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“In Pursuit of Global Competitiveness”

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Department of Civil Engineering Government College of Engineering,Aurangabad Maharashtra state, India.
(An Autonomous Institute of Government of Maharashtra) (2010)

Introduction: Caissons
The term ‘caisson’ is derived from the French word, caisse, meaning a chest or box. Caisson has come to mean a boxlike structure, round a rectangular, which is sunk from the surface of either land or water to some desired depth. The caissons are of three types i. ii.

Box caissons Open caissons(wells) Peneumatic caissons Box caisson is open at top and closed at the bottom and is made of timber, reinforced concrete or steel. This caisson is built on land, then launched and floated to pier site where it is sunk in position. Such a type of caisson is used where bearing stratum is available at shallow depth, and where loads are not very heavy. Closed box caissons are also use for break waters and sea walls. An open caisson is a box of timber, metal, reinforced concrete or masonry which opens both at the top and bottom, and is used for building and bridge foundations. Open caissons are called wells. Well foundations from the most common type of deep foundations for bridges in India. A pneumatic caisson has its lower end designed as a working chamber in which compressed air forced to prevent the entry of water and thus permit excavation in dry. Whenever considerations for scour bearing capacity require foundation being taken to a depth of more than 5 to 7 meters, open excavations become costly and uneconomic as heavy timbering has to be provided. Also because of the greater earth work involved due to side slops, the progress of the work in open excavation will be very slow. Under the disadvantage of adopting the ordinary type of footing is that excavated material refilled around the structure is loose and hence easily scourable as compare to natural ground. The above disadvantages are avoided in a well foundation which a shell sunk by dredging inside of it and which finally becomes a part of the permanent structure.

However. However . . a double-D is more economical than a single circular well. since the perimeter is equidistance at all the point from the center of dredge hole. the sinking is more uniform than for other shapes. Also. The dredge area is also smaller for a double-D. though provide efficient grabbing to all parts of the curb. A circular well has the minimum perimeter for a given dredge area and the ratio of sinking effort to skin friction is maximum. the care and cost of sinking. suffer from the disadvantage that owing to sharp corners they can dig and are. the sharp corners product greater scour. the considerations of tilt and shift during sinking and the vertical and horizontal forces to which the well is subjected.also. a battery of small diameter wells are adopted with advantage the double hexagon and double octagon types. in abutments and wing walls where the tilt and shift position is not important. Twin circular well aim at combining the advantage for a circular well and for a double-D.but the only sang is that the two wells sang closed to each other have a tendency to close in or move apart. the diameter of the well is much more than the minimum size require to accommodate the bridge pier and hence the circular well causes and more obstruction to water way than the bridge pier does. therefore. more likely to tilt . the disadvantage of a circular is that in the direction parallel to the span of the bridge. The disadvantage is avoided in the case of double-D shape which conforms to the shapes of the bridge pier in plan. Hence for large piers.SHAPES OF WELL AND COMPONENT PARTS: The common types of well shapes are as follows:1) Single circular 2) Twin circular 3) Dumb-well 4) Double-D 5) Twin-hexagonal 6) Twin-octagonal 7) Rectangular The choice of a particular shape depends upon dimensions of the base of the pier or abutment.

ii) Steining. iii) Bottom plug iv) Well cap . The following components of a well have to be considered in the design of a well foundation: i) Well curb and cutting edge.Fig shows a typical section of a well foundation with its components parts.

called the grip length below the lowest scour level.(2) The maximum depth of scour.. 2... . mostly met in the North India Rivers. The well should be taken deep enough to rest on strata of adequate bearing capacity in relation to loads transmitted.. at the nose of pier... is found to be twice Lacey’s value of normal scour depth. In addition to minimum Rankine depth consideration.35 Where 1/3 …… (1) q=discharge in cumecs per linear meter of water way f = Lacey’s silt factor=1.DEPTH OF WELL FOUNDATION AND BEARING CAPACITY: The selection of the depth of a well is based on the following two criteria: 1. as well as those due wind and water. R=2RL ……… (3) Where R is measured below the high flood level (HFL)... . There should be adequate embedded length of well. the normal scour depth can be calculated by Lacey’s Formula: RL=1.. For alluvial soil. this is require for developing sufficient passive resistance to the counteract the overturning moment due to horizontal forces acting on the bridge deck..76 md = mean weighted diameter in mm.

