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INTRODUCTION
Geotechnical Engineering is that part of engineering which is
concerned with the behaviour of soil and rock. Soil Mechanics
is the part concerned solely with soils. From an engineering
perspective soils generally refer to sedimentary materials that
have not been cemented and have not been subjected to high
compressive stresses.
As the name Soil Mechanics implies the subject is concerned
with the deformation and strength of bodies of soil. It deals with
the mechanical properties of the soil materials and with the
application of the knowledge of these properties to engineering
problems. In particular it is concerned with the interaction of
structures with their foundation material. This includes both
conventional structures and also structures such as earth dams,
embankments and roads which are they made of soil.
As for other branches of engineering the major issues are
stability and serviceability. When a structure is built it will
apply a load to the underlying soil; if the load is too great the
strength of the soil will be exceeded and failure may ensue. It
is important to realise that not only buildings are of concern, the
failure of an earth dam can have catastrophic consequences, as
can failures of natural and man made slopes and excavations.
Buildings or earth structures may be rendered unserviceable by
excessive deformation of the ground, although it is usually
differential settlement, where one side of a building settles more
than the other, that is most damaging. Criteria for allowable
settlement vary from case to case; for example the settlement
allowed in a factory that contains sensitive equipment is likely
to be far more stringent than that for a warehouse. Another
important aspect to be considered during design is the effect of
any construction on adjacent structures, for example the
excavation of a basement and then the construction of a large
building will cause deformations in the surrounding ground and
1
may have a detrimental effect on adjacent buildings or other
structures such as railway tunnels.
Many of the problems arising in Geotechnical Engineering stem
from the interaction of soil and water. For example, when a
basement is excavated water will tend to flow into the
excavation. The question of how much water flows in needs to
be answered so that suitable pumps can be obtained to keep the
excavation dry. The flow of water can have detrimental effects
on the stability of the excavation, and is often the initiator of
landslides in natural and man made slopes. Some of the effects
associated with the interaction of soil and water are quite subtle,
for example if an earthquake occurs, then a loose soil deposit
will tend to compress causing the water pressures to rise. If the
water pressures should increase so that they become greater than
the stress due to the weight of the overlying soil then a
quicksand condition will develop and buildings founded on this
soil may fail.
Soil mechanics differs from other branches of engineering in
that generally there is little control over the material properties,
we have to make do with the soil at the site and this is often
highly variable. By taking samples at a few scattered locations
we have to determine the soil properties and their variability. At
this stage in a project knowledge of the site geology and
geological processes is essential to successful geotechnical
engineering.
Soil mechanics is a relatively new branch of engineering
science, the first major conference occurred in 1936 and the
mechanical properties of soils are still incompletely understood.
The first complete mechanical model for soil was published as
recently as 1968. Over the last 40 years there has been rapid
development in our understanding of soil behaviour and the
application of this knowledge in engineering practice. The
subject has now reached a phase of development similar to that
of structural mechanics a century ago and the words of William
Anderson in 1893 about structural engineers are relevant today
for geotechnical engineering, "There is a tendency among the
2
young and inexperienced to put blind faith in formulas
(computer programs), forgetting that most of them are based
upon premises which are not accurately reproduced in practice,
and which, in any case, are frequently unable to take into
account collateral disturbances which only observation and
experience can foresee, and common sense provide against."
3
1. SOILS AND THEIR CLASSIFICATION
1.1 Introduction
Soil mechanics is concerned with particulate materials (soils)
found in the ground that are not cemented and not greatly
compressed. These soils usually have a sedimentary origin,
however, they can also occur as the result of rock weathering
without any transport of the particles. The soil particles can
have varying sizes, shapes and mineralogies, although these
properties are usually interrelated. For instance the larger sized
particles are generally composed of quartz and feldspars,
minerals that have high strengths and the particles are fairly
round. The smaller sized particles are generally composed of
the clay minerals kaolin, illite and montmorillonite, minerals
that have low strengths and form plate like particles. One of the
most important aspects of particulate materials is that there are
gaps or voids between the particles. The amount of voids is
also influenced by the size, shape and mineralogy of the
particles.
Because of the wide range of particle sizes, shapes and
mineralogies in a typical soil a detailed classification of each
soil would be very expensive and inappropriate for most
geotechnical engineering purposes. However, some form of
simple classification system giving information about the
engineering properties is required on all sites. Why is this
necessary?
• Usually the soil on site has to be used. Soils differ from other
engineering materials in that one has very little, if any,
control over their properties.
• The extent and properties of the soil at the site have to be
determined.
• Cheap and simple tests are required to give an indication of
the engineering properties such as stiffness and strength for
preliminary design.
4
To achieve this continuous samples are recovered from
boreholes, drilled to a depth that will depend on the scale of the
project. Observation of the core enables the different soil layers
to be determined and then classification tests are performed for
these different strata. The extent of the different soil layers can
be determined by correlating the results from different
boreholes and this information is used to build a picture of the
subsurface profile.
An indication of the engineering properties is determined on
the basis of particle size. This crude approach is used because
the engineering behaviour of soils with very small particles,
usually containing clay minerals, is significantly different from
the behaviour of soils with larger particles. Clays can cause
problems because they are relatively compressible, drain
poorly, have low strengths and can swell in the presence of
water.
1.2 Particle Size Definitions
The precise boundaries between different soil types are
somewhat arbitrary, but the following scale is now in use
worldwide.
Gravel Sand Silt Clay
C M F C M F C M F C M F
60 20 6 2 0.6 0.2 0.06 0.02 .006 .
002 .0006 .0002
where C, M, F stand for coarse, medium and fine respectively,
and the particle sizes are in millimetres.
Note
• the logarithmic scale. Most soils contain mixtures of sand,
silt and clay particles, so the range of particle sizes can be
very large.
5
• not all particles less than 2 µm are comprised of clay
minerals, and some clay mineral particles can be greater than
2 µm. (A micron, µm, is 10
6
m).
1.3 Broad Classification
1.3.1 Coarsegrained soils
These include sands, gravels and larger particles. For these
soils the grains are well defined and may be seen by the naked
eye. The individual particles may vary from perfectly round to
highly angular reflecting their geological origins.
1.3.2 Finegrained soils
These include the silts and clays and have particles smaller than
60 µm.
• Silts These can be visually differentiated from clays
because they exhibit the property of dilatancy. If a moist
sample is shaken in the hand water will appear on the
surface. If the sample is then squeezed in the fingers the
water will disappear. Their gritty feel can also identify silts.
• Clays Clays exhibit plasticity, they may be readily
remoulded when moist, and if left to dry can attain
high strengths
• Organic These may be of either clay or silt sized particles.
They contain significant amounts of vegetable
matter. The soils as a result are usually dark
grey or black and have a noticeable odour from decaying
matter. Generally only a surface phenonomen but layers
of peat may be found at depth. These are very poor
soils for most engineering purposes.
1.4 Procedure for grain size determination
6
Different procedures are required for fine and coarsegrained
material. Detailed procedures are described in the Australian
Standard AS 1289.A1, Methods of testing soil for engineering
purposes. These will be demonstrated in a laboratory session.
• Coarse Sieve analysis is used to determine the distribution
of the larger grain sizes. The soil is passed through a
series of sieves with the mesh size reducing
progressively, and the proportions by weight of the
soil retained on each sieve are measured. There are a
range of sieve sizes that can be used, and the finest
is usually a 75 µm sieve. Sieving can be performed
either wet or dry. Because of the tendency for fine
particles to clump together, wet sieving is often
required with finegrained soils.
• Fine To determine the grain size distribution of material
passing the 75µm sieve the hydrometer method is
commonly used. The soil is mixed with water and a
dispersing agent, stirred vigorously, and allowed to
settle to the bottom of a measuring cylinder. As the
soil particles settle out of suspension the specific
gravity of the mixture reduces. An hydrometer is
used to record the variation of specific gravity with
time. By making use of Stoke’s Law, which relates
the velocity of a free falling sphere to its diameter,
the test data is reduced to provide particle diameters
and the % by weight of the sample finer than a
particular particle size.
7
Figure 1 A schematic view of the hydrometer test
1.5 Grading curves
The results from the particle size determination tests are plotted
as grading curves. These show the particle size plotted against
the percentage of the sample by weight that is finer than that
size. The results are presented on a semilogarithmic plot as
shown in Figure 2 below. The shape and position of the grading
curve are used to identify some characteristics of the soil.
8
Figure 2 Typical grading curves
Some typical grading curves are shown on the figure. The
following descriptions are applied to these curves
W Well graded material
U Uniform material
P Poorly graded material
C Well graded with some clay
F Well graded with an excess of fines
The use of names to describe typical grading curve shapes and
positions has developed as the suitability of different gradings
for different purposes has become apparent. For example, well
graded sands and gravels can be easily compacted to relatively
high densities which result in higher strengths and stiffnesses.
For this reason soils of this type are preferred for road bases.
The suitability of different gradings is discussed in some detail
by Terzaghi and Peck (1967).
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
0
20
40
60
80
100
Particle size (mm)
%
F
i
n
e
r
9
From the typical grading curves it can be seen that soils are
rarely all sand or all clay, and in general will contain particles
with a wide range of sizes. Many organisations have produced
charts to classify soils giving names for the various
combinations of particle sizes. One such example is given in
Figure 3 below.
100 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Silt Sizes (%)
S
a
n
d
S
i
z
e
s
(
%
)
C
l
a
y
S
i
z
e
s
(
%
)
Sand
Silty Sand Sandy Silt
ClaySand ClaySilt
Sandy Clay Silty Clay
Clay
LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY DIVISION,
U. S. ENGINEER DEPT.
Figure 3 Classification Chart
Important observations from figure 3 are that any soil
containing more than 50% of clay sized particles would be
classified as a clay, whereas sand and silt require 80% of the
particles to be in that size range. Also any soil having more
than 20% clay would have some clay like properties.
The hydrometer test is usually terminated when the percentage
of clay sized particles has been determined. However, there are
significant differences between the behaviour of the different
clay minerals. To provide additional information on the soil
behaviour further classification tests are performed. One such
10
set of tests, the Atterberg Limit Tests, involve measuring the
moisture contents of the soil at which changes in the soil
properties occur.
1.6 Atterberg Limits
These tests are only used for the finegrained, silt and clay,
fraction of a soil (actually the % passing a 425 µm sieve). If we
take a very soft (high moisture content) clay specimen and
allow it to dry we would obtain a relation similar to that shown
in Figure 4.
As the soil dries its strength and stiffness will increase. Three
limits are indicated, the definitions of which are given below.
The liquid and plastic limits appear to be fairly arbitrary, but
recent research has suggested they are related to the strength of
the soil.
Figure 4. Moisture content versus volume relation
• (SL) The Shrinkage Limit  This is the moisture content the
soil would have had if it were fully saturated at the point at
which no further shrinkage occurs on drying.
11
Moisture Content (%)
LL
SL PL
Volume
moisturecontent
weightof water
weightof solids
w
w
w
s
· ·
(1)
In the shrinkage test the soil is left to dry and the soil is
therefore not saturated when the shrinkage limit is reached. To
estimate SL it is necessary to measure the total volume, V, and
the weight of the solids, w
s
. Then
SL m
V
w G
w
s s
· · −
γ 1
(2)
where γ
w
is the unit weight of water, and
G
s
is the specific gravity
• (PL) The Plastic Limit  This is the minimum water content
at which the soil will deform plastically
• (LL) The Liquid Limit  This is the minimum water content
at which the soil will flow under a small disturbing force
• (PI or I
p
) The Plasticity Index. This is derived simply from
the LL and PL
I
P
= LL  PL
(3)
• (LI) The Liquidity Index  This is defined as
LI
m PL
LL PL
m PL
I
p
·
−
−
·
−
(4)
The Atterberg Limits and relationships derived from them are
simple measures of the water absorbing ability of soils
containing clay minerals. For example, if a clay has a very high
LI and LL it is capable of absorbing large amounts of water,
and for instance would be unsuitable for the base of a
pavement. The LL and PL are also related to the soil strength.
Remember that only the fraction finer than 425 µm is tested in
the Atterberg Tests. If this fraction is only small (that is, the
12
soil contains significant amounts of sand or gravel) it might be
expected that the soil would have better properties. While this
is true to some extent it is important to realise that the soil
behaviour is controlled by the finest 10  25 % of the particles
1.7 Classification Systems for Soils
Several systems are used for classifying soil. This is because
these systems have two main purposes
1. To determine the suitability of different soils for various
purposes (see p8 Data Sheets)
2. To develop correlations with useful soil properties, for
example, compressibility and strength
The reason for the large number of such systems is the use of
particular systems for certain types of construction, and the
development of localised systems.
1.7.1 PRA (AASHO) system
An example is the PRA system of AASHO (American
Association of State Highway Officials), which ranks soils
from 1 to 8 to indicate their suitability as a subgrade for
pavements. The detailed classification is given in the Data
Sheets p9.
1. Well graded gravel or sand; may include fines
2. Sands and Gravels with excess fines
3. Fine sands
4. Low compressibility silts
5. High compressibility silts
6. Low to medium compressibility clays
7. High compressibility clays
8. Peat, organic soils
1.7.2 Unified Soil Classification
13
The standard system used worldwide for most major
construction projects is known as the Unified Soil
Classification System (USCS). This is based on an original
system devised by Cassagrande. Soils are identified by symbols
determined from sieve analysis and Atterberg Limit tests.
• Coarse Grained Materials
If more than half of the material is coarser than the 75 µm
sieve, the soil is classified as coarse. The following steps are
then followed to determine the appropriate 2 letter symbol
1. Determine the prefix (1st letter of the symbol)
If more than half of the coarse fraction is sand then use prefix S
If more than half of the coarse fraction is gravel then use prefix
G
2. Determine the suffix (2nd letter of symbol)
This depends on the uniformity coefficient C
u
and the
coefficient of curvature C
c
obtained from the grading curve, on
the percentage of fines, and the type of fines.
First determine the percentage of fines, that is the % of material
passing the 75 µm sieve.
Then if % fines is < 5% use W or P as suffix
> 12% use M or C as suffix
between 5% and 12% use dual symbols. Use
the prefix from above with first one of W or P and
then with one of M or C.
If W or P are required for the suffix then C
u
and C
c
must be
evaluated
14
C
D
D
u
·
60
10
C
D
D D
c
·
×
30
2
60 10
( )
If prefix is G then suffix is W if C
u
> 4 and C
c
is
between 1 and 3
otherwise use P
If prefix is S then suffix is W if C
u
> 6 and C
c
is
between 1 and 3
otherwise use P
If M or C are required they have to be determined from the
procedure used for fine grained materials discussed below.
Note that M stands for Silt and C for Clay. This is determined
from whether the soil lies above or below the Aline in the
plasticity chart shown in Figure 5.
For a coarse grained soil which is predominantly sand the
following symbols are possible
SW, SP, SM, SC
SWSM, SWSC, SPSM, SPSC
• Fine grained materials
These are classified solely according to the results from the
Atterberg Limit Tests. Values of the Plasticity Index and
Liquid Limit are used to determine a point in the plasticity
chart shown in Figure 5. The classification symbol is
determined from the region of the chart in which the point lies.
Examples CH High plasticity clay
CL Low plasticity clay
MH High plasticity silt
ML Low plasticity silt
OH High plasticity organic soil (Rare)
Pt Peat
15
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Liquid limit
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
P
l
a
s
t
i
c
i
t
y
i
n
d
e
x
CH
OH
or
MH
CL
OL
ML
or
CL
ML
"
A
"
l
i
n
e
Comparing soils at equal liquid limit
Toughness and dry strength increase
with increasing plasticity index
Plasticity chart
for laboratory classification of fine grained soils
Figure 5 Plasticity chart for laboratory classification of fine
grained soils
The final stage of the classification is to give a description of
the soil to go with the 2symbol class. For a coarse grained soil
this should include:
• the percentages of sand and gravel
• maximum particle size
• angularity
• surface condition
• hardness of the coarse grains
• local or geological name
• any other relevant information
If the soil is undisturbed mention is also required of
• stratification
• degree of compactness
• cementation
• moisture conditions
• drainage characteristics
16
The information required, along with all the details of the
Unified Classification Procedure is given in Figure 6. Note that
slightly different information is required for finegrained soils.
Give typical names: indicate ap
proximate percentages of sand
and gravel: maximum size:
angularity, surface condition,
and hardness of the coarse
grains: local or geological name
and other pertinent descriptive
information and symbol in
parentheses.
For undisturbed soils add infor
mation on stratification, degree
of compactness, cementation,
moisture conditions and drain
age characteristics.
Example:
Well graded gravels, gravel
sand mixtures, little or no
fines
Poorly graded gravels, gravel
sand mixtures, little or no
fines
Silty gravels, poorly
graded gravelsandsilt mixtures
Clayey gravels, poorly graded
gravelsandclay mixtures
Well graded sands, gravelly
sands, little or no fines
Poorly graded sands, gravelly
sands, little or no fines
Silty sands, poorly graded
sandsilt mixtures
Clayey sands, poorly graded
sandclay mixtures
GW
GP
GM
GC
SW
SP
SM
SC
Wide range of grain size and substantial
amounts of all intermediate particle
sizes
Predominantly one size or a range of
sizes with some intermediate sizes
missing
Nonplastic fines (for identification
procedures see ML below)
Plastic fines (for identification pro
cedures see CL below)
Wide range in grain sizes and sub
stantial amounts of all intermediate
particle sizes
Predominantely one size or a range of
sizes with some intermediate sizes missing
Nonplastic fines (for identification pro
cedures, see ML below)
Plastic fines (for identification pro
cedures, see CL below)
ML
CL,CI
OL
MH
CH
OH
Pt
Dry strength
crushing
character
istics
None to
slight
Medium to
high
Slight to
medium
Slight to
medium
High to very
high
Medium to
high
Readily identified by colour, odour
spongy feel and frequently by fibrous
texture
Dilatency
(reaction
to shaking)
Quick to
slow
None to very
slow
Slow
Slowto
none
None
None to very
high
Toughness
(consistency
near plastic
limit)
None
Medium
Slight
Slight to
medium
High
Slight to
medium
Inorganic silts and very fine sands,
rock flour, silty or clayey
fine sands with slight plasticity
Inorganic clays of low to medium
plasticity, gravelly clays, sandy
clays, silty clays, lean clays
Organic silts and organic silt
clays of low plasticity
inorganic silts, micaceous or
dictomaceous fine sandy or
silty soils, elastic silts
Inorganic clays of high
plasticity, fat clays
Organic clays of medium to
high plasticity
Peat and other highly organic soils
Give typical name; indicate degree
and character of plasticity,
amount and maximum size of
coarse grains: colour in wet con
dition, odour if any, local or
geological name, and other pert
inent descriptive information, and
symbol in parentheses
For undisturbed soils add infor
mation on structure, stratif
ication, consistency and undis
turbed and remoulded states,
moisture and drainage conditions
Example
Clayey silt, brown: slightly plastic:
small percentage of fine sand:
numerous vertical root holes: firm
and dry in places; loess; (ML)
Field identification procedures
(Excluding particles larger than 75mm and basing fractions on
estimated weights)
Group
symbols
1
Typical names
Information required for
describing soils
Laboratory classification
criteria
C = Greater than 4
D
D

60
10
U
C = Between 1 and 3
(D )
D x D

30
10
c
2
60
Not meeting all gradation requirements for GW
Atterberg limits below
"A" line or PI less than 4
Atterberg limits above "A"
line with PI greater than 7
Above "A" line with
PI between 4 and 7
are borderline cases
requiring use of dual
symbols
Not meeting all gradation requirements for SW
C = Greater than 6
D
D

60
10
U
C = Between 1 and 3
(D )
D x D

30
10
c
2
60
Atterberg limits below
"A" line or PI less than 4
Atterberg limits above "A"
line with PI greater than 7
Above "A" line with
PI between 4 and 7
are borderline cases
requiring use of dual
symbols D
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)
Identification procedure on fraction smaller than .425mm
sieve size
Highly organic soils
Unified soil classification (including identification and description)
Silty sand, gravelly; about 20%
hard angular gravel particles
12.5mmmaximum size; rounded
and subangular sand grains
coarse to fine, about 15%non
plastic lines with low dry
strength; well compacted and
moist in places; alluvial sand;
(SM)
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Liquid limit
0
10
20
30
40
50
60
P
l
a
s
t
i
c
i
t
y
i
n
d
e
x
CH
OH
or
MH
OL
ML
or
CL
"
A
"
l
in
e
Comparing soils at equal liquid limit
Toughness and dry strength increase
with increasing plasticity index
Plasticity chart
for laboratory classification of fine grained soils
CI
CLML CLML
Figure 6 Unified Soil Classification Chart
17
Example  Classification using USCS
Classification tests have been performed on a soil sample and
the following grading curve and Atterberg limits obtained.
Determine the USCS classification.
Atterberg limits:Liquid limit LL = 32, Plastic Limit, PL =26
Step 1: Determine the % fines from the grading curve
%fines (% finer than 75 µm) = 11%  Coarse grained,
Dual symbols required
Step 2: Determine % of different particle size fractions (to
determine G or S), and D
10
, D
30
, D
60
from grading curve
(to determine W or P)
D
10
= 0.06 mm, D
30
= 0.25 mm, D
60
= 0.75 mm
C
u
= 12.5, C
c
= 1.38, and hence Suffix
1
= W
Particle size fractions: Gravel 17%
Sand 73%
Silt and Clay 10%
0.0001 0.001 0.01 0.1 1 10 100
0
20
40
60
80
100
Particle size (mm)
%
F
i
n
e
r
18
Of the coarse fraction about 80% is sand, hence Prefix is
S
Step 3: From the Atterberg Test results determine its Plasticity
chart location
LL = 32, PL = 26. Hence Plasticity Index I
p
= 32  26 = 6
From Plasticity Chart point lies below Aline, and hence
Suffix
2
= M
Step 4: Dual Symbols are SWSM
Step 5: Complete classification by including a description of
the soil
2. BASIC DEFINITIONS AND TERMINOLOGY
Soil is a three phase material which consists of
solid particles which make up the soil skeleton and
voids which may be full of water if the soil is
saturated, may be full of air if the soil is dry, or
may be partially saturated as shown in Figure 1.
Solid
Water
Air
Figure 1: Air, Water and Solid phases in a typical
soil
It is useful to consider each phase individually as
shown in Table 1.
19
Phase Volume Mass Weight
Air V
A
0 0
Water V
W
M
W
W
W
Solid V
S
M
S
W
S
Table 1 Distribution by Volume, Mass, and Weight
2.1 Units
For most engineering applications the following
units are used:
Length metres
Mass tonnes (1 tonne = 10
3
kg)
Density (mass/unit volume) t/m
3
Weight kilonewtons (kN)
Stress kilopascals (kPa) 1 kPa
= 1 kN/m
2
Unit Weight kN/m
3
To sufficient accuracy the density of water ρ
w
is
given by
ρ
w
= 1 tonne/m
3
= 1 g/cm
3
In most applications it is not the mass that is
important, but the force due to the mass, and the
weight, W, is related to the mass, M, by the
relation
W = M g
where g is the acceleration due to gravity. If M is
measured in tonnes and W in kN, g = 9.8 m/s
2
20
Because the force is usually required it is often
convenient in calculations to use the unit weight, γ
(weight per unit volume).
γ ·
W
V
γ ·
M g
V
= ρ g
Hence the unit weight of water, γ
w
= 9.8 kN/m
3
2.2 Specific Gravity
Another frequently used quantity is the Specific
Gravity, G, which is defined by
G
Densityof Material
Densityof Water
w
· ·
ρ
ρ
G
Unit Weight of Material
Unit Weight of Water
w
· ·
γ
γ
It is often found that the specific gravity of the
materials making up the soil particles are close to
the value for quartz, that is
G
s
≈ 2.65
For all the common soil forming minerals 2.5 <
G
s
< 2.8
We can use G
s
to calculate the density or unit
weight of the solid particles
21
ρ
s
= G
s
ρ
w
γ
s
= G
s
γ
w
and hence the volume of the solid particles if the
mass or weight is known
V
M
G
W
G
s
s
s w
s
s w
· ·
ρ γ
2.3 Voids Ratio and Porosity
Using volumes is not very convenient in most
calculations. An alternative measure that is used is
the voids ratio, e. This is defined as the ratio of the
volume of voids, V
v
to the volume of solids, V
s
, that
is
e
V
V
v
s
·
where V
v
= V
w
+V
a
V = V
a
+ V
w
+ V
s
A related quantity is the porosity, n, which is
defined as ratio of the volume of voids to the total
volume.
n
V
V
v
·
The relation between e and n can be determined
by noting that
V
s
= V  V
v
= (1  n) V
22
Now
e
V
V
V
n V
n
n
v
s
v
· ·
−
·
− ( ) 1 1
and hence
n
e
e
·
+ 1
2.4 Degree of Saturation
The degree of saturation, S, has an important
influence on the soil behaviour. It is defined as the
ratio of the volume of water to the volume of voids
S
V
V V
w
a w
·
+
The distribution of the volume phases may be
expressed in terms of e and S, and by knowing the
unit weight of water and the specific gravity of the
particles the distributions by weight may also be
determined as indicated in Table 3.
