CEE Seminar: Earthquake Response of Full-Scale Modular-Block Reinforced Soil Retaining Walls

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (MDEA)
Hoe I. Ling, Ph.D.

Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics
Columbia University

Abstract: A series of studies have been conducted over the past decade to understand the seismic behavior of reinforced soil retaining walls. The studies included the following:

  • Constitutive modeling of granular materials and geosynthetics
  • Full-scale shaking table tests on modular-block reinforced soil retaining walls
  • Finite element analyses and comparisons of seismic response of reinforced soil retaining walls

This presentation is on the finite element simulations of the dynamic behavior of full-scale reinforced soil retaining walls subjected to earthquake loading. The experiments were conducted at a maximum horizontal acceleration of over 0.8g, with two walls subjected to only horizontal accelerations and two other walls under simultaneous horizontal and vertical accelerations. The analyses were conducted using advanced soil and geosynthetic models that were capable of simulating behavior under both monotonic and cyclic loadings. The soil was expressed using a unified general plasticity model, which was developed based on the critical state concept and that considered the stress level effects over a wide range of densities utilizing only a single set of parameters. The geosynthetic model was based on the bounding surface concept, and it considered the S-shape load-strain behavior of polymeric geogrids. The calibrations of the models and details of finite element analysis will be presented. The time response of horizontal and vertical accelerations obtained from the analyses, as well as wall deformations and tensile force in geogrids, will be compared with the experimental results.

Bio: Hoe I. Ling is a professor of geotechnical engineering at Columbia University. He obtained his bachelor's degree from Kyoto University and his master's degree and doctorate from the University of Tokyo. He was previously a faculty member at the University of Delaware (1994-1998) and visiting faculty at Harvard University(Spring, 2006). His major fields of research include geosynthetic-reinforced soil structures, soil constitutive modeling, geotechnical earthquake engineering, numerical and centrifuge modeling. Ling received the Career Award from the National Science Foundation in 2001. He was a recipient of the IGS Award (given every four years) from the International Geosynthetics Society in 2014. Ling has also received several international honors: Honorary Professorship from Shijiazhuang Railway Institute (China) in 2014 and the University Honorary Medal (2015) and Kultegin Medal (2018) from Eurasian National University (Kazakhstan). Ling is the editor-in-chief for Transportation Infrastructure Geotechnology and an associate editor for the ASCE Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.