An important pitfall of pseudo-static finite element analysis

Stavroula Kontoe, Loizos Pelecanos, David Potts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


Finite Element (FE) pseudo-static analysis can provide a good compromise between simplified methods of dynamic analysis and time domain analysis. The pseudo-static FE approach can accurately model the in situ, stresses prior to seismic loading (when it follows a static analysis simulating the construction sequence) is relatively simple and not as computationally expensive as the time domain approach. However this method should be used with caution as the results can be sensitive to the choice of the mesh dimensions. In this paper two simple examples of pseudo-static finite element analysis are examined parametrically, a homogeneous slope and a cantilever retaining wall, exploring the sensitivity of the pseudo-static analysis results on the adopted mesh size. The mesh dependence was found to be more pronounced for problems with high critical seismic coefficients values (e.g. gentle slopes or small walls), as in these cases a generalised layer failure mechanism is developed simultaneously with the slope or wall mechanism. In general the mesh width was found not to affect notably the predicted value of critical seismic coefficient but to have a major impact on the predicted movements.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'An important pitfall of pseudo-static finite element analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this