In coastal regions, earthquakes caused severe damage to marine structures. Many researchers have conducted numerical investigations in order to understand the dynamic behavior of these structures. The most frequently used model in numerical calculations of soil is the linear-elastic perfectly plastic model with a Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion (MC model). It is recommended to use this model to represent a first-order approximation of soil behavior. Therefore, it is necessary to accommodate soil constitutive models for the specific geotechnical problems.
In this paper, three soil constitutive models with different accuracy were applied by using the two-dimensional finite element software PLAXIS to study the behavior of pile-supported wharf embedded in rock dike, under the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. These models are: a linear-elastic perfectly plastic model (MC model), an elastoplastic model with isotropic hardening (HS model), and the Hardening Soil model with an extension to the small-strain stiffness (HSS model).
A typical pile-supported wharf structure with batter piles from the western United States ports was selected to perform the study. The wharf included cut-slope (sliver) rock dike configuration, which is constituted by a thin layer of rockfill overlaid by a slope of loose sand. The foundation soil and the backfill soil behind the wharf were all dense sand. The soil parameters used in the study were calibrated in numerical soil element tests (Oedometer and Triaxial tests).
The wharf displacement and pore pressure results obtained using models with different accuracy were compared to the numerical results of Heidary-Torkamani et al. It was found that the Hardening Soil model with small-strain stiffness (HSS model) gives clearly better results than the MC and HS models.
Afterwards, the pile displacements in sloping rockfill were analyzed. The displacement time histories of the rock dike at the top and at the toe were also exposed. It can be noted that during the earthquake there was a significant lateral ground displacement at the upper part of the embankment due to the liquefaction of loose sand. This movement caused displacement at the dike top greater than its displacement at the toe. Consequently, the behavior of the wharf was affected and the pile displacements were important, specially the piles closest to the dike top.