Scour level=H..L.-2RL ………….L.(5) …………. According to Terzaghi and Peck.. It is further recommended that the minimum depth of embedment below the scour level should not be less than 2...(6) .F.2 m for piers and abutments supporting other types of super structure.-R=H.0 m for piers and abutment with arches and 1. and 1 R below HFL according to Railway practice.F. the ultimate bearing capacity can be determined from the following expression: Qf = Qp + 2πRfsDf =π Where Nc Nq N = Terzaghi’s bearing capacity factors R = radius of well Df = depth of well (depth of foundation) fs =average skin friction ………. (4) The grip length is taken as R below the scour level according to the code of practice of the Indian Roads Congress and as R in Railway practice this means that the depth of foundation should be at least 1 R below HFL according to IRC code.

bearing piers and is liable to the following horizontal forces: i) Bracking and tractive effort of the moving vehicles. vi) earth pressure vii) Centrifugal forces. direction and point of application of all the above forces can be found under the worst possible combinations and they can be replaced by two horizontal forces. v) seismic forces. P = Resultant of all horizontal forces in the direction across the pier Q = Resultant of all horizontal forces in the direction along the pier W = Resultant of vertical forces . ii) force on account of resistance of the bearings against movement due to variation of temperature. a well carries a dead load of the superstructure. The magnitude.FORCES ACTING ON A WELL FOUNDATION: In addition to self–weight and buoyancy. iii) force on account of water current iv) wind forces. P and Q and a single vertical force W as shown in Fig.

4) The ratio between the contract pressure and corresponding displacement is independent of the pressure. 5) The co-efficient of vertical sub grade reaction has the same value for every point of surface acted upon by contract pressure. .The analysis is done on the following assumptions: 1) The well is acted upon by an unidirectional horizontal force P in a direction across the pier 2) The well is founded in the sandy stratum 3) The resultant unit pressure on soil at any depth is in simple proportion to horizontal displacement.

(kp-ka) Where.ka= co-efficient of passive and active earth pressure and depend upon the angle of internal friction ¢ . starts moving parallel to its original position. under the action of a horizontal force P. γ =unit weight of soil kp .z. the resultant unit pressure at a depth `z` below the surface is given by. it transforms the soil on one side to passive state of plastic equilibrium and the other side into active state. .ANALYSIS OF WELL FOUNDATION:(1) Horizontal soil reactionWhen a rigid well. p1= γ. Let. embedded in sand. Assuming that the well movement ρ1 is sufficient to mobilize fully the active and passive earth pressure. and of wall friction δ.

(kp-ka) (ρ1) Factor m is called the coefficient of horizontal soil reaction which depends not only on the nature of soil but also on the size and shape of the area which carries the load.z ρ where. acted upon by a horizontal force P per unit length of the well and vertical load W. (kp-ka) Or p = m. (2) Stability of well assuming no plastic flow - Let a well of length L and width B.p = load per unit area of vertical surface of sand ρ = corresponding displacement ρ1 = displacement required to increase the value of resultant unit pressure from zero to p1 p= ρ1 (ρ) (ρ1) γ. . m = γ.z.

ρ1 = horizontal displacement of the center line of the well at the scour line. ρ2 = horizontal displacement of the center line of the well at the base level.P2 . The induced reaction is shown in fig.M1+ μ RD+ μ (P1-P2) B 2 .μ R PH = M3+M2. From static condition of equilibrium are as follows: P = P1. ρ3 = vertical upward displacement of the other edge of the well at its base P1= resultant passive reaction of the well on the left face. Let the well rotate at a point A situated at a depth D1 below the scour line.P act at a height H above the scour line and let the depth of well be D below the scour line. P2= resultant vertical reaction of the well on the lower part of the right face R = resultant vertical reaction at the base of well μ P1= skin friction on the left face of the well μ P2= skin friction on the right face of the well μ R = frictional resistance of the soil at its base.

