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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Table of Contents

1.0 Phase Relationships ................................................................................ 1


PROBLEM 1.1............................................................................................ 1
PROBLEM 1.2............................................................................................ 3
PROBLEM 1.3............................................................................................ 5
PROBLEM 1.4............................................................................................ 7
2.0 Soil Classification .................................................................................... 9
PROBLEM 2.1............................................................................................ 9
PROBLEM 2.2............................................................................................ 9
PROBLEM 2.3 ......................................................................................... 12
PROBLEM 2.4.......................................................................................... 14
3.0 Soil Sampling and In-Situ Testing Methods......................................... 17
PROBLEM 3.1.......................................................................................... 17
PROBLEM 3.2.......................................................................................... 17
PROBLEM 3.3.......................................................................................... 19
PROBLEM 3.4.......................................................................................... 19
4.0 Compaction ............................................................................................ 21
PROBLEM 4.1.......................................................................................... 21
PROBLEM 4.2.......................................................................................... 23
PROBLEM 4.3.......................................................................................... 25
PROBLEM 4.4.......................................................................................... 27
5.0 Permeability and Seepage ..................................................................... 29
PROBLEM 5.1 ......................................................................................... 29
PROBLEM 5.2.......................................................................................... 31
PROBLEM 5.3.......................................................................................... 33
PROBLEM 5.4.......................................................................................... 33
6.0 Vertical Stresses and Pore Water Pressure ......................................... 35
PROBLEM 6.1 ......................................................................................... 35
PROBLEM 6.2.......................................................................................... 37
PROBLEM 6.3.......................................................................................... 37
PROBLEM 6.4.......................................................................................... 39
7.0 Pressure Distribution ............................................................................. 41
PROBLEM 7.1.......................................................................................... 41
PROBLEM 7.2.......................................................................................... 43
PROBLEM 7.3.......................................................................................... 45
PROBLEM 7.4.......................................................................................... 46
8.0 Consolidation ......................................................................................... 49
PROBLEM 8.1.......................................................................................... 49
PROBLEM 8.2.......................................................................................... 51
PROBLEM 8.3.......................................................................................... 53
PROBLEM 8.4.......................................................................................... 55

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

9.0 Shallow Foundations ............................................................................. 57


PROBLEM 9.1.......................................................................................... 57
PROBLEM 9.2.......................................................................................... 59
PROBLEM 9.3.......................................................................................... 61
PROBLEM 9.4.......................................................................................... 63
10.0 Lateral Earth Pressure ........................................................................... 65
PROBLEM 10.1 ....................................................................................... 65
PROBLEM 10.2 ....................................................................................... 67
PROBLEM 10.3 ........................................................................................ 69
PROBLEM 10.4 ........................................................................................ 71
11.0 Slope Stability and Braced Excavations .............................................. 73
PROBLEM 11.1 ........................................................................................ 73
PROBLEM 11.2 ........................................................................................ 74
PROBLEM 11.3 ........................................................................................ 77
PROBLEM 11.4 ........................................................................................ 79

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

1.0 Phase Relationships

PROBLEM 1.1
A saturated specimen is tested in the laboratory. The following
properties were obtained:

Weight before oven drying: 3.00 lb


Weight after oven drying: 2.50 lb
Oven temperature: 110 C
Drying time: 24 hrs
Specific gravity: 2.73

The void ratio is most nearly:

A) 0.35
B) 0.45
C) 0.55
D) 0.65

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 1.1 Solution:

Choose formula to calculate the void ratio:

W G
e w s Ws, Gs and S are given, Ww = W - Ws
Ws S

Compute void ratio:

WwGs (3.0 lb 2.5 lb)(2.73)


e 0.546
Ws S (2.5 lb)1.0

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 1.2
Project specification for the construction of a highway
embankment require the fill to be compacted to a dry unit weight of
112 pcf to construct a 125,000 cubic yard engineered fill
embankment. The fill soil needs to be imported from a borrow site.
Laboratory tests performed on the borrow soil indicated the
following properties: void ratio (e) = 0.8, specific gravity (Gs) = 2.7,
and moisture content (w) = 15 %.

Assuming no loss of moisture during transportion of borrow soil


from the source to the construction site; the minimum volume of
soil required to transport in cubic yards (yd3) is most nearly :

A) 148,600
B) 149,000
C) 149,600
D) 150,000

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 1.2 Solution:

Borrow Soil:
Known Properties: e, Gs, w
[Calculate dry unit weight of Borrow soil]

(Refer Table 1.0 Phase Relationships)

G 2.7 62.4 pcf


d s w 93.6 pcf
1 e 1 0.8

Volume of Borrow Soil Required

112
V 125,000 yd3 149,572 yd3
93.6

The best answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 1.3
A soil sample weighing 5 pounds has a moisture content of 20
percent. How many pounds of water must be added to increase
the water content to 30 percent?

