Yuepeng Dong

Doctor of Philosophy, Christ Church College, University of Oxford, Hilary Term 2014

Advanced Finite Element Analysis of Deep Excavation Case Histories

Deep excavations have been used worldwide for underground construction, but they also alter the ground conditions and induce ground movements which might cause risks to adjacent infrastructure. Field measurements are normally carried out during excavations to ensure their safety, and also provide valuable data to calibrate the results from the numerical analysis which is an effective way to investigate the performance of deep excavations. This thesis is concerned with evaluating the capability of advanced finite element analysis in reproducing various aspects of observed deep excavation behaviour in the field through back analysis of case histories. The finite element model developed considers both geotechnical and structural aspects such as (i) detailed geometry of the excavation and retaining structures, (ii) realistic material models for the soil, structures and the soil-structure interface, and (iii) correct construction sequences. Parametric studies are conducted first based on a simplified square excavation to understand the effect of several important aspects, e.g. (i) the merit of shell or solid elements to model the retaining wall, (ii) the effect of construction joints in the retaining wall, (iii) the effect of the operational stiffness of concrete structural components due to cracks, (iv) the thermal effect of concrete beams and floor slabs during curing process and due to variation of ambient temperature, (v) the effect of soil-structure interface behaviour, and (vi) the effect of stiffness and strength properties of the soil. Two more complex case histories are then investigated through fully 3D analyses to explore the influence of various factors such as (i) neglecting the small-strain stiffness nonlinearity in the soil model, (ii) the selected K0 value to represent the initial stress state in the ground, (iii) the appropriate anisotropic wall properties to consider the joints in the diaphragm wall, (iv) the parameters governing the settlements of adjacent buildings and buried pipelines, (v) the effectiveness of ground improvement on reducing the building settlement, (vi) the variation of construction sequences, (vii) the effectiveness of earth berms, and (viii) ignoring the openings in the floor slabs. This research has strong practical implications, but cautions should also be taken in applications, e.g. element types and parameter selection.

Thesis (pdf, 9.47mb)