ENGINEERING
,\ I'r . (uc.d Prubkm SUIVlIH,:' Appru.uh
J.RO~;)
....
PUBLI S HI NG
l~
Copyright C> 2010 by J. Ross Publishing, Inc.
ISBN13: 9781604270167
TA710.S5362oo9
624. 1'5 136 dc22
2009032547
This publication contai ns information obtained from authentic and highly regarded sources. Reprinted
material is used with permission, and sources are indicated. Reasonable effort has been made to publish
reliable data and information, but the author and the publisher cannol assume responsibility for the
validity of all materials or fo r Ihe consequences of their use.
All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system. or transmitted in any form or by any means, cleCironic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or
otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
The copyright owne r's consent does not extend to copying for general distribution for promotion, for
creating new works, or for resale. Speci fi c permission must be obtained from J. Ross Publishing for such
pur poses.
Di rect all inquiries to J. Ross Publishing, Inc.. 5765 N. Andrews Way, Fori Lauderdale, FL 33309.
iii
Contents
Preface ................................................................................................................................................................... ix
Aboul the Authors................................................................................................................................................ xi
WAVT,.t .......................................................................... ..................................................................................... xiii
Chapter 4 Compaction ................. .. ............ ......... ... .... ... .... ... .... ................. .. .... ...... .. ........................... 49
4.1 Introduction ................................................................................................................................................. .49
4,2 Variables in Conlpaction ....................................................... ..... ............................................................... 50
4.3 Laboratory Tests ........................................................................................................................................... 52
4.4 Field Compaction. Specificat io n, and Control .. .................................. ........... ,............ , ..... 55
\oVorked Examples .......................................................................................................................................... ... ... 59
Review Exercises ................ .... .... .... ............................................................................................................... ..... 62
v
vi Contents
Chapte r 5 Effective Stress, Total Stress, and Pore Water Pressure ... .......................... ....... ...............65
5.1 Introduction ............... ................... ................ ......... .... .... .... .. ..................... .................................... 65
5.2 Effect ive Stress Principle.................... ... .... ... ..................... ... .............................. .......... 65
5.3 Vertical Norma l Stresses Due to O verburden ..... ............ ..... .... ................................... ........................... 66
5.4 Capillary Effects in Soils ............... .... .. .. .................... ...... ................................ .. ... ... ... 68
vVorked Examples ............... .... ... ..... ... ... .. ... ...... ... ... ........ .. ... .... ................. ... .... ... ... ... .. ......... .. ................... .. .... ...... 70
Review Exercises .. ................... .... ...... ............................. ............................. ........... ............ ..... ... ....... .................. 71
Chapter 7 Vertical Str esses Beneath I..oaded Areas.......................... ......... ,.... ............_................ 115
7. 1 Introd uction ............................................ ..... ............. .......... ........................................................... .. .... .... ... 11 5
7.2 Stresses Due to Point Loads ......... .. .... ... ........... .. ..... ... ... ..... ................................. ...... ................. ............ 116
7.3 Stresses Due to Line Loads ..... .. .. ........ ... .... ..... ...... .... ...... ......... .. ... ...... .... .......... ... ....... ........... ...... ....... ...... 11 8
7.4 Stresses Under the Corner of a Uniform Rectangular Load.............. .......... .... .. ... . 11 8
7.5 2: 1 Distribution Method .............. ............................................................. .............. ... ... ..... ...... ... 123
7.6 Pressure Isobars Under Flexible Uniform Loads ............ ..................... . ........ ..... ..... .... 124
7.7 Newmark's CharL ...... ..... ........ ........................... . .... .......... ... ......................... ............ ............. ... 124
7.8 Stress Computations Using SIGM A/W ......... ... ............... ................................ .. ........... 129
Worked Examples ............... . .......................... .. .......... 133
Review Exercises .. ................................... ....................... .. ................... .... . ......... ............. ................. ..... 136
Chapter II Site Investigation .................................. .. ..................... .............. ... ..... .......................... 251
11 .1 Introduction ....................................................................................... ....... ....................................... ..... ... 251
11 .2 Drilling and Sampling ..................................................... ... ............... .... ............................ ... ... ....... ......... 253
11 .3 In Situ Tests............................................ ............................... .................. ................ .................................. 257
11.4 Laboratory Tests ....... ...... .. ...... .. ....... .. ... .............................................. ... ........................................ ........... 276
11 .5 Site Invest igation Report ...................................... ....... ... ... .... .. ..... ....................................................... .... 276
"V\'orked Examples ...................... .... ... ... .. .. ...... ... ....................................................................................... ... ... .... 280
Review Exercises ... .......... ................................................ ......................................................................... ... ... .... 283
ix
x Preface
We have included eight quizzes to test your comprehension. These are closed 
book quizzes that should be completed within the specified times. They are de
signed to make you think and show you what you have missed.
The site investigation chapter has a slightly different layout. The nature of this
topic is quite descriptive and less reliant on problem solving. It is good to have a
clear idea of what the different in situ testing devices look like. For this reason, we
have included several quality photographs. Thl;: purpose of the site investigation exercise is to
derive the soil parameters from the in situ lest data. A wide range of empirical correlations that
are used in practice are summarized in this chapler. Tests are included that are rarely covered
in traditional textbookssuch as the borehole shear test and the Kostepped blade test and are
fo llowed by review questions that encourage the reader to review other sources of literature and
hence nurture the habit of research.
Foundation Engineering is one of the main areas of geotechnical engineering; therefore,
considerable effort was directed toward Chapters 12 and 13, which cover the topics of bearing
capacity and settlements of shallow and deep foun dations.
This is not a place for us to document everything we know in geotechnical engineering. We
realize that this is your first geotechnical engineering book and have endeavored to give sufficient
breadth and depth covering all major topics in soil mechanics and foundation engineering.
A free DVD containing the Studem Edition of GeoStudio is included with th is book It is
a powerful software suite that can be used for solving a wide range of geotechnical problems
and is a useful comp l~menl to traditional learning. We are grateful to Mr. Paul Bryden and the
GeoStudio team for their advice and support.
We are grateful to the follOWing people who have contributed either by reviewing chapters
from the book and providing suggestions for improvement: Dr. Jay Ameratunga, Coffey Geo
technics; Ms. Julie Lovisa, James Cook University; Kirralee Rankine, Golder Associates; and
Shailesh Singh, Coffey Geotechnics; or by providing photographs or data: Dr. Jay Ameratunga,
Coffey Geotechnics; Mr. Mark Arnold, Douglas Partners; Mr. Martyn Ellis, PMC. UK; Profes
sor Robin Fell, University of New South Wales; Dr. Chris Haberfleld. Golder Associates; Profes
sor Silvano Marchetti, University of LAquila, Italy; Dr. Kandiah Pirapakaran, Coffey Geotech
nics; Dr. Kirralee Rankine, Golder Associates; Dr. Kelda Rankine. Golder Associates; Dr. Ajanta
Sachan. lIT Kanpur, India; Mr. Leonard Sands, Venezuela; Dr. Shailesh Singh, Coffey Geotech
nics; Mr. Bruce Stewart, Douglas Partners; Professor David White, Iowa State University.
We wish to thank Mrs. Janice Das and Mrs. Rohini Sivakugan. who provided manuscript
preparation and proofreading assistance. Finally, we wish to thank Mr. Tim Pletscher of J. Ross
Publishing for his prompt response to all our .questions and for his valuable contributions at
various stages.
Dr. Braja M. Das, Professor and Dean Emerit us, California State UniversitySacramento, is
presently a geotechn ica l consulting engineer in the state of Nevada. He earned his MS in civil
engi nee ring from the University ofIowa and his PhD in geotechnical engineering from the Uni 
versity of Wisconsin Madison. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is
a registered professional engineer. He is the author of several geotechnical engineeri ng texts and
reference books including Principles of Geotechnical Engineering, Principles of Foundation Engi
neering, Pundamentais of Geotechnical Engineering, Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering,
Prim.:iples uf Sui! Dynamics, Shallow Foundations: Bearing Capacity and Settlement, Advanced
Soil Mechanics. Earth Anchors. and Theoretical Foundation Engineering. Dr. Das has served on
the editorial boards of several international jou rnals and is currently the editor in ch ief of the
International Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. He has authored more than 250 technical
papers in the area of geotechnical engineering.
xi
VRI ~
This book has free matBfial available for download from the
Web Added Value'" resource center at www.jrosspub.com
At J. Ross Publishing we are committed to providing tadar's professional with practical, handson tools
that enhance the learning experience and give readers an opportunity to apply what they have learned.
That is why we offer free ancillary materials available for download on this book and all participating
Web Added Vaiue publications. These online resources may include interactive versions of material
that appears in the book or supplemental templates, worksheets, models, plans, case studies, proposals,
spreadsheets, and assessment tools, among other lhings. W henever you ~cc the WA V N symbol in any of
OUf publications, it means bonus materials accompany the book and are available from the \'\feb Added
Val u e~ Download Resource Center at www.jrosspub .com.
Downloads for Geotechnical Engineering: A Practical Problem Solvillg Approach include
PowerPoint slides to assist in classroom instruction and learning.
Introduction 1
1.1 GENERAL
What is Geotechnical Engineering? The term geo means earth or soil. There are many words that
begin with geogeology, geodesy, geography, and geomorphology to name a few. They all have
something to do with the earth. Geotechnical engineering deals with the engineering aspec ts of
soils and rocks, sometimes known as geomaterials. It is a relatively young d iscipline that would
not have been part of the curriculum in the earlier pari of the last century. The designs of every
building, service, and infrastruc ture fac ility bui lt on the ground must give due consideration to
the engineering behavior of the underlying soil and rock to ensure that it performs sat isfactorily
during its design life. A good understanding of engineering geology wiJi strengthen your skills
as a geotechnical engineer.
Mechanics is the physical science that deals with fo rces and equilibriu m, and is covered
in subjects like Engineering Mechanics, Strength of Materials, or Mechanics of Materials. In
Soil Mechanics and Rock Mechanics, we apply these principles to soils and rocks respectively.
Pioneeri ng work in geotechnical engineeri ng was carried out by Karl Terlagh i (1882 1963),
acknowledged as the father of soil mechanics and author of Erdbaumechanik auf bodenphysika
lischer grund/age (1925), the first textbook on the subject.
Foundat ion Engineering is the applicat ion of the soil mech anics pri nciples to design
earth and earthsup ported st ructures such as fo undatio ns, reta ining st ruc tures, dams, etc.
Traditional geotechn ical engineer ing, which is also called geomechanics or geoengineering,
includes soil mechanics and fo un dation engineering. The escalat ion of hum an interference
with the environment and the subsequent need to address new problems has created a need
for a new branch of engineering that will deal with h aza rdous waste disposal, landfi lls,
ground water contamination, potential acid su lphate soils, etc. This bra nch is called envi
romnental geomechanics or geoenviro ll1nental engineering.
1.2 SOilS
Soils are formed over thousands of years through the weathering of parent rocks, which can be
igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic rocks. Igneous rocks (e.g., granite) are formed by the cool
ing of magma (underground) or lava (above the ground). Sedimentary rocks (e.g., li mestone,
2 Geotechnical Engineering
shale) are formed by gradual deposition of fine soil grains over a long period. Metamorph ic
rocks (e.g., marble) are formed by altering igneous or sedimentary rocks by pressure or tem
perature, or both.
Soils are primarily of two types: residual or transported. Residual soils remain at the loca
tion of their geologie origi n when they are formed by weatheri ng of the parent rock. When
the weath ered soils are transported by glacie r, wi nd, water, or gravity and are deposited away
from th ei r geologic origin, they are call ed transported soils. Depending on the geologic agent
involved in the transportation process, the soil derives its special name: glacierglacial;
windaeolian; sea  marine; lakelacustrine; riveralluvial; gravitycolluvial. Human be
ings also can act as the transporting agents in the soil formation process, and the soil thus
form ed is called a fill.