A) 0.38
B) 0.42
C) 0.83
D) 1.25

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 1.3 Solution:

Ww
w Ww wWs Ww wWs
Ws

wW (0.3 0.2)(5 lb)


Ww wWs 0.42 lb
1 w 1 0.2

Alternate Solution:

W(20%) Ws Ww 5 lb

W 5 lb
At 20% Ws 4.17 lb
1 w 1 0.2

At 30% W Ws (1 w) (4.17 lb)(1 0.3) 5.42 lb

Water to be added

Ww W(30%) W(20%) (5.42 lb) (5.0 lb) 0.42 lb

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 1.4
A saturated soil sample has a void ratio of 1.65 and specific gravity
of 2.65. Which of the following statements are TRUE:

i. The porosity of the sample must be 0.62


ii. The moisture content of the sample must be 62%
iii. The degree of saturation of the sample must be 100%

A) Only statement (ii) is true


B) Only statement (iii) is true
C) Statements (i) and (iii) are true
D) Statement (i), (ii), and (iii) are true

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 1.4 Solution:

Statement A:

e 1.65
n 0.62 TRUE
e 1 1.65 1

Statement B:

Se (1)(1.65)
w= 100% 62% TRUE
Gs 2.65

Statement C:

V
S w 1.0 TRUE
Vv

The answer is (D)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

2.0 Soil Classification

PROBLEMS 2.1 and 2.2:


The following laboratory test results were obtained for two soil
samples.
Sieve Size Sample A Sample B
Percent Percent
Finer Finer
No. 4 85 100
No. 10 70 --
No. 40 43 --
No. 200 35 65
LL 40 55
PL 14 22

PROBLEM 2.1
The USCS Classification of Sample A is:

A) A-2-6
B) SC
C) A-2-4
D) SW

PROBLEM 2.2
The AASHTO Classification of Sample B is:

A) MH
B) CH
C) A-7-5
D) A-7-6

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 2.1 Solution:

Process of elimination:

A) A-2-6 Not USCS


B) SC CORRECT
C) A-2-4 Not USCS
D) SW "Clean" sands must have F200 < 5%

Full classification procedure:

LL = 40 PL = 14 PI = 26
F200 < 50% Coarse-grained Refer to Figure 2.4
% Gravel = 15% < % Sand = 50% SANDS
F200 > 12% WITH FINES
Fine = CL (Refer to Figure 2.6) Group Symbol "SC"

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 2.2 Solution:

Process of elimination:

A) MH Not AASHTO
B) CH Not AASHTO
C) A-7-5 PL is too high
D) A-7-6 CORRECT

Full classification procedure:

LL = 55 PL = 22 PI = 33
F200 > 35% Fine-grained Refer to Figure 2.3

The answer is (D)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 2.3
The results of a sieve analysis for a soil sample are shown below.
Determine the USCS classification of the sample.

Percent
Sieve Size
Finer
1 in. --
No. 4 100
No. 10 96
No. 40 73
No. 100 --
No. 200 55
LL 56
PL 30

A) MH
B) CH
C) SC
D) SM

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 2.3 Solution:

LL = 56 PL = 30 PI = 26

Gravel = 0 %
Fines = 55 %
Sand = 100 55 = 45 %

Plot LL vs. PI on Cassagrande Plasticity Chart (Fig 2.6) Plots


very close to A-Line.

A-Line Eqn: PI = 0.73(LL 20) = 0.73(56 20) = 26

Point is ON A-Line USCS Group Symbol = CH

The best answer is (B)

IMPORTANT TEST TIP

The PI data given, as well as the coefficients in the A-Line


equation have two significant digits. Per the multiplication rule the
result should be expressed in the number of significant digits as
the least mulitiplicand. Therefore, for this problem, the result
should be expressed in two significant digits. For more on
significant digits, see CERM Ch 3.5.

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 2.4
The results of grain size analysis and hydrometer tests on a
sample are given in the plot. LL = 40 and PL = 30.

The USCS Classification of the sample shown is:

A) SC
B) GM
C) GC
D) SM

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 2.4 Solution:

LL = 40 PI = 10

Gravel = 100 67 = 33 %
Sand = 67 42 = 25 %
Fines = 42 %

F200 < 50% Coarse-grained Follow Fig 2.4 flow chart:


% gravel > % sand GRAVEL
F200 > 12 % WITH FINES
Fines = ML (refer to Fig 2.6) Group Symbol = GM

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

General Classification Problem-Solving Strategy:

1. Identify the classification system:

Answers can be eliminated by identifying the proper


classification system. (e.g. If the problem asks for the
USCS classification, the correct AASHTO group
classification may be one of the options.)

2. Determine if soil is coarse-grained or fine-grained by the percent


passing the No. 200 sieve:

Note that in AASHTO system, coarse-grained soils have


less than or equal to 35% passing the No. 200 sieve.

Note that in USCS system, coarse-grained soils have less


than 50% passing the No. 200 sieve.

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

3.0 Soil Sampling and In-Situ Testing Methods

PROBLEMS 3.1 and 3.2


A steel framed building with column loads ranging from 250 to 450
kips is planned. The boring log shown is typical for the site. Rock
was encountered at a depth of 29 feet. Referring to the boring log
answer the following:
3.1 What would be the most
appropriate sampling method to
obtain an undisturbed sample of the
soft clay at a depth of 16 feet?

A) Pitot Tube
B) Shelby Tube
C) Bucket Sampler
D) Splitspoon Sampler

3.2 What type of foundation would


be most suitable?

