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Student Research Projects

Numerical evaluation of the pseudostatic method for dams and tailings impoundments with respect to east coast earthquakes

The pseudostaticmethod has been used for the evaluation of the seismic stability of earthfill and rockfill dams for over 60 years. Despite its known limitations and imprecision, it remains in widespread use in engineering practice. The pseudostaticmethod was rationalized by Hynes-Griffin and Franklin (1984) based on the results of sliding block analyses. More recently Bray and Travasarou (2009) used numerical analysis and the sliding block method to develop a method for the selection of the pseudostatic coefficient based on the allowable displacement. The calibration and validation of the pseudostatic method were done using relatively low frequency west coast ground motions and data from dams composed of earthfill or relatively soft rockfill typical of the west coast.

This project is using comprehensive numerical modeling to calibrate the pseudostatic method for relatively high frequency east coast ground motions and dams composed of relatively hard rockfill typical of the east coast. Additionally, the effect of the retention of potentially liquefiable tailings on the stability of the dam will be considered.

Ground motion records of the 1988 Saguenay (Quebec) earthquake and simulated ground motion records will be used in the analysis.

Arbaiza, Angie


Director: Michael James, Polytechnique Montréal

Program: M.Sc.A.