Soils are quite different from other engineering materials, which makes them interesting
and at the same time challenging. Presence of water within the voids fu rther complicates the
picture. Table 1.1 compares soils with other engi neerin g materials such as steel.
We often simpli fy the problem so that it can be solved using soil mechanics prinCiples.
Sometimes soil is assumed to be a homogeneous isotro pic cl astic continuum , which is far from
reality. Nevertheless, such approximations enable us to develop simple th eories and arrive at
some solutions that may be approximate. Depending on the quality of the data and the degree
of simpli fication, appropriate safety factors are used.
Geotechnical engin eering is a sc ience, but its practice is an art. There is a lot of judg
ment involved in the profession. The same data can be inter preted in different ways. When
there are limited data available, it beco mes necessary to make assumptions. ConSid eri ng
the simplifica tions in the geotechn ical engineering fundamentals, uncertainty, and scatter
in the data, it may no t always make sense to calculate every thing to two decimal places.
All these make th e fiel d of geotechnica l engin eer ing qui te different from othe r engi nee r
in g disciplines.
1.3 APPLICATIONS
Geotechnical engineering applications include foun dations, retaining walls, dams, sheet piles,
braced excavations. reinforced earth , slope stability, and groun d improvement. foundations
such as footings or piles are used to support buildings and transfer the loads from the super
structure to the underlying soils. Retaining walls are used to provide lateral support and main
tai n stability between two different ground levels. Sheet piles are conlinuous impervious walls
thal are made by driving interlocking sections into the ground. They are useful in dewatering
work. Braced excavation involves bracing and supporting the walls of a narrow trench, which
may be required for burying a pipel ine. Lately> geosynthetics are becoming inc reasingly popular
for reinforcing soils in an attempt to improve the stability of footings, retaining walls, etc. When
working with natural or manmade slopes, it is necessary to ensure their stability. The geolech
nical characteristics of weak ground are often improved by ground improvement techniques
such as compaction, etc.
Figure 1.1a shows a soil nailing operation where a reinforcement bar is placed in a drill hole
and surrounded with concrete to provide stability to the neighboring soil. Figure 1.1 b shows the
haipu Dam in Brazil, the largest hydroelectric facility in the world. Figure l.I c shows trealcd
timber piles. Figure l.ld shows steel sheet piles being driven into the ground. Figure l.Ie shows
a gabion wall that consists of wire mesh cages filled with stones. Figure I.If shows a containment
wall built in the sea for dumping dredged spoils in Brisbane, Australia.
(a) (b)
(e) (d)
(e) (Q
Figure 1.1 Geotechnical applications: (a) soil nailing (b) Itaipu Dam (c) timber pi les
(d) sheet piles (e) gabion wall (Courtesy of Dr. ~(irra l ee Rankine, Golder Associates) (f) sea
wall to con tain dredged spoils
(a)
(e)
(b)
Figure 1.2 Soillesting: (a) a trial pit (Courtesy of Dr. Shailesh Singh) (b) drill rig mounted
on a barge (Courtesy of Dr. Kelda Rankine, Gol!jer Associates) (e) a drill rig (Courtesy of
Mr. Bruce Stewart, Douglas Partners)
the present generation, they serve as useful referen ces. Geotechnical journals provide reports on
recent developments and any innovative, global research that is being carried out on geotechn i
cal topics. Proceedings of conferences can also be a good reference source. Through universities
and research organizations. some of the literature can be accessed online or ordered through an
interlibrary loan. There are still those who do not place all their work on the Web, so you may
not find everything you need simply by surfing. Nevertheless, there are a few dedicated geotech 
nical Web sites that have good literature, images, and videos.
When writing an essay or report, it is a good practice to credit the source when referring to
someone else's work, including th e data. A common practice is to include in parentheses both
the name of the author or authors and the year of the publication. At the end of the report,
include a complete list of references in alphabetical order. Each item listed should include the
nam es of the authors with their in itials, the year of the publication, the title of the publication,
the publishing company, the location of the publisher, and the page numbers. The style of refer
encing and listing d iffers between publications. In th is book (See References), we have followed
the style adapted by the Amer ican Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) .
6 Geotechnical Engineering
Professional engineers often have a modest collection of handbooks and design aids in their
libraries. These include the Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual (2006), the Naval Facil
ity Design Mallual (U.S. Navy 1971 ), and the design manuals published by u.s. Army Corps of
Engineers. These handbooks are written mainly for practicing engineers and will have limited
coverage of the theoretical developments and fu ndamentals.
~~~~~~i;Emb_a"_'_<m_e_"_t__r______'
~ GrOl.Jnd level
Soil layer I
Figure 1.3 A simple mesh for an embankmlO1nt underlain by two different soil layers
fin ite element analyses). It also contains a comprehensive engineering manual (e.g., Stability
Modeling with SLOPEIW 2007) for each of the programs. SLOPEI W works on the basis of limit
equilibrium theory using the method of slices. The other programs within the su ite use finit e
element analysis. SEEPIW, SIGMA/W, and S LOPE/ W have been used extensively in Ch apters 6,
7, and 15 for solving problems. Once you become proficient with the Studwt Edition, you will
require very little startup time with the professional versions in the workplace.
It is uncommon to teach numerical modeling of geotechnical engineering during the first de
gree of a civil engineering program; it is more com manly viewed as a postgraduate subject with firm
grounding in fi nite element and fi nite difference methods, constitutive models, etc. Nevertheless, in
the profeSSional engineeri ng practice, fresh and recent graduates get to do some simple numerical
modeling work. Numerical modeling is a very powerful tool when used correctly. No matter how
sophisticated the model is, the output can only be as good as the input. Therefore, realistic results can
be obtained only by using the right soil parameters.
8 Geotechnical Engineering
~
Reminder Geotechnical engineering, geomechanics, geoengineering, and soil
mechanics are more or less the same .
:. Soils are quite different from other engineering materials .
:. Soils are tested to derive the engineering properties that can be used
in designs .
:. Try all SOllfces of references: books, journals, conference proceed
ings, and the mighty World Wide Web. You will be su rprised to see
some good video clips on YouTube.
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. List five geotechn ical Web Sites.
2. List 10 geotechnical applications and write two or three sentences about each.
5. List five names of those who made significant contribution s to the early
developments in geotechnical engineering.
Quiz 1. Introduction
Duration: 20 minutes
You have not started learning geotechnical engineering. Nevertheless, you will be able to
answer most of the questions. Each question is worth one poi nt.
2. W hat is permeability?
3. What is the difference between gravel and clay? Which is more permeable?
2.2 DEFINITIONS
Let's consider the soil mass shown in Figure 2.1a, where all three phases are present. For
simplicity, let's separate the three phases and stack them as shown in Figure 2.1b, which is
known as a phase diagram. Here, the volumes are shown on the left and the masses on
the right. M and V denote mass (or weight) and volume respectively. The subscripts are:
a = air, W = water,s = soil grains (solids), v = voids, and t = total quantity of the soil under
consideration. Since the mass of air M" is negligible, MI = M, + MwoAlso, Vv = Vw+ Va' and VI
= V, + V... + Va'
Water content w is a mass rat io that is used to quantify the amount of water present within
the soil and is defi ned as;
M
w =~ )<lOO% (2. J)
M,
11
12 Geotechnical Engineering
Soil grain
(a)
Figure 2.1 (a) a soil mass (b) phase diagram (c) phase diagram with V.  1
This is generally expressed as a percentage. Dryi ng the soil in the oven at 10S e for 24 hours
D
is the standard method for determining water content. The natural wate r content of most soils
would be well below 100%, but organic soils and some marine clays can be at water contents
greater than 100%.
Example 2. 1: A soil sample of 26.2 g was placed in a IOSDC oven for 24 hours. The dry mass of
the sample turned out to be 19.5 g. What is the water content?
,
Solution:
M, ~ 26.2 g, M, ~ 19.5 g
:. M. ~ 26.2  19'.5 ~ 6.7 g
:.W ~ (6.7119.5) X 100% ~ 34.4%
Void ratio e and porosity n are two volumetric r atios used to quantify the voids that are present
within the soil. Generally, void ratio is expressed as a decimal number (e.g., 0.82) and porosity
is expressed as a percentage (e.g., 45. 1%) ranging fro m 0% to 100%. They are defined as:
V,
e~ (2.2)
V,
V
n = .!::. x lOO% (2.3 )
V,
Void ratios typically lie between 0.4 and I for sands, and 0.3 to 1.5 for clays. For organic soils
and soft clays, the void rat io can be even more.
The degree of saturation S is a measure of the void volume that is occupied by water, ex
pressed as a percentage ranging from 0% to 100%. It is defined as:
s~ Vw xlOO% (2.4)
V,.
For dry soils S = 0 and for saturated soils (e.g., below the water table) S = 100%.
Density P of the soi l is simply the m ass per unit volume. H owever. bs.C3useo rthe oiller
ent phases prese nt with in the so il, there are several forms of densities used in geotechnical
e ngi neering. The most common one is the bulk density Pm' also known as total , moist, or
wet density. It is the total mass divided by total vo lume (Pm = M /V,). D ry density Pd is the
density of the soil at the same volume, ass umi ng there is no water (i.e., Pd = M ,I V,). Sat u
rated den sity P.>! is the bu lk d ensity w hen thE~ voids arc filled with water (Le., P" l  M ,IV,
when S = 100%). Submerged density P' is the effective densi ty of the soil when submerged
(consider ing buoyancy effects) and is defined as:
'Y'''''YSilI'Y", (2.5)
When weight (e.g., kN) is used instead of mass (e.g., g, kg, t), density becomes unit weight 'Y.
You may remember that 'Y = P g. Never mix densities and unit weights. The defin itions of bulk
unit weight 'Y"" dry unit we ight 'Yd, saturated un:it weight 'Y,,", and submerged unit weight 'Y ' are
si milar to those of correspon di ng densities. Density of water p", is 1.0 g/cm 3, ] .0 tlm\ or 1000
kg/m3, and its unit weight 'Y ... is 9.81 kN/m 3
Specific gravity of a soil grain G, is the ratio of the dens ity of the soil grain to the density of
the water. We know that specific gravity of mercury = 13.6, steel = 7.5, and water = 1.0. For
most soils, specific g ravity varies littleranging from 2.6 to 2.8. If G, is not known , it is reason
able to assume a value in this ran ge. There are e.xceptions, where mine tailings rich in minerals
have G. values as high as 4.5. For organ ic soils or fly ash, it can even be lower than 2 (See Worked
Example 1 I). 'Ihe specific gravity of soil grai ns is ge nerally measured using pycnometers (den 
sity bottles of fi xed vol ume).
Example 2 .2: A 90 g sample of dry sands was placed in a pycnometer (a density bottle used for
determining the specific gravity of soil grains), and the pycnometer was fill ed with water; its
mass is 719.3 g. A dean pycnometer was filled with water and has a mass of 663.2 g. Find the
specific gravity of the sand grains.
Sulution: M,';= 90 g. Let's fin d the mass of the water displaced by the sand (i.e., same volume) using
Archimedes' principle. It is given by (thi nk!!) 90 + 663.2  719.3 = 33.9 g.
:. G, = 90/33.9 = 2.65
given definitions and the fact th at V, = 1 to com pute the other masses and volu mes. The weights
(shown on the right) are obtained simply by multiplying the volumes (shown on the left) by the
co rrespondi ng densities. Now let's develop some simple and useful expressions for water con
tent, porosity, and the different densities and unit weights. Here, we express water content (w)
and degree of saturation (S) as decimal numbers instead of percentages:
w==
M", Se
M" G t
(2.6)
v.