S
V
V
V
eV
w
v
w
s
· ·
V
w
= e S V
s
V
a
= V
v
 V
w
= e V
s
(1  S)
Phase Volume Mass Weight
Air e (1  S) 0 0
Water e S e S ρ
w
e S γ
w
23
Solid 1 G
s
ρ
w
G
s
γ
w
Table 2 Distribution by Volume, Mass and Weight
in Soil
Note that Table 2 assumes a solid volume V
s
= 1
m
3
, All terms in the table should be multiplied by
V
s
if this is not the case.
2.5 Unit Weights
Several unit weights are used in Soil Mechanics.
These are the bulk, saturated, dry, and submerged
unit weights.
The bulk unit weight is simply defined as the
weight per unit volume
γ
bulk
W
V
·
When all the voids are filled with water the bulk
unit weight is identical to the saturated unit
weight, γ
sat
, and when all the voids are filled with
air the bulk unit weight is identical with the dry
unit weight, γ
dry
. From Table 2 it follows that
γ
γ γ γ
bulk
w s w w s
W
V
G e S
e
G e S
e
· ·
+
+
·
+
+ 1 1
( )
γ
γ
sat
w s
G e
e
·
+
+
( )
1
S = 1
γ
γ
dry
w s
G
e
·
+ 1
S = 0
Note that in discussing soils that are saturated it is
common to discuss their dry unit weight. This is
24
done because the dry unit weight is simply related
to the voids ratio, it is a way of describing the
amount of voids.
The submerged unit weight, γ´, is sometimes
useful when the soil is saturated, and is given by
γ´ = γ
sat
 γ
w
2.6 Moisture content
The moisture content, m, is a very useful quantity
because it is simple to measure. It is defined as the
ratio of the weight of water to the weight of solid
material
m
W
W
w
s
·
If we express the weights in terms of e, S, G
s
and
γ
w
as before we obtain
W
w
= γ
w
V
w
= γ
w
e S V
s
W
s
= γ
s
V
s
= γ
w
G
s
V
s
and hence
m
e S
G
s
·
Note that if the soil is saturated (S=1) the voids
ratio can be simply determined from the moisture
content.
Example – Mass and Volume fractions
25
A sample of soil is taken using a thin walled
sampling tube into a soil deposit. After the soil is
extruded from the sampling tube a sample of
diameter 50 mm and length 80 mm is cut and is
found to have a mass of 290 g. Soil trimmings
created during the cutting process are weighed
and found to have a mass of 55 g. These
trimmings are then oven dried and found to have a
mass of 45 g. Determine the phase distributions,
void ratio, degree of saturation and relevant unit
weights.
1. Distribution by mass and weight
Phase Trimmin
gs Mass
(g)
Sample
Mass, M
(g)
Sample
Weight, Mg
(kN)
Total 55 290 2845 × 10
6
Solid 45 237.3 2327.9 × 10
6
Water 10 52.7 517 × 10
6
2. Distribution by Volume
Sample Volume, V = π (0.025)
2
(0.08) = 157.1 ×
10
6
m
3
Water Volume V
W
m
w
w
w
,
.
. · ·
×
· ×
−
−
γ
517 10
981
52 7 10
6
6 3
Solid Volume V
W
G
m
s
s
s w
,
.
. .
. · ·
×
×
· ×
−
−
γ
2327 9 10
2 65 981
89 5 10
6
6 3
Air Volume, V
a
= V  V
s
 V
w
= 14.9 × 10
6
m
3
3. Moisture content
m
W
W
w
s
· · ·
×
×
·
−
−
10
45
52 7 10
237 3 10
0 222
6
6
.
.
.
26
4. Voids ratio
e
V
V
v
s
· ·
× + ×
×
·
− −
−
14 9 10 52 7 10
89 5 10
0 755
6 6
6
. .
.
.
5. Degree of Saturation
S
V
V
w
v
· ·
×
× + ×
·
−
− −
52 7 10
52 7 10 14 9 10
0 780
6
6 6
.
. .
.
6. Unit weights
γ
bulk
W
V
kN
m
kN m · ·
×
×
·
−
−
2845 10
157 1 10
181
6
6 3
3
.
. /
γ
dry
s
W
V
kN m · ·
×
×
·
−
−
2327 9 10
1571 10
14 8
6
6
3
.
.
. /
If the sample were saturated there would need to
be an additional 14.9 × 10
6
m
3
of water. This
would weigh 146.2 × 10
6
kN and thus the
saturated unit weight of the soil would be
γ
sat
kN m ·
× + ×
×
·
− −
−
( . )
.
. /
2845 10 146 2 10
157 1 10
19 04
6 6
6
3
Example – Calculation of Unit Weights
A soil has a voids ratio of 0.7. Calculate the dry
and saturated unit weight of the material. Assume
that the solid material occupies 1 m
3
, then
assuming G
s
= 2.65 the distribution by volume and
weight is as follows.
Phase Volume
(m
3
)
Dry Weight
(kN)
Saturated
Weight
(kN)
Voids 0.7 0 0.7 × 9.81
27
= 6.87
Solids 1.0 2.65 × 9.81
= 26.0
26.0
• Dry unit weight
γ
dry
kN
m
kN m · ·
26 0
17
153
3
3
.
.
. /
• Saturated unit weight
γ
sat
kN m ·
+
·
( . . )
.
. /
26 0 687
17
19 3
3
If the soil were fully saturated the moisture content
would be
• Moisture content
m · · ·
687
260
0 264 264%
.
.
. .
Alternatively the unit weights may be calculated
from the expressions given earlier which are on p.
5 of the Data Sheets
γ
γ
dry
s w
G
e
·
+ 1
γ
γ
sat
s w
G e
e
·
+
+
( )
1
28
3. COMPACTION
Compaction is the application of mechanical
energy to a soil to rearrange the particles and
reduce the void ratio.
3.1 Purpose of Compaction
• The principal reason for compacting soil is to
reduce subsequent settlement under working
loads.
• Compaction increases the shear strength of the
soil.
• Compaction reduces the voids ratio making it
more difficult for water to flow through soil. This
is important if the soil is being used to retain
29
water such as would be required for an earth
dam.
• Compaction can prevent the build up of large
water pressures that cause soil to liquefy during
earthquakes.
3.2 Factors affecting Compaction
• Water content of the soil
• The type of soil being compacted
• The amount of compactive energy used
3.3 Laboratory Compaction tests
There are several types of test which can be used
to study the compactive properties of soils.
Because of the importance of compaction in most
earth works standard procedures have been
developed. These generally involve compacting
soil into a mould at various moisture contents.
• Standard Compaction Test AS 1289E1.1
Soil is compacted into a mould in 35 equal layers,
each layer receiving 25 blows of a hammer of
standard weight. The apparatus is shown in Figure
1 below. The energy (compactive effort) supplied
in this test is 595 kJ/m
3
. The important dimensions
are
Volume of
mould
Hammer mass Drop of
hammer
1000 cm
3
2.5 kg 300 mm
30
Because of the benefits from compaction,
contractors have built larger and heavier machines
to increase the amount of compaction of the soil. It
was found that the Standard Compaction test
could not reproduce the densities measured in the
field and this led to the development of the
Modified Compaction test.
• Modified Compaction Test AS 1289E2.1
The procedure and equipment is essentially the
same as that used for the Standard test except
that 5 layers of soil must be used. To provide the
increased compactive effort (energy supplied =
2072 kJ/m
3
) a heavier hammer and a greater drop
height for the hammer are used. The key
dimensions for the Modified test are
Volume of
mould
Hammer mass Drop of
hammer
1000 cm
3
4.9 kg 450 mm
31
collar
(mould
extension)
Cylindrical
soil mould
Metal guide to
control drop of
hammer
Hammer for
compacting soil
Handle
Figure 1 Apparatus for laboratory compaction
tests
3.4 Presentation of Results
To assess the degree of compaction it is important
to use the dry unit weight, γ
dry
, because we are
interested in the weight of solid soil particles in a
given volume, not the amount of solid, air and
water in a given volume (which is the bulk unit
weight). From the relationships derived previously
we have
γ
γ
dry
s w
G
e
·
+ 1
which can be rearranged to give
e
G
s w
dry
· −
γ
γ
1
Because G
s
and γ
w
are constants it can be seen
that increasing dry density means decreasing
voids ratio and a more compact soil.
In the test the dry density cannot be measured
directly, what are measured are the bulk density
and the moisture content. From the definitions we
have
γ
d r y
s w
s
W to f S o l i d s
T o t a l V o l u m e
W
V
m
W to f W a t e r
W to f S o l i d s
W
W
· · · ·
γ
bulk
s w
W
V
Wt of Solids Wt of Water
TotalVolume
W W
V
· ·
+
·
+
32
Base plate
·
+ ( ) 1 m W
V
s
= (1 + m) γ
dry
This allows us to plot the variation of dry unit
weight with moisture content, giving the typical
reponse shown in Figure 2 below. From this graph
we can determine the optimum moisture content,
m
opt
, for the maximum dry unit weight, (γ
dry
)
max
.
Moisture content
D
r
y
u
n
i
t
w
e
i
g
h
t
m
opt
( )
max
dry
γ
Figure 2 A typical compaction test result
If the soil were to contain a constant percentage,
A, of voids containing air where
A
V
V
a
(%) · × 100
writing V
a
as V  V
w
 V
s
we obtain
33
1
100
− ·
+ A V V
V
w s
then a theoretical relationship between γ
dry
and m
for a given value of A can be derived as follows
γ
γ
dry
bulk s w
s w
s w
m
W W
V m
W W
A
V V m
·
+
·
+
+
·
+ −
+ + 1 1
1
100
1 ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
Now
V
W
G
V
W mW
s
s
s w
w
w
w
s
w
· · ·
γ γ γ
Hence
γ
γ
dry
s w
s
A G
G m
· −
+
¸
1
]
1
( ) 1
100 1
If the percentage of air voids is zero, that is, the
soil is totally saturated, then this equation
becomes
γ
γ
dry
s w
s
G
G m
·
+
¸
1
]
1
1
From this equation we see that there is a limiting
dry unit weight for any moisture content and this
occurs when the voids are full of water. Increasing
the water content for a saturated soil results in a
reduction in dry unit weight. The relation between
the moisture content and dry unit weight for
saturated soil is shown on the graph in Figure 3.
This line is known as the zero air voids line.
34
Moisture content
D
r
y
u
n
i
t
w
e
i
g
h
t
z
e
r
o

a
i
r

v
o
i
d
s
l
i
n
e
Figure 3 Typical compaction curve showing no
airvoids line
3.5 Effects of water content during
compaction
As water is added to a soil ( at low moisture
content) it becomes easier for the particles to
move past one another during the application of
the compacting forces. As the soil compacts the
voids are reduced and this causes the dry unit
weight ( or dry density) to increase. Initially then,
as the moisture content increases so does the dry
unit weight. However, the increase cannot occur
indefinitely because the soil state approaches the
zero air voids line which gives the maximum dry
unit weight for a given moisture content. Thus as
the state approaches the no air voidsline further
moisture content increases must result in a
reduction in dry unit weight. As the state
approaches the no air voids line a maximum dry
unit weight is reached and the moisture content at
this maximum is called the optimum moisture
content.
35
3.6 Effects of increasing compactive effort
Increased compactive effort enables greater dry
unit weights to be achieved which because of the
shape of the no air voids line must occur at lower
optimum moisture contents. The effect of
increasing compactive energy can be seen in
Figure 4. It should be noted that for moisture
contents greater than the optimum the use of
heavier compaction machinery will have only a
small effect on increasing dry unit weights. For this
reason it is important to have good control over
moisture content during compaction of soil layers
in the field.
Moisture content
D
r
y
u
n
i
t
w
e
i
g
h
t
z
e
r
o

a
i
r

v
o
i
d
s
l
i
n
e
increasing compactive
energy
Figure 4 Effects of compactive effort on
compaction curves
It can be seen from this figure that the compaction
curve is not a unique soil characteristic. It depends
on the compaction energy. For this reason it is
important when giving values of (γ
dry
)
max
and m
opt
to also specify the compaction procedure (for
example, standard or modified).
36
3.7 Effects of soil type
The table below contains typical values for the
different soil types obtained from the Standard
Compaction Test.
Typical Values
(γ
dry
)
max
(kN/m
3
)
m
opt
(%)
Well graded
sand SW
22 7
Sandy clay
SC
19 12
Poorly graded
sand SP
18 15
Low plasticity
clay CL
18 15
Non plastic silt
ML
17 17
High plasticity
clay CH
15 25
Note that these are typical values. Because of the
variability of soils it is not appropriate to use
typical values in design, tests are always required.
3.8 Field specifications
To control the soil properties of earth constructions
(e.g. dams, roads) it is usual to specify that the soil
must be compacted to some predetermined dry
unit weight. This specification is usually that a
certain percentage of the maximum dry density, as
37
found from a laboratory test (Standard or Modified)
must be achieved.
For example we could specify that field densities
must be greater than 98% of the maximum dry
unit weight as determined from the Standard
Compaction Test. It is then up to the Contractor to
select machinery, the thickness of each lift (layer
of soil added) and to control moisture contents in
order to achieve the specified amount of
compaction.
Moisture content
D
r
y
u
n
i
t
w
e
i
g
h
t
(a)
(b)
Figure 5 Possible field specifications for
compaction
There is a wide range of compaction equipment.
For pavements some kind of wheeled roller or
vibrating plate is usually used. These only affect a
small depth of soil, and to achieve larger depths
vibrating piles and drop weights can be used. The
applicability of the equipment depends on the soil
type as indicated in the table below
Moisture content
D
r
y
u
n
i
t
w
e
i
g
h
t
38
Acce
pt
Reje
ct
Accept
Reject
Equipment Most
suitable
soils
Typical
application
Least
suitable
soils
Smooth
wheeled
rollers,
static or
vibrating
Well
graded
sand
gravel,
crushed
rock,
asphalt
Running
surface,
base
courses,
subgrades
Uniform
sands
Rubber
tired rollers
Coarse
grained
soils with
some fines
Pavement
subgrade
Coarse
uniform
soils and
rocks
Grid rollers Weathered
rock, well
graded
coarse soils
Subgrade,
subbase
Clays, silty
clays,
uniform
materials
Sheepsfoot
rollers,
static
Fine
grained
soils with >
20% fines
Dams,
embankme
nts,
subgrades
Coarse
soils, soils
with
cobbles,
stones
Sheepsfoot
rollers,
vibratory
as above,
but also
sandgravel
mixes
subgrade
layers
Vibrating
plates
Coarse
soils, 4 to
8% fines
Small
patches
clays and
silts
Tampers,
rammers
All types Difficult
access
areas
Impact
rollers
Most
saturated
and moist
soils
Dry, sands
and gravels
39
3.9 Sands and gravels
For soils without any fines (sometimes referred to
as cohesionless) the standard compaction test is
difficult to perform. For these soil types it is normal
to specify a relative density, I
d
, that must be
achieved. The relative density is defined by
I
e e
e e
d
·
−
−
max
max min
where e is the current voids ratio,
e
max
, e
min
are the maximum and minimum
voids ratios measured in the laboratory from
Standard Tests (AS 12895.1)
Note that if e = e
min
, I
d
= 1 and the soil is in its
densest state
e = e
max
, I
d
= 0 and the soil is in its loosest
state
The expression for relative density can also be
written in terms of the dry unit weights associated
with the various voids ratios. From the definitions
we have
e
G
s w
dry
· −
γ
γ
1
and hence
I
d
dry dry
dry dry
dry dry dry
dry dry dry
·
−
−
·
−
−
1 1
1 1
γ γ
γ γ
γ γ γ
γ γ γ
min
min max
max min
max min
( )
( )
40
The description of the soil will include a description
of the relative density. Generally the terms loose,
medium and dense are used where
Loose 0 < I
d
< 1/3
Medium 1/3 < I
d
< 2/3
Dense 2/3 < I
d
< 1
Note that you cannot determine the unit weight
from knowing I
d
. This is because the values of the
maximum and minimum dry unit weights (void
ratios) can vary significantly. They depend on soil
type (mineralogy), the particle grading, and the
angularity.
41
4. EFFECTIVE STRESS
4.1 Saturated Soil
A saturated soil is a two phase material consisting
of a soil skeleton and voids which are saturated
with water. It is reasonable to expect that the
behaviour of an element of such a material will be
influenced not only by the forces applied to its
surface but also by the water pressure of the fluid
in the pores.
Suppose that a soil sample having a uniform cross
sectional area A is subjected to an applied load W,
as shown in Fig la, then it is found that the soil will
deform. If however, the sample is loaded by
increasing the height of water in the containing
vessel, as shown in Fig lb, then no deformation
occurs.
W
W
Fig(1a) Soil loaded by an applied weight W Fig(1b) Soil loaded by water weighing W
Soil Soil
42
In examining the reasons for this observed
behaviour it is helpful to use the following
quantities:
σ
v
Vertical Stress
Vertical Force
Cross Sectional Area
· ·
(1)
and to define an additional quantity the vertical
effective stress, by the relation
w v v
u − · ′ σ σ
(2)
Let us examine the changes the vertical stress,
pore water pressure and vertical effective stress
for the two load cases considered above.
∆σ
v
∆u
w
∆σ
v
´
Case (a)
W
A
0
W
A
Case (b)
W
A
W
A
0
These experiments indicate that if there is no
change in effective stress there is no change in
deformation, or alternatively that deformation only
occurs when there is a change in effective stress.
Another situation in which effective stresses are
important is the case of two rough blocks sliding
over one another, with water pressure in between
them as shown in Fig 2.
43
Fig 2 Two pieces of Rock in contact
N
T
The effective normal thrust transmitted through
the points of contact will be
U N N − · ′
(3a)
where U is the force provided by the water
pressure
The frictional force will then be given by
N T ′ · µ
where µ is the coefficient of friction. For soils and
rocks the actual contact area is very small
compared to the crosssectional area so that U/A is
approximately equal to u
w
the pore water pressure.
Hence dividing through by the cross sectional area
A this becomes:
v
σ µ τ ′ ·
(3b)
where τ is the average shear stress and σ′
v
is the
vertical effective stress.
Of course it is not possible to draw a general
conclusion from a few simple experiments, but
there is now a large body of experimental
evidence to suggest that both deformation and
44
strength of soils depend upon the effective stress.
This was originally suggested by Terzaghi in the
1920’s, and equation 2 and similar relations are
referred to as the Principle of Effective Stress.
4.2 Calculation of Effective Stress
It is clear from the definition of effective stress
that in order to calculate its value it is necessary to
know both the total stress and the pore water
pressure. The values of these quantities are not
always easy to calculate but there are certain
simple situations in which the calculation is quite
straightforward. The most important is when the
ground surface is flat as is often the case with
sedimentary (soil) deposits.
4.2.1 Calculation of Vertical (Total) Stress
Consider the horizontally "layered" soil deposit
shown schematically in Fig.3,
Layer 1
Layer 2
Layer 3
d
1
d
2
d
3
z
Fig 3 Soil Profile
Surcharge q
σ
v
γ γ
bulk
·
3
γ γ
bulk
·
2
γ γ
bulk
·
1
If we consider the equilibrium of a column of soil of
cross sectional area A it is found that
45
Force on base Force on Top Weight of Soil
A Aq A d A d A z d d
q d d z d d
v
v
· +
· + + + − −
· + + + − −
σ γ γ γ
σ γ γ γ
1 1 2 2 3 1 2
1 1 2 2 3 1 2
( )
( )
(4)
Calculation of Pore Water Pressure
Fig 4 Soil with a static water table
Water table
H
P
Suppose the soil deposit shown in Fig. 4 has a
static water table as indicated. The water table is
the water level in a borehole, and at the water
table u
w
= 0. The water pressure at a point P is
given by
u P H
w w
( ) · γ
(5)
Example
A uniform layer of sand 10 m deep overlays
bedrock. The water table is located 2 m below the
surface of the sand which is found to have a voids
ratio e = 0.7. Assuming that the soil particles have
a specific gravity Gs = 2.7 calculate the effective
stress at a depth 5 m below the surface.
Step one: Draw ground profile showing soil
stratigraphy and water table
46
Layer 1
Layer 2
2 m
3m
Fig 5 Soil Stratigraphy
γ γ
bulk
·
1
γ γ
bulk
·
2
Step two: Calculation of Dry and Saturated Unit
Weights
Distribution by Volume
Solid
Voids
V
v
=e V
s
= 0.7m
3
Distribution by Weight
for the dry soil
Solid
Voids
Fig 6 Calculation of dry and saturated unit weight
Distribution by weight
for the saturated soil
Solid
Voids
V
s
= 1m
3
W
w
=0
W V kN
kN
kN
w v w
·
·
·
*
. * .
.
γ
0 7 9 8
686
W V G
kN
kN
s s s w
·
·
·
* *
* . * .
.
γ
1 2 7 9 8
26 46
W V G
kN
kN
s s s w
·
·
·
* *
* . * .
.
γ
1 2 7 9 8
26 46
γ
γ
dry
sat
kN
m
kN m
kN
m
kN m
· ·
·
+
·
26 46
170
15 56
46 6 86
170
19 60
3
3
3
3
.
.
. /
(26. . )
.
. /
(6)
Step three: Calculation of (Total) Vertical Stress
47
Water Table
) / ( 92 . 89 3 60 . 19 2 56 . 15
2
m kN kPa
v
· × + × · σ
(7)
Step four: Calculation of Pore Water Pressure
kPa u
w
40 . 29 8 . 9 3 · × ·
(8)
Step five: Calculation of Effective Vertical Stress
kPa u
w v v
52 . 60 40 . 29 92 . 89 · − · − · ′ σ σ
(9)
Note that in practice if the void ratio is
known the unit weights are not normally
calculated from first principles considering
the volume fractions of the different phases.
This is often the case for saturated soils
because the void ratio can be simply
determined from
s
G m e ·
The unit weights are calculated directly from
the formulae given in the data sheets, that is
e
G
w s
dry
+
·
1
γ
γ
( )
e
e G
w s
sat
+
+
·
1
γ
γ
48
Effective Stress under general conditions
In general the state of stress in a soil cannot be
described by a single quantity, the vertical stress.
To fully describe the state of stress the nine stress
components (6 of which are independent), as
illustrated in Fig. 7 need to be determined. Note
that in soil mechanics a compression positive sign
convention is used.
σ
yy
σ
yx
σ
zx
σ
xy
σ
zy
σ
xz
σ
yz
σ
zz
Fig 7 Definition of Stress Components
x
y
z
σ
xx
The effective stress state is then defined by the
relations
xy xy w zz zz
zx zx w yy yy
yz yz w xx xx
; u
; u
; u
σ · σ′ − σ · σ′
σ · σ′ − σ · σ′
σ · σ′ − σ · σ′
(10)
49
Figure 7 Definition of Stress Components
Example – Effects of groundwater level
changes
Initially a 50 m thick deposit of a clayey soil has a
groundwater level 1 m below the surface. Due to
groundwater extraction from an underlying aquifer
the regional groundwater level is lowered by 2 m.
By considering the changes in effective stress at a
depth, z, in the clay investigate what will happen
to the ground surface.
Due to decreasing demands for water the
groundwater rises (possible reasons include de
industrialisation and greenhouse effects) back to
the initial level. What problems may arise?
Assume
• γ
bulk
is constant with depth
• γ
bulk
is the same above and below the
water table (clays may remain saturated for
many metres above the groundwater table
due to capillary suctions)
The vertical total and effective stresses at depth z
are given in the Table below.
Initial GWL Lowered GWL
σ
v
z
bulk
× γ z
bulk
× γ
u
) 1 ( − × z
w
γ ) 3 ( − × z
w
γ
σ
v
´
w w bulk
z γ γ γ − − × ) (
w w bulk
z γ γ γ × + − × 3 ) (
At all depths the effective stress increases and as
a result the soil compresses. The cumulative
effect throughout the clay layer can produce a
significant settlement of the soil surface.
