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Equivalent plane strain modeling of vertical drains in soft ground

under embankment combined with vacuum preloading
Tuan Anh Tran
*
, Toshiyuki Mitachi
Hokkaido University, Graduate School of Engineering, Soil Mechanics Laboratory, Room A6-53, Building A, Sapporo 060-8628, Japan
Received 18 July 2007; received in revised form 10 November 2007; accepted 14 November 2007
Available online 3 January 2008
Abstract
A conversion method is proposed to convert from an axisymmetric unit cell to an equivalent plane strain unit cell under embankment
loading combined with vacuum preloading. To verify the proposed method, we have conducted FE analyses for two cases of subsoil, one
is a subsoil having only one homogeneous clay layer, and the other one is a subsoil having two clay layers. The analyzed results showed
that the effects of both well resistance (in the vertical drain) and smear zone (around the vertical drain) are satisfactorily modeled by the
proposed plane strain unit cell in both cases.
Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Analytical solution; Consolidation; Finite element analysis; Plane strain modeling; Vacuum-surcharge preloading; Vertical drain
1. Introduction
It is widely recognized that vertical drains are able to
speed up consolidation in soft clay subsoil that usually
have extremely slow natural drainage. In recent years, the
vertical drains have been combined with vacuum preload-
ing under embankment (see Fig. 1), and therefore a much
faster consolidation in soft clay subsoil can be achieved;
in short, we call this preloading technique vacuum-sur-
charge preloading.
In vacuum-surcharge preloading, the vacuum pressure
propagates along the vertical drains, and a nearly isotropic
compression zone is created within the subsoil zone
beneath the embankment; therefore, this technique can
enhance the stability of the subsoil during consolidation
under the embankment.
It is widely agreed that the performance of a vertical
drain under conventional embankment (or conventional
surcharge) can be represented by an axisymmetric unit cell
[2,6] as shown in Fig. 2. To simulate the performance of
multiple vertical drains under an embankment by FEM,
we have to carry out a 3D full-scale simulation, in which
a lot of cubic elements have to be employed [3,10]. As a
result, the time needed for computation becomes very long,
and a powerful computer is needed.
However, if we assume that the performance of a verti-
cal drain can be equivalently represented by a plane strain
unit cell (see Fig. 2), then an equivalent full-scale plane
strain simulation can be made. Consequently, the time
needed for computing the full-scale plane strain simulation
is much shorter than that needed in a full-scale 3D simula-
tion. In fact, Chai et al. [3], Hird et al. [8], Indraratna and
Redana [9,10], and Indraratna et al. [11] confirmed the fea-
sibility of this idea.
In 2005, Indraratna et al. [12] proposed a conversion
method for cases of single layer subsoil under vacuum-
surcharge preloading condition. In this method, they
developed two analytical models for the axisymmetric
and plane strain cells. Based on these models, they
proposed two solutions for development of the average
excess pore water pressure with time within these cells.
Afterwards, by equating these two solutions, they
obtained a conversion expression of permeability from
the axisymmetric cell to the equivalent plane strain cell.
0266-352X/$ - see front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.compgeo.2007.11.006
*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +81 11 706 6194; fax: +81 11 706 7204.
E-mail addresses: tran.hokudai@gmail.com (T.A. Tran), mitachi@
eng.hokudai.ac.jp (T. Mitachi).
www.elsevier.com/locate/compgeo
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
As a result, by using this plane strain cell, a full-scale plane
strain modeling of soft ground under vacuum-surcharge
preloading can be conducted.
Surcharge or embankment
Vacuum pump
Vertical drain
Geomembrane
Fig. 1. Cross-section of subsoil improved by vertical drains under
vacuum-surcharge preloading.
2D cell with smear zone 2D cell without smear zone
2B
2B
Axisymmetric cell
D
e
Fig. 2. Axisymmetric unit cell and its equivalent plane strain unit cells.
Nomenclature
a width of the prefabricated vertical drain
b thickness of the prefabricated vertical drain
B half-width of the plane strain unit cell
b
s
half-width of the smear zone of the plane strain
unit cell
b
w
half-width of the drain-wall
C
ha
coefficient of consolidation for horizontal drain-
age in axisymmetric case
C
hp
coefficient of consolidation for horizontal drain-
age in plane strain case
d
s
smear zone diameter
d
w
equivalent drain diameter
k
1
maintaining factor of vacuum pressure
(0 6 k
1
6 1)
k
ha
horizontal permeability coefficient in undis-
turbed zone of the axisymmetric unit cell
k
hp
horizontal permeability coefficient in undis-
turbed zone of the plane strain unit cell
k
sa
horizontal permeability coefficient in smear zone
of the axisymmetric unit cell
k
sp
horizontal permeability coefficient in smear zone
of the plane strain unit cell
l The length of drainage path of the drain inside
the axisymmetric unit cell
n
a
ratio R/r
w
of the axisymmetric unit cell
p
0
vacuum pressure applied to the top of the drain
in axisymmetric case, and to the top of the
drain-wall in plane strain case
q
wa
discharge capacity of the drain of the axisym-
metric unit cell
q
wp
discharge capacity of the drain-wall of the plane
strain unit cell
R radius of the axisymmetric unit cell
r
s
radius of the smear zone of the axisymmetric
unit cell
r
w
radius of the drain of the axisymmetric unit cell
s
a
ratio r
s
/r
w
of the axisymmetric unit cell
T
ha
dimensionless time factor for horizontal drain-
age in the axisymmetric unit cell
T
hp
dimensionless time factor for horizontal drain-
age in the plane strain unit cell
u average excess pore water pressure of the unit cell
r
1
initial overburden pressure due to surcharge
preloading
l
za
parameter depending on depth z, including well
resistance, smear effect, and the geometry of the
axisymmetric unit cell
l
zp
parameter depending on depth z, including well
resistance, smear effect, and the geometry of the
plane strain unit cell
Subscripts
a axisymmetric
p plane strain
s smear zone
h horizontal
z depth z
656 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
We see that, in their method, the inclusion of the
plane strain smear zone in the plane strain cell is deemed
to be needed (see Figs. 2 and 4a). However, in our expe-
rience, the inclusion of plane strain smear zones in plane
strain finite element simulation increases the number of
elements and material parameters. In particular, for a
full-scale simulation of a multi-layer subsoil incorporat-
ing a large number of small vertical drain elements, the
number of elements and the material parameters for
the plane strain smear zones become very large. In addi-
tion, for determining the equivalent permeability by their
method, the determination of the length of the drainage
path of the drain (l) in each soil layer of that multi-layer
subsoil (where the drain is driven through) is required
(see Fig. 3a).
In 2006, Chai et al. [5] presented a plane strain numeri-
cal modeling of a soft ground improved by vertical drains
under vacuum-surcharge preloading. In their numerical
modeling, they used a conversion method from the axisym-
metric cell to the plane strain cell proposed by Chai et al.
[4].
We have observed that, this conversion method is devel-
oped under the condition of conventional surcharge load-
ing, and the boundary condition of excess pore pressure
of the vertical drain defined in this method is that the excess
pore pressure at the top of the drain is equal to zero, only.
Therefore, this method might not apply well in the case of
vacuum-surcharging.
In reality, the subsoil usually has many layers, and, in
some cases, there is a sandy silt layer having high perme-
ability just below an upper clay layer having low perme-
ability. In this case, the vacuum pressure propagates from
the vertical drain to the surrounding soil in the sandy silt
layer will be much faster than the propagation of the vac-
uum pressure in the surrounding soil of the upper clay
layer. This means that the vacuum pressure in the sandy silt
will reach the maximum value much sooner than that in the
upper clay layer.
However, in Chai et al. [4] method, their plane strain
unit cell has only an equivalent vertical permeability and
has no drain-wall. Therefore, even though the lower soil
layer has a much higher permeability than that of the upper
clay layer, and if the vacuum pressure is applied to the top
of the cell, then the vacuum pressure would only able to
propagate gradually from the upper layer to the lower layer
in their plane strain cell. This means that, in their plane
strain cell, there is no way to let the vacuum pressure in
the lower clay layer reach the maximum value sooner than
that in the upper clay layer.
It is observed that there are various ways to develop a
conversion method. In this paper, by modifying Indraratna
et al. [12] method (developed for single layer cases under
vacuum-surcharge preloading), a new conversion method
has been proposed, which is different to those of Hird
et al. [8] and Indraratna and Redana [9,10].
2. The proposed conversion method under vacuum-surcharge
preloading condition
To find the conversion expression of permeability from
the axisymmetric unit cell to the equivalent plane strain
unit cell under vacuum-surcharge preloading condition,
we conducted the mathematical formulation as follows.
Firstly, based on the analytical model of Indraratna
et al. [12] for the axisymmetric unit cell, we used analytical
mathematics to find a function of development of excess
(a) Analytical model of the axisymmetric unit cell
R
- k
1
p
0
C
u
n
d
i
s
t
u
r
b
e
d