11=  =  
, (2.7)
V, 1+ e
I\" = M,
VI
=(G,+s,)..,
I +e
(28)
The expressions for Pd and PUll can be deduced from Equation 2.8 by substituti ng S = 0 and I
respectively. They are:
(2.9)
Psal
_ M,
y, 
_(G,+,)
1 (2. 10)

+, P.
From Equations 2.5 and 2. 10:
p
, (G,
=
I)
1"+7 Pw
(2. 11 )
Similar equations hold for unit weights too, where P is replaced by 'Y .
Example 2.3: A saturated soil sample has watel' content of24.2% and the specific gravity of the
soil grains is 2.73. What are the dry and satunlted unit weights?
P~ _(G~
I+e
+e )p... _(2.73+0.66
1+0.661
1)X9.81",,20.03kN/ml
Phase Relations 15
It is not necessa ry to memo rize the different equations relating the phases. From the deflllitions
and the phase d iagram fo r V. = 1 (Figure 2. l c), one can derive them quickly. It is a good prac
tice to go from the fundamentals.
The densities (or unit weights), water content, and specific gravity are the ones that are mea
sured in the laboratory. Void ratio, porosity, and d egree of saturation are generally not m easured,
but are calculated from the phase relations.
Example 2.4: The unit weight of a dry sandy snit is 15.5 kN/m 3 The specific gravity of the soil
grains is 2.64. If the soil becomes saturated, at the same void ratio, what would be the water
content and unit weight?
Solution:
_Gs"'"
'Yd lSS
~. _2.64X9.8 1 ~e  0678
. 1
l+e I +e
. & l xQ~l
If the sot! gets saturated, S = I ~ w= =    = 0.254 or 25.4%
G, 2.64
WORKED EXAMPLES
I. Show that bulk density, d ry density, and water content arc related by Pm = Pd( I + w).
Solution:
2. 5 kg of soil is at natural water content of 3%. How much water would YO ll add to the
above soil to bring the water content to 12%?
Solution: Let's find the dry mass M, (kg) of soil grains first.
5M
w=O.03= ' 7Ms =4.854 kg and Mw =O. 146kg
M,
At w = 12%, M. ~ 0.12 X 4.854 ~ 0.583 kg
3. A 38 mm diameter and 76 mm long cylindrical day sample has a mass of 174.2 g. After
drying in the oven at I05C for 24 hours, the mass is reduced to 148.4 g. Find the dry
density, bulk density, and water content of the clay.
Assuming the specific gravity of the soil gra.ins as 2.71 , find the degree of saturation of the
day.
Solution: Sample volume = 7r( 1.9)2(7.6) = 86.2 cm 3 ; Ml = 174.2 g;
M, ~ 148.4 g.
3
: . Pd= 148.4/86.2 = 1.722 g/em
P'" = 174.2/86.2 = 2.20 1 g/cm)
w ~ M j M, ~ ( 174.2  148.4)1148.4 ~ 0.174 or 17.4%
S(0.574)
0. 174 ~ 7 S ~ 0.822 or 82.2%
2.7 1
Phase Relations 17
4. SoHexcavated from a borrow area is being used to construct an embankment. The void
ratio of the in situ soil at the borrow area is 1.14, and it is required th at the so il in the em
hankment be compacted to a void ratio of 0.70. With 200,000 m) of soil removed from the
borrow area, how many cubic meters of embankment can be made?
Solution: TIlC volu me of the soil grains V, remain the same in the borrow area and in the
embankment.
v,= 200,000 m3
.,
BofTOW pit: e:c 1. 14
200,000  Vs 3
e = 1.14 = ? V, = 93,457.9 m
V,
At the embankment:
" 93,457.9
e =0.70 = f  ? VI = 158,879 m l
93,457.9
5. A saturated, u ndisturbed clay sample collected below the water table has a wet mass of
651 g. The volume of the sample was determined to be 390 cm l . When dried in the oven
for 24 hou rs, the sample has a mass of 4 16 g. What is th e specifIC gravity of the soil grains?
Solution:
6. A 200 m long scction of a 15 m wide canal is being deepened 1.5 m by means of a dredge.
The efflu ent from the dredge has a unit weight of 12.4 kN /m3 The soil at th e bottom of
th e canal has an in situ unit weight of 1R.7 k N/m l . The !'pecifi c gravity of th e soil grains is
2.72. Jfthe effl uent is being pumped at a rate of 400 L per min utc, how many operational
hours will be required to complete the d redge work?
Solution: Let's find the volume of solid grains (V, = x) to be removed by dredging.
ODIC
I ~:> Per minute:
V, _ 400 liters
VI'" y m~
1.5m
15m
I
Y.. = 18.7 kNlm3
G, +<)
"Y sal = (   'Y ". 7 18.7 =
(2.72+<)9.8 17 Cill , itu = 0.898
I +e l +e
4500x 3
e = 0.898 = 7 x = 2370.9 m of soil grains 10 be d redged
x
Now, let's see how much soil grains (V, = y) are being pumped out every minute, whe re
V. = 400 L = 0.400 m J
3
"Y.., (effluent) = 12.4 kN /m 7 erlfl ...nl = 5.5 15
1 I V I V 3
:. VI = 1.0 m' ?e=' ? 0.94 =' ? V, = 0.516 m
V, V,
The new volume after the compaction = 0.91 m X 1.0 m 2 = 0.91 m 3 , where V. = 0.516
m 3 and Vv = 0.394 m' :
0.394
.. e=   = 0.764
0.516
8. The undisturbed soil at a borrow pit has a bulk unit weight of 19.1 kN/m 3 and water
content of9 .5%. The soil from this borrow will be used to construct a compacted fill with
a finished volume of 42,000 m 3 The soil is excavated by machinery and placed in trucks,
each with a capacity of 4.50 m 3 When loaded to the full capacity, each load of soil weighs
67.5 kN.
In the construction process, the trucks dump the soil at the site, then the soil is spread
and broken up. Water is then sprinkled to bring the water content to 15%. Finally. the soil
is compacted to a dry unit weight of 17.1 kN/ m 3
a. Assuming each load is to the full capacity, how many truckloads are required to
construct the fill?
b. What would be the volume of the pit in the borrow area?
c. How many liters of water should be added to a truckload?
Solution: The water content of the borrow pit an d the truck must be the same. In add ition,
the mass of the soil grains at the fill and the borrow pit is the same.
20 Geotechnical Engineering
a.
At the borrow pit In the truck Althe fill
Borrow pit: w ::: 9.5%, Truck: w'" 9.5% . Compacted fill: W= 15.0%.
Y", . 19. 1 kN/rW V, = 4.5 m"; M,= 67.5 kN V, '" 42000 m~; l'~::: 1 7.1 kNIm~
w = 9.5% V, = 4.50 m
3
V, = 42,000 m3
'Y m = 19.1 leN/ m) M, = 67.5kN w = 15%
w = 9.5% (same as 'YJ= 17.1kN/ m3
in bor row)
G,+S') Pw ~ 
4074 = (2.75+0.341) ~e = 0.580
Pn =
, ( l +e 2083 l+e
Se
w =  > S = (0.124)(2.75) 1(0.580) = 0.588 or 58.8%
G,
10. A sample of an irregular lump of saturated day with a mass of 605.2 g was coated with
wax. The total mass of the coated lump was 614.2 g. The volume of the coated lump was
determined to be 311 cm l by the water displacement method as used in Worked Example
9. After carefully removing the wax, the lump of day was oven dried to a dry mass of
479.2 g. The specific gravity of the wax is 0.90. Determine the water content, dry unit
weight, and the specific gravity of the soil grains.
Solution:
M, = 605.2 g, M, = 479.2 g t M", = 126.0 g, V", = 126 cm~ and w = 26.3%
Mw.. = 614 .2  605.2 = 9.0 g > V.., = 9.010.9 = 10 em'
V""ilg"'in, = 3 11  126  10 = 175 cm l t G, = 479 .2/175 = 2.74
Pd = 479.2/(175 + 126) = 1.592 g/cm' > 'Yd = 1.592 X 9.81 = 15.62 kN/m '
II. A series of experiments are being conducted in a laboratory where fly ash (G, = 2.07)
is being mixed with sand (G, = 2.65) at various proportions by weight. If the suggested
mixes are 100/0,90110,80/20 ... 10/90, and 01100, compute the average values of the spe
cific gravities for all the mixes. Show the results graphically and in tabular form.
Solution: Let's show here a specimen calculation for a 70/30 mix, which contains 70% fly
ash and 30% sand by weight. Let's consider 700 g of fly ash and 300 g of sand.
2.5
,
G. 1.5
05
o ~
o 20 40 60 80 100
% ol' fly ash
22 Geotechnical Engineering
REVIEW EXERCISES
L State whether the foll owing are true Or false.
a. A porosity of 40% implies that 40% of the total volume consists of voids
b. A degree of saturation of 40% implies that 40% of the total volume consists of
water
c. Larger void ratios correspond to larger dry densities
d. Water co ntent cannot exceed 100%
e. The void ratio cannot exceed 1
2. From the expressions for Pm' P...t , Pd, and p', deduce that P' < PJ $ P'" =::;: Pt
3. Tabulate the specific gravity values of different soil and rock formin g minerals (e.g.,
quartz).
Phose Relations 23
5. A large piece of rock with a vol um e of 0.65 m) has 4% porosity. The specific gravity of the
rock mineral is 2.75. What is the weight of this rock? Assume the rock is dry.
Answer: /6.83 kN
7. A soil is mixed at a water content of 16% and compacted in a 1000011 cyl indrical mold.
The sample extruded from the mold has a mass of 1620 g. and the specific graVity of the
soil grains is 2.69. Find the void ratio. degree of saturation, and dry unit weight of the com
pacted sample. If the sam ple is soaked in water at the same void rat io. what would be the
Ilew water content?
Answer: 0.926, 46.5%, 1.397 tlmJ, 34.4%
8. A sa mple of soil is compacted into a cyli n.drical com paction mold with a volume of 944
cm J The mass of the compacted soil speci men is 1910 g and its water content is calculated
at 14.5%. Specific graVity of the soil grai ns is 2.66. Compute the degree of saturation, den
sity. and unit we ight of the compacted soil.
Answer: 76.4 %. 2.023 glcm J , 19.85 kNl m J
9. The soil used in constructing an embankment is obtai ned from a borrow area where the
in situ void rat io is 1.02. The soil at the embankment is requi red to be compacted to a void
ratio of 0.72. If the finishe d volume of th e embankment is 90,000 m3, what would be the
volume of lhe soil excavated al the borrow area?
Answer: 105,698 m J
10. A suhhase for an ai rport rUllway 100 m wide. 2000 m long, and 500 mm thick is to be
constructed out of a clayey sand excavated from a nearby borrow where the in situ water
content is 6%. Thi s soil is being transported into trucks having a capaci ty of 8 ml. where
24 Geotechnical Engineering
each load weighs 13.2 metric tons ( I metric ton = 1000 kg). In th e subbase course, the soil
w:ill be placed at a water content of 14.2% to a dry density of 1.89 t/ml.
a. How many truckloads will be required to co mplete the job?
b. How many liters of water should be added to each truckload?
c. If the subh.1se becomes saturated, what would be the new watcr content?
Answer: 15,177,1021 L, 15.9%
II . The bulk unit weight and water content of a soil at a borrow pit are 17.2 kN/ml and 8.2%
respectively. A highway fill is being constructed using the soil from this borrow at a dry
unit weight of 18.05 kN/m 3 Find the volume of the borrow pit that would make one cubic
meter of the finished highway fill.
Answer: 1.136 m J
12. A soil to be used in the construction of an embankment is obtai ned by hydraulic dredging
of a nearby canal. The embankment is to be: placed at a dry denSity of 1. 72 t/m 3 and will
have a finished volume of 20,000 m 3 . The in situ saturated density of the soil at the bottom
of the canal is 1.64 t/ m 3 . The effluent from the dredging operation, having a density of 1.43
tIm }, is pumped to the embankment site at the rate of 600 L per minute. The specific gravity
of the soil grains is 2.70.
a. How many operational ho urs would be requi red to dredge sufficient soil for the
embankment?
h. "''hat would be the volume of the excavation at the bottom of the canal?