50
When the groundwater rises the effective stress
will return to its initial value, and the soil will swell
and the ground surface heave (up). However, due
to the inelastic nature of soil, the ground surface
will not in general return to its initial position. This
may result in:
• surface flooding
• flooding of basements built when GWL
was lowered
• uplift of buildings
• failure of retaining structures
• failure due to reductions in bearing
capacity
5. STEADY STATE FLOW
5.1 Introduction
The flow of water in soils can be very significant,
for example:
1. It is important to know the amount of water that
will enter a pit during construction, or the
amount of stored water that may be lost by
percolation through or beneath a dam.
2. The behaviour of soil is governed by the
effective stress, which is the difference between
51
total stress and pore water pressure. When
water flows the pore water pressures in the
ground change. A knowledge of how the pore
water pressure changes can be important in
considering the stability of earth dams, retaining
walls, etc.
5.2 Darcy’s law
Because the pores in soils are so small the flow
through most soils is laminar. This laminar flow is
governed by Darcy's Law which will be discussed
below.
5.2.1 Definition of Head
P
z(P)
Datum
Fig 1 Definition of Head at a Point
Referring to Fig. (1) the head h at a point P is
defined by the equation
h P
u P
z P
w
w
( )
( )
( ) · +
γ
(1)
52
IMPORTANT
z is measured vertically
UP from the DATUM
In this equation γ
w
(9.8 kN/m
3
) is the unit weight of
water, and u
w
(P) is the pore water pressure .
53
Note
1. The quantity u(P)/γ
w
is usually called the
pressure head.
2. The quantity z(P) is called the elevation head (its
value depends upon the choice of a datum).
3. The velocity head (not shown in Equation 1) is
generally neglected. The only circumstances
where it may be significant is in flow through
rockfill, but in this circumstance, the flow will
generally be turbulent and so Darcy's law is not
valid.
Example  Calculation of Head
2 m
5 m
X
P
Static water table
Impermeable stratum
Fig 2 Calculation of head using different datum
1 m
1 m
1. Calculation of Head at P
Datum at the top of the impermeable layer
w w
) P ( u γ 4 ·
54
Fig 2 Calculation of head using different datums
z (P) = 1 m
m 5 1
4
· + ·
w
w
) P ( h
γ
γ
2. Calculation of Head at X
Datum at the top of the impermeable layer
w w
) X ( u γ 1 ·
z (X) = 4 m
m 5 4 · + ·
w
w
) X ( h
γ
γ
It appears that when there is a static water table
the head is constant throughout the saturated
zone.
3. Calculation of Head at P (Datum at the
water table)
w w
) P ( u γ 4 ·
z (P) =  4 m
m 0 4
4
· − ·
w
w
) P ( h
γ
γ
4. Calculation of Head at X (Datum at the water
table)
w w
) X ( u γ 1 ·
z (X) =  1 m
m 0 1 · − ·
w
w
) X ( h
γ
γ
When there is a static water table the head is
constant throughout the saturated zone, but its
numerical value depends on the choice of datum.
It is very important to carefully define the datum.
The use of imaginary standpipes can be helpful in
visualising head. The head is then given by the
55
height of the water in the standpipe above the
datum
Note also that it is differences in head (not
pressure) that cause flow
5.2.2 Darcy’s Experiment
Soil Sample
∆ h
Fig 3 Darcy’s Experiment
∆ L
During his fundamental studies of the flow of water
in soil Darcy found that the flow Q was:
1. Proportional to the head difference ∆h
2. Proportional to the cross sectional are A
3. Inversely proportional to the length ∆L of the soil
sample.
Thus Darcy concluded that:
56
l
h
A k Q
∆
∆
·
(2a)
where k is the coefficient of permeability or
hydraulic conductivity.
Equation (2a) may be rewritten:
i A k Q ·
i k v ·
(2b)
where
i = ∆h/∆L is the hydraulic gradient
v = Q/A is the Darcy or superficial velocity.
Note that the actual average velocity of the water
in the pores (the groundwater velocity) is
n
v
where
n is the porosity. The groundwater velocity is
always greater than the Darcy velocity.
5.3 Measurement of Permeability
5.3.1 Constant Head Permeameter
57
Manometers
L
inlet
outlet
H
constant head
device
device for flow
measurement
load
porous disk
Fig. 4 Constant Head Permeameter
sample
This is similar to Darcy's experiment. The sample
of soil is placed in a graduated cylinder of cross
sectional area A and water is allowed to flow
through. The discharge X during a suitable time
interval T is collected. The difference in head H
over a length L is measured by means of
manometers
.
From Darcy’s law we obtain
L
H
A k
T
X
·
T H A
L X
k ·
(3)
The piston is used to compact the soil because the
permeability depends upon the void ratio
58
Sampl
e
5.3.2 Falling Head Permeameter
H
2
H
1
H
L
Fig. 5 Falling Head Permeameter
Standpipe of
crosssectional
area a
Sample of
area A
porous disk
During a time interval δ t
The flow in the standpipe =
t
H
a
δ
δ
−
The flow in the sample =
L
H
A k
and thus
L
H
A k
t d
H d
a · −
(4a)
Equation (4a) has the solution:
t tan cons t
L
A k
) H ( a + · ln
(4b)
59
Now initially at time t = t
1
the height of water in
the permeameter is H = H
1
while at the end of the
test, t = t
2
and H = H
2
and thus:
) (
ln
1 2
2
1
t t
H
H
A
L a
k
−
,
_
¸
¸
·
(4c)
5.4 Typical permeability ranges
Soils exhibit a very wide range of permeabilities
and while particle size may vary by about 34
orders of magnitude, permeability may vary by
about 10 orders of magnitude.
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
5
10
6
10
7
10
8
10
9
10
10
10
11
10
12
Grovels Sands Silts Homogeneous Clays
Fissured & Weathered Clays
Fig 6 Typical Permeability Ranges
Permeability is often estimated from correlations with
particle size. For example
2
10
) d ( k ·
This expression was first proposed by Hazen in
1893. It is satisfactory for sandy soils but is less
reliable for well graded soils and soils with a large
fines fraction.
60
Gravels
5.5 Mathematical form of Darcy's law
Because of their geological history soils tend to be
deposited in layers and hence have different flow
properties along the layering and transverse to the
layering.
z
x
∆x
∆z
A
B C
O
Fig 7 Definition of Hydraulic Gradients
Suppose that the permeability in the horizontal
plane is k
H
,
then the velocity v
x
in the x direction is
approximately given by:
x H x
i k v − ·
x
) B ( h ) C ( h
i
x
∆
−
≈
x
h
k v
H x
∂
∂
− ·
(5a)
The negative signs in these equations have been
introduced because flow occurs in the direction of
decreasing head.
Similarly if the permeability in the vertical
direction is k
v
then the velocity v
z
is given by
z v z
i k v − ·
z
) B ( h ) A ( h
i
z
∆
−
≈
61
(Horizontal)
(Vertical)
z
h
k v
v z
∂
∂
− ·
(5b)
Should there also be flow in the y direction this is
similarly governed by
y
h
k v
H y
∂
∂
− ·
62
5.5.1 Plane Flow
In many situations, as in the dam shown below,
there will be no flow in one direction (usually taken
as the y direction).
Soil
Dam
Flow
Impermeable bedrock
Fig. 8 Plane Flow under a Dam
Cross section of a long dam
5.5.2 Continuity Equation
In order to be able to analyse the complex flows
that occur in practice it is necessary to examine
the water entering and leaving an element of soil.
Consider plane flow into the small rectangular box
of soil shown below:
63
A
B
C
D
∆ x
∆z
v
z
v
x
Soil
Element
Fig. 9 Flow into a soil element
Net flow into element =
y x )) A ( v ) C ( v ( z y )) D ( v ) B ( v (
z z x x
∆ ∆ − + ∆ ∆ −
(6a)
For steady state seepage the flow into the box will
just equal the flow out so the net flow in will be
zero, thus dividing by ∆x∆y∆z and taking the limit
for an infinitesimal element, it is found:
0 ·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
v
x
v
z x
(6b)
When equation (6) is combined with Darcy’s law it
is found that:
0 ·
,
_
¸
¸
∂
∂
∂
∂
+
,
_
¸
¸
∂
∂
∂
∂
z
h
k
z x
h
k
x
v H
(7a)
For a homogeneous material in which the
permeability does not vary with position this
becomes:
64
Fig 9 Flow into a soil element
0
2
2
2
2
·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
h
k
x
h
k
v H
(7b)
and for an isotropic material in which the
permeability is the same in all directions (k
H
= k
v
):
0
2
2
2
2
·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
h
x
h
(7c)
For the more general situation in which there is
flow in three dimensions the continuity equation
becomes:
0 ·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
v
y
v
x
v
z
y
x
(8)
The equation governing seepage then becomes:
0 ·
,
_
¸
¸
∂
∂
∂
∂
+
,
_
¸
¸
∂
∂
∂
∂
+
,
_
¸
¸
∂
∂
∂
∂
z
h
k
z y
h
k
y x
h
k
x
v H H
(9a)
For a homogeneous material in which the
permeability does not vary with position (x, y, z)
this becomes:
0
2
2
2
2
2
2
·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
h
k
y
h
k
x
h
k
v H H
(9b)
and for an isotropic material in which the
permeability is the same in all directions:
0
2
2
2
2
2
2
·
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
+
∂
∂
z
h
y
h
x
h
(9c)
65
66
6. FLOW NETS
6.1 Introduction
Let us consider a state of plane seepage as for
example in the dam shown in Figure 1.
Drainage
blanket
Phreatic line
Unsaturated
Soil
Flow of water
z
x
Fig. 1 Flow through a dam
For an isotropic material the head satisfies
Laplace's equations, thus analysis involves the
solution of:
0
2
2
2
2
· +
z
h
x
h
∂
∂
∂
∂
subject to certain boundary conditions.
6.2 Representation of Solution
At every, point (x,z) where there is flow there will
be a value of head h(x,z). In order to represent
these values we draw contours of equal head as
shown on Figure 2.
67
Flow line (FL)
Equipotential (EP)
Fig.2 Flow lines and equipotentials
These lines are called equipotentials. On an
equipotential (EP). by definition:
constant ) , ( · z x h
(1a)
it thus follows
∂
∂
∂
∂
h
x
dx
h
z
dz + · 0
(1b)
and hence the slope of an equipotential is given by
dz
dx
h x
h z
EP
¸
1
]
1
· −
∂ ∂
∂ ∂
/
/
(1c)
It is also useful in visualising the flow in a soil to
plot the flow lines (FL), these are lines that are
tangential to the flow at a given point and are
illustrated in Figure 2.
It can be seen from Fig. (2) that the flow lines and
equipotentials are orthogonal. To show this notice
that on a flow line the tangent at any point is
parallel to the flow at that point so that:
68
[ ] [ ]
dx dz v v
x z
: : ∝
(2a)
it follows immediately that:
dx
dz
v
v
now from Darcy s law
v k
h
x
v k
h
z
thus
dx
dz
h x
h z
FL
x
z
x
z
FL
¸
1
]
1
·
· −
· −
¸
1
]
1
·
'
/
/
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂ ∂
∂ ∂
(2b)
and so
dx
dz
dx
dz
FL EP
¸
1
]
1
¸
1
]
1
• · −1
(3)
and thus the flow lines and equipotentials are
orthogonal in an isotropic material.
69
6.3 Some Geometric Properties of Flow Nets
Consider a pair of flow lines, clearly the flow
through this flow tube must be constant and so as
the tube narrows the velocity must increase.
Suppose now we have a pair of flow lines as shown
in Figure 3.
∆Q
X
y
z
t
T
Y
Z
X
FL
FL
∆Q
h
h+∆h
h+2∆h
EP
Fig. 3 Equipotentials intersecting a pair of
Flow Lines
Suppose that the flow per unit width (in the y
direction) is, ∆Q, then the velocity v in the tube is
given by
v
Q
yx
·
∆
(4a)
Also let us assume that the potential drop between
any adjacent pair of equipotentials is ∆h then it
follows from Darcy’s law:
70
x
v k
h
zt
·
∆
(4b)
It thus follows that:
∆
∆
Q
k h
yx
zt
·
(4c)
using an identical argument to that used in
developing equation(4c) it can be shown that:
∆
∆
Q
k h
YX
ZT
·
(4d)
and hence that:
yx
zt
YX
ZT
·
(5)
Thus each of the elemental rectangles bounded by
the given pair of flow lines and a pair of
equipotentials (having an equal head drop) have
the same length to breadth ratio.
Next consider a pair of equipotentials cut by flow
tubes each carrying the same flow ∆Q, as shown in
Fig. (4)
71
∆Q
a
b
c
d
D
B
C
A
FL
∆Q
EP( h )
EP ( h + ∆h )
Fig. 4 Flow lines intersecting a pair of
Equipotentials
Then we see that if it is assumed that each of the
tubes is of unit width (in the y direction) then the
velocity in the tube is:
v
Q
cd
·
∆
(6a)
and using Darcy's law:
v k
h
ab
·
∆
(6b)
It thus follows that:
ab
cd
h k
Q
·
∆
∆
(6c)
It can be similarly shown that:
AB
CD
h k
Q
·
∆
∆
(6d)
Hence again a pair of flow tubes carrying equal
flows will intersect a given pair of equipotentials in
72
elemental rectangles which have the same length
to breadth ratio.
In drawing flow nets by hand it is usual to draw
them so that each flow tube carries the same flow
and so that the head drop between adjacent
equipotentials is equal. In such cases all elemental
rectangles will be similar. It is usually most
convenient to draw the net so that these
rectangles are 'square' (it is possible to draw an
inscribed circle). This is illustrated in Fig.(5).
Fig. 5 Inscribing Circles in a Flow Net
To calculate quantities of interest, that is the flow
and pore pressures, a flow net must be drawn.
The flow net must consist of two families of
orthogonal lines that ideally define a square mesh,
and that also satisfy the boundary conditions. The
three most common boundary conditions are
discussed below.
6.4 Common boundary conditions
6.4.1 Submerged soil boundary  Equipotential
Consider the submerged soil boundary shown in
Figure 6
73
Fig. 5 Inscribing circles in a Flow Net
Water
Datum
Hz
z
H
Fig. 6 Equipotential boundary
The head at the indicated position is calculated as
follows:
H z
z H
h
z H u
z
u
h
w
w
w w
w
w
· +
−
·
− ·
+ ·
γ
γ
γ
γ
) (
so
) (
now
(7)
That is, the head is constant for any value of z,
which is by definition an equipotential.
Alternatively, this could have been determined by
considering imaginary standpipes placed at the
soil boundary, as for every point the water level in
the standpipe would be the same as the water
level. The upstream face of the dam shown in
Figures 1 and 2 is an example of this situation.
6.4.2 Flow Line
At a boundary between permeable and
impermeable material the velocity normal to the
boundary must be zero since otherwise there
74
would be water flowing into or out of the
impermeable material, this is illustrated in Figure
7.
Permeable Soil
Flow Line
v
n
=0
v
t
Impermeable Material
Fig. 7 Flow line boundary
The phreatic surface shown in Figures 2 and 8 is
also a flow line marking the boundary of the flow
net. A phreatic surface is also a line of constant
(zero) pore pressure as discussed below.
6.4.3 Line of Constant Pore Pressure
Sometimes a portion of saturated soil is in contact
with air and so the pore pressure of the water just
beneath that surface is atmospheric. The phreatic
surface shown in Figure 8 below is an example of
such a condition. We can show from the expression
for head in terms of pore pressure that
equipotentials intersecting a line of constant pore
pressure do so at equal vertical intervals as
follows:
75
z h
u
z
u
h
z
u
h
w
w
w
w
w
∆ · ∆
· ∆
∆ +
∆
· ∆
+ ·
so and
0 now
thus
γ
γ
(8)
Fig. 8 Constant pore pressure boundary
6.5 Procedure for Drawing Flow Nets
1. Mark all boundary conditions
2. Draw a coarse net which is consistent with the
boundary conditions
and which has orthogonal equipotential and
flow lines. ( It is usually
76
easier to visualise the pattern of flow so start
by drawing the flow lines).
3. Modify the mesh so that it meets the
conditions outlined above and so
that the rectangles between adjacent flow
lines and equipotentials are
square.
4. Refine the flow net by repeating step 3.
77
6.6 Calculation of Quantities of Interest from
Flow Nets
6.6.1 Calculation of Increment of Head
In most problems we know the head difference (H)
between inlet and outlet and thus:
∆h
H
Number of potential drops
·
.
(9)
15 m
h = 15m
h = 12m
h = 9m
h = 6m
h = 3m
h = 0
P
5m
Fig. 9 Value of Head on Equipotentials
For example let us assume that the depth of water
retained by the dam is 15 m, and that downstream
of the dam the water table is level with the ground
surface. For this case it can be seen that the total
head drop is 15 m. Inspection of Fig. 2 or Fig. 9
shows that the are 5 potential drops and hence the
head drop between each pair of potentials is ∆h =
15/5 = 3 m.
6.6.2 Calculation of flow
The flow net has been drawn so that the elemental
rectangles are approximately square thus referring
78
to Fig (3) and equation(4) it can be seen that
between each pair of flow tubes the flow is:
h k Q ∆ · ∆
(10a)
It should be noted in the development of this
formula it was assumed that each flow tube was of
unit width and so equation (10a) gives the flow per
unit width (into the page).
Suppose that the permeability of the underlying
soil is k=10
5
m/sec (typical of a fine sand or silt)
then the flow between each pair of flow tubes is:
width) /sec/(m m 3 10
3 5
× · ∆
−
Q
(10b)
there are 5 flow tubes and so the total flow per
unit width of dam is:
width) /sec/(m m 3 10 5
3 5
× × ·
−
Q
(10c)
and if the dam is 25m wide the total flow under the
dam:
/sec m 3 10 5 25
3 5
× × × ·
−
Q
(10d)
The flow per unit width can alternatively be
calculated from the formula
h
f
N
N
H k Q ·
(10e)
79
This equation (10e) is given in the Data Sheets to
calculate the flow per unit width. In this equation
N
f
is the number of flowtubes (The number of
flowlines – 1), and N
h
is the number of
equipotential drops (The number of equipotential
lines – 1).
Note that there are occasions where this formula
(10e) cannot simply be applied, but equation (10a)
will always be applicable for individual flow tubes.
It is often necessary to determine ∆h from
consideration of a single flow tube. If a square
flow net has been constructed that value of ∆h will
apply to all flow tubes.
6.6.3 Calculation of Pore Pressure
The pore pressure at any point can be found using
the expression
z
u
h
w
w
+ ·
γ
(11a)
Now referring to Fig. 9 suppose that we wish to
calculate the pore pressure at the point P. Taking
the datum to be at the base of the dam it can be
seen that z =  5m and so:
w w w
u γ γ 17 )] 5 ( 12 [ · − − ·
(11b)
80
Example – Calculating pore pressures
The figure below shows a long vessel, 20 metres
wide, stranded on a sand bank. It is proposed to
pump water into a well point, 10 metres down,
under the centre of the vessel to assist in towing
the vessel off. The water depth is 1 metre.
The sand has a permeability of 3 × 10
4
m/sec.
Assuming that a head of 50 m can be applied at
the well point calculate:
1. The pore pressure distribution across the
base of the vessel
2. The total upthrust due to this increase in
pore pressure
3. The rate at which water must be pumped
into the well point.
81
Step 1: Choose a convenient datum. In this example the sea
floor has been chosen
Then relative to this datum the head at the well
point, H
1
= 40 m
And the head at the sea floor, H
2
= 1 m.
The increment of head, ∆h = 39/9 = 4.333 m
82
Stranded Vessel
Water Supply
Soft Sea Bottom
Well Point
Reaction Pile
Figure 10 Schematic diagram of vessel on sandbank
Figure 11 Flow net for situation in Figure10
Figure 12 Enlarged view of flownet in the vicinity of
the base of the vessel
Step 2: Calculate the head at points along the base
of the vessel. For convenience these are
chosen to be where the EPs meet the vessel (B
to E) and at the vessel centerline (A). Hence
calculate the pore water pressures.
A B C D E
Head
(1)
H
1
–
4.5 ∆h
H
1
–5
∆h
H
1
– 6
∆h
H
1
– 7
∆h
H
1
– 8
∆h
Head
(2)
H
2
+
4.5 ∆h
H
2
+ 4
∆h
H
2
+ 3
∆h
H
2
+ 2
∆h
H
2
+ ∆h
Head
(1 and
2) (m)
20.5 18.33 14.0 9.67 5.3
Pressur
e (kPa)
γ
w
(h –
z)
201.1 179.8 137.3 94.9 52.3
83
Stranded Vessel
Water Supply
Soft Sea Bottom
Well Point
Reaction Pile
5 m 2.5 m
1.8
Step 3: Measure the lengths off the flow net (Note
that diagram must be drawn to scale) and hence
calculate force from pressure distribution. For
simplicity assume linear variation in pressure
between points. Then the TOTAL UPTHRUST (per
unit length of the vessel) is
1
]
1
¸
×
,
_
¸
¸ +
+ ×
,
_
¸
¸ +
+ ×
,
_
¸
¸ +
+ ×
,
_
¸
¸ +
× 7 . 0
2
3 . 52 9 . 94
8 . 1
2
9 . 94 3 . 137
5 . 2
2
3 . 137 8 . 179
5
2
8 . 179 1 . 201
2
= 3218 kN/m
Without pumping Upthrust = 20 × 1 × 9.81 =
196 kN/m
Upthrust due to Pumping = 3218 – 196 = 3022
kN/m
Flow required,
h
f
N
N
H k Q ·
=
2 4
10 8 . 1
9
14
39 10 3
− −
× · × × ×
m
3
/m/sec
84
7. FLOW NETS FOR ANISOTROPIC MATERIALS
7.1 Introduction
Many soils are formed in horizontal layers as a
result of sedimentation through water. Because of
seasonal variations such deposits tend to be
horizontally layered and this results in different
permeabilities in the horizontal and vertical
directions.
85
7.2 Permeability of Layered Deposits
Consider the horizontally layered deposit, shown in
Figure 1, which consists of pairs of layers the first
of which has a permeability of k
1
and a thickness of
d
1
overlaying a second which has permeability k
2
and thickness d
2
.
d
1
d
2
k=k
1
k=k
2
Fig. 1 Layered soil deposit
First consider horizontal flow in the system and
suppose that a head difference of ∆h exists
between the left and right hand sides as indicated
in Fig. 2. It then follows from Darcy’s law that:
v k
h
L
Q k
h
L
d
and
v k
h
L
Q k
h
L
d
1 1 1 1 1
2 2 2 2 2
· ·
· ·
∆ ∆
∆ ∆
;
;
d
1
d
2
v=v
1
v=v
2
Fig. 2 Horizontal flowin a layered soil deposit
h h ·
0
h h h · −
0
∆
L
86
Fig. 1 Layered Soil
Fig. 2 Horizontal flow through
layered soil
(1a)
(1b)
It therefore follows:
v
Q Q
d d
k
h
L
where
k
k d k d
d d
H
H
·
+
+
·
·
+
+
1 2
1 2
1 1 2 2
1 2
∆
Next consider vertical flow through the system,
shown in Fig.3. Suppose that the superficial
velocity in each of the layers is v and that the head
loss in layer 1 is ∆h
1
, while the head loss in layer 2
is ∆h
2
d
1
d
2
v
v
Fig. 3Vertical flow in a layered soil deposit
h h ·
0
L
h h h h · − −
0 1 2
∆ ∆
h h h · −
0 1
∆
In layer 1:
v k
h
d
·
1
1
1
∆
so
∆h
vd
k
1
1
1
·
(3a)
Similarly in layer 2
v k
h
d
·
2
2
2
∆
and
∆h
vd
k
2
2
2
·
(3b)
The total head loss across the system will be
∆h=∆h
1
+∆h
2
and the hydraulic gradient will be
given by:
87
Fig. 3 Vertical flow through
layered soil
(2a)
(2b)
i
h
d
h h
d d
vd
k
vd
k
d d
· ·
+
+
·
+
+
∆ ∆ ∆
1 2
1 2
1
1
2
2
1 2
(3c)
For vertical flow Darcy’s Law gives
v k
h
d
V
·
∆
(3d)
and hence
d
k
d
k
d
k
V
· +
1
1
2
2
(3e)
Example
Suppose that that the layers are of equal thickness
d
1
= d
2
= d
0
and that k
1
= 10
8
m/sec and that
k
2
= 10
10
m/sec, then:
sec / 10 05 . 5
10 10
9
10 8
m
d d
d d
k
o o
o o
H
−
− −
× ·
+
× + ×
·
and
sec / 10 98 . 1
10 10
10
10 8
m
d d
d d
k
o o
o o
V
−
− −
× ·
+
+
·
Showing that, as is generally the case, the vertical
permeability is much less than the horizontal.
