Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Ronald Y. S. Pak

Second Advisor

H. Jerry Qi

Third Advisor

Richard Regueiro


Due to the stress dependent nature of the material properties of soil, it can be difficult to find a comprehensive approximate method that captures all features of the response of a structure or foundation under dynamic loading. For this reason, a fundamental problem in soil-structure interaction was investigated, both experimentally by means of centrifuge modeling, and computationally using boundary element methods. The problem consisted of a circular surface foundation resting on a soil stratum, subjected to random loading applied at a vertically eccentric location on the upper surface of the footing. The experimental data was compared with computational results for two soil material models: A soil with an equivalent homogeneous shear modulus, and a two-zone soil model that more directly accounts for the stress dependence of the soil’s material properties. The two-zone model represents the far-field using a shear modulus that has square root dependence with depth, and a local homogeneous zone directly underneath the footing. Computational and experimental results were also compared with a previous study involving square footings on a soil stratum, having contact pressures equal to the circular footings in this report.