Uncertainty in spatial average undrained shear strength with a site-specific transformation model

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Transformation models are used to infer geotechnical properties from indirect measurements. A site-specific transformation model can be calibrated with direct and indirect measurements from a site. When such a model is used, then spatial variability, measurement errors and statistical uncertainty propagate into the uncertainty of the spatial average, which is the variable of interest in most geotechnical analyses. This research shows how all components enter the total uncertainty of a transformation model for undrained shear strength from cone resistance. A method is proposed to estimate the uncertainty in the spatial average undrained shear strength, particularly focusing on the role of averaging of all spatially variable error components. The main finding is that if a considerable share of the measurement and transformation errors is random or spatially variable, the uncertainty estimates can be considerably lower compared to methods proposed earlier, and hence, characteristic values can be considerably higher.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018


  • geotechnical variability
  • measurement error
  • Site investigation
  • spatial average
  • statistical uncertainty
  • transformation model
  • undrained shear strength

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