7.3 Flow nets for soil with anisotropic
permeability
Plane flow in an anisotropic material having a
horizontal permeability k
H
and a vertical
permeability k
v
is governed by the equation:
88
k
h
x
k
h
z
H V
∂
∂
∂
∂
2
2
2
2
0 + ·
(4)
The solution of this equation can be reduced to
that of flow in an isotropic material by the
following simple device. Introduce new variables
defined as follows:
x x
and
z z
·
·
α
(5a)
the seepage equation then becomes
k
k
h
x
h
z
H
V
α
∂
∂
∂
∂
2
2
2
2
2
0 + ·
(5b)
Thus by choosing:
α ·
k
k
H
V
(5c)
It is found that the equation governing flow in an
anisotropic soil reduces to that for an isotropic soil,
viz.:
∂
∂
∂
∂
2
2
2
2
0
h
x
h
z
+ ·
(5d)
and so the flow in anisotropic soil can be analysed
using the same methods (including sketching flow
nets) that are used for analysing isotropic soils.
Example  Seepage in an anisotropic soil
89
Suppose we wish to calculate the flow under the
dam shown in Figure 4;
x
z
Impermeable bedrock
L
H
1
H
2
Impermeable
dam
Soil layer
Z
Fig. 4 Dam on a permeable soil layer over
impermeable rock (natural scale)
For the soil shown in Fig. (4) it is found that
k k
H V
· × 4
and therefore
α ·
×
·
· ·
·
4
2
2
2
k
k
so
x x or x
x
z z
V
V
(6)
In terms of transformed coordinates this becomes
as shown in Figure 5
90
z
Impermeable bedrock
L/2
H
1
H
2
x
Soil layer
Z
Fig. 5 Dam on a permeable layer over
impermeable rock (transformed scale)
The flow net can now be drawn in the transformed
coordinates and this is shown in Fig.6
Fig. 6 Flownet transformed coordinates
5m
Impermeable bedrock
Fig. 6 Flow net for the transformed
geometry
91
It is possible to use the flow net in the transformed
space to calculate the flow underneath the dam by
introducing an equivalent permeability
k k k
eq H V
·
(7)
A rigorous proof of this result will not be given
here, but it can be demonstrated to work for purely
horizontal flow as follows:
x
x
Natural scale
transformed
scale
∆Q
t
h h  ∆h h h  ∆h
Fig. 7 Horizontal flow through anisotropic
soil
For the natural scale
∆ ∆ Q k t h
x H ·
(7a)
For the transformed scale
∆
∆ ∆
Q k t
h
x
k t
h
x
k
k
eq eq
H
V
· ·
(7b)
From Equations 7a and b it can be seen that
k k k
eq H V
·
Example
Suppose that in Figure 6 H
1
= 13m and H
2
=
2.5m, and that k
v
= 10
6
m/sec and k
H
=4 × 10
6
m/sec The equivalent permeability is:
k m
eq
· × × · ×
− − −
( ) ( ) / sec 4 10 10 2 10
6 6 6
(8a)
92
The total head drop is 10.5 m and there are 14
head drops and thus:
∆h m ·
−
·
( . )
.
13 2 5
14
0 75
(8b)
The flow through each flow tube, ∆Q = k
eq
∆h =
(2× 10
6
)× (0.75) = 1.5 × 10
6
m
3
/s/m
There are 6 flow tubes and so the total flow , Q
= 6 × 1.5 × 10
6
= 9.0× 10
6
m
3
/sec/(m width of dam)
For a dam with a width of 50 m Q =
450 × 10
6
m
3
/sec = 41.47 m
3
/day
7.4 Piping
Many dams on soil foundations have failed
because of the sudden formation of a piped
shaped discharge channel. As the store water
rushes out the channel widens and catastrophic
failure results. This results from erosion of fine
particles due to water flow. Another situation
where flow can cause failure is in producing
‘quicksand’ conditions. This is also often referred
to as piping failure.
In order to analyse this situation consider water
flowing upwards through the element shown in
Figure 8.
93
Area =A
(z=z
2
, h=h
2
, u=u
2
,)
(z=z
1
, h=h
1
,u=u
1
,)
Elevation
Fig. 7 Analysis of Piping
Plan
u
2
u
1
Uplift Force A u u
Force due to weight A z z
sat
· −
· −
( )
( )
1 2
2 1
γ
(9a)
The pore pressure can be calculated from the head
and so:
u h z
and
u h z
w
w
2 2 2
1 1 1
· −
· −
γ
γ
( )
( )
(9b)
For piping to occur the Uplift must be greater than
the selfweight of the soil
A u u A z z
h h z z z z
h h z z z z
h h
z z
sat
w w sat
w sat w
sat w
w
( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
( ) ( ) ( )
( )
( )
2 1 2 1
1 2 1 2 2 1
1 2 2 1 2 1
1 2
2 1
− > −
− − − > −
− > − − −
−
−
>
−
γ
γ γ γ
γ γ γ
γ γ
γ
or alternatively
94
(9d)
Fig. 8 Analysis of Piping
(9c)
i i
where
i hydraulic gradient
h h
z z
and
i critical hydraulic gradient
crit
crit
sat w
w
>
· ·
−
−
· ·
−
1 2
2 1
γ γ
γ
Example
Suppose the dam shown in Figure 6 is 39 metres
wide (this may be determined from the scale
drawing), the water levels are the same as in the
previous example (H
1
= 13 m, H
2
= 2.5 m), and the
saturated unit weight of the soil is 18 kN/m
3
. Piping
is most likely to occur at the toe of the dam, the
hydraulic gradient there can be obtained from the
flow net:
h
1
 h
2
= ∆h = 0.75 m (calculated
from Fig. 6)
z
2
 z
1
= 1.125 m (scaled
from Fig. 6)
thus
i · ·
0 75
1125
0 67
.
.
.
Now
i
crit
·
−
·
18 9 81
9 81
0 83
.
.
.
(10)
The safety factor against piping failure is thus i
crit
/i
= 0.83/0.67 = 1.25 which is probably not
adequate given the potentially disastrous
consequences of a piping failure.
95
8. ONE DIMENSIONAL SETTLEMENT
BEHAVIOUR
8.1 One Dimensional Loading Conditions
Soils are often subjected to uniform loading over
large areas, such as shown in Figure 1, from an
embankment. Under such conditions soil which is
remote from the edges of the loaded area
undergoes vertical strain, but no horizontal strain.
That is strains, and hence surface settlement, only
occur in onedimension.
x
z
Rock
Soil layer 1
Embankment
Soil layer 2
Figure 1 Embankment loading on a layered
soil
The accuracy of this assumption depends on the
relative dimensions of the loaded area and
thickness of the soil layer. If the area is relatively
large and the thickness of the soil layer relatively
small then the assumption of 1D conditions will be
reasonable.
It is possible to make approximate estimates of
surface settlement using the 1D approach even
when the loaded area is not relatively large. The
96
procedures for doing this are discussed in section
9 on the calculation of settlement.
8.2 The Oedometer
The behaviour of soil during onedimensional
loading can be tested using a device called an
oedometer, which is shown schematically in Fig. 2.
The onedimensional condition in which the
vertical strain, ε
zz
≠ 0, and the lateral strains, ε
xx
=
ε
yy
= 0 is also referred to as confined compression.
Cell
Loading cap
Load
Displacement
measuring device
Soil sample
water
Porous disks
Figure 2 Schematic diagram of an
oedometer
The following points may be noted:
1. The soil is loaded under conditions of no lateral
strain (expansion), as the soil fits tightly into a
relatively rigid ring.
2. Uncontrolled drainage is provided at the top and
bottom of the specimen by porous discs (two
way drainage). In more sophisticated oedometer
apparatus control of drainage is possible.
3. A vertical load is applied to the specimen and a
record of the settlement versus time is made.
97
The load is left on until all settlement ceases
(usually 24 hours although this depends on the
soil type, impermeable clays may take longer).
4. The load is then increased (usually by a factor of
2, so the vertical stresses might be e.g. 20, 40,
80, 160 kPa). When the maximum load is
reached, the soil is unloaded in several
increments. If desired reloading can be carried
out. At each step timesettlement records are
made.
5. The relationships between voids ratio and
effective stress, and settlement and time are
found from the test. The methods by which
these are obtained will be explained in the
laboratory classes.
It is conventional to plot the void ratio versus the
logarithm of the effective stress in examining the
behaviour of soil, rather than plotting the
relationship between effective stress and strain as
is often done in materials testing. The reason for
this is that the relationship between effective
stress and voids ratio is fundamental to an
understanding of soil behaviour. The relationship
obtained is similar to that between effective stress
and strain because changes in voids ratio and
strain are simply related as shown later.
8.3 Relation of volume strain and vertical
strain
The volume strain ε
v
of an element of material is
defined to be the change in volume ∆V divided by
initial volume V
0
98
ε
v
o
V
V
· −
∆
Note: Compressive strains
are positive (1)
The volume strain is related to the vertical (axial)
strain. To show this consider Figure 3.
∆x
∆z
∆x
xx
( ) 1− ε
∆z
zz
( ) 1− ε
(a) Before Deformation (b) After Deformation
Fig.3 Deformation of a soil element
[ ] [ ] [ ]
V x y z
xx yy zz
· − × − × − ∆ ∆ ∆ ( ) ( ) ( ) 1 1 1 ε ε ε
(2a)
ε
v
V V
V
· −
− ¸
¸
_
,
0
0
(2b)
[ ] [ ] [ ]
ε
ε ε ε
v
xx yy zz
x y z x y z
x y z
·
− − × − × − ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
∆ ∆ ∆
( ) ( ) ( ) 1 1 1
(2c)
thus neglecting second order and higher terms
ε ε ε ε
v xx yy zz
· + +
(2d)
For confined compression ε
xx
= 0, ε
yy
= 0. and
thus:
ε ε
v zz
·
(for confined
compression) (2e)
99
Figure 3 Deformation of a soil
element
8.4 Relation between volume strain and
voids ratio
For most soils the skeletal material is far stiffer
than the soil composite and thus referring to
Figure 4 it can be seen that the relationship
between volume strain and voids ratio is:
ε
v
s
s
V V
V
V e
V e
e
e
· −
− ¸
¸
_
,
· −
+
¸
¸
_
,
· −
+
0
0 0 0
1 1
∆ ∆
( )
(3a)
and thus for confined compression:
ε
zz
e
e
· −
+
∆
1
0
(3b)
Skeletal material
Voids
V
s
V
s
e
0
V
s
V e e
s
( )
0
+ ∆
V V e
V V e e
s
s
0 0
0
1
1
· +
· + +
( )
( ) ∆
(a) Before Deformation (b) After Deformation
Fig. 4 Soil undergoing deformation
100
Figure 4 Deformation of soil
element
8.5 Behaviour of soil under one dimensional
loading
The behaviour of an initially unloaded soil under
onedimensional conditions is illustrated in Fig. 5.
A
B
C
D
Voids ratio e
1
2
Log
10
(effective stress)
Fig. 5 Typical Effective stress voids ratio relationship
1. AB corresponds to initial loading of the soil.
2. BC corresponds to an unloading of the soil.
3. CD corresponds to a reloading of the soil.
4. Upon reloading the soil beyond B the soil
continues along the path that it would have
followed if loaded from A to D.
8.5.1 Preconsolidation Stress (pressure)
The preconsolidation stress, σ′
pc
, is defined to be
the maximum effective stress experienced by the
101
Figure 5 Typical effective stress, voids ratio
relationship
soil. For soil at state C this would correspond to the
effective stress at point B in Fig. 5.
8.5.2 Normally consolidated soils
If the current effective stress, σ', is equal (note that
it cannot be greater than) to the preconsolidation
stress, σ′
pc
, then the deposit is said to be normally
consolidated (NC)
′ ′ σ σ =
pc (normally consolidated)
(4a)
During deposition of a soil (which usually takes
place through sedimentation), the weight of the
soil (which increases with depth below the surface)
causes a decrease in void ratio. Suppose that at a
particular depth below the surface the soil is
represented by point P in Figure 6. If the soil is now
subjected to an effective stress increase under 1D
conditions the path that will be followed in the e
log
10
σ′ plot will be along the extension of the
deposition line as shown in Fig. 6. A soil which lies
at any point on this line is called normally
consolidated, and the line is called the normal
consolidation line.
Normally consolidated soils are usually found as
recent alluvial deposits, and are mainly composed
of silt and clay sized particles. It is extremely rare
to find normally consolidated soils inland, away
from the rivers or lakes in which they were
deposited.
102
e
log
10
(σ’)
Impossible states
Overconsolidated
states
Normal
Consolidation
Line
Figure 6 The normal consolidation line
8.5.3 Overconsolidated soils
If the current effective stress σ' is less than the
preconsolidation stress, σ′
pc
, then the soil is said to
be overconsolidated (OC).
′ ′ σ σ <
pc (overconsolidated)
(4b)
Note
′ ′ σ σ >
pc (not possible)
(4c)
If a soil after deposition, is normally consolidated
to point P and then unloaded (perhaps because of
erosion of the surface layers of soil) it may exist in
the state indicated by point Q in Figure 7. The path
QFR will be followed upon reloading of the soil.
It may be seen that for the same increase in
effective stress, the change in void ratio will be
much less for an overconsolidated soil (from e
0
to
e
f
) than it would have been for a normally
consolidated soil. Hence settlements will generally
103
P
be much smaller for structures built on
overconsolidated soils.
Most soils are overconsolidated to some degree;
this can be due to the effects of shrinking and
swelling of the soil on drying and rewetting,
changes in ground water levels, and unloading due
to erosion of overlying strata.
Q
P
R
e = e
0
e = e
f
O
′ σ
0
′ σ
f
′ σ
pc
logarithmic scale
F
Figure 7 Typical effective stress, voids ratio
response
The distance from the normal consolidation line
has an important influence on the soil behaviour.
This is described numerically by the
overconsolidation ratio (OCR). The OCR is defined
as the ratio of the preconsolidation stress to the
current effective stress
OCR
pc
·
′
′
σ
σ
(5)
104
Note that when the soil is normally consolidated
OCR = 1.
8.5.4 Estimation of the preconsolidation stress
A distinct change of slope is not generally
observed at the preconsolidation pressure, making
it difficult to accurately determine its value.
Empirical procedures are used to estimate the
preconsolidation stress, the most widely used
being Casagrande's construction which is
illustrated in Figure 8.
A
C
B
D
F
′ σ
pc
e
log (σ’)
E
Figure 8 Casagrande’s construction for
estimating preconsolidation pressure
Steps in the construction are given below:
1. Determine the point of maximum curvature A.
(It’s important to draw the graph to a sensible
scale)
2. Draw a tangent to the curve at A, i.e. line AB.
3. Draw a horizontal line at A, i.e. line AC.
105
4. Draw the extension of the straight line (normally
consolidated) portion of the curve DE.
5. Where the line DE cuts the bisector (AF) of angle
CAB, is the preconsolidation stress.
For a normally consolidated soil the
preconsolidation stress will be the same as the
vertical overburden stress (due to weight of
overlying soil) existing at the depth from which the
sample was taken. Some unloading of the sample
will take place during sampling so that a
preconsolidation stress may be detected upon
reloading in the oedometer at the point where the
soil is loaded back to the stress state existing in
the ground.
An overconsolidated soil will exhibit a
preconsolidation stress which is much larger than
the overburden stress at the level from which it
was sampled.
8.5 Idealised soil behaviour
The behaviour shown in Figures 5 to 7 may be
idealised by simple linear relationships in a void
ratio, e, logarithm of effective stress, σ´, plot as
shown in Figure 9. This idealisation is based on
observations that:
1. the behaviour of most normally consolidated
soils can be approximated by straight lines for
the range of stresses that are of interest.
2. the response of most overconsolidated soils can
be approximated by straight lines, and further:
106
• the behaviour is assumed to be reversible,
unloading and reloading follow the same path
• the slope of the unloadreload response is
constant
e
log (σ’)
Figure 9 Idealised void ratio, effective stress
relationship
8.6 Compression and Recompression
Indexes
Figure 10 shows a portion of the e  log σ′ plot for
a normally consolidated soil.
107
I
F
e
I
e
F
log ( )
10
′ σ
I
log ( )
10
′ σ
F
Fig. 9 Idealised behaviour of a normally consolidated soil
Suppose that a soil is in an initial state I and after
loading moves to the final state F, as shown in
Figure 10.
Slopeof IF
e e e
F I
F I F I
·
−
′ − ′
·
′ ′ log ( ) log ( ) log ( / )
10 10 10
σ σ σ σ
∆
(6a)
Because the relationship between effective stress
and voids ratio can be closely approximated by a
straight line, the slope is a constant. The slope
constant, C
c
is called the compression index.
∆e
C
F I
c
log ( / )
10
′ ′
· −
σ σ
(6b)
The above equation can be used to calculate the
final voids ratio from the known final effective
stress and initial conditions as follows:
e e C
F I c F I
· − ′ ′ log ( / )
10
σ σ
(6c)
108
Figure 10 Idealised response for NC soil
A similar approach is possible if the soil is over
consolidated and the final stress is less than the
preconsolidation stress, this is shown in Fig. 11.
Again suppose that a soil is at an initial state I and
after loading moves to a final state F, as shown in
Figure 11. As before we have:
Slopeof IF
e e e
F I
F I F I
·
−
′ − ′
·
′ ′ log ( ) log ( ) log ( / )
10 10 10
σ σ σ σ
∆
(7a)
I
F
e
I
e
F
log ( )
10
′ σ
I
log ( )
10
′ σ
F
Fig. 10 Idealised behaviour of a over consolidated soil
As the relationship between effective stress and
voids ratio is approximately linear, thus:
∆e
C
F I
r
log ( / )
10
′ ′
· −
σ σ
(7b)
The constant C
r
is called the recompression or
swelling index. Again this equation can be used to
determine the final voids ratio provided the final
109
Figure 11 Idealised response of
OC soil
effective stress and initial conditions are known, as
follows:
e e C
F I r F I
· − ′ ′ log ( / )
10
σ σ
(7c)
Sometimes a soil may move from an
overconsolidated state to a normally consolidated
state. Suppose the initial state of the soil is given
by point 1 in Figure 12, the point at which it
reaches the preconsolidation stress is denoted by
2 and the final state is denoted by 3. The resulting
change in voids ratio as the soil moves from the
initial state 1 to the final state 3 can be considered
to occur in two distinct stages. Stage 1 in which
the soil is oveconsolidated and stage 2 in which
the soil is normally consolidated.
(1)
(2)
(3)
e
1
e
2
e
3
log ( )
10 1
′ σ log ( )
10 2
′ σ log ( )
10 3
′ σ
Figure 12 Response of soil moving from OC
to NC
• Stage 1 (1→2)
During stage 1 the soil is overconsolidated
and so:
110
e e C
r 2 1 10 2 1
· − ′ ′ log ( / ) σ σ
(8a)
where σ′
2
= the initial value of the
preconsolidation stress σ′
pc
• Stage 2 (2→3)
During stage 2 the soil is normally
consolidated and so:
e e C
c 3 2 10 3 2
· − ′ ′ log ( / ) σ σ
(8b)
Since the soil is normally consolidated the
current state of effective stress will be the
preconsolidation stress and thus the final
value of the preconsolidation stress (σ′
pc
) will
be σ′
3
If the soil at 3, where it is normally consolidated, is
unloaded so that the effective stress drops, the
change in void ratio should be determined from
equation 7c for overconsolidated soil.
9. CALCULATION OF SETTLEMENT
9.1 Settlement of a Single Layer
111
The settlement ∆s of a single relatively thin layer, shown in
Fig. 1, can be calculated once the change in void ratio is
known.
H
Fig. 1 Settlement of a single layer
∆S
z
x
For confined compression the horizontal strains are negligible
i.e. ε
xx
= 0, ε
yy
= 0 and thus:
ε ε
zz v
S
H
e
e
thus
S
e H
e
· · · −
+
· −
+
∆ ∆
∆
∆
1
1
(1)
the settlement of a thicker layer can be calculated by dividing
the layer into a number of sub layers as shown in Fig. 2. This
is necessary because both the initial and final effective stress
vary with depth as do the voids ratio and the OCR.
sublayer 1
sublayer 2
sublayer n
Notation
e voids ratio at the centre of layer i
e increase in voids ratio at the centre of layer i
H thickness of layer i
i
i
i
·
· ∆
Fig. 2 Soil profile divided into a number of sublayers
112
Fig. 1 Settlement of a soil layer
Fig. 2 Division of soil layers into sublayers
The settlement of the soil layer is calculated by calculating the
settlement of the individual sublayers and adding them, in
doing this it is assumed that the voids ratio and the effective
stress are constant throughout the sublayer and equal to their
values at the centre of the sublayer.
thus
For sub layer i S
e H
e
so that
Total Setttlement S S
e H
e
i
i i
i
i
n i i
i
n
− · −
+
· ∑ · −
+
∑
∆
∆
∆
∆
1
1
1 1
[ ]
(2)
Example  Settlement Calculation
A soil deposit, shown in Fig. 3 consists of 5 m of gravel
overlaying 8 m of clay. Initially the water table is 2 m below
the surface of the gravel. Calculate the settlement if the water
table rises to the surface of the gravel slowly over a period of
time and surface loading induces an increase of total stress of
100 kPa at the point A and 60 kPa at the point B. The
preconsolidation pressure at A is 120 kPa, and the deposit is
normally consolidated at B. The gravel has a saturated bulk
unit weight of 22 kN/m
3
and a dry unit weight of 18 kN/m
3
and
is relatively incompressible when compared to the clay. The
void ratio of the clay is 0.8 and the skeletal particles have a
specific gravity of 2.7. The compression index of the clay is 0.2
and the recompression index is 0.05.
In solving this problem it will be assumed that the gravel is far
less compressible than the clay and thus that the settlement of
the gravel can be neglected. The settlement of the clay layer
will be calculated by dividing it into two sublayers
113
2m
5m
4m
4m
Gravel
Clay
A
B
Fig. 3 Layered soil deposit
γ
dry
kN m ·18
3
/
γ
sat
kN m · 22
3
/
γ
sat
·?
In order to commence the calculations it is first necessary to
calculate the unit weight of the clay, this is shown
schematically in Fig. 4.
Fig. 4 Determination of Saturated Unit Weight
γ
sat
w s
v s
W W
V V
kN m ·
+
+
·
+
+
·
7 84 26
0 8 1
1906
3
. .46
.
. /
or
γ
γ
sat
s w
G e
e
kN m ·
+
+
·
( )
. /
1
1906
3
• Initial State at A
Voids
Skeletal
material
V
s
=1 m
3
V
v
= e*V
s
=0.8 m
3
W V
kN
v w v
·
·
γ *
. 784
Distribution of Volume Distribution of Weight
W V G
kN
w w w s
·
·
* *
.
γ
2646
γ
γ
γ
sat
w s
v s
sat
s w
W W
V V
kN m
kN m
or
G e
e
kN m
·
+
+
·
+
+
·
·
+
+
·
7 84 26 46
0 8 1
19 06
1
19 06
3
3
3
. .
.
/
. /
( )
. /
114
Fig. 3 Layered soil deposit
Total stress σ
zz
= 2 × 18 + 3 × 22 + 2 × 19.06
= 140.12 kPa
Pore water pressure u
w
= 5 × 9.8 kPa = 49 kPa
(3a)
Effective stress σ′
zz
= σ
zz
 u
w
= 140.12  49 = 91.12
kPa
Notice the initial effective stress is less than σ′
pc
=120 kPa thus
the clay is initially overconsolidated.
• Final State at A
Total stress σ
zz
= 100 + 2 × 22 + 3 × 22 + 2 ×
19.06 = 248.12 kPa
Pore water pressure u
w
= 7 × 9.8 kPa = 68.6 kPa
(3b)
Effective stress σ′
zz
= σ
zz
 u
w
= 248.12  68.6 =
179.52 kPa
Notice that the final effective stress exceeds the initial
preconsolidation stress and thus the clay moves from being
initially overconsolidated to finally normally consolidated.