since the entire well acts as deep girder to resist torsion and bending. As a need for weighting with kentledge takes time and retards progress considerably. Another factor of uncertainty is in regard to the effective depth of the well curb. etc. In concrete caissons. the lower portion of the cutting edge is wrapped with 12mm steel plates which are anchored to the concrete by means of steel straps. cutting edge: The cutting edge should have as sharp as angle as practicable for knifing into the soil without making it too weak to resist the various stresses induced by boulders. The load Cuming on the cutting edge is uncertain as a considerable part of it is borne by skin friction. CUTTING EDGE. we have Self-weight per unit height = π (D-t) t ρ . Where. as well as due to the light blasting required when boulder obstructs the sinking of the well. The thickness of the steining is designed in such a way that well can be sunk under its own weight. when only part of the cutting edge is in contract with the soil and the remaining portion is only held on skin friction. An angle to the vertical of 30o.e. For a circular well with outer diameter D and thickness t of the steining. Since the load is occasional. Steining thickness. W= μ (P1 + P2) + R M1= moment at the scour line produced by P1 M2= moment at the scour line produced by P2 M3= moment of the vertical soil reaction at the base ρ4= uniform vertical displacement of the well due to the resultant vertical forces. WELL CURB.And. STEINING AND BOTTOM PLUG: Well curb: The well curb is design for supporting the weight of the well with partial support at the bottom of the cutting edge. A sharp vertical edge is generally provided along the outside face of the caissons. Such a angle facilitates the rate of sinking and prevents air leakage in the case of pneumatic caissons. i. or a slope of 1 horizontal to 2 vertical has been found satisfactory in practice. The well curb has also to withstand stress due to the sand blows. blasting. blows. A three point support of the cutting edge resting on a log may be assumed for design purpose. working stress up to 99% of yield stress may be permitted.

contrary to the usual practice of providing greater thickness of steining with increasing diameter of the well as given in the following table: D (outside diameter of the well) 3m 5m 7m t (steining thickness) 0.Skin friction force per unit weight = π D rf Where.9 . we get From which π (D-t) t ρ = π D rf t = D/2 [1] It will be seen from this equation that for a given value of skin friction.20m 2.the skin friction is equal to the coefficient of the friction μ times the lateral earth pressure. However it is not possible to evaluate the skin friction from laboratory tests as the lateral earth pressure depends on state of stress.75m 1. For the purpose of design. water is invariably met with and the effective self weight is reduced by buoyancy in the portion of thee well below water level.73 .19.22 – 3.5 1.84 . It is also not possible to accurately determine the value of μ.42 3. and hence larger steining thickness is required. the steining however. Skin Friction: The unit skin friction increases with depth. Moreover. ρ = unit weight of concrete or masonry of the steining rf = unit skin friction Equating the two. for deeper wells. and at a given depth .2.00m This is so because large diameter wells are taken deeper and the skin friction increases with depth.42 – 6. the values of skin friction given in the following table may be used : Type of soil Silt and soft clay Very stiff clay Loose Sand Dense sand Skin friction 0.93 4.

The bottom plug is made Bowl-shaped so as to have inverted arch action. the thickness of bottom plug is as follows: t2 = 3W/8πfc (3+μ) = 1. Bottom plug: The bottom plug of concrete to be designed for an upward load equal to the soil pressure (including the pour pressure) minus self weight of bottom plug and filling. Hence methods should be used to reduce the skin friction while sinking the well. a coating which gave a smoothly oily surface and which was tough enough not to rubbed off during the sinking process was used on the walls of the caissons and it was estimated that this reduced the friction between the concrete and fairly stiff clay by roughly 40%. The bottom plug is generally designed as a thick plate subjected to a unit bearing pressure under the maximum vertical which is transmitted from the vertical wall of the well. As generally under water concreting has to be done for bottom plug. Since the frictional resistance depends on the roughness of the surface of contact.9 – 9. and hence retards the sinking of the well. It has also been reported that bentonite solution injected on the external surface considerably reduces skin friction. short side/ long side of well .4 Greater skin friction requires greater sinking efforts. no reinforcement can be provided.Dense Gravel 4.18R And t2= (For circular wells) (For rectangular wells) Where t = thickness of the concrete or steel plug W = total bearing pressure on the base of the well fc = flexural strength of concrete seal. a smoothly plastered well steining surface which is in a true plane without kinks or wraps will considerably reduce skin friction. Based on the theory of elasticity. In order to reduce skin friction on the san Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge. μ = Poisson’s ratio = 0.15 for concrete R = Radius of well base q = unit bearing pressure against base of well b = width or short side of well α = width/ length or. Skin friction is also reduced by flaring the well.

