Dr. Siva Kesavan, URS Corporation
Professor Rajah Anandarajah, Johns Hopkins University
Presented at the Workshop on Nonlinear Modeling of Geotechnical Problems: From Theory to Practice
Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, November 3 & 4, 2005
The problem analysed in this presentation is inspired by a real-world problem where the construction of a landfill at a rate too fast caused damage to an adjacent bridge. Without presenting actual names, the problem is described and analysed using an elasto-plastic finite element computer code (HOPDYNE) to illustrate how an advanced numerical procedure can help develop an understanding of the failure mechanism, and reveal the true cause of the failure in a complex problem like this, where loading and consolidation take place simultaneously. The problem involves soil-structure interaction. The geometry is too complex, raising questions concerning the validity of one-dimensional assumptions used in Terzaghi’s one-dimensional consolidation theory. The clayey soil in the foundation is too soft and is certain to behave highly plastically, raising questions about the validity of using elastic theories to calculate the stresses in the foundation caused by the weight of the landfill. In other words, the problem is too complex, pointing to the need for a method like the finite element method for not only verifying the validity of the conventional methods normally used in analyses, but also to explain the true cause of failure.