• Settlement of the first sublayer
The soil in the first sub layer moves from being over
consolidated to normally consolidated and so the calculation of
the change in voids ratio must be made in two stages.
Stage 1 Soil overconsolidated (σ′ < σ′
pc (initial)
)
∆e
1
=  C
r
× log
10
(σ′
pc (initial)
/σ′
I
)
Stage 2 Soil normally consolidated (σ′ = σ′
pc
)
(3c)
∆e
2
=  C
c
× log
10
(σ′
F
/σ′
pc (initial)
)
now
115
∆
∆
S
H e
e
m
· −
+
· ×
·
+ ×
1
4
18
0 05
120 00
9112
0 0911
0 2
179 52
120 00
10 10
.
[ . log (
.
.
)
.
. log (
.
.
)]
(3d)
• Initial State at B
Total stress σ
zz
= 2× 18 + 3 × 22 + 6 × 19.06 =
216.36 kPa
Pore water pressure u
w
= 9 × 9.8 kPa = 88.20 kPa
(4a)
Effective stress σ′
zz
= σ
zz
 u
w
= 216.36  88.20 =
128.16 kPa
• Final State at B
Total stress σ
zz
= 60 + 2 × 22 + 3 × 22 + 6 ×
19.06 = 284.36 kPa
Pore water pressure u
w
= 11 × 9.8 kPa = 107.80 kPa
(4b)
Effective stress σ′
zz
= σ
zz
 u
w
= 284.36  107.80 =
176.56 kPa
• Settlement of the second sublayer
The soil in the second is normally consolidated and thus:
∆e
2
=  C
c
× log
10
(σ′
F
/σ′
I
)
(4c)
now
∆
∆
S
H e
e
m
· −
+
· ×
·
1
4
18
0 2
176 56
128 16
0 0620
10
.
. log (
.
.
)
.
.
(4d)
• Total Settlement
116
Total settlement = 0.0911 + 0.0620 m
(5)
= 0.1531m
117
9.2 Calculation of Stress Changes
The calculation of settlement depends upon knowledge of the
initial and final effective stress within each sub layer of the
deposit. The initial effective stress state can be determined,
from knowledge of the bulk unit and the position of the water
table. The increase in total stress can be estimated using the
theory of elasticity. (Note the soil is in general not really elastic
however in the working stress range this assumption provides
reasonably accurate estimates of the stress increases due to the
applied loads)
A fundamental solution of the equations of elasticity is
Boussinesq's solution. This relates to a point load applied to the
surface of a halfspace (very deep layer) and is shown
schematically in Fig. 5.
Point load of magnitude P
H →∞
z
x
Fig 5 Point load on an elastic halfspace
Boussinesq found that :
118
Fig. 5 Point load acting on a half space
∆σ
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
∆
zz
xx yy zz
z
Pz
R
Pz
R
u
P
ER
z
R
where
R x y z
and
E Young s ulus
Poisson s ratio
·
+ + ·
+
·
+
− +
· + +
·
·
3
2
1
1
2
2 1
3
5
3
2
2
2 2 2
π
ν
π
ν
π
ν
ν
( )
( )
[ ( ) ]
' mod
'
(6)
∆u
z
= vertical displacement due to load
The symbol ∆ is used to indicate that each of the quantities in
equation (6) represents the increase in the particular quantity,
due to the applied load.
The solution for a point load is important because it can be
used to develop solutions for distributed loads by integration.
Some of these solutions are presented in the Soil Mechanics
Data Sheets.
9.3Calculation of Stress Changes
9.3.1 Stresses due to Circular foundation loads applied at the
ground surface
A circular foundation of diameter 5 m, subjected to an average
applied stress of 100 kPa is shown in Fig. 6.
119
5m
p=100 kPa
z
r
A
2m
B
5m
Fig 6 Circular loaded area on a deep elastic layer
(a) Calculate the increase in vertical stress at point A
There is a simple analytic expression (given in the Data Sheets)
for points on the centre line under a circular load:
∆σ
zz
p
a
z
· − +
−
( [ ] )
/
1 1
2
2
3 2
(7a)
where
p = the surface stress = 100 kPa
a = the radius of the loaded area = 2.5m
z = the depth of interest = 2m
∆σ
zz
kPa · × − + ·
−
100 1 1 125 756
2 3 2
( [ ( . ) ] ) .
/
(7b)
(b) calculate the increase in vertical stress at point B
120
Fig. 6 Circular loaded area on a deep elastic layer
In this case there is no simple analytic expression and the
solution must be found by using the influence charts given in
the data sheets, reproduced in part in Figure 7. Note that this
chart can also be used for points on the centre line for which r =
0.
Now z/a = 2/2.5 = 0.8
r/a = 5/2.5 = 2
(8)
using the data sheets ∆σ
zz
/p = 0.03 and so ∆σ
zz
= 3.0 kPa
10
3
10
2
10
1
1
0
2
4
6
8
10
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.25
1.00
0.0
z/a
Values on curves
are values of r/a
Fig.7 Influence Factors for a Uniformly Loaded Circular Area of radius a
I
p
zz
σ
σ
·
9.3.2 Stresses due to Rectangular foundation loads applied at
the ground surface
121
Fig. 7 Influence factors for a uniformly loaded circular area of radius a
Plan
Elevation
L
B
z
Point immediately
beneath one of the
rectangle’s corners
Uniformly distributed
surface stress p
Fig. 8 Rectangular surface loading on a deep elastic layer
Many loads which occur in practice are applied to foundations
that may be considered to consist of a number of rectangular
regions. It is thus of interest to be able to calculate the vertical
stress increases due to a uniformly distributed load acting on a
rectangular loaded area. This is shown schematically in Fig. 8.
The vertical stress change at a distance z below one of the
corners of the rectangular load may be determined from a chart
which is given in the data sheets and is reproduced in Fig. 9
122
Fig. 8 Rectangular uniform loading on a deep elastic layer
m=B/z=0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
2.0
3.0
8
10
1 0.1 0.01
(n=L/z)
0.00
0.05
0.10
0.15
0.20
0.25
I
q
zz
σ
σ
·
Note m & n are
interchangeable
Fig. 9 Influence factors for a uniformly loaded
rectangular area
This chart can be used to determine the value of stress increase
at any point in an elastic layer, the method for doing this is
illustrated below.
9.3.2.1 Calculation of Stress below an interior point of the
loaded area
This situation is shown schematically in Fig.10. The stress
change is required at a depth z below point O.
The first step in using the influence charts is to break the
rectangular loading up into a number of components each
having a corner at O, this is relatively simple as can be seen in
Fig.(10)
123
Fig. 9 Influence factors for uniformly loaded rectangular areas
It thus follows that at the point of interest, the stress increase
∆σ
zz
(ABCD) is given by:
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
zz zz zz zz zz
ABCD OXAY OYBZ ZCT OTDX ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) · + + + 0
(9)
O Point of interest
O
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
Fig. 10 stress increase at a point below a loaded rectangular region
z
Example
Suppose we wish to evaluate the increase in stress at a depth of
2m below the point O due to the rectangular loading shown in
shown in Fig. 11, when the applied stress over ABCD is 100
kPa.
Fig. 11 Dimensions of
rectangular
loaded area
O
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
2m
3m
3m 2m
For rectangular loading OZCT
124
Fig. 11 Dimensions of rectangular loaded area
Plan
Elevation
m = L/z =1
n = B/z =1
thus
I
σ
= 0.175
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.175 = 17.5 kPa
(9a)
For rectangular loading OTDX
m = L/z = 1.5
n = B/z = 1
thus
I
σ
= 0.194
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.195 = 19.4 kPa
(9b)
For rectangular loading OXAY
m = L/z = 1.5
n = B/z = 1.5
thus
I
σ
= 0.216
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.216 = 21.6 kPa
(9c)
For rectangular loading OYBZ
m = L/z = 1.5
n = B/z = 1
thus
I
σ
= 0.194
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.194 = 19.4 kPa
(9d)
125
Thus the increase in stress ∆σ
zz
= 17.5 + 19.4 + 21.6 + 19.4
= 78.9 kPa (9e)
This must of course be added to the existing stress state prior to
loading to obtain the actual stress σ
zz
.
9.3.2.2 Calculation of stress below a point outside the loaded
area
The stress increase at a point vertically below a point O which
is outside the loaded are can also be found using the influence
charts shown in Fig. 9.
A
B
D C
Fig. 12 Rectangular loaded area
X
Y
Z
T
O
This is achieved by considering the stress q acting on ABCD to
consist of the following:
1. A stress +q acting over OXAY
2. A stress +q acting over OZCT
3. A stress q acting over OZBY
4. A stress q acting over OXDT
This is illustrated in Fig. 13.
It thus follows that at the point O, the stress increase
∆σ
zz
(ABCD) is given by:
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
zz zz zz zz zz
ABCD OXAY OYBZ OZCT OTDX ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) ( ) · − + −
126
Fig. 12 Rectangular loaded area ABCD and point of interest O
and thus
(10)
σ
σ σ σ σ zz
ABCD q I OXAY I OYBZ I ZCT I OTDX ( ) [ ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )] · − + − 0
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
O
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
O
Stage 4 Stage 3
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
O
Stage 2 Stage 1
(q)
(q) (0)
(q)
(q)
(q) (0)
(0)
(q)
Fig. 13 Decomposition of Loading over a rectangular region (exterior point)
A B
D C
X
Y
Z
T
O
(q)
(q) (q)
(q)
(0)
(0)
(0)
127
Fig. 13 Decomposition of loading over a rectangular area (for stress at external point)
Example
A
B
D C
Fig. 14 Dimensions of rectangular loaded area
X
Y
Z
T
O
2m
10m
1m
1m
Suppose the rectangular area ABCD, shown in Fig. 14 is
subjected to a surface stress of 100 kPa AND it is required to
calculate the vertical stress increase at a point 1.5m below the
point O.
For rectangular loading OZCT
m = L/z = 0.67
n = B/z = 0.67
thus
I
σ
= 0.121
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= + 100 × 0.121 = +12.1 kPa
(11a)
For rectangular loading OTDX
m = L/z = 7.67
n = B/z = 0.67
thus
I
σ
= 0.167
and so
128
Fig. 14 Dimensions of rectangular loaded area
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.167 = 16.7 kPa
(11b)
For rectangular loading OXAY
m = L/z = 7.67
n = B/z = 2.00
thus
I
σ
= 0.240
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= + 100 × 0.240 = + 24.0kPa
(11c)
For rectangular loading OYBZ
m = L/z = 2
n = B/z = 0.67
thus
I
σ
= 0.164
and so
∆σ
zz
= p I
σ
= 100 × 0.164 = 16.4 kPa
(11d)
Thus the increase in stress ∆σ
zz
= 12.1  16.7 + 24.0 + 16.4=3.0
kPa (11e)
9.3.3 Stresses due to foundation loads of arbitrary shape
applied at the ground surface
Newmark’s chart provides a graphical method for calculating
the stress increase due to a uniformly loaded region, of
arbitrary shape resting on a deep homogeneous isotropic elastic
region.
Newmark’s chart is given in the data sheets and is reproduced
in part in Fig 15. The procedure for its use is outlined below
129
1. The scale for this procedure is determined by the depth z at
which the stress is to be evaluated, thus z is equal to the
distance OQ shown on the chart.
2. Draw the loaded area to scale so that the point of interest
(more correctly its vertical projection on the surface) is at
the origin of the chart, the orientation of the drawing does
not matter
3. Count the number of squares (N) within the loaded area, if
more than half the square is in count the square otherwise
neglect it.
4. The vertical stress increase ∆σ
zz
= N × [scale factor(0.001)]
× [surface stress (p)]
The procedure is most easily illustrated by an example.
Example
Suppose a uniformly loaded circle of radius 2 m carries a
uniform stress of 100 kPa. It is required to calculate the vertical
stress at a depth of 4 m below the edge of the circle.
The loaded area is drawn on Newmark’s chart to the
appropriate scale (i.e. the length OQ is set to represent 4 m) as
shown in Fig. 15.
It is found that the number of squares, N = 194 and so the stress
increase is found to be
∆σ
zz
= 194 × 0.001 × 100 = 19.4 kPa
(12)
This result can also be checked using the influence charts for
circular loading and it is then found that:
z/a = 2, r/a = 1. ∆σ
zz
/p = 0.2 and so ∆σ
zz
= 20 kPa
(13)
130
O
Q
4m
Loaded
Area
Fig 15 Newmark’s Chart
10. ANALYSIS OF CONSOLIDATION
10.1 Introduction: the consolidation process
From the response of soils under onedimensional
conditions it is apparent that when the effective
stress increases there will be a tendency for the
soil to compress. However, when a load is applied
to a saturated soil specimen this compression does
131
not occur immediately. This behaviour is a
consequence of the soil constituents, the skeletal
material and pore water, being almost
incompressible compared to the soil element;
deformation can only take place by water being
squeezed out of the voids. This can only occur at a
finite rate and so initially when the soil is loaded it
undergoes no volume change.
Under one dimensional conditions this implies that
there can be no vertical strain and thus no change
in vertical effective stress. For 1D conditions we
have
ε ε
σ σ
zz v
F I
e
e
C
e
· ·
−
+
·
′ ′
+
∆
1 1
l og( / )
(1)
Hence if ε
v
= 0 then ∆e = 0 and σ´
F
= σ´
I
.
When the load is first applied the total stress
increases, but as shown above for 1D conditions
there can be no instantaneous change in vertical
effective stress, this implies that the pore pressure
must increase by exactly the same amount as the
total stress as:
∆σ´ = ∆σ  ∆u
(2)
Subsequently there will be flow from regions of
higher excess pore pressure to regions of lower
excess pore pressure, the excess pore pressures
will dissipate, the effective stress will change and
the soil will deform (consolidate) with time. This is
shown schematically in Fig. 1.
132
Excess Pore
Pressure
Fig. 1 Variation of total stress and pore pressure with time
Total
Stress
Effective
Stress
Settlement
Time Time
Time Time
10.2 Derivation of the equation of
consolidation for 1D conditions
If we assume that the pore fluid and soil skeleton
are incompressible, then:
Volume decrease of the soil = Volume of pore
fluid which flows out
and thus
Rate of volume decrease of soil = Rate at which
pore fluid flows out
In deriving the equations governing consolidation
we will consider only onedimensional conditions
with purely vertical soil movements and water
flows. The solutions obtained will only be strictly
relevant to the vertical consolidation of relatively
133
Fig. 1 Variation of stress, pore pressure and
settlement with time
thin soil layers occurring as a result of extensive
uniform loading. (This is a common situation). A
similar approach can be followed for more general
loading but the resulting equations can only be
solved numerically.
v(z, t)
v(z z, t) + · + ∆ ∆ v
v
z
z
∂
∂
∆z
Fig. 2 Flow of pore fluid into an element of soil
Soil element
Referring to Fig 2 it can be seen that:
The rate at which water enters the element
A z
z
v
A t z v t z z v
∆ ·
− ∆ + ·
∂
∂
)) , ( ) , ( (
The rate of volume decrease of the element
A z ∆
t
=
v
∂
ε ∂
and thus
t
v
∂
ε ∂
∂
∂
·
z
v
(3)
where
v = the pore fluid velocity,
134
Fig. 2 Flow of pore fluid into an element of
soil
ε
v
= the element volume strain,
A = the cross sectional area of the
element.
It will also be assumed that Darcy’s law holds and
thus that
v k
h
z
v
· −
∂
∂
(4)
In applying Darcy’s law it is only the velocity due
to the consolidation process that is of interest, and
consequently the head in (4) is the excess head
due to the consolidation process (not the total
head). The excess head is related to the excess
pore water pressure by
h
u
w
·
γ
(5)
Note that the elevation is not involved in (5)
because it only relates the excess heads and water
pressures. From (3), (4) and (5) it follows that
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂ε
∂ z
k
u
z t
v
v
[ ] · −
(6)
If it is also assumed that the soil element responds
elastically to a change in effective stress then:
ε σ
v v e
m · ′
(7)
where
′ σ
e
= the change in effective stress from
the original value
135
=
σ
e
u −
(8)
with
σ
e = the increase in total stress over the
original value
u = the increase in pore water pressure
over the original value (excess pore
water pressure)
and
m
v
= the coefficient of volume decrease,
The value of m
v
must be determined over the
appropriate effective stress range because it
depends on the mean effective stress. This can be
seen by considering the relation between voids
ratio and effective stress:
e A C · − ′ l og
10
σ
and hence
d e
Cd
· −
′
′
σ
σ 2 3 .
now
ε
σ
σ
σ
v v
e
e
C d
e
m d · −
+
·
′
+ ′
· ′
∆
1 2 3 1 . ( )
(9)
Thus m
v
depends on both voids ratio e, and
effective stress, σ´.
Combination of equations (6), (7) and (8) leads to
the equation of consolidation:
∂
∂ γ
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂σ
∂ z
k u
z
m
u
t t
v
w
v
e
[ ] [ ] · −
(10)
The equation of consolidation must be solved
subject to certain boundary conditions and initial
conditions
136
10.3 Boundary Conditions
At a boundary where the soil is free to drain the
pore water pressure will be constant and will not
change during consolidation. For such a boundary
the excess pore water pressure will be zero.
u = 0 at a permeable boundary
(11a)
At an impermeable boundary the pore water
velocity perpendicular to the boundary will be zero
and thus from Darcy’s law
∂
∂
u
z
· 0
at an impermeable boundary
(11b)
10.4 Initial Conditions
At the instant of loading there is no volume strain
and thus no change in vertical effective stress. At
this instant the excess pore water pressure will be
equal to the initial increase in total stress.
u
e
· σ
at the instant of loading.
(12)
10.5 The Equation of Consolidation for a
Homogeneous Soil
If the soil layer being considered is homogeneous
then equation (10) becomes:
137
c
u
z
u
t t
v
e
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂σ
∂
2
2
· −
(13)
where
c
k
m
v
v
v w
·
γ
is called the coefficient of
consolidation.
The coefficient of consolidation (c
v
) can be
estimated using the oedometer apparatus as can
the coefficient of volume decrease (m
v
). The
procedure to do this will be discussed in the
laboratory classes. It is difficult (time consuming)
to measure the permeability of clays (k
v
) and so
the value of permeability is usually inferred from
the values of c
v
and m
v
.
10.6 Analytic Solutions to the equations of
consolidation
10.6.1 Twoway drainage
Fig. 3 represents a layer of clay of thickness 2H
subjected to a uniform surface stress q applied at
time t = 0 and held constant thereafter. The clay
layer is free to drain at both its top and bottom
boundaries. This is called twoway drainage.
138
Uniformly distributed surcharge q
2H
Z
Fig 3 Homogeneous Saturated Clay Layer
free to drain at Upper and Lower Boundaries
The increase in stress through out the layer and
does not vary with time and so
σ
e
q ·
Equation (10) therefore becomes:
t
u
z
u
c
v
∂
∂
∂
∂
·
2
2
(14a)
The clay layer is free to drain at its upper and
lower boundary and so
u = 0 when z = 0 for t > 0
(14b)
u = 0 when z = 2H for t > 0
(14c)
Initially the excess pore pressure will just match
the increase in total stress so that there will be no
instantaneous volume change and thus:
139
Fig. 3 Homogeneous clay layer free to drain from both upper
and lower boundaries
u = q when t = 0 for 0 < z < 2H.
(14d)
It can be shown that the solution of equations (14
a,b,c,d) is:
u q Z e
n
n
n
T
n v
·
·
∞
−
∑
2
1
0
2
α
α
α
sin( )
(15)
where α
n
= (n + ½)
Z =
z
H
, a dimensionless distance
T
v
=
c t
H
v
2
, a dimensionless time
Notice that H which occurs in both dimensionless
quantities is the maximum drainage path length.
The settlement of the soil layer can be determined
by summing the vertical (= volume) strains,
giving:
S dz
m q u dz
v
H
v
H
·
· −
∫
∫
ε
0
2
0
2
( )
(16a)
and the variation of settlement with time can be
obtained by substituting in equation (15) which
gives the variation of u with time and depth.
S m q
Z
e dz
v
n
n
T
H
n v
· −
¸
1
]
1
−
∞
∑
∫
1 2
2
0
0
2
sinα
α
α
giving
140
S m q H
e
v
T
n
n
n v
· −
¸
1
]
1
1
−
·
∞
∑
2 1 2
2
2
0
α
α
(16b)
Noting that the final settlement of the layer, S
∞
=
m
v
q 2H the settlement may be written:
S
S
U
∞
· ·
1 2
2
2
0
−
¸
1
]
1
1
−
·
∞
∑
e
n v
T
n
n
α
α
(16c)
where U is known as the degree of settlement
The variation of excess pore pressure within the
layer is shown in Figure 4 (also in data sheets).
T=0.8 0.5 0.3 0.2 0.1
0
1
2
0.0 0.5 1.0
Z=z/H
u/q
Fig. 4 Variation of excess pore pressure with
depth
The lines on Figure 4 represent the variation of
pore pressure with depth at different non
dimensionalised times (T). These lines are known
as isochrones. It can be seen that initially the
excess pore pressure is constant (u/q = 1)
throughout the layer. With time the pore water
141
flows from the interior of the layer to the drainage
boundaries, and the excess pore pressures
dissipate until after a very long time there are no
excess pore pressures.
The variation of settlement with time is most
conveniently plotted in the form of the degree of
settlement (U) versus dimensionless time T
v
, and
this is illustrated in Fig. 5 (also in data sheets)
10
3
10
2
10
1
1 10
Dimensionless Time T
v
0.00
0.25
0.50
0.75
1.00
U
Relation of degree of
settlement and time
Fig. 5 Degree of settlement versus
dimensionless time
There are several useful approximations for the
degree of settlement, viz:
U
T
T
U e T
v
v
T
v
v
· ≤
− >
−
4
0 2
1
8
0 2
2
4
2
π
π
π
( . )
( .. )
/
(17)
142
alternatively Fig. 5 may be used. It is worth
remembering that U = 0.5 when T
v
= 0.197.
10.6.2 Oneway drainage
Fig. 6 represents a layer of clay of thickness H
subjected to a uniform surface stress q applied at
time t = 0 and held constant thereafter. The clay
layer is free to drain at its top boundary but is
unable to drain at its base. This is called one way
drainage.
Uniformly distributed surcharge q
H
Z
Fig 6 Homogeneous Saturated ClayLayer resting on an impermeable base
Impermeable base
The increase in stress through out the layer and
does not vary with time and so
σ
e
q ·
Equation (6) therefore becomes:
t
u
z
u
c
v
∂
∂
∂
∂
·
2
2
(18a)
The clay layer is free to drain at its upper
boundary and as before
143
Fig. 6 Homogeneous saturated clay layer on an impermeable
base
0 · u
when z = 0 for t > 0
(18b)
at the lower boundary
∂
∂
u
z
· 0
when z = H for t > 0
(18c)
Initially the excess pore pressure will just match
the increase in total stress so that there will be no
instantaneous volume change and thus:
u = q when t = 0 for 0 < z < H.
(18d)
Reference to figure 4 reveals that solution (15)
also satisfies the condition
∂
∂
u
z
· 0
when z = H for t > 0
and is thus also the solution for one way drainage (
the two way drainage problem can be viewed as
two oneway drainage problems ‘back to back’).
Further examination reveals that although the
expression for final settlement differs for the two
cases the expression for degree of settlement is
precisely the same.
144
Example  Calculation of settlement at a
given time
Figure 7 shows a soil profile, it can be assumed
that the sand and gravel are far more permeable
than the clay and so consolidation in them will
have occurred instantaneously.
Gravel
4m Clay
Sand
5m
Impermeable
Clay
Fig 7 layered Soil Deposit
Final settlement=100mm
c
v
=0.4m
2
/year
Final settlement=40mm
c
v
=0.5m
2
/year
It is assumed that the final settlement has for each
of the clay layers has been determined by the
methods described in the previous sections and
that their values are as indicated on figure 7. It is
required to find the settlement after 1 year
(a) Settlement of the upper Layer
In layer 1 there is two way drainage and so the
drainage path H = 2m.
T
c t
H
v
v
· ·
×
·
2 2
0 1
2
01
.4
.
145
Fig. 7 Layered soil deposit
Using Figure 5 it can be seen that U = 0.36
and thus the settlement of layer 1 = 100 × 0.36 =
36mm
(b) Settlement of the lower Layer
In layer 2 there is one way drainage and so the
drainage path H = 5m.
T
c t
H
v
v
· ·
×
·
2 2
0 5 1
5
0 02
.
.
