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Terrasol creates an expertise unit dedicated to seismic and dynamic engineering


(La Lettre Terrasol – December 2019)

Over the last few years, TERRASOL’s activity has experienced strong growth in seismic and dynamic engineering, responding to an increasing demand from owners and contractors to improve design reliability of structures with respect to seismic and vibration risks.
An example is the KNPC project in Al Zour-Kuwait (picture hereabove), for which TERRASOL was entrusted with the seismic design of the foundations for 8 LNG tanks each 90m in diameter. This project is special due to the choice of a foundation system consisting of rigid inclusions to isolate the structure from the seismic loading transfered by the supporting soil.

TERRASOL also worked recently on the EPR project of Hinkley Point (UK) with SETEC NUCLÉAIRE to optimize the justification of the seismic stability of some of the project’s facilities through non-linear dynamic analyses. Let’s also refer to TERRASOL’s recent assignment for GROUP RENAULT to qualify and validate the dynamic and vibratory performance of the foundations for a driverless vehicle simulator.

Aware of the growing complexity of studies in this field, and of the importance of building on what we have learned from our projects, we created a few months ago a TERRASOL unit dedicated to “Dynamics engineering”, aiming at offering our clients relevant and robust solutions covering the following issues:

  • 1D / 2D dynamic and seismic site responses;
  • Accounting for the effects of soil-structure interaction in the justification of structures under seismic and vibratory loads;
  • Modelling of the response of structures and foundations under complex dynamic loading (impacts, wind, waves, etc.);
  • Considering non-linearity issues in the justification of structures under high dynamic loads (extreme earthquakes, shocks and impacts, etc.).

These services are provided notably thanks to our teams’ in-depth expertise of several specialized calculation tools such as SASSI/MISS-3D, Plaxis Dynamics 2D/3D, Flac 2D/3D, or Code_Aster. It should be also noted that the actions carried out within our Dynamics Unit are supported by several recognised experts from TERRASOL, and from other companies in the SETEC GROUP, as well as by external consultants such as Françoise Ropers and Alain Pecker.

Finally, Terrasol’s Dynamics Unit also aims to continue and value our scientific development works carried out over recent years in soil-structure interaction (SSI) in seismic conditions: for example, we co-supervised a CIFRE doctoral project on the dynamic behaviour of pile groups, and we carry out an assignment for EDF on the development of a dynamic macro-element in Code_Aster to simulate non-linear material behaviour at the soil-foundation interface. These actions have stimulated the development of specialized engineering tools such as Fondsis (non-linear SSI under seismic conditions) and Slake (liquefaction risk analysis). Both these tools allow for instance a deeper insight into the concept of structural seismic stability by overcoming the conceptual limitations of pseudo-static justification formalisms and by quantifying the seismic limit state in terms of displacements. These developments are ongoing today with the launch of a new thesis dealing with the development of a macro-element for structures based on rigid inclusions, as part of the ASIRI+ National Research Project.

J. Pérez Herreros and F. Cuira