Idealized Sine Wave Approach to Determine Arrival Times of Shear Wave Signals Using Bender Elements

Qasim Khan, Sung-Woo Moon, Taeseo Ku

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Determining small strain stiffness Gmax of soils in laboratory is generally achieved using bender elements. Shear wave propagation is affected by the soil medium and boundary conditions causing distortion in output signals, which introduces error in travel time estimates. This study proposes a novel technique for determining first arrival time in a systematic manner. Based on idealized sine waves, this technique modifies peak-to-peak results to find arrival times using the output frequency of received signal. By incorporating the initial half wavelength of received signals, five methods depending on the length of signal chosen for calculating the output frequency are proposed in this paper. The applicability of the proposed technique is evaluated based on signals reported in published literature and signals obtained for Singapore marine clay (uncemented and lightly cemented). For most soil types and testing conditions, it was demonstrated that the proposed technique produces close estimates with reported original arrival times. On the contrary, other techniques such as the peak-to-peak, cross-correlation, and cross spectrum often underestimated shear wave velocities when the output signals contains relatively low frequency contents. Consequently, the proposed technique significantly reduces subjectivity and produces improved reliability in estimating specific arrival times without the need of any frequency sweep. Moreover, by incorporating the quality and shape of signals into the analysis, better estimates of first arrival can be established especially for noisy signals or signals affected by near-field effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20170121
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • Bender Elements
  • Shear Waves
  • First Arrival
  • Peak-to-Peak
  • Output Frequency

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