Using Figure 5 it can be seen that U = 0.16
and thus the settlement of layer 2 = 40 × 0.36 =
6.4mm
The total settlement after 1 year is thus = 36 +
6.4 = 42.4mm
Example  Use of scaling
An oedometer specimen reaches 50% settlement
after 2 minutes. If the specimen is 10 mm thick
calculate the time for 50% settlement of a 10 m
thick layer under conditions of oneway drainage.
In order that the test may be carried out as quickly
as possible oedometer tests are normally
conducted with two way drainage and thus the
drainage path in the oedometer = 5mm = 0.005m.
For the oedometer test
T
c t
H
c
c
v
v v
v
· ·
×
·
2 2
2
0 005
80000
.
146
For the clay layer the drainage path is 10m
T
c t
H
c t c t
v
v v v
· ·
×
·
×
2 2
10 100
Since the degree of settlement for the two case is
the same the two values of the dimensionless
time, T
v
are equal and so:
80000
100
8000000 15 2 c
c t
thus t years
v
v
· · · min .
Example  Calculation of the coefficient of
consolidation
The data in the previous example can be used to
calculate c
v
. The dimensionless time for 50%
consolidation is T
v
= 0.197 (from Figure 5 T
v
≈ 0.2)
thus:
0197 80000 2 10 1294
6
2 2
. .4625
min
. · · × ·
−
c thus c
m m
year
v v
11. NUMERICAL SOLUTION OF THE 1D
CONSOLIDATION EQUATION
147
The 1D equation of consolidation cannot be solved
analytically except for some very simple
situations. For more difficult cases it is necessary
to use approximate numerical techniques. One
numerical technique that can be used for
consolidation problems is the finite difference
approach. In this method the solution is evaluated
at a number of points at different times as
indicated on the figure below.
z
t
∆t
∆z
t=0 t=t
1
t=t
2
Fig. 1 Finite difference grid
11.1 Finite Difference Formulae
The 1D consolidation equation and the boundary
conditions are approximated by finite difference
formulae. These can be derived by referring to the
figure below and taking local axes at B:
148
Fig. 1 Grid showing points at which
solution calculated
1
2
3
4
z = 
z = 0
z = + ∆z
A
B
C
u = u
A
u =
u
B
u =
u
C
Fig. 2 Excess pore water pressure variation at
time t
z
u
Suppose that the excess pore pressure at any time
t can be approximated by a parabola
u a a z a z · + +
1 2 3
2
(1a)
The constants in this equation can be related to
the values of the excess pore pressures at points
A, B, C. Taking B as the origin for z gives:
u a a z a z
u a
u a a z a z
A
B
C
· − +
·
· + +
1 2 3
2
1
1 2 3
2
∆ ∆
∆ ∆
(1b)
so that
a u
a
u u
z
a
u u u
z
B
C A
A C B
1
2
3
2
2
2
2
·
·
−
·
+ −
∆
∆
(1c)
thus evaluating the slope and curvature of u at the
point B (z = 0) it is found:
∂
∂
∂
∂
u
z
u u
z
u
z
u u u
z
B
C A
B
A C B
¸
1
]
1
·
−
¸
1
]
1
·
+ −
2
2
2
2 2
∆
∆
(1d)
11.2 Finite Difference Approximation of
Consolidation Equation
The equation of consolidation is:
149
c
u
z
u
t
q
t
v
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂
∂
2
2
· −
(2a)
where q is the change in total stress, due to
applied loads, from the initial equilibrium situation
when the excess pore pressures were zero.
When this equation is evaluated at any point in the
soil it is equivalent to evaluating the equation at
point B, and hence the finite difference formulae
developed above can be introduced so the
equation becomes:
∂
∂
∂
∂
u
t
q
t
c
u u u
z
B B
v
A C B
¸
1
]
1
−
¸
1
]
1
·
+ −
¸
1
]
1
2
2
∆
(2b)
if the above equation is now integrated from times
t to t+∆t it is found that:
∆ ∆
∆
∆
u q
c
z
u u u dt
B B
v
A C B
t
t t
· + + −
+
∫ 2
2 [ ]
(2c)
where
∆ ∆ ∆ ∆ u u t t u t and q q t t q t
B B B B B B
· + − · + − ( ) ( ) ( ) ( )
150
F t dt F t t
t
t t
( ) ( )
+
∫
≈
∆
∆
t
F(t)
Fig 3 Approximation of integral
Error in approximation
t t +∆
t
If the integral appearing in equation (2c) is now
approximated as indicated in Fig. 3, it is found
that:
∆ ∆ u q u t u t u t
B B A C B
· + + − β[ ( ) ( ) ( )] 2
(2d)
where
β ·
c t
z
v
∆
∆
2
Or
)] t ( u 2 ) t ( u ) t ( u [ ) t ( u q ) t t ( u
B C A B B B
− + β + + ∆ · ∆ +
(2e)
Suppose the solution for u has been found up to
time t. The applied load will be known at time t +
∆t and so the quantity ∆q is known. This means all
the quantities on the right hand side of equation
(2e) are known and thus that u at time t + ∆t can
be calculated. Thus a knowledge of the
distribution of u at time t means that the
distribution of u at time t + ∆t can be inferred.
Now the initial distribution of u can always be
151
Fig. 3 Approximate integral evaluation
determined and thus the solution can be found by
‘marching’ forward in time.
11.3 Stability
There is an important restriction on the use of
equation (2e) to obtain a numerical solution of the
equation of consolidation, this is
β · ≤
c t
z
v
∆
∆
2
1
2
If this condition is violated the calculation becomes
unstable and is invalid.
152
11.4 Boundary Conditions
The solution of the equation of consolidation
depends on the boundary conditions.
11.4.1 Fully Permeable Boundary
At a free draining boundary there is no
impediment to flow and so the pore pressure
remains constant and thus the excess pore water
pressure is zero, this is illustrated in figure 4a.
B
Saturated soil
Drainage Boundary u=0
Fig. 4a Finite difference approximation of a drainage boundary
11.4.2 Impermeable Boundary
A
B
C
.
.
∆ z
Saturated soil
Impermeable barrier
Fig. 4b Finite difference approximation of an impermeable boundary
.
∆ z
153
Fig. 4b Finite difference approximation of an
impermeable boundary
Fig. 4a Finite difference approximation of a
drainage boundary
At an impermeable boundary, such as that
illustrated in figure 4b there can be no flow in a
direction perpendicular to the boundary. As
outlined earlier this implies:
∂
∂
u
z
· 0
(3a)
the finite difference analogue of this equation is
u u
z
C A
−
·
2
0
∆
(3b)
and hence
u u
C A
·
(3c)
An impermeable boundary is modelled by equating
the excess pore pressure at C to that at A. To do
this a dummy node has to be introduced at C into
the finite difference grid. This dummy node has no
affect other than to give the correct excess pore
pressure at the impermeable boundary.
Example  Numerical Solution when β =1/2
Suppose that a 4m layer of clay, shown in figure 5,
which is free to drain at its upper boundary and
rests on an impermeable base, is subjected to a
surface loading of 64 kPa.
154
q = 64 kPa
Fig . 5 Clay layer subjected to a surcharge loading
Impermeable bedrock
4m
4 sublayers
c
v
= 2 m
2
/year
If β = 0.5 the finite difference equation takes a
particularly simple form:
u t t q
u t u t
B
A C
( )
( ) ( )
+ · +
+
∆ ∆
2
(4)
In the case under consideration the surcharge is
applied at t = 0 and remains constant thereafter
so that ∆ q = 0
The solution then proceeds as follow:
Step 1: Divide the deposit into layers  this fixes
the value of ∆z.
In this case the deposit is divided into 4 sub
layers (all with the same thickness) and thus
∆z = 1m
Step 2: select β = 0.5 this fixes the value of ∆t
For the case under consideration:
155
Fig. 5 Clay layer subjected to a surcharge loading
m
v
= 0.0003 m
2
/kN
β · ·
×
·
·
c t
z
t
thus
t years
v
∆
∆
∆
∆
2 2
2
1
1
2
0 25 .
156
Step 3: Calculate the initial pore pressure
Because there cannot be an instantaneous
volume change it follows that
u t q t kPa ( ) ( ) · · · · 0 0 64
Step 4: Introduce the dummy node to simulate
the impermeable boundary
Step 5: March the solution forward using the
finite difference equation and
introducing the boundary conditions
The solution is shown in the table below:
t(years) 0 0.2
5
0.5 0.7
5
1 1.2
5
1.5
q(kPa) 64 64 64 64 64 64 64
z=0 64 0 0 0 0 0 0
z=1m 64 64 32 32 24 24 20
z=2m 64 64 64 48 48 40 40
z=3m 64 64 64 64 56 56 48
z=4m 64 64 64 64 64 56 56
dummy 64 64 64 64 56 56 48
Step 6: Calculate settlement
The settlement is calculated as follows
S dz
m q u dz
m q H m udz
v
H
v
H
v v
H
·
· −
· −
∫
∫
∫
ε
0
0
0
( )
(5)
157
In the above equation the integral of the excess
pore pressure cannot be evaluated exactly
because the excess pore pressures are only
calculated at the grid points. However, the integral
can be evaluated approximately using numerical
techniques. The simplest approach, and that used
here, is to use the trapezoidal method:
Thus
udz u u z u u z
z
u u
u u
where
u u z t
H
n n
n
n
i i
0
0 1 1
0
2 1
1
2
1
2
2
∫
≈ + + + +
·
+
¸
¸
_
,
+ + +
¸
1
]
1
·
−
−
( ) ( )
( , )
∆ ∆
∆
∆
(6)
Thus after 1.5 years
S m qH m udz
m
mm
v v
H
· −
· × × − ×
+
+ + + ×
·
·
∫
0
0 0003 64 4 0 0003
0 56
2
20 40 48 1
0 036
36
. . ( )
.
The settlement at other times can be similarly
calculated from the excess pore pressures hence
the values can be determined as shown in the
table below.
t(years) 0 0.2
5
0.5 0.7
5
1 1.2
5
1.5
q(kPa) 64 64 64 64 64 64 64
z=0 64 0 0 0 0 0 0
z=1m 64 64 32 32 24 24 20
z=2m 64 64 64 48 48 40 40
158
z=3m 64 64 64 64 56 56 48
z=4m 64 64 64 64 64 56 56
dummy 64 64 64 64 56 56 48
Settlem
ent
(mm)
0 9.6 19.
2
24 28.
8
32.
4
36
Example  Numerical Solution when β ≠ 1/2
Suppose now the previous example is solved using
a step size of 2 months but keeping the number of
layers the same. If this is the case β =1/3. The
numerical solution proceeds as above but now
using the more complex form of the finite
difference equation, viz. equation (2e), the solution
is shown in the table below:
t(mth’s) 0.0
0
2.0
0
4.0
0
6.0
0
8.0
0
10.
00
12.
00
14.
00
16.
00
18.
00
settleme
nt(mm)
0.0
0
9.6
0
16.
00
20.
27
23.
82
26.
90
29.
67
32.
20
34.
54
36.
73
q(kPa) 64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
z=0 64.
00
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
z=1m 64.
00
64.
00
42.
67
35.
56
30.
81
27.
65
25.
28
23.
44
21.
92
20.
61
z=2m 64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
56.
89
52.
15
48.
20
45.
04
42.
32
39.
92
37.
74
z=3m 64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
61.
63
59.
26
56.
63
53.
99
51.
39
48.
86
z=4m 64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
62.
42
60.
31
57.
85
55.
28
52.
68
159
dummy 64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
61.
63
59.
26
56.
63
53.
99
51.
39
48.
86
For z = 3 m at 12 months the calculations are
)] t ( u 2 ) t ( u ) t ( u [ ) t ( u q ) t t ( u
B C A B B B
− + β + + ∆ · ∆ +
· ∆ + ) t t ( u
B 0 + 59.26 + 0.3333 × [48.20 +
62.42  2 × 59.26] = 56.63
The results for the two analyses are quite close.
After 18 months the settlement predicted in
example 1 is 36 mm, which compares well with the
settlement calculated in example 2, viz. 36.7mm.
Example  Variable loading
Suppose fill having unit weight 20 kN/m
3
is placed
at a rate of 0.5 m/month for 12 months after which
no more load is applied, the analysis only differs
from that in the previous examples in that the
value of ∆q needs to be included in the finite
difference equation. Choosing β = 0.5 with 4 layers
gives a time step of 0.25 years as before. The
results are shown in the table below.
t(years) 0 0.2
5
0.5 0.7
5
1 1.2
5
1.5
settleme
nt(mm)
0 4.5 13.
5
24.
75
38.
25
48.
938
56.
813
q(kPa) 0 30 60 90 120 120 120
z=0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
z=1m 0 30 45 60 71.
25
52.
5
46.
875
z=2m 0 30 60 82.
5
105 93.
75
82.
5
z=3m 0 30 60 90 116 112 105
160
.25 .5
z=4m 0 30 60 90 120 116
.25
112
.5
dummy 0 30 60 90 116
.25
112
.5
105
Note that when the load is applied gradually the
excess pore pressure at the permeable upper
boundary remains at zero. This is because there is
no instantaneous change in load.
If the calculation is repeated for the case in which
there are 5 sublayers, and a time step of 0.1 years
is adopted, this gives β = 0.3125 and the results
are shown below:
t (years) 0.0
0
0.1
0
0.2
0
0.3
0
0.4
0
0.5
0
0.6
0
0.7
0
0.8
0
0.9
0
1.0
0
settleme
nt(mm)
0.0
0
1.4
4
3.7
8
6.7
4
10.
21
14.
13
18.
45
23.
13
28.
16
33.
50
39.
15
q(kPa) 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
36.
00
48.
00
60.
00
72.
00
84.
00
96.
00
108
.00
120
.00
z=0 0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
z=0.8m 0.0
0
12.
00
20.
25
27.
09
33.
04
38.
38
43.
27
47.
80
52.
04
56.
05
59.
85
z=1.6m 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
34.
83
44.
78
54.
00
62.
64
70.
78
78.
50
85.
86
92.
90
z=2.4m 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
36.
00
47.
63
58.
86
69.
66
80.
07
90.
11
99.
81
109
.18
z=3.2m 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
36.
00
48.
00
59.
89
71.
60
83.
10
94.
35
105
.33
116
.04
z=4.0m 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
36.
00
48.
00
60.
00
71.
93
83.
72
95.
33
106
.72
117
.85
dummy 0.0
0
12.
00
24.
00
36.
00
48.
00
59.
89
71.
60
83.
10
94.
35
105
.33
116
.04
161
t (years) 1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5
settleme
nt(mm)
39.
145
43.
6
47.
495
50.
997
54.
236
57.
269
q(kPa) 120 12
0
120 120 120 120
z=0 0 0 0 0 0 0
z=0.8m 59.
851
51.
5
46.
697
43.
186
40.
441
38.
191
z=1.6m 92.
904
87.
7
82.
158
77.
59
73.
681
70.
29
z=2.4m 109
.18
10
6
103 99.
486
96.
068
92.
804
z=3.2m 116
.04
11
4
112
.6
110
.44
108
.01
105
.41
z=4.0m 117
.85
11
7
115
.31
113
.61
111
.63
109
.37
dummy 116
.04
11
4
112
.6
110
.44
108
.01
105
.41
Again the settlements at 1.5 years are quite
similar. Thus although greater refinement of the
grid leads to more accurate excess pore pressures
and settlements there is, in practice, little
advantage of using β ≠ 0.5.
162
Example  Abrupt change of load
Suppose that in the case detailed in example 1 a
further surcharge of 32 kPa is added after 12
months. The solution in this case is best handled
in two stages.
Stage 1 follows exactly the path outlined in
example 1 and is detailed in the table below. Just
after 1 year the load is abruptly increased, and
since there can be no instantaneous volume strain
there can be no increase in effective stress and no
change in settlement. This means that the
increase or decrease in applied stress must be
matched by a corresponding increase or decrease
in pore water pressure. This enables the excess
pore water pressure to be calculated.
t 0 0.2
5
0.5
0
0.7
5
1.0
0
settleme
nt(mm)
0 9.6 19.
2
24 28.
8
q(kPa) 6
4
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
z=0 6
4
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
0.0
0
z=1m 6
4
64.
00
32.
00
32.
00
24.
00
z=2m 6
4
64.
00
64.
00
48.
00
48.
00
z=3m 6
4
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
56.
00
z=4m 6
4
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
dummy 6
4
64.
00
64.
00
64.
00
56.
00
163
Stage 2 of the calculation then proceeds in the
same way as in stage 1 or in example 1. This is
shown in the table given below:
t 1 1.2
5
1.5 1.7
5
2 2.2
5
2.5
settleme
nt(mm)
28.
8
37.
2
45.
6
51 56.
4
60.
75
65.
1
q(kPa) 96 96 96 96 96 96 96
z=0 32 0 0 0 0 0 0
z=1m 56 56 36 36 29 29 24.
5
z=2m 80 72 72 58 58 49 49
z=3m 88 88 80 80 69 69 59
z=4m 96 88 88 80 80 69 69
dummy 88 88 80 80 69 69 59
12. SETTLEMENTS OF STRUCTURES
12.1 The settlement process
An important task in the design of foundations is to
determine the settlement, this is shown
schematically in Figure 1.
164
Maximum
Settlement
Soil Layer
Fig. 1 Settlement of a loaded footing
As discussed earlier the skeletal soil material and
the pore water are relatively incompressible and
any change in volume can only occur due to
change in the volume of the voids. For the volume
of the voids to change, pore water must flow into
or out of a soil element. Because this cannot
happen instantaneously when a load is first
applied to a soil there cannot be any immediate
change in its volume. For onedimensional
conditions with no lateral strain this implies that
there is no immediate vertical strain and hence
that the excess pore pressure is equal to the
change in vertical stress. However, under more
general conditions both lateral (or horizontal) and
vertical strains can occur. Immediately after load is
applied there will be no change in volume, but the
soil deformations will result in an initial settlement.
This is said to occur under undrained conditions
because no pore water has been able to drain from
the soil. With time the excess pore pressures
generated during the undrained loading will
dissipate and further lateral and vertical strains
will occur. Ultimately the settlement will reach its
long term or drained value.
165
Fig. 1 Settlement of a loaded footing
When the load is first applied to the soil there will
be a tendency for the more highly stressed parts of
the soil to compress and thus for there to be a
reduction in the volume of the voids. The pore
water will respond to this tendency towards a
decrease in volume by undergoing an increase in
pore water pressure and so initial excess pore
water pressures will develop. Subsequently there
will be a flow of water from regions of high excess
pore water pressure to regions of low excess pore
water pressure, and the load induced excess pore
water pressures will dissipate. This is the process
of consolidation, and during this process the soil
will undergo a settlement which varies with time.
Ultimately after a long period of time all the excess
pore water pressures will have dissipated and the
settlement of the soil will cease and it will reach its
long term or drained settlement (the term drained
is used because all excess pore water pressures
have dissipated and there will be no further
drainage of water from the voids although the
voids will still remain saturated). The process of
consolidation is shown schematically in Figure 2.
It should be stated that the process described
above represents a simplification because some
soils tend to creep. For such soils there will be
additional creep settlements even though the
effective stress does not change.
166
Total
Stress
Time
Time
Excess
Pore
Pressure
Effective
Stress
Time
Fig. 2a Variation of stress and pore pressure
at a typical point under a footing
Settlement
Time
Consolidation
settlement
Initial
settlement
Final
settlement
Fig. 2b Variation of settlement with time
12.2 Analysis of Settlement under three
dimensional conditions
Previously the settlement under foundations has
been estimated assuming purely onedimensional
conditions. However, it is clear from consideration
167
of the stress changes (predicted by the theory of
elasticity) under the centre and edges of various
loaded areas that in general the stress changes
may differ significantly from those deduced using
the purely onedimensional assumption.
If it is hypothesised that the soil can be treated as
a linear isotropic elastic material then solutions for
the settlement can be obtained using the theory of
elasticity. This assumption involves a considerable
level of approximation which is necessary
because:
• real soil behaviour is highly nonlinear
• the geometry of the foundation is often complex
• simple models enable calculations to be easily
performed
Linear isotropic elasticity is used because:
• closed form solutions which are easily evaluated
can be obtained
• complicated loadings can be synthesised from
simple components using superposition
• only 2 material constants are required from (E, ν,
G, K)
• the solutions obtained agree with intuition and
experience
12.3 Theory of Elasticity for Saturated Soils
In an isotropic elastic solid it is found that Hooke’s
law relates the changes in stress to the changes in
strain as described in equation (1):
168
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
xx
xx yy zz
yy
yy zz xx
zz
zz xx yy
E
E
E
·
− +
·
− +
·
− +
ν
ν
ν
( )
( )
( )
(1a)
where ∆ε
xx
, ∆ε
yy
, ∆ε
zz
denote the strains which
arise from the changes in stress ∆σ
xx
, ∆σ
yy
, ∆σ
zz
and where E is Young’s modulus and ν is Poisson’s
ratio.
Hooke’s law in this form does not apply to soil
except for undrained conditions which will be
discussed later. For soil the correct relationship is
one between effective stress and strain as shown
below:
∆ ε
∆ ∆ ∆
∆ ε
∆ ∆ ∆
∆ ε
∆ ∆ ∆
xx
xx yy zz
yy
yy zz xx
zz
zz xx yy
E
E
E
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
σ ν σ σ
σ ν σ σ
σ ν σ σ
( )
( )
( )
(1b)
where E´ is called the effective stress, or drained,
Young’s modulus and ν´ is called the effective
stress, or drained, Poisson’s ratio, and where the
increments of effective stress are related to the
increments of total stress and the increment of
pore water pressure by:
∆ ∆ σ ∆ ′ · − σ
x x x x
u
∆ ∆ σ ∆ ′ · − σ
yy yy
u
(1c)
∆ ∆ σ ∆ ′ · − σ
zz z z
u
169
The relationship between effective stress and
strain can always be used to calculate the
deformation of soils. However, to do so it is
necessary to know both the change in total stress
and the change in pore water pressure. The
change in total stress can usually be estimated
using elastic solutions, but the change in pore
pressure is, in general, very difficult to determine.
One important case where the effective stresses
are known is in the long term. In this situation all
excess pore water pressures have dissipated and
thus the change in effective stress is equal to the
change in total stress. The settlement can then be
calculated using the effective stress, strain
relations.
Equations (1b) can be modified as follows:
∆ε
∆ ∆ ∆
∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
∆ ∆
∆
∆ ∆ ∆
xx
xx yy zz
xx yy zz xx
xx m
m
yy zz xx
E
E
E
where
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
·
′ + ′ − ′ ′ + ′ + ′
′
·
′ + ′ − ′ ′
′
′ ·
′ + ′ + ′
σ ν σ σ
σ ν ν σ σ σ
σ ν ν σ
σ
σ σ σ
( )
( ) ( )
( )
( )
1
1 3
3
(2)
this alternative form of Hooke’s law is useful as will
be seen below.
12.4 Behaviour of an elastic soil under
undrained conditions
It was shown above that the long term behaviour
of soil can be analysed using Hooke’s law since all
170
excess pore pressures have dissipated and so the
effective stress equals the total stress. Another
important case which can be analysed using
Hooke’s law is immediately after loading when no
water has drained out of the soil pores and no
excess pore pressures have dissipated, i.e.
undrained behaviour. To establish this note that
under such conditions there can be no volume
change and thus:
∆ε ∆ε ∆ε ∆ε
v xx yy zz
· + + · 0
(3a)
The volume strain can be calculated using
equations (2) and (3a) giving:
∆ ε
∆
v
m
E
·
− ′ ′
′
3 1 2 ( ) ν σ
(3b)
If the volume strain is zero the change in mean
effective stress is zero and thus:
∆ε
∆
∆ ∆σ ∆
∆ ∆σ
v
m
m m
m
E
then
u
thus
u
·
− ′ ′
′
·
′ · − ·
·
3 1 2
0
0
( ) ν σ
σ
(3c)
This enables the increment in excess pore water
pressure to be expressed in terms of the total
stress. Using this relation and substitution into
equation (2) leads to the following relation
between total stress and strain:
171
∆ ε
∆ σ ∆ σ ∆ σ
xx
xx yy zz
E
·
+ ′ − −
′
( )( ) 1 2
3
ν
(4)
This and similar expressions for ∆ε
yy
and ∆ε
zz
are
equivalent to Hooke’s law for undrained loading,
which may be written as:
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
xx
xx u yy zz
u
yy
yy u zz xx
u
zz
zz u xx yy
u
E
E
E
·
− +
·
− +
·
− +
ν
ν
ν
( )
( )
( )
(5)
The quantities E
u
, and ν
u
are called the undrained
Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio respectively.
