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Backanalysis in Geotechnics: Uncertainty of Soil Parameters

Updated: Sep 26


In geotechnical engineering, the use of commercial software based on the Finite Element Method (FEM) has been gaining popularity. These programs incorporate increasingly sophisticated constitutive models to simulate soil behavior. However, this sophistication requires defining a greater number of parameters. Furthermore, some of these parameters, especially in advanced constitutive models, lack real geotechnical significance as they stem from mathematical expressions. This poses a significant challenge when it comes to identifying and assigning values to these parameters in real construction projects.

The Problem of Parameters Without Geotechnical Significance

In many cases, soil parameters are obtained from laboratory tests. However, there is a fundamental problem: the samples used in these tests often do not accurately represent the full soil profile at the construction site. Moreover, the mere act of extracting soil samples can cause disturbances and changes in soil properties that are difficult to quantify. This raises the crucial question: how can we trust the values of soil parameters obtained from these tests when they may not accurately reflect site conditions?

The Solution: Geotechnical Backanalysis with DAARWIN for Sustainability

This is where geotechnical backanalysis, supported by tools like DAARWIN, comes into play. Backanalysis involves working backward from the observed soil response at the construction site to determine the soil parameters that best fit that response. By using backanalysis, engineers can effectively address uncertainty in soil parameters, especially those lacking a clear geotechnical meaning.

How Backanalysis Works with DAARWIN for Sustainability:

DAARWIN combines predictive models, on-site monitoring data, and historical data to refine and adjust soil parameters based on actual site conditions. This enables more precise decision-making and optimization of geotechnical designs, as they are based on empirical data and real observations of soil behavior on-site.

Key Benefits of Backanalysis with DAARWIN for Sustainability

Reduction of Overdesign: Minimizes the consumption of construction materials and CO2 emissions, thus contributing to sustainability and the fight against climate change. Since the construction industry currently accounts for over 10% of global CO2 emissions, backanalysis becomes a valuable tool in addressing this issue.

Digitalization for Efficiency: Backanalysis also promotes the digitalization of the entire project lifecycle, making data-driven decision-making faster and more efficient. This is essential as construction efficiency and productivity have only grown by an average of 1% per year in the last two decades, compared to the 2.8% growth of the overall economy.

Detecting Instabilities: In addition to optimizing geotechnical designs, backanalysis helps detect potential instabilities early on, ensuring that construction proceeds according to the design, thereby increasing safety in construction projects. civil engineering, geotechnical, software engineer, geotechnical engineering, borehole


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