z
o
n
e
u
n
d
i
s
t
u
r
b
e
d

z
o
n
e
s
m
e
a
r

z
o
n
e
s
m
e
a
r

z
o
n
e
0
- p
- p [1 - (1 - k )z /l]
0
1
vacuum pressure
Assumed distribution of
i
m
p
e
r
m
e
a
b
l
e
σ
1
(b) Analytical model of the plane strain unit cell
vacuum pressure
Assumed distribution of
e
q
u
i
v
a
l
e
n
t

z
o
n
e
- k
1
p
0
0
- p
- p [1 - (1 - k )z /l]
0
1
e
q
u
i
v
a
l
e
n
t

z
o
n
e
r
w
s
r
B
b
w
impermeable
T
h
e

l
e
n
g
t
h

o
f

t
h
e

d
r
a
i
n
a
g
e

p
a
t
h

o
f

t
h
e

d
r
a
i
n

(
l
)
impermeable
σ
1
impermeable
i
m
p
e
r
m
e
a
b
l
e
impermeable
T
h
e

l
e
n
g
t
h

o
f

t
h
e

d
r
a
i
n
a
g
e

p
a
t
h

o
f

t
h
e

d
r
a
i
n

(
l
)
L
C
L
Fig. 3. Analytical models of the axisymmetric and plane strain cells.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 657
pore water pressure with time at any given depth z within
this cell.
Subsequently, we built another analytical model for the
plane strain unit cell excluding plane strain smear zone,
and then the function of development of excess pore water
pressure for this cell was developed.
Finally, by equating two obtained functions of excess
pore water pressure, we found the conversion expression
of permeability from the axisymmetric unit cell to the
equivalent plane strain unit cell under vacuum-surcharge
preloading condition.
2.1. Analytical models of the axisymmetric and plane strain
unit cells under vacuum-surcharge preloading
In general, these two models are depicted in Fig. 3. In
these figures, r
1
denotes the surcharge; p
0
is the vacuum
pressure applied to the top of the drain as well as the
drain-wall; k
1
is the maintaining factor of vacuum pressure
(0 6 k
1
6 1); z the depth; ‘‘l” the length of the drainage
path of the drain under the condition that the bottom of
the drain is undrained, and the excess PWP at the top of
the drain is equal to – p
0
; therefore, ‘‘l” is also equal to
the length of the unit cell in this ideal case (one homoge-
neous soil layer); r
w
the equivalent drain radius; r
s
the
smear zone radius; R the equivalent radius of the influence
zone; b
w
the half-width of the drain-wall; B is the half-
width of the plane strain unit cell.
Main assumptions of these models are:
1. The soil within the cell is fully saturated and
homogeneous.
2. The permeability of the soil is assumed to be constant
during consolidation.
3. The vertical flow within the soil of the relatively long
unit cell is insignificant, i.e. it is assumed that only radial
flow occurs within the soil.
4. Equal strain hypothesis of Kjellman [14] is followed, i.e.
the horizontal sections of the axisymmetric and plane
strain unit cells remain horizontal during the consolida-
tion process.
5. The displacement at outer boundaries of the vertical
drain and the cell are fixed in horizontal direction, i.e.
only vertical displacement is allowed at these
boundaries.
6. Darcy’s law is considered to be valid, and the solutions
are based on the Darcy’s law.
7. The change in volume corresponds to the change in void
ratio, and coefficient of volume compressibility, m
v
, is
constant during consolidation process.
8. Indraratna et al. [12] assumption about the loss of vac-
uum pressure along the vertical drain is employed, i.e.
the vacuum loss is a linear increase with depth (see
Fig. 3), in which – p
0
is the vacuum pressure at the
top of the drain, and – k
1
p
0
is the corresponding value
at the bottom of the drain.
2.1.1. Analytical solution for the axisymmetric unit cell
(modified by the present authors after Indraratna et al.
[12])
It is observed that Indraratna et al.’s [12] function of the
excess pore water pressure (PWP) is an average function
for the whole axisymmetric cell at a given time. Therefore,
we modified it to become the following function, which can
show the average value of the excess PWP throughout a
horizontal cross-section of the cell at any given depth z
for a given time t
u ¼ r
1
þ p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _ _ _
exp À
8T
ha
l
za
_ _
À p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
ð1Þ
The detailed analytical formulation of Eq. (1) is given in
Appendix A.
In Eq. (1)
l
za
¼ ln
n
a
s
a
þ
k
ha
k
sa
ln s
a
À
3
4
þ pzð2l À zÞ
k
ha
q
wa
ð2Þ
in which
n
a
¼
R
r
w
; s
a
¼
r
s
r
w
where k
ha
and k
sa
are horizontal permeability coefficients of
the axisymmetric unit cell in undisturbed zone and in smear
zone, respectively; q
wa
the discharge capacity of the drain;
T
ha
is the dimensionless time factor for horizontal drainage
and
T
ha
¼
C
ha
t
4R
2
¼
k
ha
m
v
c
w
t
4R
2
ð3Þ
where C
ha
is the coefficient of consolidation for horizontal
drainage; m
v
the coefficient of volume compressibility for
one-dimensional compression; t the time; c
w
is the unit
weight of water.
2.1.2. The proposed analytical solution for the plane strain
unit cell excluding the plane strain smear zone
In 1992, Hird et al. [8] introduced a plane strain unit cell
excluding plane strain smear zone under conventional
embankment loading condition. By adapting Hird et al.’s
[8] unit cell for the case subjected to embankment com-
bined with vacuum preloading, we developed the following
solution for the average excess PWP within the adapted
unit cell
u ¼ r
1
þ p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _ _ _
exp À
8T
hp
l
zp
_ _
À p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
ð4Þ
The detailed analytical formulation of Eq. (4) is given in
Appendix B.
658 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
In Eq. (4)
l
zp
¼
2
3
þ
2k
hp
Bq
wp
ð2lz À z
2
Þ ð5Þ
T
hp
¼
C
hp
t
4B
2
¼
t
4B
2
k
hp
m
v
c
w
ð6Þ
in which k
hp
is horizontal permeability coefficient in the
equivalent zone of the plane strain cell; q
wp
is discharge
capacity of the drain-wall; T
hp
and C
hp
are dimensionless
time factor and coefficient of consolidation for horizontal
drainage, respectively.
2.2. The proposed conversion expression of permeability for
the proposed plane strain unit cell
By adapting the matching procedure of Hird et al. [8]
under conventional surcharge preloading condition for
the proposed plane strain cell under vacuum-surcharge pre-
loading condition, the following steps are conducted.
Equating Eqs. (1) and (4), the following equation can be
obtained
T
ha
l
za
¼
T
hp
l
zp
ð7Þ
Then, substituting Eqs. (3) and (6) into Eq. (7), and after
some rearrangements, we can obtain
k
ha
R
2
l
za
¼
k
hp
B
2
l
zp
ð8Þ
Subsequently, substituting the expressions for l
za
and l
zp
into Eq. (8), and the terms rearranged to give
2
3
k
ha
B
2
À ln
n
a
s
a
À
3
4
þ
k
ha
k
sa
ln s
a
_ _
k
hp
R
2
¼
k
hp
k
ha
pR
2
q
wa
À
k
hp
k
ha
2B
q
wp
_ _
ð2lz À z
2
Þ ð9Þ
If setting
k
hp
k
ha
pR
2
q
wa
À
k
hp
k
ha
2B
q
wp
¼ 0 ð10Þ
then, the effect of well resistance is matched independently,
as follows
q
wp
¼
2B
pR
2
q
wa
ð11Þ
And, by using Eq. (10) as a condition for Eq. (9), the con-
version expression of permeability for the equivalent plane
strain unit cell can be obtained
k
hp
¼
2B
2
3R
2
k
ha
ln
na
sa
À
3
4
þ
k
ha
ksa
ln s
a
ð12Þ
In conclusion, our proposed method to convert from the
axisymmetric unit cell to the plane strain unit cell under
vacuum-surcharge preloading condition includes the com-
bined use of both Eqs. (11) and (12).
2.3. The way to use our proposed conversion method
By inputting R, B, n
a
, s
a
, k
ha
, and the ratio k
ha
/k
sa
into
Eq. (12), we can obtain the horizontal permeability coeffi-
cient for the equivalent zone between two vertical drains
in the full-scale plane strain simulation.
In the next step, usually, the information on discharge
capacity, q
wa
, of the vertical drain is available; therefore,
by inputting parameters q
wa
, B, and R into Eq. (11), the
value of q
wp
for the drain-wall of the plane strain cell can
be obtained.
Finally, inputting this q
wp
into the following equation,
we can obtain k
wp
for the drain-walls in the full-scale plane
strain simulation
k
wp
¼
q
wp
2b
w
ð13Þ
In order to make clear the difference between our conver-
sion expression of permeability and that of Indraratna
et al. [12], we made the Table 1 as follows.
In Table 1, the meaning of symbols is
n
a
¼
R
r
w
; s
a
¼
r
s
r
w
; a ¼
2
3
ðn
p
À s
p
Þ
3
n
2
p
ðn
p
À 1Þ
;
b ¼
2ðs
p
À 1Þ
n
2
p
ðn
p
À 1Þ
n
p
ðn
p
À s
p
À 1Þ þ
1
3
s
2
p
þ s
p
þ 1
_ _
_ _
h ¼
4k
hp
3Bq
wp
1 À
1
n
p
_ _
l
2
; n
p
¼
B
b
w
; s
p
¼
b
s
b
w
Table 1
Comparison of the conversion expressions of permeability between Indraratna et al. [12] method and the proposed method under vacuum-surcharge
preloading condition
The conversion expression of permeability
proposed by Indraratna et al. [12]
The conversion expression of permeability
proposed by the present authors
k
hp
k
ha
¼
a þ
k
hp
ksp
b þ h
_ _
ln
na
sa
_ _
þ
k
ha
ksa
_ _
lnðs
a
Þ À
3
4
þ p
2k
ha
3q
wa
l
2
_ _ ðÃÞ
k
hp
¼
2B
2
3R
2
k
ha
ln
na
sa
À
3
4
þ
k
ha
ksa
ln s
a
ð12Þ
and
q
wp
¼
2B
pR
2
q
wa
ð11Þ
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 659
k
hp
and k
sp
are horizontal permeability coefficients in the
undisturbed and smear zones of Indraratna et al. [12] plane
strain unit cell, respectively; in our proposed method, k
hp
is
horizontal permeability coefficient in the equivalent zone of
our plane strain unit cell; b
s
is half-width of the plane strain
smear zone in the plane strain unit cell of Indraratna et al.
[12] method (see Fig. 4). The meaning of other symbols was
previously mentioned and is shown in Figs. 4 and A1 in
Appendix A.
3. Verification of the proposed method via finite element
method
To verify the proposed method, we have conducted FE
analyses for two cases under vacuum-surcharge preloading
condition: Case 1 is a homogeneous clay layer that has the
thickness being 10 m, and Case 2 is the case having two clay
layers, in which the upper clay layer and the lower clay layer
have the thickness being 4.95 and 5.05 m, respectively.
In general, the illustration of these two cases is shown
schematically in Fig. 5. In Fig. 5a, k
1ha
and k
1sa
are the hor-
izontal permeability in the undisturbed and smear zones of
the axisymmetric cell, respectively. k
1va
and k
1vsa
are the
vertical permeability in the undisturbed and smear zones,
respectively.
In Fig. 5b, the horizontal and vertical permeability of
the upper clay layer is the same as those of the homoge-
neous clay layer in Fig. 5a, but the horizontal and vertical
permeability of the lower clay layer is five times higher than
those of the upper clay layer.
a b
dy = 1
Equivalent zone
dz
B
dz
w
b
q
wp
Plane-strain undisturbed zone
dy = 1
wp
q
s
b
B
w
b
Plane-strain smear zone
Drain wall Drain wall
Fig. 4. (a) A horizontal cross-sectional slice of Indraratna et al. [12] plane strain unit cell, and (b) that of our proposed plane strain unit cell.
The case of one clay layer
T
h
i
c
k
n
e
s
s