All concreting in well curb should be done in one continuous operation. The sizes of the island should be such as to allow free working space necessary to operate tools and plane for movements of laborer etc. It is desirable to keep the stages of masonry work at the location of joints in vertical steining bars. Steel lined timber shuttering is preferable. In no case should a plumb bob be used to build more than 1m at a time. It is desirable to insert wooden sleepers below the cutting at regular intervals so as to distribute the load & avoid setting of cutting edge unevenly during concreting. The well masonry is fully cured for at least 48 hours before starting the loading or sinking operations. To ensure this the steining must be built with straight edges preferably of angle iron. and the vertical steining bars should also be placed such that they project about 2m beyond the top of the curb. After sinking of one stage is complete all the damaged portions in the next stage is started. The outer shuttering is made of wood or steel. suitable cofferdams are constructed around the site of the well and islands are made. laying of well curb presents no difficulty. (2) Masonry in well steining : The well steining should be built in initial short height of about 2m only.WELL SINKING :(1) Laying the well crub: If the river bed is dry. It is absolutely essential that the well steining is built in one straight line from bottom to top. All reinforcement of the curb should be placed in position properly. When the island is made the center point of well is accurately marked & the cutting edge is placed in a level plane. excavation up to half a meter above subsoil water level is carried out and well curb is laid. . In such a case. These sleepers however removed once the shuttering is made of brick masonry built to proper profile and plastered. If however there is water in the river. The lower portion of the straight edges must keep butted with masonry of lower stage throughout the building of fresh masonry.

Suitable precautions should be taken to avoid tilts and shift. Complete dewatering should not be allowed when the well has been sunk to about 10m depth. must be carefully check and recorded. b) The radius of curb should be kept 2 to 4 cm larger than outside radius of well steining. In the initial stage of sinking the well is unstable and progress can be very rapid with only little material being excavated out. dewatering may be allowed up to depressed water level of 5m or not more. if any. chiseling. Pumping out the water from inside the well is effective in sinking of well under certain conditions. Unless the well has gone deep enough has passed through ring of clayey strata so that chances of tilt and shift are minimize during this process. To overcome the increased skin friction and the loss in weight of the well due to buoyancy. applying Kent ledge and using gelignite charges. Great care should therefore be exercised during the stage to see that the well sinks to true position. When clay strata is to be pierced through a rail chisel may be used. additional loading known as Kent ledge is applied on the well.(3) Sinking operations: A well is ready to be set in after having cast the curb and having built first short stage of masonry over it. In case the soil is not very hard but hard enough as not to be excavated by Jhams. Sinking thereafter should be done by grabbing. Tilts and shifts of well. Pumping should be discouraged in the initial stage. Only when these methods have failed. d) The dredging should be uniformly in circular well and in voth pockets of a twin well. Also proper record of tilts and shifts should be maintained and measure should be taken to counter act tilts and shifts. electric or steam winches are used for excavating the material from inside and under water. The correct . When power winches are available clayey strata can also successfully excavated with the help of big grabs having tempered steet teeth. c) The cutting edge of the curb should be of uniform thickness and sharpness since the sharper edge has a greater tendency of sinking than a blunt edge. after this stage Jhams worked by manual or animal power or by means of diesel. The precaution to avoid tilts and shifts are as follows: a) The outer surface of the well curb and steining should be as regular and smooth as possible. The well is sunk by excavating material from inside under the curb. To sink the well straight it should never be allowed to go out of plumb. (4) Tilts and Shift: The primary aim in well in well sinking is to sink them straight and at correct position. the use of phawrah Jhams is effective. As the well sink deeper the skin friction on the sides progressively increases. Excavation and scooping out of the soil inside the well can be done sending down workers inside the wells till such a stage that the depth of water inside becomes about 1m.

Any of following measure can usefully be employed to counteract the tilts in well during sinking operation. The method if used alone is not very effective but provides the contributory effect if used with other methods. the sinking should be supervised with special care and rectifying measures should be immediately taken. v) Providing temporary obstacles below the cutting edgeIn some cases wooden sleeper pieces are put temporary below the cutting edge of the well on the lower side to avoid further tilt of the well while varies expedients are being tempted to rectify the tilt. eccentric loading is necessary by providing a suitable platform. In larger size wells to sink to greater depth. . i) Regulation of grabbingUnequal dredging causes tilts and hence if higher side is grabbed more by regulating the dredging. iv) The excavation under cutting edgeA filled well generally refuses to strengthen an account of unbroken stiff strata on the higher side of the well. divers should be sent to loosen the strata. The well may be dewatered if possible and open excavation on higher side is carried out. eccentric loading may be as much as 400 to 600 tones with an eccentricity of 3 to 4 meter. If dewatering is unsafe.measurement of tilts of any stage in perhaps one of most important observation require during well sinking. In such case a welded frame bracket is used as shown in figure. water jet is forced on the outer force of the well. towards the higher side. a hole in the staining of the well is made on higher side and by hooks. As a sinking progress heavier Kent ledge with greater eccentricity is required in order to rectify the tilt. the rope of grab is pulled towards higher to the maximum possible extent the hole is made near ground. In order to provide greater sinking effort on the higher side of well. so that skin frictions reduce towards the higher side. the well is dewatered. In such a case. As soon as tilt exceed 1 in 200. if possible and safe and open excavation is done below the cutting edge of the higher side. ii) Eccentric loadingThe well normally is given Kent ledge in order to provide necessary sinking effort. This method is not very effective when well has been sunk to a great depth in that case. the tilt can be rectified. iii) Water jetting or digging pit outside the higher side of wellIn this method.

