Assessment of soil-pile-structure interaction influencing seismic response of mid-rise buildings sitting on floating pile foundations

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Journal Article
Computers and Geotechnics, 2014, 55 pp. 172 - 186
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The role of the seismic soil-pile-structure interaction (SSPSI) is usually considered beneficial to the structural system under seismic loading since it lengthens the lateral fundamental period and leads to higher damping of the system in comparison with the fixed-base assumption. Lessons learned from recent earthquakes show that fixed-base assumption could be misleading, and neglecting the influence of SSPSI could lead to unsafe design particularly for structures founded on soft soils. In this study, in order to better understand the SSPSI phenomena, a series of shaking table tests have been conducted for three different cases, namely: (i) fixed-base structure representing the situation excluding the soil-structure interaction; (ii) structure supported by shallow foundation on soft soil; and (iii) structure supported by floating (frictional) pile foundation in soft soil. A laminar soil container has been designed and constructed to simulate the free field soil response by minimising boundary effects during shaking table tests. In addition, a fully nonlinear three dimensional numerical model employing FLAC3D has been adopted to perform time-history analysis on the mentioned three cases. The numerical model adopts hysteretic damping algorithm representing the variation of the shear modulus and damping ratio of the soil with the cyclic shear strain capturing the energy absorbing characteristics of the soil. Results are presented in terms of the structural response parameters most significant for the damage such as foundation rocking, base shear, floor deformation, and inter-storey drifts. Comparison of the numerical predictions and the experimental data shows a good agreement confirming the reliability of the numerical model. Both experimental and numerical results indicate that soil-structure interaction amplifies the lateral deflections and inter-storey drifts of the structures supported by floating pile foundations in comparison to the fixed base structures. However, the floating pile foundations contribute to the reduction in the lateral displacements in comparison to the shallow foundation case, due to the reduced rocking components. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
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