The scaled boundary finite-element method uses a semi-analytical technique to solve the non-homogenous partial differential equations governing the elastostatics of two and three-dimensional continua. When compared to the traditional finite element method, the scaled boundary finite-element method has been shown to provide improved accuracy as well as computational time savings, while retaining the ability to model complex geometries and boundary conditions. This paper presents a brief introduction to the scaled boundary finiteelement method and outlines the incorporation of non-homogeneous elasticity into the method. The variation of Young's modulus (E) with depth (z) is assumed to take the form E= mEz a, where mE is a constant and a is the non-homogeneity parameter. Results are presented and compared to analytical solutions for the settlement profile of rigid and flexible circular footings on an elastic half space with a varying between zero and one. Future applications of the scaled boundary finite-element method to offshore geotechnical problems are also discussed.


The behaviour of a non-homogeneous elastic soil subjected to a variety of surface loadings has been examined extensively and analytical solutions developed. This behaviour is of interest to geotechnical engineers as the immediate settlement of foundations on deep clay layers may be represented by a linear increase in Young's modulus (E) with depth (z). For sands the variation may be more appropriately represented by E= mEz a (Booker, Balaam and Davis 1985), where mE is a constant and a is the non-homogeneity parameter which varies between zero and one. The behaviour of nonhomogeneous elastic soils is also of interest to structural engineers, as fatigue studies and investigations of natural frequencies of structures subject to cyclic loading, such as offshore oil platforms, will be influenced by elastic soil response (Martin 1994). An example demonstrating a practical application of the method is also presented.

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