AbstractCone penetrometer testing (CPT) is a frequently used soil characterization technique for liquefaction assessment; however, this technique has shortcomings in accurately characterizing very thin soil layers having thicknesses less than two to three times the diameter of the cone. In this study, the material point method (MPM) is used to generate numerical “measured” (or “blurred”) CPT tip resistance (qm) in complex soil profiles. Results show that MPM is capable of accurately simulating qm in soil profiles with layers as thin as 20 mm, even when using basic constitutive models and simplified drainage conditions. It is further shown that MPM simulations are able to replicate the tendency of the CPT to smear the boundaries between very thin, interbedded soil layers in a way that obscures their true thickness and stiffness (typically referred to as thin-layer, transition-zone, or multiple thin-layer effects). While previous numerical studies of CPT have been performed in profiles composed of two or three layers, this study considers highly interlayered profiles with upwards of 27 soil layers. Difficulties of developing and implementing multiple thin-layer corrections are presented. It is shown that a numerical framework like MPM can generate a larger set of data for the development and validation of multiple thin-layer correction procedures with the aim of improving liquefaction severity predictions in complex soil profiles.

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