Civil Engineering PhD student
Advisors: Shideh Dashti, Abbie Liel, Brad Wham
Lab: Center for Infrastructure, Energy, and Space Testing
I am studying a phenomenon called liquefaction which makes the strength and stiffness of saturated granular soils rapidly decrease, due to an increase in excess pore water pressure during earthquake loading, which consequently causes the soil to behave as a "liquid" momentarily, producing substantial damage to building structure and lifelines. To put it in perspective, during the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence in Christchurch, New Zealand, nearly 50% of the central business district in Christchurch was damaged by soil liquefaction, affecting 60,000 residential buildings and properties. I am specifically studying the influence of stratigraphic variability and layering on liquefaction manifestation and consequences near and away from structures. In order to accomplish this, I will be performing a series of centrifuge models to be tested at 70g centrifugal acceleration in a transparent rigid box I designed at CU Boulder's 400 g-ton, 5.5 m-radius centrifuge facility. We will also be implementing particle image velocimetry (PIV), which, in recent years has been implemented in the analysis of centrifuge experiments to monitor deformation mechanisms within a visible soil section. The test series will allow me to isolate and fundamentally quantify and visualize the different mechanisms of seismic deformation in layered and stratified soils.