Study of Laboratory and Field Techniques to Measure Shear Wave Parameters - Frequency Effects
Over the last decade, significance of correctly evaluating the dynamic properties of soil has been widely recognized by the research community. Among various parameters, shear wave velocity and damping ratio has been recognized as the key parameter for the soils subjected to dynamic loading. The shear wave velocity is used in the geotechnical assessments for site characterization, ground response analysis, and liquefaction potential. The dynamic properties of the soils can be attained in the lab or in-situ. The dynamic soil properties are dependent on different state parameters, such as, void ratio, confining stress, water content, strain levels, and drainage conditions. Apart from the influence of the above parameters, the dynamic soil parameters are also affected by the frequency and the amplitude of the dynamic load applied to the soil. The in-situ tests compliments the laboratory testing in the evaluation of the dynamic soil parameters. Although, correlations can be used to estimate the in-situ parameters but a direct measurement is necessary. To develop a greater confidence of the results of the in-situ tests, it is helpful to compare the field results to conventional laboratory tests. In the RC testing, the effect of base stiffness has a significant effect on shear modulus and damping values. In literature, only two studies have shown the effect of base fixidity. In this thesis, the issue is addressed by testing sand and clay sample on traditional bench and isolation table. In addition to base fixidity, coupling between the specimen and base platen is also very critical. Radial blades in top and bottom platen are introduced along with porous stone fixed underneath the blades. Aluminum probes are recommended for the calibration of the RC device, however, the effect on shear modulus and damping as function of shear strain is not well studied. Therefore, the stiff probe is tested from low to large strains and effect on damping ratio is studied. Finally, a new BE method is proposed to understand the estimation of shear wave velocity at higher frequencies. Due to the large variation in the interpretation of the BE tests results, there is no standard method for the estimation of the shear wave velocity. In this thesis, a new calibration procedure using state of the art laser vibrometer is used to understand the bending behavior of benders in air and in tip to tip configuration. Shear wave velocity comparison between RC and BE tests is done in usual practice, however, the frequency effects from these two tests are not well stated. In this study, the frequency effects are studied and a new methodology, modified frequency domain method, is introduced and tested on dry specimen. The results of the BE tests match well with the RC test values. MASW is a practiced field test to evaluate the shear wave velocity profile for geomaterials, however, the effect of frequency in the case of an anomaly has not been well understood. Therefore, this study uses numerical simulations and a lab scale model to study these effects. In addition, the effect of actual accelerometers on the measurements is studied for the first time using a high frequency laser vibrometer. The frequency effects in field theory of the MASW and SCPT is also studied to address the actual limitations in the analysis of SCPT data without the consideration of frequency effects. Based on the objective, this research focuses on: (1) the study of the laboratory resonant column and bender element tests, (2) numerical simulations and laboratory surface waves testing, and (3) field testing using surface waves and seismic cone penetration method for the estimation of shear wave parameters with emphasis on the frequency effects. An important aspect of the laboratory testing is the calibration of the equipment. Standard procedures are available for the calibration of the resonant column (RC) device, however, the same is not true for the bender element (BE). In this study, the bender elements are calibrated using three different configurations, tip-to-tip, aluminum rods, and using state-of-art laser vibrometer. The State of art laser vibrometer is used to characterize the bending behavior of the bender elements showing the resonance frequency of 12 kHz and damping of 2 % when vibrating in air. The top and bottom platen of RC device were modified to allow better coupling between the specimen and benders. Radial blades were introduced to account for coupling of stiff clay specimens. Four different soils (sand, stiff clay, mine paste, and leda clay) were tested in this study. The results of the tests, from the RC and the BE tests, were analyzed in the time and the frequency domains. Comparison of the results show, a maximum of 45 $\%$ difference in the velocity obtained from the RC and BE tests. Leda clay tests were done on the modified base platens and the difference in the Vs between the RC and BE is 6% compared to the stiff clay specimen where the difference is 28% To study the difference in the Vs values between the RC and BE, a new modified frequency domain method for BE testing is presented. The method was applied to the sand specimen. The sample is excited with a frequency sweep ranging from 0 to 52 kHz and change in unwrapped phase, between the input excitation and output response, is evaluated outside the range of resonant peaks of the specimen. The Vs values from the two tests match well for the frequency range between 29 and 23 kHz, with overall less than 10 % error for the range of confinement range studied in this thesis. Numerical simulations on homogeneous and non-homogeneous medium showed the change in the phase velocity of the Rayleigh waves (R-waves) due to the presence of a void. To introduce non-homogeneity, voids of various size and depth were used. Nine numerical models were analyzed, change in the phase velocity as a function of frequency was observed. A new methodology was introduced in which the receivers were divided into three sections, before, on-top, and after the void. Results from the dispersion curves show that the change in the phase velocity (function of frequency) is between 3% to 50% for different void width and depth. Multichannel analysis of surface waves (MASW) test method was used as the geophysical testing method. The laboratory tests were conducted using three different configurations on sandbox. Two tests involved use of accelerometers as receivers, however, the input source was different. While the third test consisted of using state of art laser vibrometer as receiver. Using the laser vibrometer, 96 surface responses were recorded compared to 12 using accelerometers. The results from the laboratory MASW test showed the frequency effect on the measurements due to the source used in this method. Coupling of the geophone/transducer in surface wave testing is an important issue. Results from the lab test using laser vibrometer showed that the mass loading effect of accelerometer affects the frequency content of the signal. The field MASW and the SCPT tests were done at the University of Waterloo Columbia Lake Test Site (UW-CLTS). The comparison of shear wave velocity from the field MASW and the SCPT shows the average shear wave velocity profile from the two tests, however, importance in not paid to the frequency of the input signal and main frequency difference between the MASW and SCPT tests. In this study, the frequency spectrum from the MASW and the SCPT tests data were analyzed to understand the change in the shear wave velocity at different depths. From the analysis, the percentage change in shear wave velocity between MASW line 1 and SCPT 1 and 2 is more than 90 % for depths between 0 and 2 m, while it reduces to 10 % for depths between 7 and 13 m.