a similar deposit using the same model soil, also tested at 50 g and shaken with the same input motion, was saturated with water, thus simulating a prototype sand having 50 times the permeability of the fine sand reported in this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1083-1091
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Buried pipes
  • Centrifuge models
  • Earthquake damage
  • Foundations
  • Liquefaction
  • Permeability
  • Sand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science


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