Answer: 1396 hours, 33,841 tn'
13. A contractor needs 300 m1 of aggregate base for a highway construction project. It will be
compacted to a dry unit weight of 19.8 kN/ m J. This material is available in a stockpile at a
local material supply yard at a water content 0( 7%, but is sold by the metric ton and not by
cubic meters.
a. How many tons of aggregate should the contractor purchase?
h. A few weeks later, an intense rainstorm i ncreased the water content of the stockpile
to 15%. If the contractor orders the sam~~ quanti ty for an identical section of the
highway>how many cubic meters of compacted aggregate base will he produce?
J
Answer: 648 t, 279.2 m
14. A sandy soil consists of perfectly spherical grains of the same diameter. At the loosest pos
sible packing, the particles are stacked directly above each other. Show that the void ratio
is 0.9 10.
Phase Relations 25
There are few possible arrangements for a denser packing. You can (with
some difficulty) show that the corresponding void ratios are 0.654, 0.433, and
0.350 (densest). Use the diagram shown below to visualize this. See how the
void ratio decreases with the increasing number of contact points.
:'
,
" , ",,' "",,'
:' , \ ~ ~~, ",,' .,+'
' ., " .. ._'
o.A
.. '
.
Loosest Dense
WV ~
This book has free material available for download from the
Web Added Value resouft;e center at www.jrosspub.com
Soil Classification 3
3.1 INTRODUCTION
Soils can behave qu ite differently depen ding on their geotechnical characterist ics. In coarse
xrained soils where the grains are larger than 0.075 mm (75 /tin), the enginee ring behavior is
in fl uenced mainly by the relative proportions of the diffe rent grain sizes present within the soil ,
the density of their packing, and the shapes of the grains. Tn finegrained soils where the grains
are smaller than 0.075 mm, the mineralogy of th e soil grains and the water content have greater
influence on the eng ineering behavior than do t.he grain sizes. The borderline between coarsc
and fi negrained soils is O.075 mm , which is the small est grain size one can distinguish with the
naked eye. Based on the grain sizes, soils can be grouped as clays. silts. sands. grave/s, cobbles.
and boulders as shown in Figure 3. 1. This figure shows the borderl ine values as per the Unified
Soil Classification System (USeS). the British Standards (BS). and th e Australian Standards (AS).
Within these m ajor groups, soils can still behave differently, and we will look at some systematic
methods of classifyi ng the m into distinct subgroups.
3 .2 COARSEGRAINED SOILS
The major fac tors thaI influence the e ngin eeri ng behavior of a coarsegrained soil arc: (a) rela
tive proportions of the different grain sizes, (b) packing density. (c) gra in shape. Let's discuss
these th ree separately.
27
28 Geotechnical Engineering
t 1.2kg
9.5mm (00 g)
0. 425 mm (200 g)
0.150 mm (240 g)
~ 0"9
0.075 mm (140 g)
(.) (0 ) (0)
Figure 3.2 Grain size analysis: (a) a sieve (b) slack of sieves (c) hydrometer test
Soil Cla ssification 29
Example 3.1: Using the data from sieve analysis shown in Figure 3.2b. plot the grain size distri
bution data with grain size on the xaxis using a logarithmic scale and percentage passing on
the yaxis.
Solution: Let's compute the cumulative percent passing each sieve size and present as:
Size (mm) 9.5 4.75 0.425 0.150 0.Q75
% passing 91.1 71.1 48.9 22.2 6.7
The grain size distribution curve is shown:
100
90
I lilfl FII,I. :..
eo
1
II tI "i i '' .
I
,I i I,' I
g> 70 , I
l 60
I
, I 'II I.L ~ i I ii i
f: 30
I ,. I: !I , y:.'"T,'i,iiI:f t
I .LJ (, ttll
l i+t
20
10
o
11'1 .Iy I '111''1' i I Til:
0.01 0.1 10
The grain size d istribution gives a complete and quantit ative picture of the relative pro portions
of the different grain sizes within the so il mass. At this stage. let's define some important grain
sizes such as D lO DJO and D w , which are used to define the shape of the grain size distribution
curve. 0 10 is the grain size corresponding to 10% passing; i.e., 10% of the grains are smaller than
this size. Similar definitions hold fo r 0 3U' DI>O' etc:. In Example 3.1, 0 10 = 0.088 mm, D30 = 0.195
mm, and Ow = 1.4 mm . Th e shape of the g rain s ize distribution curve is described through two
simple parameters: the coe ffici e nt of uniformity (C..) and the coefficient of curvature (CC>. They
are defined as:
(3.1)
30 Geotech nical Engineering
and
c =_ D~o (3.2)
( D IOD 60
A coarsegrained soil is said to be wellgraded if it consists of soil grai ns represe nting a wide
range of sizes where the smaller grains fill the voids created by the larger g rains, thus producing
a dense packing. A sand is described as well graded if C~ > 6 and C, = 1 3. A gravel is well
g raded if C II > 4 and C, = 13. A coarsegrained soil that can not be described as well graded
is a poorly graded soiL In the previous examplE:, C~ = 15.9 and C, = 0.3 1, and hence the soil
is poo rly graded. Uniformly graded soils and gapgraded soils are two special cases of poorly
graded soils. In uniform ly graded soils, most of the grains are about the same size or vary within
a narrow range. In a gapgraded soil, there are no grains in a specific size range.
Often the soil contains both coarse an d finegrained soils, and it may be required to do
both sieve analysis and hydro meter analysis. When it is d ifficult to separate the fines from the
coarse, wet sieving is recommended. Here the soil is washed through the sieves.
D=
, em~~ e XIOO% (3.3)
e "' ~ ~  l ~
 "un
where em u = the void ratio of the soil at its loosest possible packing (known as maximum void
ratio); eonin = void ratio of the soil at its densest possible packing (known as minimum void
ratio); and e = c urrent void ratio (i.e., the state at which Dr is being computed), which lies
between e"LU and em1n
The loosest state is achieved by raining the soi l from a small he ight (ASTM D4254;
AS 1289.5.5. 1). 1111! t.lenses l sta te is obtained by compacting a moist soil sample, vibrating a
moist soil sample, or both (AST M 0 4253; AS 1289.5.5. 1) in a r igid cylindrical mold. Rela
tive density varies between 0% and 100%; 0% for the loosest state and 100% fo r the densest
state. Terms such as loose a nd dense are often us ed when referr ing to the density of packing of
g ranular soils. Figu re 3.3 shows the commonly used term s and the suggested ranl;es uf rd a
tive densities.
In terms of unit weights, relative density can be expressed as:
Figure 3.4 Grain shapes: (a) angular (b) subangular (c) subrounded (d) rounded
Example 3.2: Maximum and minimum dry density tests were carried out on sand (G, = 2.67),
using a one liter compaction mold. In the loosest state, 1376 g of dry sand filled the mold. At
8% water content with vibratory compaction, ] 774 g of wet sand was placed in the mold at its
densest state. If the void ratio of this sand at the site is 0.72, what is the relative density?
At densest state:
Hydro)(yl or
oxygen
Figure 3.5 Atomic structural units of clay minerals: (a) tetrahedron (b) telradedrai
sheet (e) octahedron (d) octahedral sheet
Soil Classification 33
,
~
$; ;
/ 5;
\ L . J AI...,
) A'M,
I /~
 5;
eX K+calions Si _
I\ O.72nm
(I ~ l o.96nm
,,~ ~
51 $;
;
A'M, 0.'6 om
I AVM, I / , 51" , ~
/ $;
\ ,,~ ~
/
ffi
5;
A"'o
I I . I A"'o
/ 51 $1
rahedral and octahedral sheets, each 0.72 nm in thickness, stacked on top of each other (Figure
3.6a). They are held together by strong hyd rogen bonds that preven t them from separating.
Kaolinite is used in cera mics, paper, paint, and medicine. Illite is fo rmed by stacking several
layers 0.96 om thick that consist of an octahed ral sheet sandwiched between two tetrahedral
sheets (one inverted) as shown in Figure 3.6b. They are held together by potassium ions. where
the bonds are not as strong as in kaolinite. Montmorilloniles (Figu re 3.6c), also known as smec
tites, have the same atomic structure as ill ite, but the layers are held together by weak van der
Waals forces. When water gets between the layers, they are easily separated and there will be a
substantial increase in volume. known as swcllil1g. Mo ntmorillonitic clays arc called expansive
or reactive clays. "They expand in the presence of water and shrink when dried . This shrinkswell
behavior causes billions of dollars worth of dam age to bUildings and roads across the globe.
Other day min erals that are of some interest in geotech ni cal engineering are cl1lorite. halloysite,
vermiculite. and attapulgite.
The specific surfaces of these three major day min erals are kaolinite = 15 m2/g, iUite =
80 m2/g, and montmorillonite = 800 m 2/g. There is always a charge imbalance within a d ay
particle due to substitution of cations within th e pore water, and the net effect is to make the
day particle negatively charged. The charge deficiency (Le., the negative cha rge) is significan tly
larger for montmorillonites th an for kaoli nites. Depend ing on the mineralogy of the day par
ticles and chemistry of the pore water, the clay particles can form different Jabrics. Two of the
extreme situations are dispersed (also known as oriented) and flocculated fabric s. In a dispersed
fabric , most of the d ay particles are oriented in the same direction. In a fl occulated fabric. they
arc randomly oriented. Clay m icrofabric can be exam ined using a scanning electron micro
scope (SEM) or atomic force microscope (AFM). The scanning electron micrograph of a dis
persed kaolinite clay fabric is shown in Figure 31.
34 Geotechnical Engineering
u=o U =1 U> 1
o SL PL LL
w(%)
Brittle Semi Plastic l iquid
solid solid solid
Plasticity inde:>:
I+ I
Figure 3.8 Atterberg limits
Soil fraction small er than 00425 mm is used in the laborato ry tests fo r LL and PL. Liq
uid limit is dctermi ned by two different methods: Casagrande's percu.ssion cup method
(AST M 0 43 18; AS 1289.3. 1.1; Figure 3.9a) and Swedish fall cone method (ASTM 0 43 18; AS
1289.3.9. 1; Figure 3.9b). In Casagrande's percussion cup method, the moist soil pat is placed
in the cup and a standard groove is cut using a grooving tool (Figure 3.9a). The cup is raised
and dropped over a height of 10 rum , h itti ng a hard rubber or m icarl a plastic base, and th e
numbe r of blows required to make the groove dose over 12.5 mm ell inch) is recorded at
different water co ntents. Liqu id limit is defined as th e water content at wh ich such closure
occurs a\ 25 blows. In a Swedish fall con e test, a stainless steel conc, having a mass of 80 g and
angle of 30, is initi ally positi oned to touc h th e moist soil sample in a sta ndard cup (Figu re
3.9b). It is released to fall freely and penetrate the moist soil fo r 5 seconds, and th e penetra
tion is recorded at different watcr contents. The waler content at which the penetration is 20
mm is the li qUid limit . Plastic limit is defined as the lowest water con tent at wh ich the soil can
be rolled into a 3 mm ('Is in.) thread (ASTM 04318; AS 1289. 3.2. 1). In geotechni cal engineer
ing, LL and PL are used more than SL.
Liquidity jndex (LI or IL ) is a measure of how closc the natural water content (w n ) is to the
liquid li mit, and is defi ned as:
w _
11 = 1!.  PL
_ (3.5)
LL  PL
Lt takes the value of 1.0 at LL and 0 at PL At WaleI' content greater than LL, LI is greater than 1.