H

=

1
0

m
One homogeneousclay layer
C
H

=

4
.
9
5

m
Lower clay layer
The case of two clay layers
H

=

5
.
0
5

m
k
1ha
= k
1va 1vsa
= k = 4.30 E-4 (m/day)
1sa
k
1ha
= (1/5)k
k
1sa
= (1/5)k
1ha
= k = k k
2vsa
2va
2ha
2ha
= (1/5)k
2sa
k
= 5 (k )
1ha
Upper clay layer
a
b
Embankment Embankment
k = k = k = 4.30 E-4 (m/day)
1ha 1vsa 1va
L C
L
Fig. 5. Schematic description of (a) the case of one homogeneous clay layer and of (b) the case of two clay layers, together with the permeability coefficient
of each soil layer.
660 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
3.1. Detailed description of the case of one clay layer
Regarding the equivalent radius of the band-shaped
drain, r
w
, FE analyses performed by Rixner et al. [17]
and supported by Hansbo [7] indicated that the equivalent
diameter of the band-shaped drain for use in practice can
be determined by
d
w
¼
a þ b
2
ð14Þ
where a and b are the width and the thickness of the rect-
angular cross-section of the band-shaped drain,
respectively.
Commonly, the band-shaped drain or PVD has dimen-
sions being 10 cm  0.4 cm. Using Eq. (14), we can obtain
d
w
ffi 5 cm and therefore r
w
ffi 2.5 cm or 0.025 m.
Concerning the smear zone radius, r
s
, according to Jam-
iolkowski and Lancellotta [13], the diameter of the smear
zone, d
s
, can be in the range of 2.5d
m
to 3d
m
, where d
m
is
the equivalent diameter of the mandrel used for driving
PVD into the soft ground. Referring to the practice of vac-
uum-surcharging in Japan, the mandrel usually has an
equivalent diameter d
m
= 12 cm, and, in this study, we
chose d
s
= 3d
m
. This leads to the smear zone diameter used
in this study is 36 cm or 0.36 m; therefore, r
s
= 0.18 m.
PVDs are commonly driven on a square grid; therefore,
the equivalent radius of the influence zone, R, needs to be
calculated. Logically, it can be defined to be the radius of a
circle having the same area as that of a square. Therefore,
the following expression is obtained
R ¼ 1:128
S
2
_ _
ð15Þ
where S is the spacing between two vertical drains.
We observed that, in Japan, S is usually 0.8 m. Hence,
by using Eq. (15), the equivalent radius R was determined
to be 0.45 m for FE analyses in this paper.
Regarding B for FE analyses in this paper, we made two
plane strain unit cells, one has B = 0.45 m and the other
one has B = 0.75 m, in which their permeability was con-
verted by our conversion method from the axisymmetric
unit cell having R = 0.45 m. For convenience, b
w
of these
two plane strain cells was chosen equal to r
w
(i.e.
0.025 m) of the axisymmetric unit cell.
Concerning well resistance of vertical drains, we have
tested our proposed conversion method with various values
of well resistance that are selected on the basis of Mesri and
Lo [16] discharge capacity factor as follows
F
d
¼
q
wa
k
ha
l
2
¼ p
k
wa
k
ha
r
w
l
_ _
2
ð16Þ
where k
ha
is the horizontal permeability coefficient in
undisturbed zone of the axisymmetric unit cell; q
wa
the dis-
charge capacity of the drain; l the drainage length of the
cell; r
w
the drain radius; k
wa
is the equivalent vertical per-
meability coefficient of the drain.
Mesri and Lo [16] reported that well resistance is consid-
ered to be insignificant if F
d
is larger than 5. Therefore, we
have tested our conversion method for two values of F
d
,
which are 0.1 (i.e. very high well resistance) and 20 (i.e.
no well resistance), respectively.
3.1.1. Boundary conditions and computed cases
Because one of the basic assumptions of our analytical
solutions is based on ‘‘equal strain hypothesis”, therefore,
we have conducted FE analyses as follows:
(1) All the drain, the smear and undisturbed zones of the
axisymmetric cells, and both the drain-wall and the
equivalent zone of the plane strain cells converted
by our method were simulated by linear elastic mod-
els having the same elastic modulus (E = 1000 kN/
m
2
) and zero Poisson’s ratio.
(2) In the case of the axisymmetric cell, to avoid horizon-
tal displacement from the smear zone to the drain or
vice versa, the nodes on the boundary between the
drain and the smear zone are allowed to move in
the vertical direction only. Similarly, the nodes on
the boundary between the drain-wall and the equiva-
lent zone of the plane strain cell are also allowed to
move in the vertical direction only.
(3) An undrained rigid plate was put on the surface of each
of these axisymmetric and plane strain cells to ensure
the uniform settlement at the surface of the cells (see
Fig. 7). In addition, in accordance with the boundary
condition of the analytical solutions, the vacuum pres-
sure is applied to the top of the drain, not to the surface
of the cell; besides, all the vertical permeability of both
the axisymmetric and plane strain cells are set equal to
zero. This case, we named it VTD-ES (vacuum at the
top of the drain with equal strain).
In addition, we carried out other FE analyses to check
the applicability of our method in the case of free-strain
is allowed at the surface of the cell; in this case, the
undrained rigid plate in Fig. 7 is removed from the surface
of the cells, and the vacuum pressure is applied to both the
top of the drain and the surface of the cell. We named this
case VS-FS (vacuum pressure applied to the surface with
free strain).
In 1986, Rixner et al. [17] reported that, of clay soil with
no or slightly developed macrofabric, essentially homoge-
neous deposits, the ratio of the horizontal permeability to
the vertical permeability, k
h
/k
v
, can be in the range of 1–
1.5. Based on this report, for the case VS-FS, the vertical
permeability of the axisymmetric and plane strain cells is
chosen as follows:
(1) We assume the ratio, k
ha
/k
va
, equal to 1 for the undis-
turbed zone of the axisymmetric unit cell.
(2) For the smear zone of the axisymmetric unit cell, we
assume its vertical permeability, k
vsa
, is equal to the
vertical permeability of the undisturbed zone, k
va
.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 661
(3) For the plane strain cells converted by our method,
the vertical permeability of the equivalent zone, k
vp
,
is assumed to be equal to k
va
.
According to Kobayashi et al. [15], the horizontal per-
meability of the smear zone of the clay k
sa
can be decreased
to 1/5 of that of the undisturbed zone k
ha
. Therefore, for
the axisymmetric cell, we assumed the ratio k
sa
/k
ha
, to be
equal to 1/5.
In summary, all computed cases are illustrated in Fig. 6,
and all input parameters used for the case of one clay layer
are tabulated in Table 2. And, the boundary conditions and
meshes of the cells are shown in Fig. 7.
Note that, in engineering practice, the value of q
wa
is
available and then q
wp
can be calculated by using Eq.
(11). In this paper, for the purpose of investigating the
effect of well resistance on each of cases computed by
