Sarada K. Sarma

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Sarada Kanta Sarma
Born India
Citizenship British, Indian
Nationality Indian
Fields Engineering Seismology, Soil Mechanics
Institutions Imperial College London
Alma mater Imperial College London
Indian Institute of Technology
Thesis Response characteristics and stability of earth dams during strong earthquakes (1968)
Doctoral advisor Nicolas Ambraseys
Known for Sarma method of Slope stability analysis (static & seismic)

Sarada Kanta Sarma is a Geotechnical Engineer, Emeritus Reader of Engineering Seismology and Senior Research Investigator at Imperial College London. He has developed a method of seismic slope stability analysis which is named after him, the Sarma method.[1]


Sarma was initially educated in India, studying Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur and then Geotechnical Engineering at Imperial College specialising in Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology. He worked under the supervision of Professor Nicolas Ambraseys and obtained his PhD degree in 1968; being the first PhD degree awarded by the Imperial College Engineering Seismology Section (followed by Dimitri Papastamatiou in 1971[2]). His thesis title was "Response characteristics and stability of earth dams during strong earthquakes".[3] He joined the staff in 1967 as a Lecturer in Engineering Seismology.

Scientific work[edit]

His major research focuses on Engineering Seismology and Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. He specialised in seismic analysis and performance of soil slopes, earth dams and the earthquake resistant design of foundations and design code development and evaluation.

He developed a new method of analysing the stability of slopes and dams in seismic conditions and calculating the permanent displacements due to strong shaking. This method, published in the 1970s (several publications of this method are found in 1973,[4] 1975[5] and 1979[6]) is named after him (Sarma method) and it is a special case of a Limit Equilibrium method of geotechnical analysis. It has been extensively used in seismic analysis software[7][8] for many years, although nowadays modern finite element analysis software are more widely used for special case studies.

The Sarma method is called an advanced and rigorous method of static and seismic slope stability analysis. It is called advanced because it can take account of non-circular failure surfaces. Also, the multi-wedge approach allows for non-vertical slices[9] and irregular slope geometry.[10] It is called a rigorous method because it can satisfy all the three conditions of equilibrium, horizontal and vertical forces and moments. The Sarma method is nowadays used as a verification to finite element programs (also FE limit analysis) and it is the standard method used for seismic analysis.

In recognition of his contribution to Earthguake Engineering, he has been awarded a number of awards[11] and has been invited to give lectures,[12] serve the academic advisory board of several conferences[13][14] and provide consulting work and advice[15][16][17] for various dam projects. Sarma was retired from Imperial College in 2004.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sarma, S. K. (1975). "Seismic stability of earth dams and embankments". Géotechnique 25 (4): 743. doi:10.1680/geot.1975.25.4.743.  edit
  2. ^ Dimitri Papastamatiou
  3. ^ Sarma S. K. (1968), Response characteristics and stability of earth dams during strong earthquakes. PhD Thesis, Imperial College, University of London
  4. ^ Sarma S. K. (1973), Stability analysis of embankments and slopes. Geotechnique, 23, 423 - 433, ISSN: 0016-8505
  5. ^ Sarma S. K. (1975), Seismic stability of earth dams and embankments. Geotechnique, 25, 743 - 761, ISSN: 0016-8505
  6. ^ Sarma S. K. (1979), Stability analysis of embankments and slopes. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, ASCE, 1979, 105, 1511 - 1524, ISSN: 0093-6405
  7. ^ GEO 5 Geotechnical Software
  8. ^ slope stability software - Galena software
  9. ^ Non-vertical slices using Sarma's method
  10. ^ Advantages of using Sarma's method
  11. ^ British Geotechnical Society Prize of the Institution of Civil Engineers (1967) jointly with Professor Ambraseys, for the paper "The response of earth dams to strong earthquakes"
  12. ^ BESU Lectures Series
  13. ^ 5th International Conference on Earthquake Engineering
  14. ^ World Conference on Earthquake Engineering
  15. ^ Can dogs really predict earthquakes?
  16. ^ Haiti needs seismic-resistant buildings
  17. ^ Expert reaction to the earthquake in Haiti

External links[edit]