Sustainability is increasingly becoming a major concern in construction and development of the built infrastructure. Systematic inclusion of environmental impacts and life-cycle costs as metrics in performance-based engineering frameworks is a primary objective of this research. In order to develop the quantitative integrated elements of such a framework, attention is placed on ground improvement (stabilization) in seismic regions, as a representative geotechnical engineering area of major economic and environmental consequences. Researchers with complementary expertise from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Central Florida (UCF) are collaborating on this effort. The study will develop and implement for use an extended performance-based framework for ground improvement that incorporates economic impacts and carbon footprint metrics; advance the computational modeling capabilities related to the seismic performance of improved ground through calibration and verification using data from case histories and model testing; and report the probabilistic sustainability results in terms of risk/expense and carbon equivalent outcomes, suitable for decision-making considerations. In conducting this research, available data on the studied ground improvement techniques will be coalesced and analyzed. An existing soil constitutive model will be extended to more accurately capture post-liquefaction reconsolidation settlement behavior, based on a better understanding of the volumetric strain distribution and settlement patterns of the improved ground (including the influence of foundation loading on post-liquefaction settlement). The open source platform OpenSees will be employed for conducting the underlying Finite Element (FE) computations. A rigorous probabilistic performance-based engineering framework that integrally includes sustainability considerations will be developed and numerically implemented for ground improvement analysis and design. Building information modeling (BIM) techniques will be used to integrate geotechnical data, carbon-footprint, and spatial settlement scenarios with post-earthquake repair and sustainability metrics. Direct input from practitioners will guide all phases, with the overall goal of advancing the state-of-the-art and state-of-practice in ground improvement analysis and design. On this basis, different ground improvement options will be evaluated, towards the decision-support process. Finally, analysis and design tools based on this extended PBEE sustainability framework will be developed for efficient practical implementation.
In parallel with the research tasks, a primary effort is made to maximize the impacts on education, outreach, and industry interaction. A small industry advisory board will provide guidance on the research program, and create field and office summer undergraduate student internship opportunities. Instructional seminars will be offered to practicing engineers on the background and use of the tools to be developed in this study.