A hybrid finite element method and differential quadrature method (DQM) is developed to estimate the dynamic response of two-dimensional multilayered half-spaces subjected to impulsive point loading. Nonreflecting absorbing boundary conditions consist of appropriate springs, and dampers are considered. The capabilities of the finite element method for solving boundary value problems with general domain, loading and systematic boundary treatment are combined with accurate and stable time marching capabilities of the DQM to develop an accurate and efficient numerical technique. The capability, efficiency, robustness and convergence of the DQM for solving the dynamic problem are demonstrated through numerical simulations of various half-spaces with different time increments and layer arrangement. Also, comparison study when using Newmark's time integration scheme for the same problem is done. It can be concluded that the DQM as an unconditionally stable method is suitable for solving such a problem. Also, parametric study is performed to show the effect of the absorbing boundary conditions on the dynamic response. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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