A) Mat foundation
B) Shallow spread footing
C) Drilled piers bearing on rock
D) Driven H-piles bearing on rock

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 3.1 Solution:


Shelby tube sampler is the only acceptable method of the given
choices to obtain an undisturbed sample.

The best answer is (B)

Problem 3.2 Solution:


A) Because of the large isolated column loads and loose sands, a
mat would be relatively thick. Between the loose sand at the
surface and the relatively shallow depth of the soft clay layer,
excessive settlement is likely. Total and differential settlements
could also be a concern depending on the distribution of the loads.

B) Because of the loose sand, the allowable bearing pressure will be


low requiring large spread footings for the 450 kip column loads.
Large spread footings will result in a high stress increase in the
soft clay causing excessive settlement.

C) Although the loose sand and soft clay present some difficulty,
drilled piers can be readily cased to deal with these difficulties. It
is also possible to remove or break up boulders if encountered.
Drilled piers are the best choice for this profile.

D) Driven piles can be deflected and/or damage by boulders and


boulders can interfere with driving to proper bearing. In addition,
H piles cannot be inspected for damage. Driven piles generally
and H piles in particular would be a poor choice for this profile.

The best answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEMS 3.3 and 3.4


Refering to the boring and rock core logs shown below, answer
the following:

3.3 What is the average Standard


Penetration Test (SPT) N-value of
the sand encountered at the ground
surface to a depth of 12 feet?

A) 8
B) 9
C) 10
D) 13

3.4 For the rock core advanced from


20 ft to 25 ft, which of the following
statements is true?

A) The RQD is 80%


B) The RQD is 94%
C) The recovery is 80%
D) The bearing capacity is poor

19
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 3.3 Solution:


The SPT N-value is ALWAYS the sum of 2nd and 3rd increment.

First SPT sample starting at 3 ft; N = 6 + 4 = 10

Second SPT sample starting at 8 ft; N = 4 + 6 = 10

Nave = 10

The answer is (C)

Problem 3.4 Solution:


lengths of intact pieces of core >100 mm
RQD = 100%
length of core advance

12" 16" 12" 8"


RQD = 100% 80%
5'12 in ft

A) True: (48/60) x 100% = RQD

B) False: (48/51) x 100% RQD

C) False: Recovery = (51/60) = 85% 80%

D) False: RQD = 80% indicates Good rock quality, not Poor

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

4.0 Compaction

PROBLEM 4.1
A sand cone test was performed on a layer of compacted fill.
Ottawa sand ( = 100 pcf) is used to fill the jar in the testing
apparatus. The following data was recorded during the test:

Soil sample (from hole) moist weight: 4.62 lb


Soil sample (from hole) oven-dried weight: 4.02 lb
Volume of cone: 0.02 ft3
Weight of jar + sand before test: 12.50 lb
Weight of jar + sand after test: 7.00 lb

A Standard Proctor test was performed on the fill to determine a


maximum dry unit weight of 118 pcf. The relative compaction
(percent) of the fill is most nearly:

A) 85
B) 97
C) 103
D) 112

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 4.1 Solution:

Solve for volume of the hole:

(W f W0 ) 12.5 lb 7.0 lb
Vhole Vcone 0.02 ft 3 0.035 ft 3
sand 100 lb 3
ft

Compute in-situ dry unit weight:

Ws 4.02 lb
d 115 lb 3
Vhole 0.035 ft 3 ft

Compute relative compaction:

( d )in-situ 115 pcf


RC 100% 97%
( d )max 118 pcf

The answer is (B)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alternate Solution:

..
Water Content = = = 15%
.

Compute in-situ dry unit weight:


4.62
= = = 115 lb/ft3
(+) 0.035(1+0.15)

( d )in-situ 115 pcf


RC 100% 97%
( d )max 118 pcf

22
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 4.2
A contractor is to construct an earth embankment. The
specification requires compaction to a minimum dry density equal
to 95% of the modified Proctor maximum dry density. The average
total unit weight and moisture content of the soil in the borrow
source is 134 pcf and17.5%, respectively. The modified Proctor
curve for the borrow material is given below. The required
minimum compacted dry density (pcf) of the fill is most nearly:

A) 114.0
B) 123.5
C) 127.3
D) 130.0

23
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 4.2 Solution:

From the figure, the Modified Proctor maximum dry density is:

( d )max 130 pcf

Set RC to 95% and solve for minimum field dry density value:

( d ) field
RC
( d ) max

( d ) field ,min 0.95( d )max 0.95(130 pcf ) 123.5 pcf

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 4.3
Structural fill is required to support a slab-on-grade in a region
where the frost depth extends 42 inches. Which of the following
materials would be the LEAST desireable structural fill?

A) Silty sand (SM)


B) Clayey sand (SC)
C) Non-elastic silt (ML)
D) Low plasticity clay (CL)

25
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 4.3 Solution:

The smaller the tubes formed by soil voids, the higher the
capillary rise

Permeablility of clay is too low to draw water upward, thus silts


(ML and MH) are most susceptible to frost heave

The best answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 4.4
Several nuclear density tests were performed on a layer of
compacted fill. The test results were irregular, and it was
speculated that the fill may have been frozen when the nuclear
density tests were performed.