Indraratna et al. [12] method and by our method, the
discharge capacity factor F
d
was firstly assumed as
shown in Table 2, and then q
wa
was calculated based
on Eq. (16).
Regarding the FEM program used, the Sage Crisp pro-
gram developed by the CRISP Consortium Ltd. and SAGE
Engineering Ltd. [18] on the basis of consolidation theory
of Biot [1] was employed; we used linear strain quadrilat-
eral elements that incorporate quadratic displacement
nodes together with linearly interpolated pore pressure
nodes in this program (see Fig. 8).
3.2. Detailed description of the case of two clay layers
We observed that the conversion method proposed by
Indraratna et al. [12] showed very good matching results
for the case of one clay layer, in their paper. Therefore,
a check on the applicability of both our proposed
method and Indraratna et al. [12] method for the case
of two clay layers would be worthwhile; for this reason,
FE analyses for the case of two clay layers were con-
ducted in this study.
In this two-clay-layer case, the geometric parameters of
the axisymmetric unit cell, R, r
s
, r
w
, were chosen the same
as those of the axisymmetric unit cell in the case of one clay
layer listed in Table 2. In general, the boundary conditions
and the mesh of the cells are shown in Fig. 9.
With regard to the soil properties and material param-
eters of the axisymmetric unit cell in this two-clay-layer
case.
For the vertical drain, all material parameters were
assumed to be the same as those in the case of one homo-
geneous clay layer.
For the upper and lower clay layers, all soil properties
except permeability were assumed to be the same as those
of the case of one homogeneous clay layer. For the perme-
ability of the smear and undisturbed zones in each layer,
the assumption is illustrated in Fig. 5b.
Note that, for the plane strain cell converted by Ind-
raratna et al. [12] method, we assumed the ratio of the
smear zone permeability to the undisturbed zone perme-
ability, k
sp
/k
hp
, equal to 1/5. On the other hand, the plane
strain unit cell of our proposed method has no plane strain
smear zone; therefore, such a kind of ratio is not required
in our plane strain unit cell.
Regarding the assumption of vertical permeability, of
both the two clay layers, the vertical permeability in the
smear and undisturbed zones of both the axisymmetric cell
and Indraratna et al. [12] plane strain cell is assumed to be
zero in the case of VTD-ES. Similarly, the vertical perme-
ability in the equivalent zone of our proposed plane strain
cell is also assumed to be zero.
In the case of VS-FS, the vertical permeability of the
plane strain cells was assumed as follows:
(1) For the plane strain cells converted by Indraratna
et al. [12] method, for the upper and lower clay layers,
both the vertical permeability of the smear zone, k
vsp
,
and of the undisturbed zone, k
vp
, are equal to the ver-
tical permeability of the undisturbed zone, k
va
, of the
corresponding layer in the axisymmetric cell. This
means that k
vsp
= k
vp
= k
va
for each of the upper
and lower clay layers.
(2) For the plane strain cells converted by our proposed
method, in each of the two clay layers, the vertical
permeability of the equivalent zone, k
vp
, is the same
as that of the undisturbed zone in the axisymmetric
cell. It should be noted here that k
vsp
is not needed
in our proposed plane strain cell.
The case of two clay layers
The case of one homogeneous clay layer
k = 1
1
k = 1
1
k = 0.5
1
1
k = 0.5
o
0.5p
o
p
o
p p
o
p
o
o
p
o
p
VTD-ES VS-FS
0.5p
o
o o
o
0.5p 0.5p
o
p p
o o
o
p
o
p
p p
VS-FS VTD-ES
VS-FS VTD-ES VS-FS VTD-ES
Fig. 6. Illustration of computed cases.
662 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
Table 2
Input parameters of the axisymmetric and plane strain unit cells for the case of one clay layer
Unit cell parameter Symbol Computed cases
VTD-ES VTD-ES VS-FS VS-FS
The axisymmetric unit cell
Radius of the axisymmetric cell (m) R 0.45 0.45 0.45 0.45
Smear zone radius (m) r
s
0.180 0.180 0.180 0.180
Drain radius (m) r
w
0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025
Discharge factor F
d
20 0.1 20 0.1
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the drain
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
Horizontal permeability of the undisturbed
zone (m/day)
k
ha
4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04
Horizontal permeability of the smear zone
(m/day)
k
ha
(1/5)k
ha
(1/5)k
ha
(1/5)k
ha
(1/5)k
ha
Vertical permeability of the undisturbed and
smear zones (m/day)
k
va
and
k
vsa
0.0 0.0 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the undisturbed and smear zones
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
Computed cases
VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS
The plane strain unit cell converted by our proposed method
Half-width of the plane strain cell (m) B 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75
Half-width of the drain-wall (m) b
w
0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025 0.025
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the drain-wall
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
Horizontal permeability of the equivalent
zone (m/day)
k
#1
hp
2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05
Vertical permeability of the equivalent zone
(m/day)
k
vp
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the equivalent zone
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
Note: The superscript ‘‘#1” in the table means that this value was calculated based on Eq. (12).
(a) Axisymmetric unit cell, R = 0.45 m
w
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary Vertical roller boundary
Centreline of the drain
Impermeable boundary
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Horizontal roller boundary
Half drain, r = 2.5 cm
Smear zone, 15.5 cm
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Undisturbed zone, 27 cm
Impermeable boundary
Periphery of the cell
50 kPa
C
Undrained rigid plate
Top of the cell
Periphery of the drain
Vertical roller boundary
(b) Plane strain unit cell, B = 0.45 m
Equivalent zone, 42.5 cm
Half drain wall, b = 2.5 cm
Horizontal roller boundary
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Impermeable boundary
w
Negative 50 kPa excess pwp
Top of the drain
Top of the cell
Undrained rigid plate
50 kPa
Periphery of the cell
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary
Half drain wall, b = 2.5 cm
Horizontal roller boundary
Impermeable boundary
w
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Equivalent zone, 72.5 cm
Top of the cell
Undrained rigid plate
CL
50 kPa
Periphery of the cell
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary
Vertical roller boundary
Periphery of the drain
Impermeable boundary
Centreline of the drain
Vertical roller boundary
H
=

