Dynamic FE analyses can be considered the most complete available instrument for the prediction of the seismic response of a geotechnical system, since they can give detailed indication of both the soil stress distribution and deformation. However, they require at least a proper soil constitutive model, an adequate soil characterization by means of in situ and laboratory tests, a proper definition of the seismic input.
This article discusses how to calibrate a finite element model in order to obtain a realistic response of the given system subjected to seismic loading. Plaxis 2D v.8.2 (Brinkgreve, 2002) that includes the dynamic module was used in this research. A series of dynamic analyses of vertical propagation of S-waves in a homogeneous elastic layer was carried out. This scheme was chosen because a theoretical solution of the problem is available in literature and some comparisons can be easily done. The influences on the response of boundaries conditions, mesh dimensions, input signal filtering and damping parameters was investigated.
The information obtained in this preliminary calibration process can be used thereafter for the analysis of any geotechnical system subjected to seismic loadings.