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Published June 2017 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

From Stiffness to Strength: Formulation and Validation of a Hybrid Hyperbolic Nonlinear Soil Model for Site‐Response Analyses


Nonlinear site‐response analyses are becoming an increasingly important component of simulated ground motions for engineering applications. For regional‐scale problems for which geotechnical data are sparse, the challenge lies in computing site response using a very small number of input parameters. We developed a nonlinear soil model that, using only the shear‐wave velocity profile, captures both the low‐strain stiffness and large‐strain strength of soils and yields reliable predictions of soil response to weak and strong shaking. We here present the formulation of the model and an extensive validation study based on downhole array recordings, with peak ground acceleration (PGA) ranging from 0.01g to 0.9g. We also show that our model, referred to as hybrid hyperbolic (HH), outperforms existing nonlinear formulations and simplified site‐response analyses widely used in practice for ground motions that induce more than 0.04% of soil strain (roughly equivalent to PGA higher than 0.05g). In addition to site‐specific response predictions at sites with limited site characterization, the HH model can help improve site amplification factors of ground‐motion prediction equations (GMPEs) by complementing the empirical data with simulated site‐response analyses for very strong ground shaking, as well as physics‐based ground‐motion simulations, particularly for deeper sedimentary sites with low resonant frequencies.

Additional Information

© 2017 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received 21 October 2015; Published Online 4 April 2017. This research was supported by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC; Contribution Number 6019). SCEC is funded by National Science Foundation (NSF) Cooperative Agreement EAR-1033462 and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Cooperative Agreement G12AC20038. We are grateful for the financial support that has made this research possible. We would also like to acknowledge the help of Paul J. Vardanega and Malcolm D. Bolton, who provided us with direct shear test data from the literature and from their experimental work; and Rui Wang, who helped us conceptually refine our soil constitutive model. We finally wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments, which led to significant improvements over our initial submission.

Attached Files

Published - 1336.full.pdf

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August 19, 2023
October 25, 2023