1
0

m
Vertical roller boundary
Centreline of the drain
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary
Periphery of the drain
Top of the drain
Negative 50 kPa excess pwp
Top of the drain
Negative 50 kPa excess pwp
(c) Plane strain unit cell, B = 0.75 m
L
C
L
Fig. 7. Boundary conditions and meshes of the axisymmetric and plane strain cells used in VTD-ES cases of one homogeneous clay layer.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 663
In summary, all computed cases for this two-clay-layer
case are illustrated in Fig. 6, and all input parameters used
for these plane strain cells are shown in Tables 3 and 4.
In this two-clay-layer case, when Indraratna et al. [12]
conversion expression was used for the lower clay layer,
then a question arose as to whether we should choose the
length of the drainage path of the drain (l) of the axisym-
metric unit cell in the lower clay layer equal to the total
thickness of both two clay layers (l = 10 m) or equal to
the thickness of the lower clay layer only (l = 5.05 m). All
permeability for the lower clay layer of plane strain cells
converted by Indraratna et al. [12] conversion expression,
in accordance with both l = 10 and 5.05 m, are listed in
Table 4.
In Table 4, in the case that the plane strain cell has
B = 0.75 m together with q
wp
= 0.0043 m
3
/day (i.e. corre-
sponding to F
d
= 0.1 of the axisymmetric cell), the con-
verted permeability of the lower clay layer based on
Indraratna et al. [12] method becomes negative, even
though using either l = 10 or 5.05 m. Therefore, we could
not model this case by Indraratna et al. [12] method. For
this reason, the comparison between our method and
Indraratna et al. [12] method was not conducted for this
case.
Also in Table 4, when the plane strain cell has
B = 0.45 m together with q
wp
= 0.0043 m
3
/day, the con-
verted permeability of the lower clay layer based on Ind-
raratna et al. [12] method also becomes negative if using
l = 10 m (i.e. equal to the total thickness of both two clay
layers). Hence, for the lower clay layer, we did not choose
l = 10 m, but chose l = 5.05 m (i.e. equal to the thickness of
this layer) to input into the conversion expression of Ind-
raratna et al. [12].
4. Results and discussion
4.1. In the case of one homogeneous clay layer
FE results of the degree of consolidation of the axisym-
metric cell, and of our proposed plane strain cell are shown
in Figs. 10 and 11, in which all curves of degree of consol-
idation were calculated based on the surface settlement of
the soil layer.
Centreline of the drain
Vertical roller boundary
Impermeable boundary
Periphery of the drain
Vertical roller boundary
Top of the drain
Negative 50 kPa excess pwp
w
Impermeable boundary
Half drain wall, b = 2.5 cm
Horizontal roller boundary
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Equivalent zone, 42.5 cm
(b) Plane strain unit cell, B = 0.45 m
w
Half drain, r = 2.5 cm
Impermeable boundary
Horizontal roller boundary
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Fixed, impermeable boundary
Smear zone, 15.5 cm
Undisturbed zone, 27 cm
(a) Axisymmetric unit cell, R = 0.45 m
H
=

4
.
9
5

m
Negative 50 kPa excess pwp
Top of the drain
50 kPa
Vertical roller boundary
Periphery of the drain
Centreline of the drain
Vertical roller boundary
Impermeable boundary
Undrained rigid plate
Top of the cell
Periphery of the cell
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary
H
=