Unear shrinkage (LS) is a simple tesllo measure the polential of the day to shrink, which is also an
indirect measure of the plasticity. Here, a soil pat mixed at water content near the liquid limit is placed
in a standard mold (Figure 3.9c) and in an oven for 24 hours (AS 1289.3.4. 1). The percentage reduc
tion in the length of the soil is known as linear shri nkage, which is approxim ately equal to 4050%
ofPI.
Let's consider two different fine grai ned soils X (20% clay an d 80% silts) and Y (80% clay
and 20% silts), having the same plasticity index of 40. In X, the 20% clay contributes to all the
plastic ity, whereas in y, there is a Significantl y larger quantity of clay con tr ibuting to the same
36 Geotechnical Engineering
(a)
(e)
Figure 3.9 liquid limit and linear shrinkage l esl devices: (al Casagrande's percussion cup with grooving
toot (b) fall cone device (cl shrinkage limit mold
Soil Classification 37
degree of plasticity. Und erstandably, the clay component in X is more plastic than the one in
Y. This is quantified by the term activity (A). defined as:
PI
A= (3.6)
% clay fraction
Thus, the activities of clays X and Yare 2 and 0.5 respectively. Large r activity values (e.g., > 1.5)
generally suggest potenlial swell shrink problems.
3 .4 SOIL CLASSIFICATION
The person at the site classifying the samples is different from the one who will do the designs in
the office. Therefore, it is necessary to communicate the soil description as precisely as possible,
from the site to th e design office. A soil classification system does just that. It is a s),stematic method
that groups soils of similar behavior, describes them, and classifies them. The strict guidelines and
the standard terms proposed eliminate any ambiguity and make it a universal language among
geotechnical engi neers. There are several soil classification systems currently in use. The Unified
Soil Classification System (ASTM 02487) is the most popular one that is used in geotechnical
engineering worldwide. Th e American Association of State Highway Transportation Official s
(AASHTO) cl assification system is quite popular for roadwork where soils are grouped according
to thei r suitability as subgrade or embankment m aterials. There are also countryspecific stan
dards such as Australian Standards (AS), British Standard" (BS), Indian Standards (IS), etc.
Finegrained soils are classifi ed based on Atterberg limits, irrespec tive of the relative pro 
portions of d ays and silts, which a re of little value in classifi cation . Casagrande (1948) proposed
the PI LL chart shown in Figure 3. 10 where the Ali ne separates the clays from silts. Most llne
grained soils plot near the Aline. The Uline is the upper limit for any fine grained soils.
Let's look at th e USCS for fOllr special cases on the basis of percentage offi nes: 0 to 5%, 5 to
12%, 12 to 50% a nd 50 to 100%:
05% fin es: A coarsegrained soil with negli gible fi nes. Classify as GW, GP, SW, or SP.
12 50% fin es: A coarsegrained soil with substantial fines that can have a significant
influence on the soil behavior. Classify as GM, Ge, SM, or Sc.
50 100% fine s: A fin egrain ed soil. Cla ssify as ML, MH , CL, or CH. C oarse grains are
ignored (even if Significant in presence) in assign ing the sym boL If the LL and PL val
ues pia l in the hatched area in Figure 3.10, the soil is given a dual symbol, CLM L.
60 ,
~
V
50
/ ,~"
x 40
r / _.;Y"
~ I~;>~
:~ 30
r 1/
"
~
~
20 l#' V V
10
,
V ;; MH ~'OH
o
'F ~ 1 , 
o 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Liquid limit
512% fi nes: A coarsegrained soil with some fi nes that can influence the soil behavior.
C lassify as XXZ, where X is the major coarse (G or W), Y defines the gradation (W or
P), and Z is the major fines (M or C), with possible symbols of GWGC, SPSM, etc.
All possible symbols and the four groups of the uses are sum ma ri zed in Figure 3. 11.
"A, Fines
o 5 12 50 100
Xy X~XZ Xy Xy
/'/J \ \
GIS WIP M/C
,/~
GIS MIC MIC
,/\
LlH
GIS WfP
where F is the pe rcentage of fi nes. In the case of A26 a nd A27, GI is calculated fro m :
60
50
1+++tI...+'.,o'~l1
I~"':~01':
~:~)
/' z >
~
40
.. l/ "
'S><:
0i.'' A76 " .",
.."
.~
30
20
A6
.~ A 5
,
10 .
.. ..
. ... A4., A5
0 I "'j
0 '0 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 '00
Liquid limit
Figure 3.12 AASHTO classification of A4, AS, A5, and A7 subgroups
Gl should be rounded off to the nearest integer and should be taken as zero when negative and
fo r soil groups A Ia, A I b, A3, A24, and A 2S. The AAS HTO symbol is assigned by a pro
cess of elim ination, trying from group AJ to A S (from low to h igh), The first group that fit s
the data gives the cor rect classificatio n.
.:. 0.075 mOl (75 Ilm) separates coarse and finegrained soils .
:. Uniformly graded soils are poorly graded .
:. Grain size distributions are ma inly for coarsegrained soils;
Auerbcrg limits are fo r fines .
:. Clay particles are negatively charged flakes with a high surface area
and are smaller than 2 tJm in size; they are plastic and sticky (cohe
sive). Silts are nonplastic (PI = 0) .
:. A finegrained soil is classified as clay or silt based on Atterberg
limits not on relative proport ions.
:. The first t hing one should knm... when classifying a soil is the % of
fines. This determines how the symbol is assigned and how the soil
is described .
:. In AASHTO, the general rating as a subgrade decreases from left to
right, Al be ing the best and AS being the worst.
WORKED EXAMPLES
l. The grain size distribution data fo r three soi ls are given below. The fines in Soil A showed
low dry st rength and t he LL and PL of Soil Care 45 and 23 respectively. C lassify t he three
soils.
42 Geotechnical Engineering
Percentage passing
Sieve size
(mm) Soil A Soil B Soil C
19.0 100.0 99.0
9.5 69.0 83.0
4.75 48.8 100 61.5
2.36 34.4 95.0 36.0
1.18 24.3 36.0 32.0
0.600 17.3 4.0 31.0
0.300 12.2 0.0 30.0
0.150 8.7 26.5
0.075 6.1 9.0
Solution: The Ow. OJ()' Ow. Cu, and C( values. and the percentages of
gravels. sands. and fines within the three soils are summarized:
.~ I 'I I'
!I
20 ++~4
I
0+
0.01 0.1 10 100
Grain size (mm)
Soil Classification 43
W ith 6.1 % fines, Soi l A would be classified as a coarsegrained soil with dual symbols.
Since the fines have low dry strength, they a re silt y. It can be classified as wellgraded, silty,
sandy gravel with a symbol of GWGM.
Soil B is uniformly graded sand, with all grai ns in the range of 0.53.0 mm. It can be clas 
sified as uniformly graded sand with a symbol of SP.
Soil C is a gapgraded soil that has no grains present in the size range of 0.5 2.0 mm.
With 9% fi nes, it requires a dual symbol. PI and LL values plo t above the Aline in Casa
grande's PI LL chart, implying that the fines are clayey. Therefore, the soil can be classified
as gapgraded, clayey gravelly sand with a symbo l ofSPSC.
2. The grain size distribution curve of a soil is described as:
where p
R'
p=   x IOO
DJTlax
= percentage passing, D = grain size, and Dm.. = maximum grain size within
the soil.
a. Is the soil well graded or po orly grad ed?
b. Assuming the largest grain within th e soil is 50 mm, describe the so il with the
uses symbol.
Solution:
a. At 10%, 30% and 60% passing:
lO =J D" x IOO;
Dmax
30=J Dm.~
D", X100; and60 =
D
~ xlOO
Dmax
From the above three equations, it is a fairly straightfor ward exercise to show that:
D D'
Cu = ..J!Q.. =36, and C c = 30 =2.25 ? A well graded soil
0 10 DIOD60
Note: This equation was p roposed by Fuller and 'Tho mpson (1907) for mix design
of aggregates in selecting the right mix fo r a wellgraded soil.
b. Substituting D lllu = 50 m m in the eq uation used in 2a:
The soil can be cl assified as wellgraded sandy gravel with negligible fines, w ith a
uses symbol of Gw,
44 Geotechnical Engineering
3. Classify the following soils using the given grain size distribution an d Atterberg limits
data.
a. 68% retained on 4.75 mm sieve; 11 % passed 0.075 mm sieve; fines showed quick
d il atancy; Cu = 34 and C, = 0.83
b. 77% passed 4.75 mm sieve; 20% passed 0.075 mm sieve; fines have high dry
strength
c. 42% passed 4.75 mm sieve; 4% passed 0.0 75 mm sieve; Cu = 18, Cc = 2.1
d . 14% retained on 4.75 mm sieve; 60% passed 0.075 mm sieve; LL = 65, PL = 35
Solution:
a. % gravel = 68; % sands = 21; % fines = 11
REVIEW EXERCISES
1. State whether the foll owi ng are true or false.
a. The coefficient of uniformity has to be greater than unity
b. 'fh e density of the soil water susp ension in a hyd rome ter test increases with time
c. The plastic limit is always greater than the plasticity index
d. The shrinkage limit is a lways less than the plastic lim it
e. Soils with larger g ra ins have la rger specific surfaces
f. A 10 mm c ube and 10 m m diam eter sph ere have the same specific areas
Soil Classification 45
2. List 10 d ifferent sieve numbers and the corresponding ape rture diameters.
4. Write a 300word essay on clay mineralogy cover ing cation exchange capac
ity, isomorphous substitution, and diffuse double layer in relation to what was
discussed in 3.3. 1 Clay Mineralogy.
5. Two coarsegrained Soils A and B have grain size distribution curves that are approxi
mately parallel. A is coarser than B. Com pare their D IO , Oso, em",,' and emin values, stating
wh ich is larger. Give your reasons.
6. Calculate the specific surface of 1 mm, 0.1 mm, and 0.01 mm diameter soil grains assuming
speci fi c gravity of 2.70. See how the specific surfa ce increases with the reduction in grain
size. Compare these values to those of the flakey clay m inerals such as kaolinite, illite, and
montmorillonite.
Answer: 2.2 X 10; tIll/g, 2.2 X 10: m l /g, 0.22 m 2/g
7. The maximum and min imum vo id ratios of a granular soil are l.00 and 0.50 respectively.
W hat would be the void ratio at 40% relat ive density? What are the porosi ties at maximum
and minimum void ratios? Assuming Gs = 2.65, determine th e maximum and minimum
dry densities.
Answer: 0.80; 50%, 33.3%; 1.77I/m J, 1.33 1/m J
46 Geotechnical Engineering
8. The grain size distribution curves of four Soils A, B, C, and D are shown below and their LL
and PL are: Soil C = 40, 16; Soil 0 = 62, 34. Classify the soi ls, givi ng their uses symbols
and descriptions.
100
90
eo
~
70
c
.~
60
~
~ 50
"~
~
40
30
20
10
9. List all uses symbols and align them with the corresponding and most likely
AASHTO symbols. In some cases, there may be more than one. Once you have
finished, go from AASHTO to uses. This exercise will reinforce your under
standing of AASHTO.
Soil Classification 47
rill
_ J
Quiz 2: Phase relations and soil classification
(a) Relative (b) Degree of (c) Water (d) Percentage (e) Porosity
density saturation content passing
(/'2 point)
(a) Void ratio (b) Liquidity index (c) Activity (d) Coefficient of
cu rvature
(/'2 point)
3. Which of the folloW ing values is likely fo:r the mass of a 1 m 3 rock?
4. Which are the three most abundant elements found in the earth's crust?
5. Which of the follow ing terms is not used with finegrained soils?
(a) Relative density (b) Act ivity (c) liquidity index Cd) Plasticity
(/'2 point)
48 Geotechnical Engineering
7. The sieve analysis data of a soil are given below. The tines showed very low dry
strength. Without plotting the grain size distribu tion curve, describe the soil, giving
it the uses symbol.