If the fill was frozen, compared to results of the same compacted


fill that is not frozen the dry density and moisture content readings
were MOST LIKELY:

Dry density Moisture


A) lower higher
B) higher lower
C) lower lower
D) higher higher

27
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 4.4 Solution:

When soil is frozen, the water expands (creating larger voids)


disproportionately to the solids.

Therefore the dry density would be lower, and the moisture


content would be higher.

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

5.0 Permeability and Seepage

PROBLEM 5.1
What is the pressure head (cm) at the midpoint of the sand
column? Assume a datum at 0 cm.

A) 30
B) 60
C) 80
D) 90

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 5.1 Solution:

Total head at the ENTRANCE (bottom) of the sand column:


hENT hz h p 50 cm 50 cm 100 cm

Total head at the EXIT (top) of the sand column:


hEXT hz h p 70 cm 10 cm 80 cm

Hydraulic gradient in the sand column with upward flow in


the direction flow (bottom to top):
h 100 cm 80 cm
i 0.667
l 30 cm

Total head at the center of the sand column:


30 cm
hMID hENT il 100 cm 0.667 90 cm
2

Pressure head at the center of the sand column:


h p, MID hMID hz ,MID 90cm 60cm 30 cm

Graphical representation:

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 5.2
The total length of the dam is 800 ft. The hydraulic conductivity of
the permeable sand layer is 0.05 ft/min.

The discharge through the permeable sand layer in cubic feet per
minute (ft3/min) is most nearly:

A) 0.13
B) 9
C) 30
D) 100

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 5.2-a Solution:

Calculate the flow rate (1D Solution):

30 ft
Q kiA (0.05 ft min ) (800 ft)(20 ft) 100 ft 3
min
240 ft

The answer is (D)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 5.3 and 5.4


Use the following figure for Problems 5.3 and 5.4.

PROBLEM 5.3
The seepage (ft3/day) per lineal foot of wall through the permeable
layer if k =1.5 x 10-4 ft/min is most nearly:

A) 1.6 x 10-3
B) 3.8 x 10-3
C) 2.3
D) 5.5

PROBLEM 5.4
Point A is at the midpoint of the permeable layer. The pressure
head (ft) at Point A is most nearly:

A) 18
B) 30
C) 40
D) 56

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 5.3 Solution:

Determine the number of flow lines and equipotential lines:

Nf = 4 Nd = 6

Calculate seepage:

4

Nf
1.5 104 ft 16 ft (1 ft) 1.6 103 ft per ft
3
Q k h
Nd min 6 min

min
Q 1.6 103 ft per ft 1440 min 2.3 ft per ft
3

day day

The closest answer is (C)

Problem 5.4 Solution:


Total head at entrance = 56 ft

Head loss from entrance to exit: H = 20 ft 4ft = 16 ft

Head loss from entrance to Point A:


H 16 ft
(No. of drops to Pnt A) 3 drops 8 ft
Nd 6 drops

At Point A: (ht ) A 56 ft - 8 ft 48 ft (hz ) A 18 ft

Pressure head at Point A: (h p ) A ht hz 48 ft -18 ft 30 ft

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

6.0 Vertical Stresses and Pore Water Pressure

PROBLEM 6.1

A soil deposit with the soil profile shown below has a piezometric
head of 20 feet at a depth of 15 feet below the ground surface.
Both of the sand layers have a saturated unit weight of 135 pcf.
The vertical effective stress (psf) at a depth of 15 feet is most
nearly:

A) 775
B) 1090
C) 1715
D) 2025

35
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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 6.1 Solution:

Setting up the problem:


Watertable above datum, total head = 15ft
Piezometric head above datum = 20 ft
Change in total head implies that there is flow (upward
direction); must use seepage condition to compute pore
pressure, u
At EL 0 ft (datum) hp = h - hz = 20 ft 0 ft = 20 ft

Calculate the total vertical stress at EL 0 ft (15 below ground


surface):

v H
v (135 pcf)(6 ft 9 ft) 2025 psf

Calculate the effective vertical stress at EL 0 ft (15 feet below


ground surface) for seepage condition (Case 2):

'v v u v (h p w )
'v 2025 psf (20 ft)(62.4 pcf ) 777 psf

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEMS 6.2 and 6.3

Use the following figure for Problems 6.2 and 6.3


Note: PWE = Piezometric Water Elevation (total head)

PROBLEM 6.2
The total vertical stress (psf) at Point B of the soil profile shown is
most nearly:

A) 1260
B) 2010
C) 2320
D) 3940

PROBLEM 6.3
The effective vertical stress (psf) at Point C of the soil profile
shown is most nearly:

A) 1260
B) 2010
C) 2320
D) 3940

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 6.2 Solution:


Compute the total vertical stress at Point B:

v ( i Hi )
v (130 lb
ft 3
)(3 ft) (135 lb
ft 3
)(12 ft) 2010 lb
ft 2

The answer is (B)

Problem 6.3 Solution:


The total head is constant at Points A, B, and C, therefore
groundwater conditions are hydrostatic.