5
.
0
5

m
U
p
p
e
r

c
l
a
y

l
a
y
e
r
L
o
w
e
r

c
l
a
y

l
a
y
e
r
Top of the cell
Undrained rigid plate
C
50 kPa
Periphery of the cell
Impermeable boundary
Vertical roller boundary
L
C
L
Fig. 9. Boundary conditions and meshes of the axisymmetric and plane strain cells used in VTD-ES cases of two clay layers.
Integration point
Pore pressure unknown
Displacement unknown
Fig. 8. The element type used for FE analyses.
664 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
The proposed conversion method was validated in the
case of VTD-ES with k
1
= 1. As shown in Fig. 10a, it
can be seen that a good agreement in the degree of
consolidation, between the proposed plane strain cell and
the axisymmetric cell, was obtained not only under no-
well-resistance condition, but also under high well
resistance condition. After that, the proposed method
was also examined in the case of VS-FS with k
1
= 1; as
shown in Fig. 10b, the same good agreement as that in
Fig. 10a was obtained under both no-well resistance and
high well resistance conditions.
Further, we tested the proposed method in the case of
VTD-ES with k
1
= 0.5. The results in Fig. 11a indicated
that, under both no well resistance and high well resistance
conditions, the proposed method produced good matching
results. Finally, we tested the proposed method in the case
of VS-FS with k
1
= 0.5. As can be seen in Fig. 11b, the
same good matching results as those in the case of VTD-
ES (k
1
= 0.5) were also obtained.
4.2. In the case of two clay layers
The FE results of the degree of consolidation of the
axisymmetric cell, of the Indraratna et al. [12] plane
strain cell, and of our proposed plane strain cell are pre-
sented in Fig. 12, in which all curves of degree of consol-
idation were calculated based on the surface settlement
of soil layers.
Besides, the difference in the degree of consolidation
(U
a
À U
p
) between the axisymmetric unit cell (U
a
) and
the plane train unit cell (U
p
) of Indraratna et al. [12]
method, and the plane strain cell (U
p
) of our proposed
method is illustrated in Fig. 13.
As shown in Fig. 12a and b, the results of degree of con-
solidation revealed that both methods are very good under
no well resistance condition (F
d
= 20).
Fig. 13a shows that, under the condition of F
d
= 20, the
maximum difference in the degree of consolidation
(U
a
À U
p
), of the whole two clay layers is 2% for Ind-
raratna et al. [12] method, and 4% for the proposed
method. This means that our method produced matching
results which are almost as good as those of Indraratna
et al. [12] method (under condition of F
d
= 20). Besides,
also under condition of F
d
= 20, Fig. 13b showed that
the maximum difference in the degree of consolidation of
the lower clay layer is 1% for Indraratna et al. [12] method,
and 2.5% for the proposed method.
Under high well resistance condition, Figs. 12a and
13a revealed that, of the whole two clay layers, the max-
imum difference (U
a
À U
p
) of Indraratna et al. [12]
method is 9%, which is considered to be fairly high,
whereas the maximum difference of the proposed method
is 2%. Figs. 12b and 13b show that, of the lower clay
layer, the maximum difference (U
a
À U
p
) under high well
resistance condition of Indraratna et al. [12] method even
reach 14%, whereas the difference of the proposed
method is less than 1%.
Further, we examined both methods in the case of VS-
FS with k
1
= 0.5 as shown in Fig. 12c, d and 13c, d. As
can be seen in these figures, almost the same results as those
in the case of VTD-ES (k
1
= 0.5) are obtained. However, in
this VS-FS case, the maximum difference in the degree of
Table 3
Input parameters of the plane strain unit cells converted by our method for the case of two clay layers
Parameters of the proposed plane strain unit
cell
Symbol Computed cases
VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS
Half-width of the plane strain cell (m) B 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75
Half-width of the drain-wall (m) b
w
0.025
Discharge capacity of the drain-wall (m
3
/
day)
q
wp
1.222
à1
1.222
à1
0.0061
à2
0.0061
à2
1.222
à1
1.222
à1
0.0061
à2
0.0061
à2
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the drain-wall
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
The upper clay layer
Horizontal permeability of the equivalent
zone (m/day)
k
#1
hp
2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05 2.86EÀ05 7.93EÀ05
Vertical permeability of the equivalent zone
(m/day)
k
vp
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the equivalent zone
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
The lower clay layer
Horizontal permeability of the equivalent
zone (m/day)
k
#1
hp
1.43EÀ04 3.97EÀ04 1.43EÀ04 3.97EÀ04 1.43EÀ04 3.97EÀ04 1.43EÀ04 3.97EÀ04
Vertical permeability of the equivalent zone
(m/day)
k
vp
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and Poisson’s
ratio of the equivalent zone
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
Note: The superscript ‘‘#1” means that this value was calculated based on Eq. (12). The superscript ‘‘à1” means that this value was calculated based on Eq.
(11) and is corresponding to F
d
= 20. The superscript ‘‘à2” means that this value was calculated based on Eq. (11) and is corresponding to F
d
= 0.1.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 665
Table 4
Input parameters of the plane strain unit cells converted by Indraratna et al. [12] method for the case of two clay layers
Parameters of the plane strain unit
cell of Indraratna et al. [12]
Symbol Computed cases
VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VTD-ES VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS VS-FS
Half-width of plane strain cell (m) B 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75 0.45 0.75
Half-width of drain-wall (m) b
w
0.025
Discharge capacity of the drain-wall
(m
3
/day)
q
wp
0.864
§1
0.864
§1
0.0043
§2
0.0043
§2
0.864
§1
0.864
§1
0.0043
§2
0.0043
§2
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and
Poisson’s ratio of the drain-wall
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
The upper clay layer; we chose l = 4.95 m (i.e. equal to the thickness of this layer)
Horizontal permeability of the
undisturbed zone (m/day)
k
#2
hp
1.01EÀ04 2.27EÀ04 2.27EÀ04 6.55EÀ04 1.01EÀ04 2.27EÀ04 2.27EÀ04 6.55EÀ04
Horizontal permeability of the smear
zone (m/day)
k
sp
(1/5)k
hp
Vertical permeability of the
undisturbed and smear zones
(m/day)
k
vp
and
k
vsp
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04 4.30EÀ04
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and
Poisson’s ratio of the undisturbed
and smear zones
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
The lower clay layer; if choosing l = 5.05 m (i.e. equal to the thickness of this layer)
Horizontal permeability of the
undisturbed zone (m/day)
k
#2
hp
5.09EÀ04 1.15EÀ03 4.79EÀ03 À4.71EÀ04 5.09EÀ04 1.15EÀ03 4.79EÀ03 À4.71EÀ04
Horizontal permeability of the smear
zone (m/day)
k
sp
(1/5)k
hp
Vertical permeability of the
undisturbed and smear zones
(m/day)
k
vp
and
k
vsp
0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03 2.15EÀ03
Elastic modulus (kN/m
2
) and
Poisson’s ratio of the undisturbed
and smear zones
E and m E = 1000 and m = 0
The lower clay layer; if choosing l = 10 m (i.e. equal to the total thickness of the two clay layers)
Horizontal permeability of the
undisturbed zone (m/day)
k
#2
hp
5.15EÀ04 1.21EÀ03 À2.02EÀ04 À9.17EÀ05 5.15EÀ04 1.21EÀ03 À2.02EÀ04 À9.17EÀ05
Horizontal permeability of the smear
zone (m/day)
k
sp
(1/5)k
hp
Note: The superscript ‘‘#2” means that this value was calculated based on Eq. (
*
) in Table 1. The superscript ‘‘§1” means that this value was assumed to be
equal to q
wa
, which is corresponding to F
d
= 20. The superscript ‘‘§2” means that this value was assumed to be equal to q
wa
, but, in this case, q
wa
is
corresponding to F
d
= 0.1.
(b) VS-FS with k
1
=1
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
h
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
(a) VTD- ES with k
1
=1
0
20
40
60
80
100
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
h
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.75: Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.75: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
B0.75: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
B0.75: Proposed
o
o
p
p
o
o
p
p

i


h

i

: =



:

i



i

:



:
Fig. 10. Comparison of FEM results of the axisymmetric unit cell having R = 0.45 m (R0.45: Axisymmetric) with that of the plane strain unit cell having
B = 0.45 m (B0.45: Proposed) and with that of the plane strain unit cell having B = 0.75 m (B0.75: Proposed); these graphs corresponding to the case of
one clay layer and k
1
= 1.
666 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
0.1 1 10 100
(a) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor Th
= 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.75: Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.75: Proposed
B0.45: Proposed
B0.75: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45:
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.75:
o
o
0.5p
p
o
0.5p
o
p

1
f
= 0.1>

.7

:
. 5:

(b) VS-FS with k
1
=0.5
1
0
20
40
60
80
100

Time factor Th f
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f
c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f
c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
R0.45: Axisymmetric

<The case: Fd = 20>

Proposed
:
5: Proposed
o
Fig. 11. Comparison of FEM results of the axisymmetric unit cell having R = 0.45 m (R0.45: Axisymmetric) with that of the plane strain unit cell having
B = 0.45 m (B0.45: Proposed) and with that of the plane strain unit cell having B = 0.75 m (B0.75: Proposed); these graphs corresponding to the case of
one clay layer and k
1
= 0.5.
0 0
60
80
100
0.1
1
10
Time factor T
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
o
0.5p
o
p
o
0.5p
o
of lower clay layer
Degree of consolidation
o
0.5p
o
p p
o
0.5p
o
Degree of consolidation
of lower clay layer
B0.45:
R0.45:
B0.45: In
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; U
h
for two clay layers
20
40
100