8. Two samples of crushed mine tailings A and B are mixed in equal proportions by
weight. Sample A contains 20% fines and has a specific gravity of 2.80. Sample B
contains 30% fines an d a specific gravity of 3.70. Find the percentage of fines and the
average specific gravity of the grains in the mix.
(4 points)
,.~. ~
. .~... Va\..e "
This book has free material available for download from the
Web Added Value'" resource center at www.jrosspub.com
Compaction 4
4.1 INTRODUCTION
Natural ground is not' always suitable in its present slate for the proposed construction work.
For example, the granular soils at a proposed site for a highrise building may be in a looser state
than desired, suggesting potential future stability problems or settlement problems, or both. The
landfill clay liner that lies at the bottom of a landfi ll may allow morc leachate than desired to flow
through. polluting the groundwater. The simplest remedy in both ci rcumstances is to compact
the soils to ensure they have adequate strength and stiffness to limit any postconstruction settle
ment and stability problems, and to limit the qua.ntity of seepage through the soils. Compaction
is one of th e most popular ground improvement techniques carried out in earthworks associated
with roads, embankments, landfi lls, buildings, and backfills behind retaining walls. Generally,
the main objective is to increase the strength and stiffness of the soil and reduce the permeabil
ity of the soil, all of which are achieved through a red uction in the void ratio. Some common
machinery used in earthmoving is shown in Figures 4.1a through 4.1e. The soil excavated from
the borrow area is transported to the site, whe re it is sprinkled with a specific quantity of water
and compacted to the appropriate density. Acti ng like a lubricant, water sticks to the soil grains
and facilitates the compaction process, thus den:Sify ing the soiL
Reduction in void ratio is a measure of the effectiveness of compaction. Since void ratio is
never measured directly, it is indirectly quantified through the dry density of the compacted
earthwork. It can be seen intuitively and in Equation 2.9 that lower void ratios equate to larger
dry densities.
Figure 4.1 Some earthmoving machinery: (a) excavator (b) backhoe (c) spreader
(d) dump truck (e) roller
49
50 Geotechnical Engineering
Example 4 .1: A soil is compacted in a cylindr,ical mold with a volume of 1000 cm) at six differ
ent water contents, using the same compactive effort (Test 1). After compaction, the samples
were extruded and weighed. The same test was repeated. but with a larger compactive effort
(Test 2). The water contents and wet masses of the samples from the two tests are given.
Compute the dry densities and plOI them against the water content for both tests.
Solution: The volume of the compacted sample is :(000 cm3 The dry density can be detcrmined using
thc equation Pm = pil + w) from Chapter 2: under Worked Example 1. The computed values
are shown.
The dry density vs. water content variation is shown on page 51. Continues
Compaction 5 1
1.60
/  ~ ........ lestl
....... ~st2
E
"
i'c
~
'"
0
1.75
/
V
V
l,/ ~ , ~
1.70
J! 'i
1.65
10 12 14 16 1.
Water conlent (%)
20 22
From both tests in Example 4.1, it can be seen that the dry density increases with the water content
up to a certain value, where the dry density is known as the maximum dry density Pd. max and the cor
responding water content is known as optimum water content. A further increase in water content
results in a reduction in the dry density. Increasing the compactive effort (see Example 4.1) leads to a
reduction in the optimum water content and an increase in the maximum dry density. The optimum
water content and the maximum dry density of the two tests are:
3
Test 1: optimum water content = 17.0%; P d. m.~ == 1.80 t/m
3
Test 2: optimum water content = 15.0%; p,/. max = 1.83 t/m
A curve d rawn through the peaks of all compachon curves with different compactivc efforts on
the same soil is known as the line of optimum. The compacted earthwork will have very good
geotechnical characteristics (Le., strength, stiffness, permeability, etc.) when it is compacted
near the optimum water content. Particularly in clayey soils, the behavior of the compacted
earthwork is quite sensitive to the water content in the vicinity of the optimum water content.
Therefore, it is necessary to know the optimum water content and the maximum dry density of
a soil under a specific compactive effort in order TO specify the right values for the field work.
Terms such as dry of optimum or wet of optimum are used depending on if the com pac lion is
carried out at a water content less or greater than the optimum water content
The phase diagrams of the compacted soil at different water contents are shown in Figure
4.2a. The variatiuns uf dry density and void rat iu against the water cuntent are shuwn in Figures
4.2b and 4.2c respectively.
5 2 Geotechnical Engineering
Air
Air
Air Air Air
[.J
r, S < 100%
2
:
i,
1,
3
\
.
4
,!
i 5
w~ W(%)
[bJ
.... ~/ ,
,!
w~
w I'!!,)
[d
mum d ry density. Here. a hammer of specific mass falling through a specifi c height is used fo r
compacting the soil in a few layers of equal thickness. as shown in Figure 4.3. The test details
arc summarized in Table 4.1.
Example 4.2: Show that the compactive effort im parted to the soil in a standard Proctor com 
paction test is 552 kJlm' .
Solution: Work done per blow "'" 2.5 X 9.81 X 0.3 Nm == 7.36 Nm (or JouJes)
When compacted in three layers with 25 blows per layer. the total energy imparted to the
soil is:
3 X 25 X 7.36 = 552 J
Volume of the compacted soil = 1000 em' = 10 l m'
:. Compactive effort = 552 kUm' (See Table 4. 1)
Compacted mold
Therefore, in any soil (Le., for a known value of G.) , the value of S is fixed for a specific pair of
values of wand P,I' In other words, every point in the p[ w space (see figure in Example 4. I) has
a specific value of S. Thus, Equation 4. 1 can be used to draw contours ofS in a P,r W space.
Example 4 .3: Draw the contours of S = 100%, S = 90%, and S = 70% in the plot shown in Ex
ample 4. 1, assuming G, = 2.72.
Solution: Let's substitute S = 70% and G, = 2.72 in Equation 4.1, which gives Prl as a function of w.
This can be repeated for S = 90 and 100%. TIle calculated values are shown.
Pd (tim") for Scontours
w(% ) S = 70 S =90 S = 100
11 1.906 2.041 2.094
13 1.807 1.953 2.009
15 1.718 1.872 1.932
17 1.638 1.797 1.860
19 1.565 1.728 1.793
21 1.498 1.664 1.731
180
'"~

.i;'
1.75
~
~
c
1.70
165 ~..j....~ll''++I
10 12 14 16 18 20 22
Wa~er content (%)
The contour of S = 100% in the Pr W space is known as the zero air void curve. Any point to the
right of the zero air void curve implies S > 100%, which is not possible. Therefore, it is neces
sary that any compaction test point must lie to the left of the zero air void curve, which is a good
check. II is quite common to show the zero air void curve along with the com paction curves.
The Scontours in Example 4.3 give an idea of the degree of satu ration of all test points, Some
Compaction 55
times, they are replaced by ai r content a contours where air content is defined as the ratio of the
v..
air void volume to the total volume V,. In term s of a, Equation 4. 1 becomes:
(4.2 )
Similar to S = 70%,90%, and 100%, one can draw a = 30%, 10%, and 0% using Equation 4.2.
They are not the same.
where Pa, fi~ld is the dry density of the compacted earthwork. and Pd..........I. 1> is the max imum dr y
densit y determined by the laboratory compaction test. R can exceed 100% due to a larger
56 Geotechnical Engineering
(0) Ib)
Ie)
Figure 4.4 Field compaction: (a) impact roller (bl watl~r truck sprinkling water (cl nuclear densometer
compactive effort in the field. Dry density of t he compacted earthwork and the water con
tent are determined by a sand cone/replacement test (ASTM D1556; AS1289.5.3.l) or nuclear
densometer (ASTM 02922; AS 1289.5.8.1, see Figure 4.4c). Sand cone tests are destructive
(i.e., requi res that a hole be dug into the compacted ground) and nuclear densometer tests
are nondestructive and faster, hence more popular. These control tests are carried o ut on the
compacted earthwork at a specified frequency (e.g., one test per 500 m 3 ) to ensure th e speci
fications arc met. When discussing coarsegrained soils, it is possible to specify the density in
terms of relative density than relative compaction. Lee and Singh (1971) suggested that they
are related by:
Example 4 .4 : Standard Proctor compaction was carried out on a clayey sand, and the compac
tion curve is shown in the figure. The specific gravity of the soil grains is 2.71.
a. What are the maximum dry density and thE~ optimum water content?
b. Find the void ratio and degree of saturation at the optimum water content.
The compaction specifications require that the relative compaction be at least 98% and the wa
ter content to be within ~2 to ~ ~% from the optimum water content. A sand replacement test
was carried out on the compacted earthwork where a 1240 em} hole was dug into the ground.
The mass of the soil removed from the hole was 2748 g, which became 2443 g on drying. Does
the compaction meet the specifications?
~
1.95
.~
c
~
'"
0 1.9
8 10 12 14 16
Water content (%)
Continues
58 Geotechnical Engineering
Solution:
The compaction does not meet the specifications; it satisfies dry density but not the water
content.
.:. Optimum watcr contcnt and maximum dry density for a specific
soil are not ftxed values; they vary with the compactive effort.
.:. You can work in terms of densities (and masses) or unit weights
(and weights) .
:. In clayey soils, the behavior of compacted earthwork is very sensi
tive to the water content, depending on whether the clay is com
pacted to the dry or wet of optimum. Therefore, a stringent control
is necessary.
Compaction 59
WORKED EXAMPLES
I. A standard Proctor compaction test is carried out on the soil sample (G, = 2.74) collected
from an earthwork and the compaction curve is shown in the figure. Draw the zero air
vo id curve to see if it in tersects the compaction curve.
1.9
1.6
i I \
.W: 1.7
c
U
'"
0 1.6 / \
I
1.5
10 15 20 25
Water content (%)
The compaction specifications require that the earthwork be compacted to a relative com
paction of at least 95% with respect to the standard Proctor compaction test, and that the
water content be within :!: 11/2% of the optimum water content. A field denSity test was
later carried out to check the quality of comp action. A hole was dug in the compacted
earthwork and 957 g soil was removed. The volume of the hole, as measured through a
sand cone test, was 450 cm'. A 26.3 g soil sample that was removed from the hole was
then dried in the oven an d had a mass of22 .8 g. Does the compaction meet the specifica
tions?
Solution: Let's use Equation 4. 1 with G, = 2.74 to locate a few points for the zero air void
curve. This gives:
p, ~ 2.74/(1 + 2.74w)
on the zero ai r void curve. Subst ituti ng w (%) = 17, 18, 19, and 20 in th is equation gives
Pd (t/m J ) = 1.87,1.84, 1.80, and 1.77. Plotting these fou r points on the above plot shows
that the compaction curve full y lies to the left of the zero air void cur ve.
From the laboratory:
l 3
OWCI"b = 16.0% and P d. "''''' = I.H I g/cm or t/ m (see figure)
26.3  22.8
w(",ld = x 100 = 15.35%
22.8
60 Geote chnical Engineering
and
957 3
P'" fipld
'"
=
450
= 2. 13 g/cm
2. t 3 3
:. Pd field
,
=   = 1.84 g/CIn
1+0.1535
1.84
:. Relalive compaction =   x 100 = 102%
1.81
Specifi cations: (a) R == 95% (standard Proctor) and (b) 14.5% S W~.IJ S 17.5%
The control test shows that the compaction meets the specifications with respect to both
water content and relative compaction.
2. The data from a standard Proctor and modified Proctor compaction test on a soil (G, =
2.64) are given:
Stan dard Proctor:
Water content (%) 9.3 11 .8 14.3 17.6 20.8 23.0
Dry density (Vm~ 1.691 1.715 1.755 1.747 1.685 1.6 19
Modified Proctor:
Water content (% ) 9.3 12.8 15.5 18.7 21.1
Df"y density (Urn') 1.873 1.910 1.803 1.699 1.641
a. Plot the compact ion curves along with the zero air void curve and find the opti
mum water content and the maximum dry density for each test.
b. Compaction control tests were carri ed out at four different fi eld locations, and the
results are as follows:
Compute the dry density, bulk density, and the water content fo r each test and plot
the points in the above graph along with the compaction curves.
