Earthquakes in regions underlain by soft clay have amply demonstrated the detrimental effects of soil-structure interaction (SSI) in such settings. This paper describes a new three dimensional Finite Element model utilizing linear elastic single degree of freedom (SDOF) structure and a nonlinear elasto-plastic constitutive model for soil behavior in order to capture the nonlinear foundation-soil coupled response under seismic loadings. Results from an experimental SSI centrifuge test were used to verify the reliability of the numerical model followed by parametric studies to evaluate performance of linear elastic structures underlain by soft saturated clay. The results of parametric study demonstrate that rigid slender (tall) structures are highly susceptible to the SSI effects including alteration of natural frequency, foundation rocking and excessive base shear demand. Structure-foundation stiffness and aspect ratios were found to be crucial parameters controlling coupled foundation-structure performance in flexible-base structures. Furthermore, frequency content of input motion, site response and structure must be taken into account to avoid occurrence of resonance problem.

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Keywords Elasto-plastic constitutive model, Foundation rocking, Period elongation, Soft soil, Soil-foundation-structure interaction, Stiffness ratio
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Journal Computers and Geotechnics
Torabi, H. (Hooman), & Rayhani, M.T. (2014). Three dimensional Finite Element modeling of seismic soil-structure interaction in soft soil. Computers and Geotechnics, 60, 9–19. doi:10.1016/j.compgeo.2014.03.014