0.1
1
10
100
Time factor T
0.1
1
10
Time factor T
100

0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T

0
60
80
100
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
20
40

0
60
80
100
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
20
40

60
80
100
D
e
g
r
e
e

o
f

c
o
n
s
o
l
i
d
a
t
i
o
n

U
h

(
%
)
20
40

(a) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; U
h
for lower clay layer (b)
VS- FS with k
1
=0.5; U
h
for lower clay layer (d)
VS- FS with k
1
=0.5; U
h
for two clay layers (c)
p
p
of lower clay layer
Degree of consolidation
o
0.5p
o
p p
o
0.5p
o
Degree of consolidation
of lower clay layer
<The case: Fd = 20>
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Proposed
Axisymmetric
draratna
B0.45:
R0.45:
B0.45: In
Proposed
Axisymmetric
draratna
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45:
R0.45:
B0.45: In
Proposed
Axisymmetric
draratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
B0.45: Proposed
R0.45: Axisymmetric
B0.45: Indraratna
Fig. 12. Comparison of FEM results of the axisymmetric unit cell having R = 0.45 m (R0.45: axisymmetric) with that of the plane strain unit cell
converted by Indraratna et al. [12] method (B0.45: Indraratna) and with that of the plane strain unit cell converted by the proposed method (B0.45:
Proposed); these graphs corresponding to the case of the two clay layers and k
1
= 0.5.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 667
consolidation in the lower clay layer of Indraratna et al.
[12] method is 12%, i.e. little smaller than the value 14%
in the case of VTD-ES, but this value 12% is still be consid-
ered to be significant.
5. Conclusions
By modifying Indraratna et al. [12] method, which was
developed for cases of single layer subsoil, a new conver-
sion method has been proposed in this study to convert
an axisymmetric unit cell to an equivalent plane strain cell
under vacuum-surcharge preloading condition.
In the proposed method, the widths and the permeabil-
ity of the smear and undisturbed zones in the axisymmetric
cell are converted theoretically into an equivalent perme-
ability of the equivalent zone in the proposed plane strain
cell. And, as the proposed cell has no plane strain smear
zone, a full-scale plane strain simulation of soft ground
improved by vertical drains under vacuum-surcharge pre-
loading can be conveniently made.
Besides, in the proposed method, the determination of
the length of the drainage path of the drain (l) in each soil
layer (of a multi-layer subsoil) is not required in determin-
ing the equivalent permeability for each soil layer.
The proposed method was validated via analyzing con-
solidation of the axisymmetric and plane strain unit cells in
two cases, one is a homogeneous clay layer, and the other
one is a two-clay-layer case. The vertical drains analyzed in
these cases are under two conditions, no well resistance
(F
d
= 20), and high well resistance (F
d
= 0.1). The analyzed
results showed that the proposed method produced very
good agreements in all the cases. In addition, the results
also indicated that the proposed method can be used well,
not only under equal strain condition, but also under free
strain condition.
Acknowledgements
The financial support from JICA (Japan International
Cooperation Agency) for this study through AUN/
(a) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for two clay layers
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
U
a


U
p

(
%
)
(b) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for lower clay layer
U
a



U
p

(
%
)
(c) VS-FS with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for two clay layers
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
U
a


U
p

(
%
)
(d) VS-FS with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for lower clay layer
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
U
a



U
p

(
%
)
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
(a) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for two clay layers
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
10 100
T
h
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
10 100
T
h
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
10 100
T
h
0.1 1 10 100
Time factor T
10 100
T
h


(b) VTD-ES with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for lower clay layer
U
a



U
p

(
%
)
(c) VS-FS with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for two clay layers
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
U
a


U
p

(
%
)
(d) VS-FS with k
1
=0.5; (U
a
- U
p
) for lower clay layer
-14
-12
-10
-8
-6
-4
-2
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
U
a