Compaction 61
c. The compaction specification requires that the in situ dry density be greater than or
equal to 95% of the maximum dry density from the modifi ed Proctor compaction
test and fo r the water contents to be within 2% of the modified Proctor optimum
water content. Dete rmine which of the four control tests meet the specifications,
and give reasons why the specifica tions were not met for the tests that failed.
Solution: Th e computed values are shown in the plot.
OWCmodir,.d P,oe'", = 12.5%, and
3
Pd. rnax...modificd ~roclor = 1.91 tlm
Speci fi cations require that: (a) Pd. fi~Jd ~ 1.8 1 t/m 3 and (b) 10.5% :$ W field::5 14.5%.
:. Only the control tests falling with in the sh aded region would meet both water content
and relative compaction criteria.
Control test 1: Too dry and low dry density
Control test 2: Meets the specificat ions (fall.s within the shaded region)
Control test 3: Too wet and low dry density
Control test 4: Control test itself is invalidlies to the right of zero air void curve
1.9 +~~.t~~~.+,~~
.~v:
7.~:qt=~~t~J
~,i:~
__~__+
.,__lii_ __~~___+i_i_ Test 1
: : : :u : : : 'I.: : :
''';'r ;:  "rr': lest 2
1 t:r:'
___;_.. .l ___L __ ~_._. ___ :_.+.l_ ~_ ~ . _ . ~.\. .l ... : . .
::: : : : i: : 'I.: : lest 3
.~
IJ)
..++ + .. ; ++ ,~  1"'!
: . : : : : : ! : : 'I. :
... lest 4
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. Write a SOO word essay on the diffe rent types of roll ers used in compaction, clearly stating
. where each is suitable. Include pictures wherevcr possible.
3. From phase rel ations (Chapler 2), show that the air content a is given by:
e( I 5)
a=
(1+e)
a. Plot the compaction curve and find the optimum water content and maximum dry
density. Plot the void ratio against the ,"vater content in the same plot to show that
the void ratio is the min imum at opti m um water content.
b. Draw the zero air void curve. Docs it intersect the compaction cu rve?
c. What would be the degree of saturation of a sample compacted at the optimum
water content in a standard Proctor co mpaction test?
d. Draw the 95% saturation curve and 5% air content curve in the above plot. Why are
these two different?
e. Using the standard Proctor compactive effort, at what water content would you
compact to achieve 80% saturation?
Answer: 19%, 1. 75 tl m J, 91%,17.5%
Compaction 63
c
.
<
1.7
,/
/ i
1.6
I \
12 14 16 18 20 22
Water conten t (%)
,..~. ~""
1rW\,\,Y ""'"
ThiS bOOk has lree malenal available lor download from the
'Neb Added Value 1 " resource centf!f at www.jrosspub.com
Effective Stress,
Total Stress, and
Pore Water Pressure 5
5 .1 INTRODUCTION
Soils are particulate media. They are made of an assemblage of soil grains of different sizes and
shapes. They contain three phases: namely, air, water, and soil grains. In geotechnical engineering
analyses, the soil mass is often assumed to be a continuous medium for conven ience, where the
presence of three phases is neglected and the entire soil mass is assumed to behave as a homoge
neous and isotropic elastic body. This is far from reality, but it enables us to solve the problem.
In a particu late medium where the voids are fi lled with air and water, th e normal stresses CT
are shared by the soil grains, watef, and air. In this chapter. you will learn how to compute the
normal stresses acting se parately on soil grains a nd water in a saturated soil. We will not worry
about partiall y saturated soils where some of the normal stresses are carried by the air with in
the voids. which are too complex for now.
From now o n, we will denote vertical normal stress and horizontal normal stress as (1. and (1h
respectively. Therefore.
a .= u; + uand (5.2)
(5.3)
Note that pore water pressure. heing hydrost;ltic. is the same in any d irectio n. In this chapter, we
will only deal with the vertical stresses. both effective and total.
65
66 Geotechnical Engineering
X, depth II below the grou nd level is simply given by o~ = ,h. This is often called overburden
pressure. If a uniform surcharge pressure of q is placed at the ground level, then 0 " = ,11 + q.
(f there are three different soil layers as shown in Figure S. l h, the vert ical normal stress at X is
given by (1. = 'Y1 11 \ + 'Y2112+ 'Y3h j
Now, let's see what happens when water is present. Let the saturated unit we ight and sub
merged unit weight be 'Y Al and 'Y' respecti vely. The tota l vertical stress at point X in Figu re 5.1c
is given by:
(54)
The pores are all interconnected, and hence the hydrostatic pore water pressure at this point is:
where , ... is the un it weight of water. Therefo re, th e effective verti cal normal stress becomes:
(5.6)
GL
h. Soil 1 (Y, )
(.) (b)
v GL GL
x  x
(0) (d)
Figure 5.1 Stresses within soils: (a) dry soil {bl dry layered soil {el saturated soil
with water table at ground level (d) saturated soil with water table below ground
level
Effec tive Stress. Totol Stress. ond Pore Water Pressure 67
When the water table is at some depth below the ground level as shown in Figure 5. 1d , u,.. u,
and 0:
can be written as:
(5.7)
u ='Y".I12 (5.8)
Example 5 .1: In a sandy terrain, the water table lies at a depth of 3 m below ground level. Bulk
and saturated unit weights of the sand are 17.0 kN/ m ' and 18.5 kN/m' respectively. What is the
effective vertical stress at 10 m depth?
Solution:
I,~
_______ _________11 __________ .___________________________ _
7~
When the soil is partially saturated, the situation is more complex. Here, the normal stresses on
the soil elements are shared by the soil grains, pore water, and the pore air. Thus Equation 5. 1
becomes:
whe re u,.. and U are the pore water pressu re and pore air pressure respectively, and X is a con 
g
stant between 0 and I that can be determ ined from a triaxial test. In dry soils, X = O. In satu
rated soils. X = I .
68 Geotechnical Engineering
:. h = 4Tcosa
, 'Y ",d
For a clean glass tube in contact with water, a = 0"; T = 0.073 N/m; and 1' .... = 9810 N/mJ. Sub
stituting these values in the equation above. II, b ecomes:
It is clear from Equation 5. 11 that a smaller capillary tube diameter has a larger capillary rise.
How does this relate to soi ls? The interconnected voids within the soil skeleton act as capillar y
Gl
T a T
Negative
po'.
pressure
d u
z
(.1 (bl (el
Figure 5.2 Capillary effects: (a) glass tube in water (b) field situation
(c) pore water Pf'essure variation with depth
Effective Stress. Total Stress. and Pore Water Pressure 69
tubes (not straight though), enabling water to rise to significant heights above the water table.
We can assume that the effective pore size is about 1/5 of 0 10' The refore, the capillary rise h" in
soils can be written as:
Example 5.2: Estimate the capillary rise in a sa_ndy silt where D IO = 30 I'm.
h, = S.Om
Capillary rise can vary from a few mm in gravels to several meters in clays. Capillary pressures
are similar to suction and hence the resulting po re water pressures are negat ive (j.e., tensile). The
capillary effects are present when there is no change in total stress. Therefore, the net effect is an
increase in effective stress (remember, (f = (1' + u). Due to the high capillar y pressures in clays, the
effective stresses near the ground level can be significantly higher than we would expect.
Figure S.2b shows a soil profile with a capillary rise of h, above the water table, where the
soil can be assumed to be saturated b ut not submerged. In other words, water rises into the
voids, almost filling them but not having any buoyancy effect. Below the water table, the soil is
saturated and submerged. The pore water pressures at A, B, C, and D are given by: u. . = ,,( jIll>
Ull = 0, Uc =  "(HA. and U o =  "()ll)o Va riation of pore water pressure with depth is still linear
from C to A, being negative above the water table and positive below it (see Figure 5.2c) .
: 0= 0' + II. This works in all ,soils, in all directions, and at all times .
:. When computing effective stn~sses, use 1'mabove the water table and
"(' below the water table.
: A smaller grain sjz.~ IIlcaIJS a Largcr capillary rist:. II is ill significant
in coarsegrained soils.
:. Capillary pressures are negative. They increase the effective stresses.
:. Capillary zone can be assumed to be saturated {i.e., use 1',., in calcu
lating oJ, but not submerged.
70 Geotechnical Engineering
WORKED EXAMPLES
1. Plot the variations of total and effective vertical stresses and pore water pressure w ith depth for
the soil profile shown.
Solution: The values of IT,,, u, and lTv' computed at the layer interfaces are shown. W ithin a
layer, the un it weights being constants 0 ", u, and av' increase linearly.
(.) (b)
2. The water table in an 8 m thick silty sand deposit lies at a depth 3 m below the ground
level. The en tire soil above th e water table is. saturated by capillar y water and the satu rated
3
unit weight is 18.8 kN /m Plot the variation of total and effective vertical stresses and
pore water pressure with depth .
Solution : The values a,., u, and fI,.' computed at the layer in terfaces are shown in the table.
Note the negative capillar y pressure and the effective stress of 29.4 kPa at the ground
leveL
Effective Stress. To tal Stress. and Pore Water Pressure 7 1
The soil profile and the plots generated using th c va lucs given in the table are shown in
the followi ng fi gu res.
Q. , U, and u; (kPa)
 50 a 50 100 150 200
a ,
\ r\ \ +
_
Tolar stress
Pore w<ller pressure
3m
2 \ \ _ ...... Effeclive stress
________________.5/.. ___ _ \
1\ I~
5m
\ ,\
6 \ \ 1,\
7 \ \ \
\ \
8
(,) (b)
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. A soil profile at a site consists of a 5 m of gravelly sand h'~1 = 18.5 kN / m); 'Ym = 17.0
kN/ ml) layer underlain by 4 m of sandy gravel h'"" = 18.0 kN/ m) . The water table is 4 m
below the ground level. Plot the variation of a". a:. and u v"ith depth. Neglect the capillary
effects.
2. A river is 3 m deep with the riverbed consis ting of a thick bed of sand having a saturated
unit weight o f 19.0 kN/ m J W hat would be the effective vertical stress at 4 III below the
riverbed? If the water level rises by 2 m. wha t would be the new effective vertical stress at
4 m below the riverbed? If the water level drops by 2 Ill , what would be the new effect ive
vertical stress at 4 III below the riverbed?
Answer: 36.lJ kPll, 36.8 keu, 36.8 kPa
72 Geotechnical Engineering
3. The Pacifi c Ocean is 200 m deep at some locations. The seabed consists of a sandy deposit
with a saturated un it weight of 20.0 kN/m 3 Find the total and effective vertical stresses and
pore water pressure at 5 III depth below the seabed.
Answer: 2062 kPa, 50.9 kPa, 2011.1 kPa
4. In a clayey sandy silt deposit, the water table is 3.5 m below the surface, but the sand to a
height of 1.5 m above the water table is saturated by capillary water. The top 2 ill of sand
can be assumed to be d ry. The saturated and dry unit weights of the soil are 19.5 kN/m 3 and
18.0 k N/ m 3 respectively. Calc ulate th e effect ive vertical stress at 8 m below the surface.
Answer: 108.9 kPa
.. ~. ~
tnrt:\,.... "'"'
This book has free material available for download from the
Web Added Value'" resource center at www.irosspub.com
Permeability
and Seepage 6
6.1 INTRODUCTION
Permeability, as the name implies (the ability to permeate), is a measure of how easily a fluid can
flow through a porous medium. In the context of geotechnical engineering, the porous medium
is soils, and the fluid is water at ambient temperature. A petroleum engineer may be interested
in the flow of oil through rocks. An environmental engineer may be looking at the flow of
leachate through the com pacted clay liner at thf: bottom of the landfill. Generally, coarser soil
g rains means larger voids and higher permeability. Therefore, gravels are more permeable than
silts. Hydraulic conductivity is another term used for permeability, especially in environmental
engineering literature.
