The Combined Effect of Buoyancy and Excess Pore Pressure in Facilitating Soil Liquefaction

S. Ben Zeev, L. Goren, S. Parez, R. Toussaint, C. Clément, E. Aharonov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Soil liquefaction is a devastating earthquake hazard, commonly causing tilting, sinking and floating of infrastructure. The classical mechanism for liquefaction requires undrained and loosely packed soil, that upon shear experiences elevated, lithostatic, pore pressure and consequently zero effective stress. However, some field and experimental observations cannot be explained by this mechanism. These include liquefaction of pre-compacted soils, liquefaction under drained conditions, repeated liquefaction events, and liquefaction triggered by small seismic energy density. A recent study suggests a new mechanism for soil liquefaction that arises only from buoyancy effects of fluids plus grain accelerations, where the term "liquefaction", used as its phenomenological field definition, refers to a macroscopic transition from rigid to fluid-like behavior. We extend that study and seek a unifying mechanism for field observed liquefaction that accounts both for the buoyancy effect and for elevated pore pressure, though not necessarily with lithostatic values. To achieve this goal, we use a coupled fluid flow and granular dynamics numerical model to study the effect of pore pressure on the sinking of a large object ("intruder") into a drained densely packed granular system, undergoing cyclic shearing. Results show that despite the drained conditions pore pressure rises during shaking. Although pore pressure remains well below lithostatic values, the soil liquefies, as identified macroscopically by intruder sinking to its isostatic position. Even simulations with buoyancy effects alone show liquefaction and intruder sinking under certain conditions, yet inclusion of pore-pressure effects add to the buoyancy effect, and is seen to enhance liquefaction and promote intruder sinking.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationPoromechanics 2017 - Proceedings of the 6th Biot Conference on Poromechanics
EditorsPatrick Dangla, Jean-Michel Pereira, Siavash Ghabezloo, Matthieu Vandamme
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780784480779
StatePublished - 2017
Event6th Biot Conference on Poromechanics, Poromechanics 2017 - Paris, France
Duration: 9 Jul 201713 Jul 2017

Publication series

NamePoromechanics 2017 - Proceedings of the 6th Biot Conference on Poromechanics


Conference6th Biot Conference on Poromechanics, Poromechanics 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


Dive into the research topics of 'The Combined Effect of Buoyancy and Excess Pore Pressure in Facilitating Soil Liquefaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this