The other ends of the logs rest against firm and non yielding base by driving piles etc. .5 kg/cm2 . Sinking of pneumatic caissons is tedious. In order that sub soil water may not enter the working chamber. However the maximum pressure is limited from the consideration of health of persons who work inside the chamber. Wood pieces are kept ready to be inserted and fixed in the gaps caused by the tilts of the well being rectified. The essential feature of a pneumatic caisson is that compressed air is used to exclude or remove water from the working chamber at the bottom and the excavations are carried out in dry conditions. viii) Pushing by jacksThe well may be pushed by force applied by hydraulic or mechanical jack on the tilted side of the wells. The well steining is given covering plate to distribute the pressure. Pneumatic caissons are adopted only if the head of water is more than 12m. The pulling of rope may be carried out by winches. The method of construction of pneumatic caissons is similar to that for open well (caissons) except that the working chamber is kept air tight. vii) Strutting the wellThis method is used to avoid any further increase in the tilt is pulled of the well rather than rectifying it. PNEUMATIC CASSIONS:Pneumatic caissons are closed at the top and open at the bottom. It affords easy inspection work. Normally the tolerable air pressure under which a man can work is limited to 3. Thus a pneumatic caisson can be used for a depth of water ranging from 12 to 35m. The well is strutted on its tilted side with suitable logs of wood. The well is pulled towards the higher side by placing one or more steel ropes round the wells with vertical sleepers packed in between to distribute pressure over larger areas of well Pulling the wellThis method is effective only in early stages of sinking. time consuming and expansive. Another advantages of pneumatic caisson is that the entire process of sinking of well is carried out under controlled condition. the pressure of the air in the shaft is kept just higher than that of the water at that depth. However they are adopted at places where it is difficult to use bulky equipments required for sinking well.

The procedure for sinking the pneumatic well as follows: i) The caisson is sunk in the same manner as used for well sinking till the depth of water is shallow and no trouble is encountered in sinking the well. iii) After placing the air lock in position so that direct entry is sealed. The person enters the first gate where pressure is atmospheric. Air is supplied through the air inlet pipe connected to air compressor. The air lock may rest on rubber seals just above the cutting edge. iv) Laborers are then sent down to the working chamber through the appropriate air lock. In order to prevent leakage of air arrangement of double gates is provided. The height of working chamber is kept about 2m with proper lighting arrangement. The number of air locks may vary from 1 to 3. ii) When the presence of water posses problem an air lock is placed inside the well. The first door is closed and the pressure is gradually increased to make it equal to the one in the working chamber. Generally two air locks are used one for sending men inside and the other for moving the excavated material with the help of the much bucket and hoisting rope. . The excavated material is sent up trough the muck buckets lifted up by a hoisting rope operated by winch drum. through the air lock. v) Excavation is carried out in the working chamber by the laborers sent down through air lock. water is pumped out from the bottom and air pressure is gradually increased so that fresh water does not enter the working chamber.

concrete seal is made by concreting up to underside roof of working chamber. . The above disadvantages are avoided in a well foundation which a shell sunk by dredging inside of it and which finally becomes a part of the permanent structure. well is filled with sand or water. open excavations become costly and uneconomic as heavy timbering has to be provided. Sufficient air pressure is maintained to force the concrete against the bottom surface till it harden. the progress of the work in open excavation will be very slow. Conclusion: Whenever considerations for scour bearing capacity require foundation being taken to a depth of more than 5 to 7 meters. Under the disadvantage of adopting the ordinary type of footing is that excavated material refilled around the structure is loose and hence easily scourable as compare to natural ground. The well cap is then formed on its top as When the caisson bottom has reached the desired level. vii) Air locks are removed. Also because of the greater earth work involved due to side slops.

PUNMIA.S.” Soil mechanics and foundations” CBS Publisher.(LTD) V.N.MURTHY.C.REFERENCES: B. .”Soil mechanics and foundations” Laxmi publication.P.