ISSMGE Bulletin: Volume 8, Issue 1


Prof. R.W.Boulanger

Ross W. Boulanger
Professor and Director of the Center for Geotechnical Modeling
University of California at Davis, California, USA

BoulangarProfessor Towhata (Editorial Board) asked me, as the incoming chair of TC203 on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering and Associated Problems, to provide some reflections on a focused aspect of geotechnical earthquake engineering. I picked the present topic, out of all the exciting developments in our field, because I believe the emergence of shared-use facilities represents an important benefit to our international community. I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Dan Wilson, Associate Director of our Center for Geotechnical Modeling (CGM), for his assistance in putting this note together.

Advances in large-scale geotechnical dynamic experimental facilities have played a major role in the advancement of geotechnical earthquake engineering over the past twenty five years. Experimental facilities have become more technologically advanced, experimental techniques have improved, inverse analysis methods for data processing have become routine, numerical modeling has improved, and the spirit of data and facility sharing has transformed the way the community does research. This note reflects on these developments in dynamic centrifuge modeling and their importance to our international community, using examples from the CGM at the University of California at Davis, which operates and maintains two dynamic centrifuges (1-m and 9-m radii) as part of the George E. Brown Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES).

The scientific value of centrifuge tests has progressively increased as advances in technology and experimental procedures have enabled researchers to explore fundamental mechanisms in ever increasing detail. Advances in instrumentation and hardware have seen the number of sensors in a model test increase from dozens in the 1990s to routinely more than a couple hundred in the large centrifuge models today.

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