Compute the effective vertical stress at Point C:

'v v u ( i Hi ) ( w zw )
'v (130 lb
ft 3
)(3 ft) (135 lb
ft 3
)(12 ft) (138 lb
ft 3
)(14 ft) (62.4 lb
ft 3
)(26 ft)
2320 lb
ft 2

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 6.4
The total unit weight of the soil above the water table is 125 pcf.
The specific gravity (Gs) of the soil is 2.65 and the void ratio is 0.4.
For the sand deposit shown below, the vertical effective stress
(psf) at point A is most nearly:

A) 1242
B) 1342
C) 1442
D) 1542

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 6.4 Solution:

Given soil parameters:

Total unit weight = = 125 pcf


Specific gravity = Gs = 2.65
Void Ratio = e = 0.4

Unit weight of soil above the watertable =


Unit weight of soil below the watertable =

Compute the saturated unit weight below the water table:

(G e) 62.4 pcf (2.65 0.4)


sat w s 136 pcf
1 e 1 0.4

Compute the vertical effective stress at point A:

'v (125 pcf )(8 ft) (136 pcf 62.4 pcf )(6 ft) 1,442 psf

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

7.0 Pressure Distribution

PROBLEM 7.1
A continuous wall footing with a width of 3 feet is proposed for a
tall warehouse. The wall loads are expected to be approximately 6
kips per lineal foot. A soft clay layer was encountered below the
base of the footing as shown in the figure. An estimate of the
increase in vertical stress (psf) below the center of the continuous
footing at the midpoint of the soft clay layer is most nearly:

A) 100
B) 135
C) 400
D) 550

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 7.1 Solution:

Calculate bearing pressure at base of footing:

P 6000 lb
q 2000 psf
A 3 ft 1 ft

Determine the influence factor using Boussinesq Stress Contour


Chart:

x = 0 ft
z = 9 ft
B = 3 ft

x 0 ft
Horizontal distance from center of footing: x 0B
B 3 ft

z 9 ft
Vertical distance from base of footing: z 3B
B 3 ft

Using Fig 9.3, I 0.2

= (0.2)(2000 psf) = 400 psf

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 7.2
A 10,000 lb load acts uniformly over a 4x4 ft square footing. Use
the 2v:1h pressure distribution. The average pressure distribution
(psf) on a plane 5 ft below the bottom of the footing is most nearly:

A) 80
B) 125
C) 625
D) 1980

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 7.2 Solution:

Calculate the average pressure at z = 5 ft:

P 10,000lb
123.5 psf
( B z )( L z ) (4 ft 5 ft )2

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 7.3
A continuous wall footing with a width of 3 feet is proposed for a
tall warehouse. The wall loads are expected to be approximately 6
kips per lineal foot.

Use the 2v:1h pressure distribution. The average pressure


distribution (psf) on a plane 5 ft below the bottom of the footing is
most nearly:

6 kip/ft
A) 500
B) 550
C) 650
D) 750
3 ft

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 7.3 Solution:

Calculate the average pressure at z = 5 ft for per linear foot

,
=
= =
( + )() ( + )()

The answer is (D)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 7.4
A new building is proposed for a previously undeveloped site. The
ground surface is realtively flat, and it is anticipated that the
building will be supported by 12 ft x 12 ft square foundations
embedded approximately 6 ft below the ground surface. Soil
borings must be drilled at the site to a minimum depth equivalent
to where the maximum stresses induced by the proposed footings
approximately equal to 10% of the applied bearing pressure.
Assume that isolated footings are spaced far enough apart that
any interaction between adjacent footings (i.e. addition of the
induced stresses acting on any given point by two adjacent
footings) is negligible.

The minimum depth (ft) of the soil borings at this site is most
nearly:

A) 10
B) 20
C) 30
D) 40

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 7.4 Solution:

Determine depth below the base of the footing at which induced


stress is equal to 10 % of the applied pressure (i.e. = 0.1q):

Use Boussinesq Stress Contour Chart (Fig 7.3) for square


foundations
Draw a vertical line downward from center of footing
where induced stresses will be at a maximumto meet
0.10p (note 0.10p = 0.1q)
Draw horizontal line to determine depth in relation to B

Depth below footing = 2B = 2(12 ft) = 24 ft

Determine depth below the ground surface at which induced


stress is equal to 10 % of the applied pressure:

Depth of Borings = 2B + Df = 24 ft + 6 ft = 30 ft

The Answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

8.0 Consolidation
PROBLEM 8.1
A 10-ft thick clay layer has the following properties:

Cc = 0.14
Cr = 0.02
eo = 0.92
o = 1,800 psf
c = 2,200 psf

An additional vertical stress of 1,000 psf will be applied to the clay


layer. The primary consolidation settlement (inches) is most
nearly:

A) 0.24
B) 0.76
C) 1.0
D) 1.7

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 8.1 Solution:

Determine consolidation status:

c > o soil is OC

f = o + = 2,800 psf > c OC Case 2

Calculate the primary consolidation using the OC Case 2 equation:

H 'c 'f
Sc r C log Cc log
1 eo 'o 'c

10 ft 2200 psf 2800 psf


Sc 0.02log 0.14log
1 0.92 1800 psf 2200 psf
Sc 0.085 ft (1.02 in)

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 8.2
The average effective stress in a normally consolidated clay layer
will be reduced from 1800 psf to 1200 psf due to a proposed
excavation above it. The normally consolidated clay layer is 5 feet
thick with an initial void ratio of 0.9, compression index (Cc) of
0.20, and recompression index (Cr) of 0.04. The anticipated
heave (inches) of the clay layer due to unloading is most nearly:

A) 0.09
B) 0.19
C) 0.22
D) 1.12

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 8.2 Solution:

The heave is calculated using the rebound index, Cs, which is


theoretically equal to the recompression index, Cr:

Cr 'f
Shv H log
1 eo 'o

0.04 1200 psf


Shv (5 ft)log 0.019 ft (0.22 in)
1 0.9 1800 psf

The negative number indicates that the soil is heaving and not
consolidating.

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 8.3
A tall building is supported on a large mat foundation with a
uniform pressure of 1000 psf. The mat bears at the surface on
silty clay soil 10 feet above the water table. The silty clay soil layer
is 28 feet thick and it is underlain by gravel. The soil below the mat
was fully consolidated before drilling water wells, which lowered
the water table to 18 feet below the foundation. Which, if any, of
the layers shown below (A, B or C) will consolidate after the water
table is lowered?

A) Layers A, B, and C will consolidate.


B) Layers B and C will consolidate.
C) Only layer B will consolidate.
D) None of the above.

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 8.3 Solution:

Hint: Consolidation will only occur in layers with a higher vertical


effective stress after the change in water table elevation:

The vertical effective stress in the layer A (0 to 10 ft) will not


change once the water table is lowered, therefore there will be no
consolidation.

The vertical effective stress in layer B (10 to 18 ft) will increase


due to the decrease in pore water pressure, therefore
consolidation will occur.

The vertical effective stress in layer C (18 to 28 ft) will increase


due to the increased vertical effective stress in the layer above it,
therefore consolidation will occur.

The answer is (B)


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Calculate Effective Stress for INITIAL & FINAL Conditions
(Neglect MAT q=1000 psf for ease of calculation as it remains CONSTANT Before & After Drilling)

Effective Stress BEFORE drilling water wells:


Bottom of Layer A = 100 x 10 = 1000 psf
Bottom of Layer B = 1000 + (120 62.4) x 8 = 1461 psf
Bottom of Layer C = 1461 + (120 - 62.4) x 10 = 2037 psf

Effective Stress AFTER drilling water wells:


Bottom of Layer A = 100 x 10 = 1000 psf
Bottom of Layer B = 1000 + 100 x 8 = 1800 psf
Bottom of Layer C = 1800 + (120 - 62.4) x 10 = 2376 psf

Increase in Effective Stress

Layer A = 0
Layer B = 1800 1461= 339 psf (Consolidation will occur)
Layer C = 2376 2037 = 339 psf (Consolidation will occur)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 8.4
Calculations indicate that a 20 foot thick soft clay layer with sand
above and gravel below will reach 40% consolidation in 1 month.
The coefficient of consolidation is 0.4 ft2/day. The engineer
discovers that because poor sampling technique was used, shale
was misclassified as gravel and the clay is actually underlain by
impervious shale. What change in the rate of consolidation is
expected?

A) Does not change, (1 months)


B) Time for consolidation doubles, (2 months)
C) Time for consolidation quadruples, (4 months)
D) Consolidation is slower but more information is needed to
answer

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 8.4 Solution:

Tv ( H )2 Tv H 2
For double drainage: t 2
cv 4cv

Tv H 2
For single drainage: t
cv

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

9.0 Shallow Foundations


PROBLEM 9.1
A continuous footing is 2 ft wide and bears 3 ft below the ground
surface in a clean sand with = 125 pcf and = 34. Use
Terzaghis method and assume FS = 2.5. The maximum net
allowable bearing capacity (psf) is most nearly:

A) 6850
B) 7150
C) 7300
D) 7450

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 9.1 Solution:

Bearing capacity factors for = 34:

N q 36.50, N 36.46, Sc S 1.0

Calculate the net bearing capacity, (use equation for bearing


capacity in sand):

qnet D f ( N q 1) 0.5 BN
qnet (125 pcf )(3 ft)(36.50 1)
0.5(125 pcf )(2 ft)(36.46) 17,870 psf

Calculate net allowable bearing capacity:

q 17,870 psf
(qnet )all net 7148 psf
FS 2.5

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 9.2
A gross load of 6 kips per lineal foot is applied to a continuous
footing bearing in a clay soil at a depth of 4 feet below the ground
surface. The clay soil has cohesion of 1000 psf and unit weight of
115 pcf. The groundwater table is far below the base of the
footing. Using Terzaghis method and an assumed factor of safety
against bearing failure of 3, the minimum required footing width (ft)
is most nearly:

A) 2.0
B) 3.0
C) 4.0
D) 5.0

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 9.2 Solution:


Bearing capacity factors for 0 and shape factor for continuous
footing:

Nc 5.70,N q 1.0,Sc 1.0

Calculate the ultimate bearing capacity using simplified equation


for bearing capacity in clay soils:

qult cN c Sc D f
qult (1000 lb2 )(5.70) (115 lb3 )(4 ft)
ft ft
qult 6160 lb2
ft

Calculate the allowable bearing capacity (apply factor of safety):

q 6160
qall ult 2053 lb2
FS 3 ft

The applied gross bearing pressure equation in terms of B is


given as:
Pg Pg Pg ( lb )
Qg B(ft) ft
A B (1 ft) Qg ( lb2 )
ft

The applied gross bearing pressure must be less than or equal to


the allowable bearing capacity. To determine the minimum footing
width, use the maximum applied gross bearing pressure, which is
equal to the allowable bearing capacity:

Qg qall (Qg )max qall


Pg Pg 6,000 lb
B ft 2.92 ft say 3.0 ft
max
Qg qall 2053 lb2
ft

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 9.3
A 4-ft square foundation bears on sand at a depth of 3 ft.
Groundwater is at a depth of 5 feet. The sand has a moist unit
weight, = 112 pcf, saturated unit weight, sat = 115 pcf, and
friction angle, = 33 degrees. Determine the maximum allowable
net load in kips for this foundation. Use a factor of safety of 3.

A) 65
B) 75
C) 95
D) 110

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 9.3 Solution:

Bearing capacity factors for 33 :

q 32.23, N 31.30, S 0.85

Calculate with groundwater depth at 5.0 feet (Case 2):


d d
' 1
B B
2 ft 2 ft
(112 pcf ) (115 pcf 62.4 pcf ) 1 82.3 pcf
4 ft 4 ft

Calculate net bearing capacity. Use equation for net bearing


capacity in sand:
qnet D f ( N q 1) 0.5 BN S
qnet (112 pcf )(3 ft) 32.23 1 (0.5)(82.3 pcf )(4 ft)(31.30)(0.85)
qnet 14,872 psf

Calculate net allowable bearing capacity:


q 14,872 psf
(qnet )all net 4957 psf
FS 3.0

Calculate net allowable load:

(4957 psf )(4 ft) 2


( Pnet )all (qnet )all A 79.3kips
1000 lb kip

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 9.4
A continuous strip footing bears in a clean sand with groundwater
one-half the footing width below the bottom of the footing. Which
of the following changes will INCREASE the allowable bearing
pressure. Hint: Consider the bearing capacity equation.

A) Embedment depth reamains D, but the footing width is


decreased
B) Embedment depth remains D, but groundwater is raised to
B/4 below the base of the footing
C) Embedment depth and groundwater remain D and B/2, but
the relative density of the sand is increased
D) Groundwater remains at B/2 below the base of the footing,
but the embedment depth is decreased

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 9.4 Solution:

Consider allowable bearing capacity in a clean sand (c = 0) with


groundwater between the base of the footing and a depth of B
below the base of the footing (Case 2):

1
qall
D f N q 0.5 BN
FS

A) Decreasing the footing width will decrease the value of ( B ) in


the N term and decrease the allowable bearing pressure.

B) Raising the groundwater level will decrease the value of ( )


in the N term and decrease the allowable bearing pressure.

C) Increasing the relative density of the sand will increase its


shear strength , which will increase the value of Nq and N
and increase the allowable bearing pressure.

D) Decreasing the embedment depth will decrease the (Df) term


in the Nq term and decrease the allowable bearing pressure.

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

10.0 Lateral Earth Pressure

PROBLEM 10.1
A 12-ft gravity retaining wall retains a clean sand with the
parameters shown. Assume the back of the wall is vertical and
that the backfill is flat. The active earth pressure (psf) acting at the
midpoint of the wall is most nearly:

A) 220
B) 440
C) 660
D) 880

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 10.1 Solution:

Calculate the active earth pressure at a depth of 6 ft (midpoint of


height):

lb lb
pa K a H (0.283)(130 )(6 ft ) 220.74
ft 3 ft 2

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 10.2
A clay deposit has a unit weight of 100 pcf and an unconfined
compressive strength of 2000 psf. The depth (ft) in a vertical
excavation at which the horizontal soil pressure is zero is most
nearly:

A) 0
B) 10
C) 20
D) 40

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 10.2 Solution:

=0

c = qu/2 = (2000 psf)/2 = 1000 psf

Ka = 1.0 (for clay)

The critical depth, zcr, which is the depth at which the horizontal
pressure is zero, can estimated by:

2c 2(1000 psf )
zcr 20 ft
Ka 100 pcf

The answer is (C)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 10.3
For the cantilever retaining wall pictured, which of the conditions
listed below will INCREASE the factor of safety against sliding?

A) Soil is excavated at the toe in front of the wall.


B) A key (shown dashed) is added to the base of the wall.
C) A uniform surcharge acts at the surface behind the wall.
D) The weep holes become plugged and water builds up in the
backfill behind the wall.

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 10.3 Solution:

A) Removal of soil from in front of the wall reduces the resisting


forces and reduces the factor of safety. Even if passive
resistance is not considered in design, the factor of safety
will be reduced although it will be less likely to cause failure.