By comparing equations (4) and (5) it can be seen
that these quantities are related to the drained or
effective stress relations as follows:
E
E
u
u
·
′
+ ′
·
3
2 1
1
2
( ) ν
ν
(6)
It is interesting to note that so far there has been
no mention of shear behaviour, for shear stresses
and strains Hooke’s law may be written as:
∆γ
∆σ
yz
yz
G
·
′
∆γ
∆σ
zx
zx
G
·
′
(7)
172
∆γ
∆σ
xy
xy
G
·
′
where G´ is a material property called the shear
modulus which is related to the effective stress
parameters as follows.
′ ·
′
+ ′
G
E
2 1 ( ) ν
(8)
It is interesting to observe that:
′ ·
′
+ ′
· ·
+
· G
E E E
G
u u
u
u
2 1 3 2 1 ( ) ( ) ν ν
(9)
Showing that the shear modulus (and shear strain)
is unaffected by the state of drainage in the soil.
It is important to emphasise that the relation
between effective stress parameters and
undrained parameters is based on many
approximations (soil assumed elastic) and should
not be expected to be exact. Thus, although the
undrained value of Poisson’s ratio will be precisely
1/2 for a saturated soil because of
incompressibility, the undrained Young’s modulus
should be measured directly rather than
determined from the effective E´ value.
12.5 Values of the Elastic Parameters for
soils
The selection of parameters to use in elastic
analyses of settlement prediction presents
considerable difficulties in geotechnical
engineering. Soil is not a linear elastic material. In
173
selecting values for the "elastic" parameters
consideration must be given to:
The initial effective stresses in the ground.
• The values of E´,ν´ are both dependent on the
mean effective stress,
1
3
( ) ′ + ′ + ′ σ σ σ
xx yy zz , with the
moduli increasing with stress level.
The soil stress history
• OCR for clays
• Relative density (I
d
) for sands
• For a given stress level, the moduli will increase
with increasing OCR or I
d
The strain level
• It is advisable to use an appropriate secant
modulus for the expected strain level under the
footing.
12.5.1 Values of E'
Typical values may be selected from the following
values given in the data sheets (p. 65)
Soft normallyconsolidated clays ( 1400
 4200 kPa)
Medium clays ( 4200 
8400 kPa)
Stiff clays ( 8400  20000
kPa)
174
Loose normallyconsolidated sands ( 7000
 20000 kPa)
Medium normallyconsolidated sands
(20000  40000 kPa)
Dense normallyconsolidated sands
(40000  84000 kPa)
For overconsolidated sands, double the above
values.
12.5.2 Values of v'
Soft clay 0.35  0.45
Medium clay 0.30  0.35
Stiff Clay 0.2  0.3
Medium sand 0.3  0.35
These typical values should be used with caution.
Soils are extremely variable materials and
considerable expertise is needed to determine
accurate parameters.
Example  Strains during undrained loading
A cuboidal soil specimen is in equilibrium with a
uniform stress acting on all faces of 100 kPa, and
no pore pressure, that is u = 0. The vertical stress
is then increased by 90 kPa with the stresses on
the other faces remaining constant and with the
175
sample prevented from draining. Calculate the
vertical and lateral strains if E´ = 10 MPa and ν´ =
¼.
Initially: σ
1
= σ
2
= σ
3
= 100 kPa; u = 0
Analysis of undrained loading can be performed in
terms of undrained parameters (Total Stress
Analysis) or drained parameters (Effective Stress
Analysis).
1. Total Stress Analysis
Calculate undrained parameters ν
u
= 0.5,
E
E
u
·
′
+ ′
·
3
2 1
12
( ) ν
MPa
Now the total stress changes are ∆σ
xx
= 0 kPa,
∆σ
yy
= 0 kPa, ∆σ
zz
= 90 kPa
Use Hooke’s Law in terms of Total Stress
∆ ε ∆ σ ∆ σ ∆ σ
∆ σ
zz
u
zz u xx yy
zz
u
E E
· − + ·
1
( ( )) ν
∆ ε ∆ σ ∆ σ ∆ σ
∆ σ
∆ ε
xx
u
xx u zz yy
u zz
u
yy
E E
· − + ·
−
·
1
( ( )) ν
ν
Hence
∆ε
zz
= 90/12000 = 0.0075
∆ε
xx
= ∆ε
yy
=  0.5 × 0.0075 = 
0.00375
2. Effective stress analysis
176
Changes in effective stress are needed to evaluate
the effective Hooke’s Law relations.
Calculate ∆u = ∆σ
m
for undrained loading (see
above)
=
1
3
( ) ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
xx yy zz
+ +
= 90/3 = 30 kPa
Hence ∆σ´
xx
=  30 kPa, ∆σ´
yy
=  30 kPa, ∆σ´
zz
= 60 kPa
Now using Hooke’s Law
∆ε
∆ ∆ ∆
∆ε
∆ ∆ ∆
∆ε
∆ ∆ ∆
xx
xx yy zz
yy
yy zz xx
zz
zz xx yy
E
E
E
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
·
− − − +
· −
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
· −
·
′ − ′ ′ + ′
′
·
− − ×
·
σ ν σ σ
σ ν σ σ
σ ν σ σ
( )
. ( )
.
( )
.
( )
. ( )
.
30 0 25 30 60
10000
0 00375
0 00375
60 0 25 30 2
10000
0 0075
giving the same result as before.
Example – Strains during drained loading
If the same sample from example 1 is now allowed
to drain and consolidate, without any change to
the applied stresses, what strains will develop.
Only an effective stress analysis is relevant. Total
stress analysis cannot be used because the total
stress parameters (E
u
, ν
u
) are only relevant to
undrained loading, that is when deformation
occurs at constant volume.
177
In this example during consolidation the total
stresses remain constant. The effective stress
changes are thus ∆σ´
xx
= + 30 kPa, ∆σ´
yy
= + 30
kPa, ∆σ´
zz
= + 30 kPa, they are all equal to the
reduction in pore water pressure. Then from
Hooke’s Law
∆ε
xx
= ∆ε
yy
= ∆ε
zz
= 0.0015
Note that the total strains due to the undrained
loading followed by consolidation are
∆ε
xx
= ∆ε
yy
=  0.00375 + 0.0015 =
0.00225
∆ε
zz
= 0.0075 + 0.0015 = 0.009
The same total strains are obtained if the load is
applied slowly so that no pore pressures are
obtained. In this case the pore pressure change is
zero and hence the change in total stress is the
same as the change in effective stress (∆σ´
xx
= 0
kPa, ∆σ´
yy
= 0 kPa, ∆σ´
zz
= 90 kPa). The strains
are then given by
∆ ε ∆ ∆ ∆
∆
zz zz xx yy
zz
E E
·
′
′ − ′ ′ + ′ ·
′
′
·
1
0 009 ( ( )) . σ υ σ σ
σ
∆ ε ∆ ∆ ∆
∆
∆ ε
xx xx zz yy
zz
yy
E E
·
′
′ − ′ ′ + ′ ·
− ′ ′
′
· · −
1
0 00225 ( ( )) . σ υ σ σ
υ σ
Note that the strains are identical to those
determined as a result of undrained loading
followed by consolidation. This result is not
surprising when it is remembered that this is an
elastic analysis.
178
179
13. SETTLEMENT OF STRUCTURES
13.1 Solutions based on the theory of
elasticity
Figure 1 represents a surface footing resting on a
soil layer of depth H.
Soil Layer
Rigid bedrock
H
P
Fig. 1 Foundation resting on a soil layer
The settlement, s, of any point can be determined
from
s dz
zz
H
·
∫
∆ε
0
(1a)
180
Fig. 1 Foundation resting on a
soil layer
where for an elastic soil
∆ε
∆ ∆ ∆ ∆
zz
zz xx yy zz
E
·
+ ′ ′ − ′ ′ + ′ + ′
′
( ) ( ) 1 ν σ ν σ σ σ
(1b)
and under undrained conditions:
∆ε
∆σ ∆σ ∆σ ∆σ
zz
u zz u xx yy zz
u
E
·
+ − + + ( ) ( ) 1 ν ν
(1c)
As discussed earlier, to determine the settlement
immediately after the application of the load
equation (1c) is used, and to determine the long
term or drained settlement equation (1b) is used.
In the latter case the changes in pore water
pressure ∆u are usually zero and so the increment
in effective stress is equal to the increment in total
stress. Thus, in both cases the settlement can be
calculated if both the change in total vertical stress
∆σ
zz
and the change in the mean total stress (∆σ
xx
+
∆σ
yy
+ ∆σ
zz
) are known.
It has been shown previously how the Boussinesq
solution for the stresses in an elastic half space
due to a point load acting on the surface can be
used to determine the stress distributions under a
variety of shapes of loaded areas (circles,
rectangles, arbitrary shapes). The same solution
can be used to determine the surface settlements,
s
r
as a function of the distance, r, from a point load
Q, as
181
s
Q
Er
r
·
− ( ) 1
2
ν
π
(2)
This is illustrated in Figure 2.
Q
r
s
r
Fig. 2 Surface deflection of a deep elastic layer
s
Q
Er
r
·
− ( ) 1
2
ν
π
Because the soil is assumed to be linear elastic it is
possible to use superposition to determine the
surface settlements for distributed loads using the
point load solution. For example, the settlement at
the centre of a circular loaded area, radius, a, with
uniform stress, q, (flexible foundation), can be
determined by considering the effect of the stress,
q, acting over an area r dθ dr (shown in Figure 3)
on the settlement at the centre. The settlement is
then given by:
182
Fig. 2 Surface deflection due to a point load on a
deep elastic layer
H → ∞
dr
r
dθ
dθ
Fig. 3 Stress q acting over a circular area of
radius a
s
Er
qrd dr
q a
E
centre
a
·
−
·
−
∫ ∫
( )
( )
1
2 1
2
0
2
0
2
ν
π
θ
ν
π
(3)
For other positions under the circular load and for
other shapes the integration is not so
straightforward, and in many cases analytical
solutions will not be possible.
Also a limitation of this (Boussinesq) solution is
that it assumes the soil layer is infinitely deep. This
rarely occurs in practice as more generally a
relatively shallow soil layer usually overlies rock.
The procedure adopted in practice is to make use
of charted solutions that are available for a
number of commonly encountered situations.
Some of these are given in the data sheets, and
are discussed below. For other solutions the book
183
a
"Elastic solutions for Soil and Rock Mechanics" by
Poulos and Davis should be referred to.
13.2 Settlement under a rigid circular load
Soil Layer
Rigid bedrock
h
P a p
av
·π
2
rigid
2a
Fig. 4a Rigid circular footing on an elastic
layer on a rigid base
The configuration being considered is shown in
Figure 4a and the solution is presented in terms of
a settlement factor, I
ρ
. The settlement, s, is given
by the expression:
s
p a
E
I
av
·
ρ
(4)
where
P
av
is the average stress on the footing =
Load/Area = P/(π a
2)
a is the radius of the loaded area
184
E is the soil modulus
I
ρ
is a settlement factor read from Figure 4b
(Data Sheets page 45). Note that I
ρ
depends
on the value of Poisson’s ratio ν.
185
0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 0.8 0.6 0.4 0.2 0.0
h/a a/h
1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.0
Fig. 3b Settlement Factor for rigid circular footing on a layer
2a
P a p
av
· π
2
h
s
p a
E
I
av
·
ρ
ν · 0.0
0.2
0.4
0.5
I
ρ
Example
Determine the final settlement under a footing 3 m
in diameter which is subjected to a load of 500 kN
if it rests on a soil layer 9 m thick with properties E'
= 5 MPa, v' = 0.3.
a
h
I from figure b
p kPa
s m
av
· ·
·
·
×
·
·
× ×
·
15
9
167
122 4
500
15
70 7
70 7 15 122
5000
0 026
2
.
.
. ( )
( . )
.
. . .
.
ρ
π
13.3 Settlement of square footings
The settlement under a square footing can be
estimated to sufficient accuracy by considering the
load to act over an equivalent circular area. So if
the square footing has sides of length b the
186
Fig. 4b Settlement factors for a rigid circular
footing on a soil layer
following equivalent pressure and radius can be
used in equation 4:
p
P
b
a
b
av
·
·
2
π
13.4 Settlement of a Circular Foundation on a
nonhomogeneous soil
Soils often have a modulus that increases with
depth. The soil does not necessarily change its
nature with depth, the reason for the increase in
modulus is that the mean effective stress
increases with depth and, because the modulus
increases with the mean effective stress so the
modulus varies with depth. Often the variation
with depth is approximately linear and so can be
approximated by the relation:
E E mz · +
0
(5)
The modulus increases linearly from E
0
at the
surface as shown schematically in Figure 5..
E mz
0
+
2a
P a p
av
· π
2
Fig. 4 Circular footing on a nonhomogeneous soil
187
Fig. 5 Circular footing on nonhomogeneous
soil
p
A charted solution is available for this modulus
variation for the case of a flexible circular footing
(p constant) resting on an infinitely deep soil layer.
The settlement may be expressed in the form:
s
p a
E
I ·
0
ρ
(6)
where I
ρ
is the influence factor given in Figure 6
(Data Sheets p 47) and
p is the stress on the footing
a is the radius of the loaded area
E
0
is the Young's modulus at the surface
E mz
0
+
2a
2
1
10
1
10
2
10
3
10
4
10
4
10
2
1 10
2
I
ρ
ν · 0
1/3
1/2
η ·
E
ma
0
p
Example
An oil tank applies a uniform stress of 75 kPa over
a circular area with diameter 20 m. Calculate the
immediate settlement if the undrained modulus
increases linearly from 2 MPa at the surface, to 5
MPa at 10 m.
188
Fig. 6 Influence chart for flexible circular load on non
homogeneous soil
E E mz
m
m MPa m
· +
· +
·
0
5 2 10
0 3 . /
η
ρ
ρ
·
·
×
·
≈
·
·
× ×
·
E
ma
now
I from fig
thus
s
pa
E
I
m
0
0
2
0 3 10
0 67
0 6 6
75 10 0 6
2000
0 225
.
.
. .
.
.
13.5 Settlement under the edge of a flexible
strip load on a finite soil layer
The configuration is shown in Figure 7a. The
settlement at the edge takes the form:
s
p h
E
I ·
π
ρ
(7)
where I
ρ
is the influence factor given in Figure 7b
(Data sheets p 46) and
p is the stress on the strip footing
h is the depth of the soil layer
E
is the Young's modulus of the soil.
The value of the settlement at other locations can
be found by superposition, as demonstrated below.
189
For a rigid strip footing the settlement can be
estimated by averaging the centre and edge
settlements of an equivalent flexible footing.
Soil Layer
Rigid bedrock
h
B
p
Fig. 7a Flexible strip on an elastic layer on a
rigid base
2.0
1.6
1.2
0.8
0.4
0.0
0.0 0.25 0.5 h/B
2.0 1.0 0.0 B/h
I
ρ
ν ·0.0
0.2
0.4
0.5
Fig. 7b Settlement factor for edge of flexible
strip on a soil layer
190
Example
Determine the final settlement at a point 10 m
from the centre of a 16 m wide embankment,
assuming that the embankment can be considered
as a flexible strip load which applies a surface
stress of 50 kPa. The embankment is constructed
on a soil layer 15m deep with the properties E´= 9
MPa, ν´= 0.3.
Because of the assumption of elasticity
superposition can be used. Thus the embankment
loading can be simulated as shown in Figure 8.
8m 10m
Embankment
18m
(+)
2m
()
15m
2m
Fig. 8 Decomposition of embankment
loading to give settlement not under edge
The embankment loading consists of a strip
loading of intensity +50 kPa and width of 18 m for
which:
h
B
I from Figure b
·
·
·
15
18
083
11 7
.
.
ρ
191
and a strip loading of intensity 50 kPa and width
of 2 m for which:
B
h
I from Figure b
·
·
·
2
15
013
058 7
.
.
ρ
Thus the settlement is:
s
p h
E
I
s
p h
E
I
s s s
m
1
2
1 2
50 15
9000
110
50 15
9000
058
50 15
9000
110 058 0 0138
· ·
+ ×
×
×
· ·
− ×
×
×
· +
·
+ ×
×
× − ·
π π
π π
π
ρ
ρ
.
.
( . . ) .
192
13.6 The influence of embedment on
settlement
If a footing is embedded the settlement will be
reduced. Two cases are shown in Figure 9a for
which some solutions are available, both for a very
deep elastic layer. The settlement reduction
factors are given in Figure 9b (Data sheets p 48).
To use these solutions the settlement must be
found using the previously derived solutions for
the load resting on the surface.
D
Z
(a) Uniform circular load
at the base of an
unlined shaft
D
Z
(b) Uniform circular load
within a deep elastic
layer
Fig. 9a Loads applied below the surface in a
deep elastic layer
193
S
e
t
t
l
e
m
e
n
t
o
f
a
d
e
e
p
l
o
a
d
S
e
t
t
l
e
m
e
n
t
o
f
a
n
i
d
e
n
t
i
c
a
l
s
u
r
f
a
c
e
l
o
a
d
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0 5 10 15 20
Z/D
ν·0.50 (b)
ν·0.25 (a)
ν·0.49 (a)
ν·0.00 (a)
S
e
t
t
l
e
m
e
n
t
o
f
a
d
e
e
p
l
o
a
d
S
e
t
t
l
e
m
e
n
t
o
f
a
n
i
d
e
n
t
i
c
a
l
s
u
r
f
a
c
e
l
o
a
d
1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
ν·0.50 (b)
ν·0.25 (a)
ν·0.49 (a)
ν·0.0 (a)
Fig. 9b Depth reduction factors for
embedded circular footings
194
13.7 Selection of Elastic parameters
The settlement of any foundation can be split into
3 components
13.7.1 Immediate or undrained settlement
This component is due to deformations in the soil
immediately after loading. As has been discussed
previously, immediately after load is applied water
has no time to drain out of the voids and so there
is no volume change. Hence any deformation must
occur at constant volume.
In practice deformation at constant volume only
occurs for relatively impermeable clayey soils that
remain undrained in the short term.
To estimate the initial settlement, s
i
, due to the
constant volume deformation the undrained (total
stress) parameters E
u,
ν
u
= 1/2 are used in the
analyses described above.
As observed earlier when the load is applied over a
very large area the situation approaches one
dimensional conditions, for which the initial
undrained settlement is zero.
In principle effective stress parameters could be
used to determine the settlement, but because the
excess pore pressures generated by the load vary
throughout the soil the analysis is not
straightforward, and the simple elastic formulae
cannot be used.
13.7.2 Consolidation Settlement
195
This is due to deformations arising from volume
changes which occur as a consequence of the
excess pore water pressures, which have been
generated immediately after loading, dissipating
allowing the effective stresses to come into
equilibrium with the applied loads. Finally all
excess pore water pressures will have dissipated
and the final settlement, s
tf
, can be determined by
using E', v' in the settlement formulae developed
previously.
The settlement due to consolidation, s
c,
can be
determined indirectly from the final settlement s
tf
,
and the immediate settlement, s
i
, by:
s s s
c tf i
· −
(8)
13.7.3 Creep deformations at constant load.
Settlements due to creep cannot be predicted
using the simple elastic formulae, and are usually
only significant for soft soil sites.
13.8 Calculation of the settlement at any
time
For relatively impermeable clayey soils, in the
short term undrained deformations occur. It is
normally assumed that construction occurs
sufficiently quickly so that no drainage occurs, and
the settlement at the end of construction is then
the immediate settlement s
i.
For sandy soils, the
total final settlement is reached in the short term
and there is no time dependent response, thus it is
assumed that consolidation is instantaneous. Note
196
that there will be soils that have intermediate
properties, and the initial settlement will be partly
drained. The extent of the drainage (consolidation)
will depend on the boundary conditions and the
coefficient of consolidation.
For clayey soils the time settlement behaviour can
be visualised as shown in Figure 10
Load
Time
Construction
time
Settlement
Time
Consolidation
settlement s
c
Initial
settlement s
i
Total final
settlement
s
Tf
Const.
time
Fig. 10 Components of settlement
The settlement at any time t can then be
calculated from the three components described
above and it is found that:
s s Us
t i c
· +
(9a)
where U is called the degree of consolidation
197
U
s s
s s
clearly
U when t
and
U when t
t i
Tf i
·
−
−
· ·
· ·∞
0 0
1
Solutions for U versus T for a variety of boundary
conditions are given in the Data Sheets, pages 50 
58. In general these charts use the non
dimensionalised time factor T given by c
v
t / h
2,
where h is the thickness of the soil layer
irrespective of the boundary conditions (Note that
this is different from the definition used for 1D
consolidation). Solutions are given for the following
boundary conditions:
PTPB Permeable base, permeable top
boundary and permeable footing.
PTIB Impermeable base, permeable top
boundary and permeable footing.
IFIB Impermeable base, permeable top
boundary and impermeable footing.
IFPB Permeable base, permeable top
boundary and impermeable footing.
Example
Determine the immediate settlement, the final
settlement, and the settlement 1 year after the
end of construction of a rigid circular footing 5 m
in diameter which supports a load of 1.5 MN, and is
founded on a 5 m thick clay layer overlying gravel.
The clay layer has the following uniform
198
(9b)
properties: E' = 5 MPa, v' = 0.2, c
v
= 0.5 m
2
/yr and
E
u
= 6.25 MPa.
Step 1 Calculation of the Initial Settlement
Using Figure 4 and
ν ν · ·
u
05 .
a
h
thus
I
·
·
2 5
5
0 63
.
.
ρ
The immediate settlement can now be calculated
using:
s
p a
E
I
with
p
kPa
thus
s
mm
i
av
u
av
i
·
·
×
·
·
× ×
·
ρ
π
1500
2 5
76 39
76 39 2 5 0 63
6250
19 25
2
.
.
. . .
.
Step 2 Calculation of the Final Settlement
Using Figure 4 and
ν ν · ′ · 0 2 .
a
h
thus
I
·
·
05
0 95
.
.
ρ
It thus follows that
199
s
p a
E
I
m
Tf
av
·
′
·
× ×
ρ
76 39 2 5 0 95
5000
0 03629
. . .
.
Step 3 Calculation of Settlement after 1 year
(a) For the case of an Impermeable footing
(IFPB)
The consolidation settlement s
c
= (36.2919.25)
mm= 17 mm
The degree of consolidation can be determined
from Figure 11, thus for:
T c t h
v
· · × · / . / .
2 2
05 1 5 0 02
h a / · 2
10
5
10
4
10
3
10
2
10
1
1
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
U
h/a=50
20 10 5 2 1
0
0.5
T
c t
h
v
·
2
200
Fig. 11 Consolidation response for circular
footing  case IFPB
It is found that U=0.35
This leads to a settlement after 1 year of:
s
mm
yr 1
19 25 0 35 17
25 2
· + ×
·
. .
.
201
(b) For the case of a Permeable Footing
(PTPB)
10
4
10
3
10
2
10
1
1
T
c t
h
v
·
2
0.0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1.0
U
h/a=50
20
10
5
2
1
0.5
0
Fig. 12 Consolidation response for circular
footing  case PTPB
The degree of consolidation can be determined
from Figure 12, and it is found that U=0.5 and so
the settlement after 1 year is:
s mm
yr 1
19 25 050 17 27 75 · + × · . . .
202
14. SOIL STRENGTH
Soils are essentially frictional materials. They are comprised of
individual particles that can slide and roll relative to one
another. In the discipline of soil mechanics it is generally
assumed that the particles are not cemented.
One consequence of the frictional nature is that the strength
depends on the effective stresses in the soil. As the effective
stresses increase with depth, so in general will the strength.
The strength will also depend on whether the soil deformation
occurs under fully drained conditions, constant volume
(undrained) conditions, or with some intermediate state of
drainage. In each case different excess pore pressures will
occur resulting in different effective stresses, and hence
different strengths. In assessing the stability of soil
constructions analyses are usually performed to check the short
term (undrained) and long term (fully drained) conditions.
14.1 MohrCoulomb failure criterion
The limiting shear stress that may be applied to any plane in
the soil mass is found to be given by an equation of the form
τ = c + σ
n
tan φ
where c = cohesion (apparent)
203
φ = friction angle
This is known as the MohrCoulomb failure criterion
The parameters c and φ are not generally soil constants. The
MohrCoulomb criterion is an empirical criterion, and the
failure locus is only locally linear. Extrapolation outside the
range of normal stresses for which it has been determined is
likely to be unreliable. The parameters depend on:
• the initial state of the soil
Overconsolidation ratio (OCR) for clays
Relative density (I
d
) for sands
• the type of test
Drained  slow fully drained, no excess pore water
pressures
Undrained  no drainage, excess pore water pressures
develop
• the use of total or effective stresses
In terms of effective stress the failure criterion is written
τ = c′ + σ′
n
tan φ′
c′ and φ′ are referred to as the effective (drained)
strength parameters.