U
p

(
%
)
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
Proposed
<The case: Fd = 0.1>
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Indraratna
<The case: Fd = 20>
Proposed
Fig. 13. The difference in the degree of consolidation between the axisymmetric unit cell and the plane strain unit cell converted by Indraratna et al. [12]
method, and the plane strain unit cell converted by the proposed method; these graphs corresponding to the case of two clay layers with k
1
= 0.5 that is
shown in Fig. 12.
668 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
SEED-Net Project (ASEAN University Network/South-
east Asia Engineering Education Development Network
Project) is greatly appreciated. Besides, the authors would
like to thank Associate Professor, Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka
of Hokkaido University very much for his various com-
ments and suggestions on this study.
Appendix A. Formulation of the analytical solution for the
average excess pore pressure of the axisymmetric unit cell
Consider a horizontal cross-sectional slice with a thick-
ness dz from the radius r to the outer radius R of the axi-
symmetric unit cell (see Fig. A1a).
The centripetal flow rate (into the drain) in the slice at
radius r can be defined by
oq
ot
¼
k
h
c
w
ou
or
2pr dz ðA1Þ
where q, u, c
w
, and k
h
are horizontal flow of water in the
soil mass, excess pore water pressure, unit weight of water,
and horizontal permeability coefficient of soil, respectively.
The rate of the soil volume change of the slice, from the
radius r to the outer radius R, in the vertical direction can
be determined by
oV
ot
¼
oe
ot
pðR
2
À r
2
Þdz ðA2Þ
where V and e are volume of the soil mass and vertical
strain, respectively.
Assuming that water is incompressible, therefore Eq.
(A1) = Eq. (A2).
For undisturbed zone, r
s
6 r 6 R we can obtain
ou
or
¼
c
w
2
oe
ot
1
k
ha
R
2
À r
2
r
_ _
ðA3aÞ
where u and k
ha
are excess pore water pressure and hori-
zontal permeability coefficient of the soil in the undisturbed
zone, respectively.
For smear zone, r
w
6 r 6 r
s
we obtain:
ou
s
or
¼
c
w
2
oe
ot
1
k
sa
R
2
À r
2
r
_ _
ðA3bÞ
where u
s
and k
sa
are excess pore water pressure and hori-
zontal permeability coefficient of soil in the smear zone,
respectively.
Considering a horizontal cross-sectional slice with a
thickness dz of the circular cylindrical drain with radius
r
w
(Fig. A1b), the change of vertical flow of water within
the drain, in the z direction, from the entrance face to the
exit face of the slice can be calculated by
dq
z
¼
q
wa
c
w
o
2
u
oz
2
dz dt ðA4Þ
where q
wa
is the discharge capacity of the drain.
The horizontal inflow of water, in the radial direction,
from the outer face of the slice of the circular cylindrical
drain is determined by
dq
r
¼
2pr
w
k
sa
c
w
ou
or
dz dt for r ¼ r
w
ðA5Þ
where r
w
is the equivalent radius of the drain.
For continuity of flow, the following equation must be
satisfied
dq
z
¼ Àdq
r
ðA6Þ
therefore
ou
or
_ _
r
w
þ
q
wa
2pr
w
k
sa
o
2
u
oz
2
_ _
r
w
¼ 0 for r ¼ r
w
ðA7Þ
Substituting Eq. (A3b) into Eq. (A7), we obtain
o
2
u
w
oz
2
¼ À
c
w
pr
2
w
q
wa
n
2
a
À 1
_ _
oe
ot
ðA8Þ
where n
a
is the ratio R/r
w
; u
w
is the excess pore water pres-
sure at r
w
.
r
w
s
r
R
z
q
z z
q + dq
dz
r
dq
dq
r
Smear zone
Undisturbed zone Undisturbed zone
Undisturbed zone
Smear zone
q
q
dz
r
R
r
s
w
r
Fig. A1. A horizontal cross-sectional slice of the axisymmetric unit cell.
T.A. Tran’, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672 669
By using the following boundary conditions:
At z ¼ 0 : u
w
¼ Àp
0
.
At z ¼ l :
ouw
oz
¼ p
0
1Àk
1
l
_ _
.
The solution of Eq. (A8) can be given by
u
w
¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
þ
c
w
pr
2
w
q
wa
n
2
a
À 1
_ _
oe
ot
lz À
z
2
2
_ _
ðA9Þ
After that, integrating Eq. (A3b) in the r direction with the
boundary condition that at r = r
w
, u
s
= u
w
(i.e. Eq. (A9)).
Therefore, for r
w
6 r 6 r
s
, the following equation is
obtained
u
s
¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
þ
c
w
2
oe
ot
Â
1
k
sa
R
2
ln
r
r
w
À
r
2
À r
2
w
2
þ k
sa
pr
2
w
q
wa
ðn
2
a
À 1Þð2lz À z
2
Þ
_ _
ðA10Þ
or
u
s
¼ ½pðzފ þ
c
w
2
oe
ot
Â
1
k
sa
R
2
ln
r
r
w
À
r
2
À r
2
w
2
þ k
sa
½qðzފ
_ _
ðA11Þ
where
½pðzފ ¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
and ½qðzފ
¼
pr
2
w
q
wa
n
2
a
À 1
_ _
ð2lz À z
2
Þ
Then, integrating Eq. (A3a) along the r direction with the
boundary condition that at r = r
s
, u = u
s
(i.e. Eq. (A11)).
Hence, for r
s
6 r 6 R, we can obtain the following
equation
u ¼ ½pðzފ þ
c
w
2
oe
ot
1
k
sa
R
2
ln
r
r
s
À
r
2
À r
2
s
2
þ
k
ha
k
sa
R
2
ln
r
s
r
w
À
r
2
s
À r
2
w
2
_ _ _
þk
ha
½qðzފ
_
ðA12Þ
Let u be the average excess pore water pressure throughout
a horizontal cross-section at depth z and for a given time, t
u ¼
_
rs
rw
2pu
s
r dr þ
_
R
rs
2pur dr
p R
2
À r
2
w
_ _ ðA13Þ
After substituting Eqs. (A11) and (A12) into Eq. (A13),
and integrating it, finally Eq. (A13) becomes
u ¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
þ
c
w
2
oe
ot
Â
R
2
k
ha
ln
n
a
s
a
þ
k
ha
k
sa
ln s
a
À
3
4
þ pzð2l À zÞ
k
ha
q
wa
_ _
ðA14Þ
We assume that
oe
ot
¼ m
v
or
0
ot
¼ Àm
v
ou
ot
ðA15Þ
where m
v
is the coefficient of volume compressibility for
one dimensional compression.
Substituting Eq. (A15) into Eq. (A14) then integrating it
with time, t, and introducing the boundary condition that
at t = 0, u ¼ r
1
, then the following expression can be
obtained
u ¼ r
1
þ p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _ _ _
exp À
8T
ha
l
za
_ _
À p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
ðA16Þ
where
l
za
¼ ln
n
a
s
a
þ
k
ha
k
sa
ln s
a
À
3
4
þ pzð2l À zÞ
k
ha
q
wa
ðA17Þ
T
ha
¼
C
ha
t
4R
2
¼
k
ha
m
v
c
w
t
4R
2
ðA18Þ
Appendix B. Formulation of the analytical solution for the
average excess pore pressure of the plane strain unit cell
Let us consider a horizontal cross-sectional slice with a
thickness dz from the vertical cross-section x to the width
B of the plane strain unit cell (see Fig. B1a).
In the slice, the horizontal flow rate into the drain, at
cross-section x, can be defined by
B
dz
q
z
dq
x
x
dq
w
b
q + dq
z z
q
q
x
B
dz
w
b
Equivalent zone
Equivalent zone
dy= 1
dy =1
Fig. B1. A horizontal cross-sectional slice of the plane strain cell.
670 T.A. Tran, T. Mitachi / Computers and Geotechnics 35 (2008) 655–672
oq
ot
¼
k
hp
c
w
ou
ox
dz dy ¼
k
hp
c
w
ou
ox
dz Á 1 ¼
k
hp
c
w
ou
ox
dz ðB1Þ
where q is the horizontal flow of water in the soil mass; k
hp
is the equivalent horizontal permeability coefficient of the
soil in the plane strain cell.
The rate of the soil volume change of the slice in the ver-
tical direction, within the space from width x to the width
B, can be determined by
oV
ot
¼
oe
ot
ðB À xÞdz ðB2Þ
where V, e, and B are volume of the soil mass, vertical
strain, and half-width of the equivalent plane strain cell,
respectively.
Assume that water is incompressible, therefore Eq.
(B1) = Eq. (B2), then the following equation can be
obtained
ou
ox
¼
c
w
k
hp
oe
ot
ðB À xÞ ðB3Þ
where u is excess pore water pressure in the equivalent zone
of the plane strain cell; k
hp
is the equivalent horizontal per-
meability coefficient of the equivalent zone of the plane
strain cell.
The change of vertical water flow within the drain-wall,
in the z direction, from the entrance face to the exit face of
the slice (see Fig. B1b) can be calculated by
dq
z
¼
q
wp
c
w
o
2
u
oz
2
dz dt ðB4Þ
where q
wp
is the discharge capacity of the drain-wall.
The horizontal inflow of water, from the outer face of
the drain-wall slice, flows into the drain-wall, can be deter-
mined by
dq
x
¼
k
hp
c
w
ou
ox
dz dt for x ¼ b
w
ðB5Þ
where b
w
is the half-width of the drain-wall.
For continuity of flow, the following equation must be
satisfied
dq
z
¼ À2dq
x
ðB6Þ
therefore, it leads to
o
2
u
oz
2
_ _
¼ À
2k
hp
q
wp
ou
ox
_ _
bw
for x ¼ b
w
ðB7Þ
Substituting Eq. (B3) into Eq. (B7), we obtain
o
2
u
oz
2
¼ À
2c
w
q
wp
oe
ot
ðB À b
w
Þ at x ¼ b
w
ðB8Þ
By using the following boundary conditions:
At z = 0 and x = b
w
: u = Àp
0
.
At z = l and x ¼ b
w
:
ou
oz
¼ p
0
1Àk
1
l
_ _
.
The solution of Eq. (B8) for u
w
at x = b
w
can be given by
u
w
¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
þ
2c
w
q
wp
B À b
w
ð Þ
oe
ot
lz À
z
2
2
_ _
ðB9Þ
Integrating Eq. (B3) with the following boundary
condition.
At x = b
w
, we have u = u
w
being Eq. (B9).
Therefore, for b
w
6 x 6 B, the following equation is
obtained
u ¼ ½pðzފ þ c
w
oe
ot
1
2k
p
ð2Bx À x
2
Þ þ
B À b
w
q
wp
ð2lz À z
2
Þ
_
À
1
2k
p
2Bb
w
À b
2
w
_ _
_
ðB10Þ
where
½pðzފ ¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
Let u be the average excess pore water pressure through-
out a horizontal cross-section at a given depth z and for a
given time, t
u ¼
_
B
bw
udx
B À b
w
ðB11Þ
After substituting Eq. (B10) into Eq. (B11), and integrating
it, finally Eq. (B11) becomes
u ¼ Àp
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
þ
ðB À b
w
Þ
2
k
hp
c
w
2
Â
oe
ot
2
3
þ
2k
hp
ðB À b
w
Þq
wp
ð2lz À z
2
Þ
_ _
ðB12Þ
Substituting Eq. (A15) (in Appendix A) into Eq. (B12),
then integrating it with boundary condition that at t = 0,
u ¼ r
1
, finally the following expression can be obtained
u ¼ r
1
þ p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _ _ _
exp À
8T
hp
l
zp
_ _
À p
0
1 À ð1 À k
1
Þ
z
l
_ _
ðB13Þ
where
l
zp
¼
2
3
þ
2k
hp
Bq
wp
ð2lz À z
2
Þ ðB14Þ
T
hp
¼
C
hp
t
4B
2
¼
t
4B
2
k
hp
m
v
c
w
ðB15Þ
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