B) Adding a key to the base increases the resisting forces and


increases the factor of safety.

C) A surcharge results in a uniform lateral pressure acting over


the full height of the wall adding to the driving forces and
reducing the factor of safety.

D) Water building up behind the wall increases the driving


forces reducing the factor of safety.

The answer is (B)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 10.4
A cross-section of a concrete cantilever retaining wall is shown in
the figure below. The both the backfill sand and foundation sand
have a unit weight of 135 pcf and an internal friction angle of 38
degrees. The backfill has a slope of 17 degrees. The resultant
active force, acting parallel to the slope of the backfill, is 2,576 plf.
The total weight of the concrete wall and the block of soil retained
above the heel is 10,631 plf. The friction angle between the base
of the wall and the foundation sand is =2/3. The unit weight of
concrete is 150 pcf. The factor of safety against sliding and
overturning, respectively, are most nearly (neglect passive
pressure):

A) 2.2 and 6.7


B) 2.4 and 7.3
C) 7.0 and 2.3
D) 7.5 and 2.5

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 10.4 Solution:

Calculate the vertical and horizontal components of the resultant


force:

Ra,v Ra sin (2576plf )sin17 753plf


Ra,h Ra cos (2576plf )cos17 2463plf

Calculate the total resisting shear force at the base of the wall:

Fs (W Ra,v ) tan (10,631lb ft 753 lb ft ) tan(38 2 ) 5389 lb ft


3

Calculate the factor of safety against sliding:

FR F 5389 lb ft
FSSL s 2.19
F0 Ra,h 2463 lb ft

Calculate the factor of safety against overturning:

FSOT
M R W x Ra,v B


M 0 Ra,h y

FSOT
10,631lb ft 5.54 ft 753 lb ft 9 ft
6.67
2463 ft 4 ft
lb

The answer is (A)

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

11.0 Slope Stability


PROBLEM 11.1
An embankment of dry cohesionless soil is sloping at 260 to
horizontal and 12 ft high. The dry unit of the soil is 120 pcf and
internal friction angle is 320. The factor of safety of the slope is
most nearly:

A) 1.18
B) 1.28
12 ft = 120
C) 1.38 = 32
D) 1.48 = 260

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Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 11.1 Solution:

For dry cohesionless soil:

tan tan(32)
= = = 1.28
tan tan(26)

The correct answer is (B)

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Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 11.2

A temporary slope is excavated to the dimensions shown below.


Laboratory tests have yielded the parameters given in the figure.
Use the chart provided.

The factor of safety of the slope is most nearly:

A) 1.4
B) 1.6
C) 1.8
D) 1.9

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Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 11.2 Solution:

Solution:

5.8

Failure Mode: Base circle failure

20
= = =1
20

From given chart for a slope angle of = 30 N0 = 5.8

0 5.8 x 750
= = = 1.8
120 x 20

The answer is (C)


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Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 11.3

A braced cut into sand with an internal angle of friction of 32 degrees


(Ka = 0.307) is planned for a construction site. The unit weight of the
sand is 125 pounds per cubic foot. The excavation is narrow and will
be supported with cross-bracing. The groundwater table is very deep.
The cut will extend to a depth of 20 feet and will be braced with three
levels of struts at 5 feet,10 feet, and 15 feet below grade. Assume the
sheeting is free at the bottom of the excavation. The load (plf) carried
by bottom strut is most nearly:

A) 450
B) 900
C) 4500
D) 9000

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This copy is given to the following student as part of School of PE course. Not allowed to distribute to others.
Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 11.3 Solution:

Draw diagram of problem:

pmax 0.65 HKa 0.65(125 lb )(20 ft)(0.307) 499 lb


ft 3 ft 2

Approximate the load carried by Strut 3

P3 1.1 pmax span


P3 1.1 (499 lb ) ( 5 ft 5 ft) 4117 lb
ft 2 2 ft 2

The best answer is (C)

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This copy is given to the following student as part of School of PE course. Not allowed to distribute to others.
Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

PROBLEM 11.4

A wide (approx 200 x 200 ft) and deep excavation (approx 30 feet) is
planned for a construction project located in a highly developed area
with adjacent structures close to the excavation. The groundwater
table is deep and the excavation will be through alternating layers of
medium dense sand and stiff lean clay. Construction sequencing and
staging requires that the excavation be open.

Which of the following support systems would be the best choice


based on the information given?

A) Cantiliever wall
B) Cross-bracing
C) Tie backs
D) Rakers

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This copy is given to the following student as part of School of PE course. Not allowed to distribute to others.
Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)
Workshop Problems and Solutions Geotechnical

Problem 11.4 Solution:

A) Cantiliever walls are not appropriate for deep excavations,


especially with adjacent structures

B) Cross-bracing is not an open excavation support system,


and it is not appropriate for wide excavations

C) Anchors extending beyond the perimeter of the excavation


could comprise adjacent structures, which makes tie backs
an inappropriate choice

D) Raker systems are acceptable for deep excavations, open


excavations and wide excavations.

The best answer is (D)

80
This copy is given to the following student as part of School of PE course. Not allowed to distribute to others.
Nannette Jover Vega (nannette.jover@gmail.com)