n Journal of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering = Joernaal van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut van Siviele Ingenieurswese - Mapping of soil layers using artificial neural network (case study of Babol, northern Iran) : technical paper




Over the last few years, artificial neural networks (ANNs) have been used successfully for modelling all aspects of geotechnical engineering problems. ANNs are a form of artificial intelligence which attempt to mimic the function of the human brain and nervous system. ANNs are well suited to model the complex behaviour of most geotechnical engineering problems. The purpose of this paper was to assess the layering of subsurface soil using ANNs. Assessing the structure of soil layers on a site, depending on the extent of the study area, requires drilling several boreholes and performing several tests which demand considerable time and money. Increasing the knowledge of soil layer properties between boreholes leads to improved understanding of the near-surface geology. ANNs learn from data examples presented to them in order to capture the subtle functional data relationships, even if the underlying relationships are unknown or the physical meaning is difficult to explain. This paper focuses on the information gathered from the boreholes in a range of 40 square kilometres of Babol City in the north of Iran. The data was collected and classified in order to determine the characteristics of the soil layers. To later classify the different layers at different depths and to determine the thickness of each layer at a specified depth, multi-layer neural networks were trained separately. To quantify the neural network performance in estimating the changes of soil layers, some data from the test boreholes was presented to the network for the first time, and the results of neural networks were compared with actual data obtained from site investigations. The results show a high degree of accuracy in prediction by ANN models.


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