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Consolidation of Clays

N. Sivakugan
Duration: 17
minutes

What is Consolidation?
When a saturated clay is loaded externally,
GL

saturated
clay
the water is squeezed out of the clay over a
long time (due to low permeability of the clay).
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Copyright2001

What is Consolidation?

settlemen
t

This leads to settlements occurring over a long


time,

time

which could be several years.

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In granular soils

settlemen
t

Granular soils are freely drained, and thus the


settlement is instantaneous.

time

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During consolidation
Due to a surcharge q applied at
the GL,
the stresses and pore pressures are increased at A.
q kPa

GL

..and, they
vary with time.

saturated
clay

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During consolidation
remains the same (=q) during consolidation.
u decreases (due to
while
drainage)
increases,
transferring the load from water
to the soil.

q kPa

A
saturated
clay

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GL

One Dimensional
Consolidation
~ drainage and deformations are
(none
vertical
laterally)
~ a simplification for solving consolidation
q kPa
problems
GL

water squeezed out

saturated
clay

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reasonable
simplification if
the surcharge is
of large lateral
extent

H -e Relation
H
Ho

average vertical
strain =
q kPa
GL

saturated
clay
e=
eo

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Time = 0+

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q kPa
GL

Ho

saturated
clay
e = eo - e
Time =

H -e Relation
Consider an element where Vs = 1
initially.

eo

Time =
0+

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Time =

e
average vertical strain
1 eo
=

H -e Relation
Equating the two expressions for average
vertical strain,
consolidati
on
settlement
initial thickness
of clay layer

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H
e

Ho
1 eo

change in void
ratio

initial void
ratio

10

Coefficient of volume
compressibility
~ denoted by mv

~ is the volumetric strain in a clay element


per
unit increase in stress no
units

change in volume
original volume

i.e.,

V
mv

kPa-1 or MPa-

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kPa or MPa

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Consolidation Test
~ simulation of 1-D field consolidation in lab.
GL

porous
stone
undisturbed soil
specimen

metal ring

Dia = 50-75 mm

(oedometer)

Height = 20-30
mm

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fiel
d
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lab
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Consolidation Test
loading in
allowingincrements
full consolidation before next
increment
q1

q2

H1

eo- e1

Ho eo

H1
e1
(1 eo )
Ho

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e2

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Consolidation Test
unloadin
g

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e log v plot

void ratio

- from the above data

loading
v increases &
unloading

e decreases

v decreases &
e increases
(swelling)
log v

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void ratio

Compression and recompression


indices
C
1

Cc ~ compression
index
Cc

Cr ~ recompression
index(or swelling
index)
Cr

log v

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Preconsolidation pressure

void ratio

is the
maximum
vertical
effective
stress the soil
element has
ever been
subjected to

preconsolidation
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log v

Virgin Consolidation Line


original
state

virgin consolidation line

void ratio

e o,
vo
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vo

log v

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Overconsolidation ratio
(OCR)
original
state

virgin consolidation line

vo

Field

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void ratio

p'
OCR
vo '
vo

log v

Overconsolidation ratio
(OCR)
VCL
OCR=1

~current state

void ratio

OCR=13

OCR=2

Normally
consolidate
d clay

OCR=13
Heavily
overconsolidated
clay

OCR=2
Slightly
overconsolidated
clay

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log v

More to come

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Settlement computations
Two different ways to estimate
the consolidation settlement:
q kPa

(a) using mv
settlement = mv H

=q

(b) using e-log v


plot

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eo, vo,
Cc, Cr, p,
mv
Copyright2001 -

next slide

e
settlement
H
1 eo

Settlement computations

~ computing e using e-log v


plot
If the clay is normally
consolidated,
the entire loading path is along the
VCL.
initia
l

eo
e

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vo

vo+

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vo ' '
e Cc log
vo '

Settlement computations

~ computing e using e-log v


plot
If the clay is overconsolidated, and remains
so by the end of consolidation,

eo

vo ' '
e Cr log
vo '

initia
l

note the use of Cr


VC
L
vo

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vo+

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Settlement computations

~ computing e using e-log v


plot
If an overconsolidated clay becomes
normally consolidated by the end of
consolidation,

eo

p'
vo ' '
e Cr log
Cc log
vo '
p'

initia
l

vo

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VC
L

vo+

Preloading

Preloading at West Kowloon Expressway, Hong


Kong.
(5-10 m embankments for 2-5 months)
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Preloading
Piezometers measure pore pressures and
thus indicate when the consolidation is
over.

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Preloading

Cross section of PVD

Installation
Prefabricated Vertical Drains to Accelerate
SIVA Consolidation
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Prefabricated Vertical
Drains

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Installation of
PVDs

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