Soil behaviour is controlled by effective stresses, and the
effective strength parameters are the fundamental strength
parameters. But they are not necessarily soil constants.
They are fundamental in the sense that if soil is at failure
the state will always be described by an effective stress
failure criterion. The parameters can be determined from
any test provided that the pore pressures are known.
In terms of total stress the failure criterion is written
τ = c
u
+ σ
n
tan φ
u
= s
u
204
c
u
, φ
u
are referred to as the undrained (total) strength
parameters. These parameters can only be determined from
undrained tests.
The undrained strength parameters are not soil constants,
they depend strongly on the moisture content of the soil.
The total stress criterion has limited applicability as it is
only valid if soil deformation occurs without drainage.
The undrained strengths measured in the laboratory are
only relevant in practice to clayey (low permeability)
soils that initially deform without drainage, and that have
the same moisture content insitu.
14.2 Strength Tests
The engineering strength of soil materials is often determined
from tests in either the shear box apparatus or the triaxial
apparatus.
14.2.1 The Shear Box Test
The soil is sheared along a predetermined plane by placing it in
a box and then moving the top half of the box relative to the
bottom half. The box may be square or circular in plan and of
any size, however, the most common shear boxes are square,
205
60 mm x 60 mm, and test
Motor
drive
Load cell
to
measure
Shear
Force
Normal
load
Rollers
Soi
l
Porous
plates
Top platen
206
A load normal to the plane of shearing may be applied to a soil
specimen through the lid of the box. Provision is made for
porous plates to be placed above and below the soil specimen.
These enable drainage to occur which is necessary if a
specimen is to be consolidated under a normal load, and if a
specimen is to be tested in a fully drained state. The soil
specimen may be submerged, by filling the containing vessel
with water, to prevent the specimens from drying out.
Undrained tests may be carried out, but in this case solid spacer
blocks rather than the porous disks must be used.
Notation
N = Normal Force
F = Tangential (Shear) Force
σ
n
= N/A = Normal Stress
τ = F/A = Shear Stress
A = Crosssectional area of shear plane
dx = Horizontal displacement
dy = Vertical displacement
Usually only relatively slow drained tests are performed in
shear box apparatus. For clays the rate of shearing must be
chosen to prevent excess pore pressures building up. For freely
draining sands and gravels tests can be performed quickly.
Tests on sands and gravels are usually performed dry as it is
found that water does not significantly affect the (drained)
strength.
Provided there are no excess pore pressures the pore pressure in
the soil will be approximately zero and the total and effective
stresses will be identical. That is, σ
n
= σ´
n
The failure stresses thus define an effective stress
failure envelope from which the effective (drained)
strength parameters c´, φ´ can be determined.
207
Typical test results
At this stage we are primarily interested in the stresses at
failure. It is observed that for a set of initially similar soil
samples there is a linear failure criterion that may be expressed
as
τ = c′ + σ′
n
tan φ′
From this the effective (drained) strength parameters c′ and φ′
can be determined.
208
She
ar
load
(F)
τ
Horizontal displacement (dx)
σ
n
= σ´
n
A peak and an ultimate failure locus can be obtained from the
results each with different c´ and φ´ values. All soils are
essentially frictional materials and continued shearing results in
them approaching a purely frictional state where c′ ≈ 0.
Normally consolidated clays (OCR =1) and loose sands do not
usually show peak strengths and have c′ = 0, whereas,
overconsolidated clays and dense sands have c′ > 0. Note that
dense sands (OC clays) do not possess any true cohesion
(bonds), and the apparent cohesion results from the tendency of
soil to expand when sheared.
As a soil test the shear box is far from ideal. Disadvantages of
the test include:
Nonuniform deformations and stresses. The stresses
determined may not be those acting on the shear plane, and
no stressstrain curve can be obtained.
• There are no facilities for measuring pore pressures
in the shear box and so it is not possible to determine
effective stresses from undrained tests.
• The shear box apparatus cannot give reliable
undrained strengths because it is impossible to prevent
localised drainage away from the shear plane.
However, it has many apparent advantages:
• It is easy to test sands and gravels
• Large deformations can be achieved by reversing
the shear box. This involves pushing half of the box
backwards and forwards several times, and is useful in finding
the residual strength of a soil.
• Large samples may be tested in large shear boxes.
Small samples may give misleading results due to
imperfections (fractures and fissures) or the lack of them.
• Samples may be sheared along predetermined
planes. This is useful when the shear strengths along fissures
or other selected planes are required.
209
In practice the shear box is used to get quick and crude
estimates of the failure parameters. It is sometimes used to
obtain undrained strengths but this use should be discouraged.
14.2.2 The Triaxial Test
The triaxial test is carried out in a cell and is so named because
three principal stresses are applied to the soil sample. Two of
the principal stresses are applied to the sample by a water
pressure inside the confining cell and are equal. The third
principal stress is applied by a loading ram through the top of
the cell and therefore may be different to the other two
principal stresses. A diagram of a typical triaxial cell is shown
below.
A cylindrical soil specimen as shown is placed inside a latex
rubber sheath which is sealed to a top cap and bottom pedestal
by rubber Orings. For drained tests, or undrained tests with
pore pressure measurement, porous disks are placed at the
bottom, and sometimes at the top of the specimen. For tests
where consolidation of the specimen is to be carried out, filter
210
Porous
disc
Porous
disc
Rubber
membrane
Water
supply to
cell
Water supply to soil
sample
paper drains may be provided around the outside of the specimen
in order to speed up the consolidation process.
Pore pressure generated inside the specimen during testing may
be measured by means of pressure transducers. These
transducers must operate with a very small volume change, since
fluid flowing out of the specimen would cause the pore water
pressure that was being measured to drop.
211
14.2.2.1 Stresses
σ
r
σ
r
= Radial stress (cell
pressure)
σ
a
= Axial stress
F = Deviator load
σ
r
From vertical equilibrium we have
σ σ
a r
F
A
· +
The term F/A is known as the deviator stress, and is usually
given the symbol q.
Hence we can write q = σ
a
 σ
r
= σ
1
 σ
3
(The axial and
radial stresses are principal stresses)
If q = 0 increasing cell pressure will result in:
• volumetric compression if the soil is free to drain. The
effective stresses will increase and so will the strength
• increasing pore water pressure if soil volume is constant (that
is, undrained). As the effective stresses cannot change it
follows that ∆u = ∆σ
r
Increasing q is required to cause failure
14.2.2.2 Strains
From the measurements of change in height, dh, and change in
volume dV we can determine
212
u
Axial strain ε
a
= dh/h
0
Volume strain ε
v
= dV/V
0
where h
0
is the initial height, and V
0
the initial volume. The
conventional small strain assumption is generally used.
It is assumed that the sample deforms as a right circular cylinder.
The crosssectional area, A, can then be determined from
1
It is important to make allowance for the changing area when
calculating the deviator stress,
q = σ
1
 σ
3
= F/A
14.2.2.3 Test procedure
There are many test variations. Those used most in practice are
UU (unconsolidated undrained) test.
Cell pressure applied without allowing drainage. Then
keeping cell pressure constant increase deviator load to
failure without drainage.
CIU (isotropically consolidated undrained) test.
Drainage allowed during cell pressure application. Then
without allowing further drainage increase q keeping σ
r
constant as for UU test.
CID (isotropically consolidated drained) test
Similar to CIU except that as deviator stress is increased
drainage is permitted. The rate of loading must be slow enough
to ensure no excess pore pressures develop.
A =
A
1 +
dV
V
1 +
dh
h
=
A
1 
1 
o o
v
a
0
0
¸
¸
_
,
¸
¸
_
,
ε
ε
213
As a test for investigating the behaviour of soils the triaxial test
has many advantages over the shear box test:
• Specimens are subjected to uniform stresses and
strains
• The complete stressstrain behaviour can be
investigated
• Drained and undrained tests can be performed
• Pore water pressures can be measured in undrained
tests
• Different combinations of confining and axial stress
can be applied
214
Typical results from a series of drained tests consolidated to
different cell pressures would be as follows.
q
ε
a
The triaxial test gives the strength in terms of the principal
stresses, whereas the shear box gives the stresses on the failure
plane directly. To relate the strengths from the two tests we need
to use some results from the Mohr circle transformation of stress.
τ
σ
σ
1
σ
3
14.3 Mohr Circles
The Mohr circle construction enables the stresses acting in
different directions at a point on a plane to be determined,
provided that the stress acting normal to the plane is a principal
stress. The Mohr circle construction is very useful in Soil
Mechanics as many practical situations can be approximated as
plane strain problems.
215
Increasing cell
pressure
The sign convention is different to that used in Structural
Analysis because for Soils it is conventional to take the
compressive stresses as positive.
Sign convention: Compressive normal stresses are positive
Anticlockwise shear stresses are positive (from
inside soil element)
Angles measured clockwise positive
Let us consider the stresses acting on different planes for an
element of soil
(a) (b)
(a) shows the stresses on a plane at angle α to the minor
principal stress, and (b) shows the relevant lengths.
Now resolving forces gives
σ σ α α σ α α
α
l l l · +
1 3
sin sin cos cos
σ
σ
α
σ
α
α
· − + +
1 3
2
1 2
2
1 2 ( cos ) ( cos )
( ) ( )
σ
σ σ σ σ
α
α
·
+
−
−
1 3 1 3
2 2
2 cos
and similarly
( )
τ
σ σ
α
α
·
−
1 3
2
2 sin
which define the Mohr circle relation
216
α
α
σ
3
σ
1
σ
α
τ
α
α
l
l sinα
l cosα
τ
σ
σ
1
σ
3
φ
2α
(τ
α
, σ
α
)
From the Mohr Circle we have
σ
α
= p  R cos 2α
τ
α
= R sin 2α
where
2
3
and failure occurs on a plane at an angle α from the plane on
which σ
3
acts, and
α
π φ
· −
¸
¸
_
,
4 2
14.4 MohrCoulomb Failure Criterion (Principal stresses)
Failure will occur when we can find any direction such that
τ
α
 ≥ c + σ
α
tan φ
p =
( + )
2
=
( + )
2
1 3 xx zz σ σ σ σ
R =
(  )
2
=
1
2
(  ) + 4
1 3
xx zz
2
zx
2
σ σ
σ σ τ
217
R
p
τ
σ
φ
σ
1
σ
3
c
c cot φ
p
R
At failure from the geometry of the Mohr Circle
R = sin φ (p + c cot φ) = p sin φ + c cos φ
4
5
14.4.1 MohrCoulomb Failure Criterion for Saturated Soil
As mentioned above it is the effective strength parameters c′ , φ′
that are the fundamental soil strength parameters. To use these
parameters the MohrCoulomb criterion must be expressed in
terms of effective stresses, that is
τ = c′ + σ′
n
tan φ′
σ′
1
= N
φ
σ′
3
+ 2 c′ √ N
φ
with
N
φ
φ
φ
·
+ ′
− ′
1
1
sin
sin
1
3
2
+ c
+ c
=
1 +
1 
=
4
+
2
=
N
σ
φ
σ
φ
φ
φ
π φ
φ
cot
cot
sin
sin
tan
¸
1
]
1
1 3
=
N
+ 2 c
N σ σ φ φ
218
and the effective stresses are given by
σ′
n
= σ
n
 u
σ′
1
· σ
1
 u
σ′
3
· σ
3
 u
Note that the difference between the total and effective stresses is
simply the pore pressure u. Thus the total and effective stress
Mohr circles have the same diameter and are displaced along the
σ axis by the value of the pore pressure.
14.5 Interpretation of Laboratory Data
It is helpful to distinguish between drained and undrained
loading.
14.5.1 Drained loading
In drained laboratory tests the loading rate is sufficiently slow so
that all excess pore water pressures will have dissipated. From
the known pore water pressures the effective stresses can be
determined.
The behaviour of drained tests must be interpreted in terms of
the effective strength parameters c′ , φ′ , using the effective
stresses. It is possible to construct a series of total stress Mohr
Circles but the inferred total strength parameters have no
relevance to the soil behaviour.
The effective strength parameters are generally used to check the
long term (that is when all the excess pore pressures have
dissipated) stability of soil constructions. However, for sands and
gravels pore pressures dissipate rapidly and for these permeable
soils the effective strength parameters can also be used for
assessing the short term stability. In principle the effective
strength parameters can be used to check the stability at any time
for any soil type, but to do this the pore pressures in the ground
must be known and in general they are not.
219
14.5.2 Undrained loading
In undrained laboratory tests it is necessary to ensure no drainage
from the sample, or moisture redistribution within the sample
occurs. In shear box tests this requires fast rates, but because of
the more uniform conditions in the triaxial test undrained tests
can be performed more slowly simply making sure that no water
can drain from the sample.
The behaviour of undrained tests may be interpreted in terms of
the effective strength parameters c′ , φ′ , using the effective
stresses. In a triaxial test with pore pressure measurement this is
possible. The behaviour may also be interpreted in terms of the
total strength parameters c
u
, φ
u
. However, if the total stress
parameters are being used they must be determined from
Unconsolidated Undrained tests if they are to be relevant to the
soil in the ground.
Let us consider the behaviour of three identical saturated soil
samples in undrained triaxial tests. No water is allowed to drain
and three different confining pressures are applied (Samples are
Unconsolidated). The Mohr circles at failure will be as follows
τ
σ
σ
1
σ
3
′ σ
1
′ σ
3
From the total stress Mohr circles we find that φ · φ
u
= 0.
Because all samples are at failure the effective stress failure
condition must also be satisfied, and because all the circles have
the same radius there must be a single effective stress Mohr
220
circle. The different total stress Mohr circles indicate that the
samples must have different pore water pressures.
The explanation for the independence of the undrained strength
on the confining stress is that increasing the cell pressure
without allowing drainage has the effect of increasing the pore
pressure by the same amount (∆u = ∆σ
r
). There is therefore no
change in effective stress. As it is the effective stresses that
control the soil behaviour the subsequent strength is unaffected.
The change in pore pressure during shearing is a function of the
initial effective stress and the moisture content. As these are
identical for the three samples an identical strength is obtained.
As will be shown later the fact that the moisture content
remains constant is the most important factor in having a
constant strength.
In some series of unconsolidated undrained tests it is found that
for different soil samples from a particular site φ
u
is not zero, or
c
u
is not constant. If this occurs then either
• the samples are not saturated, or
• the samples have different moisture contents
The undrained strength c
u
is not a fundamental soil parameter.
The total stress strength parameters c
u
, φ
u
are often used to assess
the short term (undrained) stability of soil constructions. It is
important that no drainage should occur otherwise this approach
is not valid. Therefore, for sands and gravels which drain rapidly
a total stress analysis would not be appropriate.
For soils that do not drain freely this approach is the only simple
way of assessing the short term stability, because in general the
pore water pressures are unknown.
Note however, that it is possible to measure an undrained
strength for any type of soil in the triaxial apparatus.
221
Example
In an unconsolidated undrained triaxial test the undrained
strength is measured as 17.5 kPa. Determine the cell pressure
used in the test if the effective strength parameters are c´ = 0, φ´
= 26
o
and the pore pressure at failure is 43 kPa.
Analytical solution
Undrained strength = 17.5 =
( ) ( ) σ σ σ σ
1 3 1 3
2 2
−
·
′ − ′
Effective stress failure criterion σ′
1
= N
φ
σ′
3
+ 2 c′ √ N
φ
c´ = 0,
N
φ
φ
φ
·
+ ′
− ′
·
1
1
2 561
sin
sin
.
Hence σ
’ = 57.4 kPa, σ
3
’ = 22.4 kPa
and cell pressure (total stress) = σ
3
’ + u = 65.4 kPa
222
Graphical solution
τ
σ
σ
1
σ
3
′ σ
1
′ σ
3
26
17.5
223
o
15. STRESSSTRAIN BEHAVIOUR OF SOILS
15.1 The behaviour of sands
In practice sands are usually sheared under drained
conditions because their relatively high
permeability ensures that excess pore pressures
are not generated. This behaviour can be
investigated in a variety of laboratory apparatus.
We will consider the behaviour in simple shear
tests. The simple shear test is similar to the shear
box test but it has the advantage that the strain
and stress states are more uniform enabling us to
investigate the stressstrain behaviour. The name
simple shear refers to the plane strain mode of
deformation shown below:
τ
σ
dx
H
dz
γ
xz
γ
xz
= dx/H ε
z
=  dz/H = ε
v
For this deformation there are only two nonzero
strain components, these are the shear strain, γ
xz
224
= dx/H, and the normal strain ε
z
= dz/H. The
volume strain, ε
v
= ε
z
.
For sands the two most important parameters
governing their behaviour are the Relative Density,
I
d
, and the effective stress level, σ′ . The Relative
density is defined by
6
where e
max
and e
min
are the maximum and minimum
void ratios that can be measured in standard tests
in the laboratory, and e is the current void ratio.
This expression can be rewritten in terms of dry
density as
7
and hence
8
Sand is generally referred to as dense if I
d
> 0.6
and loose if I
d
< 0.3.
15.1.1 Influence of Relative Density
The influence of relative density on the behaviour
can be seen in the plots below for tests all
performed at the same normal stress.
d I
=
e
 e
e

e
max
max min
d
s
w
=
G
1 + e
γ
γ
d
dmin d
dmin dmax
I
=
1

1
1

1
γ γ
γ γ
225
τ
σ ′
τ σ ′ = tanφ ′
ult
CSL
γ
γ
ε
v
Dense (D)
Medium (M)
Loose (L)
D
M
L
e
γ
D
M
L
The following observations can be made:
• All samples approach the same ultimate
conditions of shear stress and void ratio,
irrespective of the initial density
• Initially dense samples attain higher peak
angles of friction (φ′ = tan
1
(τ/σ′ ) )
226
• Initially dense soils expand (dilate) when
sheared, and initially loose soils compress
227
15.1.2 Influence of Effective Stress Level
The influence of stress level can be seen in the plots
below where the two dense samples have the same
initial void ratio, e
1
and similarly the loose samples
both have the same initial void ratio e
2
.
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
γ
γ
ε
v
D
2
L
2
D
2
L
2
e
D
1
L
1
D
1
L
1
σ
1
σ
2
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
γ
D
2
L
2
D
1
L
1
σ’
The following observations can be made:
• The ultimate values of shear stress and void
ratio, depend on the stress level, but the
ultimate angle of friction (φ′
ult
= tan
1
(τ/σ′ )
ult
)
is independent of both density and stress level
228
• Initially dense samples attain higher peak
angles of friction (φ′ = tan
1
(τ/σ′ )), but the
peak friction angle reduces as the stress level
increases.
• Initially dense soils expand (dilate) when
sheared, and initially loose soils compress.
Increasing stress level causes less dilation
(greater compression).
229
15.1.3 Ultimate or Critical States
All soil when sheared will eventually attain a unique
stress ratio given by τ/σ′ = tan φ′
ult
, and reach a
critical void ratio which is uniquely related to the
normal stress. This ultimate state is referred to as
a Critical State, defined by
9
The locus of these critical
states defines a line
known as the Critical
State Line (CSL). This
may be represented by
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
e
σ′
CSL
d
d
=
d
d
=
d
d
= 0
v
τ
γ
σ
γ
ε
γ
′
e
e = e  ln λ
0
σ′
lnσ′
Straight line
τ
σ′
e
230
At critical states soil behaves as a purely frictional
material
φ′ = φ′
ult
= φ′
cs
= constant = F (mineralogy,
grading, angularity)
231
15.1.4 StressDilatancy Relation
During a simple shear test on dense sand the top
platen is forced up against the applied normal
stress. Work must be done against this external
force in addition to the work done in overcoming
friction between the particles. Thus the frictional
resistance of the soil may appear to be greater than
φ′
ult
. Another way to demonstrate this is to consider
a "sawtooth" analogy.
α
P
Q
F
N
Q F N · + cos sin α α
Q
P
F N
F N
·
+
− +
cos sin
sin cos
α α
α α
P F N · − + sin cos α α
( )
( )
Q
P
F
N
F
N
·
+
−
tan
tan
α
α 1
232
Now
Q
P
and
F
N
ult
· ′ · ′ tan tan φ φ
tan
tan tan
tan tan
′ ·
′ +
− ′
φ
φ α
φ α
ult
ult
1
′ · ′ + φ φ α
ult
tan α
ε
γ
· ≈
dy
dx
d
d
v
233
15.1.5 Peak Conditions
The failure conditions are normally expressed by a
MohrCoulomb criterion using parameters c´, φ´.
This is the approach that we will be following in
estimating the stability of soil constructions.
τ
σ’
c’
φ’
Dense sand  Peak
strengths c’, φ’
Ultimate strength
c’ = 0, φ’ = φ’
ult
However, this approach obscures the fact that c´ is
only an apparent cohesion. An alternative method
of presenting the results is to determine the
maximum friction angle φ´
pk
which in shear box type tests
is simply given by tan
1
(τ/σ´). The relation between φ´
pk
and effective stress is then as shown below.
234
φ’
pk I
d
=
1
I
d
=
0
.
5
I
d
=
0
φ’
ult
The position of the lines in this plot is a function of
the mineralogy and angularity of the soil.
Note that even loose sand can have φ´
pk
> φ´
ult
if the
stress is low enough. This means that loose sands may expand
when sheared.
235
15.1.6 Implications for stability analysis
If you choose to use φ′
pk
(or c′ , φ′ with c′ ≠ 0) in
stability calculations then you are saying that
everywhere on the critical failure surface the soil
will be dilating at failure. In most practical cases
this is unlikely to be realistic. For instance consider
the case of a retaining wall.
τ
γ
τ
γ
τ
γ
A
A
A
B
B
B
C
C
C
Failure
Surface
Wall
It is conservative to use c´ = 0 and φ´ = φ´
ult
for stability
analyses.
236
15.2 Behaviour of clays
The behaviour of clays is essentially identical to
that of sands. The data however is usually
presented in terms of the soils stress history (OCR)
rather than relative density.
To predict the behaviour of soil we need to combine
the CSL with our previous knowledge concerning
the consolidation behaviour. Experience has shown
that the CSL is parallel to the normal consolidation
line and lies below it in a void ratio, effective stress
plot.
e
NCL  normal
consoli dation line
log σ’
CSL
swelling
line
We find that normally consolidated clays behave
similarly to loose sands and heavily over
consolidated clays behave similarly to dense sands.
As the OCR increases there is a gradual trend
between these extremes. The response in drained
simple shear tests with σ´ constant is as follows
237
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
e
σ′
CSL
NCL
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
γ
OCR = 1
OCR = 8
γ
ε
v
OCR = 8
OCR = 1
238
15.2.1 Undrained response
In an undrained test volume change is prevented
and therefore the void ratio must remain constant.
Because the soil always heads towards a critical
state when sheared it is possible to show the path
that will be followed in an e, σ′ plot. This is shown
below for normally consolidated (OCR=1) and
heavily overconsolidated (OCR>8) samples having
the same initial void ratio. Once the final states in
this plot are known, so too are the final states in the
τ, σ′ plot. Also if the final total stresses are known
then the excess pore pressures can be determined.
τ
σ′
τ σ′ = tanφ ′
ult
CSL
e
σ′
CSL
NCL
τ
σ ′
τ σ′ = tanφ′
ult
CSL
γ
OCR = 1
γ
u
OCR = 8
OCR = 1
+ve
ve
OCR = 8
• Knowledge of the Critical State Line enables an
explanation for the existence of apparent
239
cohesion (undrained strength) in frictional
materials
• It is also clear that if the moisture content
changes then so will the undrained strength,
because failure will occur at a different point on
the CSL
240
15.3 Differences between sand and clay
When considering the behaviour of sands and clays
we generally use different parameters. For sands
stress level and relative density are considered to
be the important parameters, whereas for clays the
parameters are stress level and stress history
(OCR).
However, the broad patterns of behaviour observed
for sands and clays are very similar. To understand
why different "engineering" parameters are used it
is useful to consider the positions of the
consolidation and CSL lines in the void ratio,
effective stress plot.
0.1 1
10 100 log σ’ (MPa)
e
NCL
NCL
Loose
Dense
Clay
Sand
241
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