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Stone Columns

Offshore Stone Columns
For many years there has been a need for the installation of high quality
stone columns in an offshore environment. Previous attempts to install
offshore stone columns often relied on the assumption that a mattress of
gravel dumped on the seabed could be worked into the soil by moving a
vibroprobe up and down.

Sketch of
Marine Gravel

No adequate means of quality control were available to demonstrate the
integrity of columns installed in such a way. Proper documentation involving
monitoring of column diameter variation with depth derived from measured
batches of gravel placed at defined depth intervals was totally out of reach.
With the new Marine Gravel Pump technology the problem of installing high
quality offshore stone columns has been solved. The Marine Double Lock Gravel
Pump ® guarantees integral columns by continuously pressurised stone
discharge. Offshore platforms or dams under cyclic loading or earthquake
loading can now be founded cost efficiently and reliably on stone columns.

Port of Patras, Greece,
construction of a
seawall on loose
liquefiable sandy and
silty sediments.

The stone columns for the foundation of a breakwater and quaywall in Patras serve as drainage for
excess pore pressures that build up during construction of the seawall and also provide additional
strength under earthquake loading. The 1.0 m diameter stone columns in a 2.7 m to 3.3 m grid
extend up to 20 m into the soft silty and clayey marine sediments. The water depth at the treatment
location reaches up to 32 m. Both the breakwater and the quaywall are treated with stone columns,
as detailed below :

The patented Marine
Double Lock Gravel
Pump has a snorkel
hose (6), which is
attached at the air
exhaust lock (16b) to
the receiver tank (8).
Snorkel hose (6) and
locks (16a, 16b, 9) are
operated in such a way
that while gravel flows
through hose (5) there
is always atmospheric
pressure in the receiver
tank (8), and even for
200 m water depth a
7.5 bar compressor can
transport the gravel
from blow tank (4) at
the surface to the
receiver tank (8) at
depth. A separate high
pressure compressor
feeds directly into the
pressure tank (10).
Since either lock (9) or
locks (16) are closed,
there is at all times a
sufficient pressure to
surmount the water
and soil pressures in
the gravel tube (11) at
the tip (18) of the
vibroprobe (17).

However. 60665 m3 (1 m diameter). where excessive spillage of gravel on the surface can be visually controlled. 35300 m3 (1 m diameter). 77280 linm.Breakwater : 4830 No.7 m. stone columns. An example of such an output is presented on the right. 45000 linm. Quality Control While in a land based operation a stone column can be assessed with load tests. . measured from the actual placed volume of stones at the respective depth. 16 m average length. stone columns. Problems such as blockage of the gravel transport tube or loss of gravel on the sea bed may not be detected. On the graph to the right the stone column diameter is plotted against depth. This danger does not exist in a land based operation. average square spacing 2. Traditional data loggers are not able to generate the data required to provide adequate control. 10 m average length. When recording only Ampere and depth information there is no control to ensure that gravel is placed at the required location. a new data logging method has now been developed which produces an output showing the stone column diameter. Quaywall : 4500 No. or a borehole can be drilled into the column to check for continuity.85 m. average square spacing 2. This is accomplished by the computer through a recording of the time and depth when each gravel batch has been sent through the Double Lock mechanism. such controls are not readily available under water.

plomteux@vibroflotation.Vibroflotation Group .Head Office +33(0) 1 64 49 64 52 .com Other contacts .Zone industrielle de la Butte. FRANCE . 91620 Nozay Cedex.e-mail: cyril. rue Gutenberg .