Shake Table Experiments of Bridge Foundations in Liquefied Soils: An International Collaboration

AUTC project number: 410015


Zhaohui (Joey) Yang

  • US Department of Transportation (RITA)
  • Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities
  • Start Date: Aug 1, 2010
  • End Date: Sep 30, 2012

Project Summary

Liquefaction and associated ground failures have been common in major earthquakes across Alaska, causing extensive damage to infrastructures. Lateral spreading is particularly damaging if a non-liquefiable crust rides on top of liquefied soil during an earthquake. The physical properties of frozen ground crust change drastically in winter, stiffness and strength increase, and permeability decreases. The impact on a bridge foundation by frozen ground crust resting on a liquefied soil layer and the loads generated during a winter earthquake are unknown. This project, an outgrowth of another AUTC project, will benefit from collaboration with Professor Xianzhang Ling, an engineer at the Harbin Institute of Technology, China. Ling is interested in liquefaction-induced geotechnical engineering problems in cold regions and is willing to share the cost of two large-scale shake table tests, which makes it feasible to integrate physical testing with our ongoing simulation project. This project aims to conduct physical experiments to gain insight into liquefaction-induced ground failures and consequences on highway bridge substructures, as well as to validate the results of computer modeling. The knowledge gained from this project will lead to improvements in seismic design of highway bridge foundations in Alaska, as well as in other northern regions with seismic activity.