The flow of water through soils is called seepage, which takes place when there is a difference
in water levels on two sides (upstream and dowl'1stream) of a structure such as a dam (Figure
6. 1a) or sheet pile (F igure 6.1 b). Sheet piles are watertight walls made of interlocking sections
of steel, timber, or concrete that are driven into the ground.
6 .2 BERNOULLI' S EQUATION
Bernoulli's equation in fluid mechanics states that for steady, nonviscollS, and incompressible
flow, the total head at a point (P in Figure 6.2a) can he expressed as the summat ion of the three
independent components elevation head, pressure head, and velocity head as shown in Equation
6.1 below:
where p is the pressure and v is the velocity at P. The heads in Equation 6.1 are forms of energy
that are expressed in the unit of length. The elevation head z is simply the height of the point
above a datum (a reference level), which can be selected at any height. When the point of inter
est lies below the datum, the elevat ion head is negative. At point P in figure 6.23, the pressure
is 'Y ..I1, and hence the pressure head is 11.
73
74 Geotechnical Engineering
Upstream
Seopage
Soil
lmpervlo s strata
(.)
Sheet pile
,(
Upstream
Downstream
Impervl us strata
(')
h.
Datum
B
Water o
p.
(0)
..................
(')
Figure 6.2 Bernoulli's energy principle: (a) a fluid particle in motion (b) seepage
beneath a dam
Permeability and Seepage 75
Example 6 .1 : Seepage takes pl ace beneath a concrete dam as shown in Figure 6. 2h, where P is a
point on a flow path (known as streamline). lhe pore water pressure is 42 kPa at P, 6 m below
the datum that is taken at the downstream water level. The velocity of flow at P is 1 mm /s. Find
the total head at P.
When water flows through soils, the seepage velOCity is very small. II gets smaller when squared ,
and the velocity head becomes negligible compar ed to the elevation and pressure heads, as seen
in Example 6.1.
Example 6 .2: In Example 6.1 (Figure 6.2b), points A and C are at the top of the upstream and
downstream reservoirs. Points Band 0 are at depths of hBand hDrespectively. Find the eleva
tion, pressure, and lolal heads at A. B, C, and D.
It can be seen from Example 6.2 that the total head remains the same within both reservoirs
(II,. upstream and 0 downstream with respect to the selected dat um at the downstream water
level). Streamline is the path of a water mol ec ule. Alo ng a streamline, the total head g radually
decreases from Il l. upstream [0 0 downstream. Here, water molecules expend energy in over
coming Ihe frictional resistance provided by Ihe soil skeleton in their travel from upstream to
down stream. The total head loss across the dam is h c. which is simply the difference in water
level from upstream to downstream.
Flow takes place from higher lotal head to lower lota l head. If seepage takes place from A to
B (Le . T H" > T H",), the average hydraulic gradient between these nvo po ints is defined as the
rat io of the total head difference benveen the two poin ts to th e length of the flow path between
the poi nts. Hyd raulic grad ient; is the head loss pe r unit length and is dimensionless. It is a con
stant in a homogeneous so il . and can vary fro m point to point in a heterogelleous soil.
76 Geotechnical Engineering
Example 6 .3 : Water flows from top to bottom through a 900 mm soil sample placed in a cy~
lindrical tube as shown and the water levels are maintained at the levels shown. Find the pore
water pressure at A, assuming the .~oi l is homogeneous.
~~; 900 mm
300mm
400mm
~Datum
Solution: Let's select the tail (bottom) water level as the datum. Being at atmospheric pressure, the to
tal head at the datum is O. This must be the same within the entire water beneath the soil sample.
The tota] head althc head (top) water level is 1600 mm, which is the same within the entire water
above the soil sample. Therefore, the total head loss across the soil sample is 1600 mm, which oc
curs across a length of 900 mm. Therefore, the hydraulic gradient is 1600/900 = 1.78.
Total head at the top of the sample = 1600 mm
:. Total head at A = 1600  1.78 X 600 = 532 mm
Elevation head at A = 700 mm
.'. Pressure head at A = 532  700 =  168 mm
.', Pore water pressure at A =  0.168 X 9.8 1 ""  1.65 kPa
6 .3 DARCYS LAW
In 1856, French engineer Henry Darcy proposed that when the flow through a soil is laminar, the
discharge velocity v is proportional to the hydraulic gradient i:
V ( X; i
(6.2)
v =: ki
Permeability and Seepage 77
SoilS: Clay
Silly
+t+ clay ......... Sand ........ Clean gravels
10
I
lO A 101 10'"
I
10s
,
10' 10 ' 10 ~ 10'
I
100 10' 1()2
Permeabilily (cmls)
Here, the constant k is known as the hydraulic conductivity, the coefficient of permeability, or
si mply permeability. It has the unit of velocity. and is com monly expressed in cmls or m/s. Some
approximate values of permeability fo r the major soil g roups arc shown in Figure 6.3.
In clean uniform sands. Haze n (1930) suggested that k can be related to D ill by:
Here, D ill is also known as effective grain size, which regulates the fl ow of water through soil s.
It is also possible for k to be related to a function o f void ratio such as ti, til( I + e), and i/(I + e).
One ca n intuitively see that larger void ratios have larger void volumes, and hence a larger
permeability.
Reynolds number is defined as:
(6.4)
where D = average diameter of the soil grains, Pw = density of water ( 1000 kg/m) , and Jl. w =
dynamic viscosity of wate r (approximately \ 0 3 kg/ms). Provided the Reynolds number R is Jess
than \, it is reasonable to assume that the flow is laminar.
~
/1\
Measuring
cylinder
(,) (b)
Fig ure 6.4 Laboratory permeability tests: (a) constant head (b) falling head
(6. 5)
k ~ Ql. (6.6)
AhL
In fine grained soils, it just takes too lo ng to collect an appreciable quantity of water in the mea
suring cyli nder to get a reliable value of the flow rate.
dh h
Flow rate Q = a Flow rate Q = vA = k  A
d, L
dh h
:.  a= kA
dt L
" dh kA r'
a f/'1 h='TJodt
k = aL Inli (6.7)
At h,
Example 6 .4: In Example 6.3, if the diameter of the soil sample was 60 mm. and 800 ml of water
was collected in 10 minutes, determine the permeability. If the average grain diameter is 0.5
mm , determine if the flow is laminar.
k= L33x90 =O.0264cm /s
28.3xl60
Q 1.33
11 =  =  == 0.047 cm/s
A 28.3
Substituting Equation 6.4, Reynolds number R: can be estimated as:
(O.OOO47 m /s)( O.SxIO) m)(IOOOkWm 3) 02 L fl
R= 3 =. 4<1~ ammaT OW
10 kg/ms
Why can't we do fa lling head tests o n coarsegrained soil s? The fl ow rate is so h igh that the water
level wiII drop from It l to 112 rapidly, which will not provide enough time to take the proper
measu re ments. Permeability tests can b e carri ed out in the field by pumping water from wells.
At steady state, permeability is related to the fl ow rate.
80 Geotechnical Engineering
In the fi eld, a pumping ou t test can be carried out to determine the permeability of lhe soil
in situ. Here, a 300450 mm d iameter casing is d riven into the bedrock as shown in Figure 6.5.
The casing is pe rforated to allow the free now of water into the well. Two observation wel1s 0[50
mm d iameter are a lso bo red into the soil to a d ept h well below the current wate r table. The test
consists of pumping out water until the flow rate Q and the water levels within the observation
wells (hi and IIJ rema in constant  a steady state.
At steady state. let's consider a cylindrical z.o ne of radius r and height IJ above the impervi 
o us stratum. Th e hydrau lic g radient at the pe rimeter of the cylinder is ~: . Therefore, the flow
rate into the cylinder is th e same as the flow rate ou t of the well. which is given by:
dh
Q=khrlt
dr
(6.8)
OtIservaUon wen
Example 6.5: A 10 mthick sandy, silt deposit overlies an impermeable stratum. The water table
is at a depth 3 m below the ground level. During a pumpingout lest. at steady state, water is
being pumped out of a 450 mm diameter weU at the rate of 5 140 liters/min. At the observa
tion wells, at radial distances of 3.5 m and 25 ..0 m, the water levels dropped by 2.5 m and 1.2
m respectively. Determine the permeability of the soil. What would be the height of the water
in the pumping well?
1h, V

V
hw
1
hw hw
L
J L

lh' J L
Soli Soil SoU
l t tl )
(.) (b) (0)
Figure 6.6 Three different scenarios: (a) static (b) upward flow (c) downward
flow
82 Geotechnical Engineering
in Figure 6.6b and downward through the sample in Figure 6.6c. The total vertical stress at X is
the same in all three situations. The pore water pressures can be computed as in Example 6.3,
and are summarized below along with the effective vertical stresses:
It is clear from the above that when the flow is upward, the pore water p ressure increases by izl' ...
and the effective vertical stress decreases by iz'y .... When the flow is downward, the pore water
pressu re decreases by ;zl' ... and the effective stress increases by izl'",. Larger hydraulic gradients
correspond to larger changes in u and a:.
Now, let's have a closer look at the upward flow situation in a granular soil. The effective
vertical stress is posit ive as long as iz"t ... is less than )" z. lfthe hydraul iC gradient is large enough,
iZ')'k' can exceed )" z, and the effective vertical stress can become negative. This implies that there
is no intergranular stress, and that the grains Ollre no longer in contact. When this occurs (Le.,
;zl' ... = 1" z), the granular soil is said to be in quick condition. The hyd raulic grad ient in this situ
ation is known as critical hydraulic gradient (, given by :
G$ I
',= /,l',,, =
l+ e
(6.9)
This is what creates the quicksand you may have seen in movies, and the liquefaction of granular
soils that are subjected to vibratory loads such as pile driving. Wh ile total stress remains the
same, a sudden rise in pore water pressure reduces the effective stress and soil strength to zero,
causing failure. You will see in Chapter 9 that t he strength of a granular soil is proportional to
the effective stress.
6.6 SEEPAGE
In the concrete dam and the sheet pile shown in Figure 6.1, seepage takes place through the soil
due to the difference in total heads between upstream and downstream. If we know the perme
ability, how do we calculate the quantity of seepage per day (Le., flow rate)? How do we calcu late
the pore water pressures at various locations and the loadings on the structures caused by seep
age? In the case of granu lar soil, is there a problem with hydraulic gradients being loa high? To
answer these questions, let us look at some fundamentals in flow through soils.
In Figure 6.7 the concrete dam is impervio us and there is an impervious stratum underly
ing the soil. Let's select the downstream water level as the datum, which makes the total head s
within the downstream and upstream water 0 and hL respectively. A streamline or flow line is
the path of a water molecule in the flow region; it Originates from upstream and finishes at
Permeobility ond Seepage 83
TH ",O
downstream, and th e total head loss is ilLalong each of them. The passage of wate r between two
adjacent streamlines is a flow channel. There are thousands of streamlines and flow channels in
any flow region. Joining the points having the sa me total head in the flow region gives an equi
polentialline. which is simply a contour of the total head. There are thousands of equ ipotential
lines within the flow region. Total head h at any point in a twodimensional flow region with
respect to the Cartesian coordinate system can be expressed as (see Worked Example 6.5);
a2!J a:th
 +  = 0 (6. 10)
ax' iJy'
The above is Laplace's equation, and it can be sho'wn that the streamlines and equipotential lines
intersect at 90 (see Worked Example 6 for proof).
Only a few selected stream lines and equipot ent ial lines (dashed) are shown in Figure 6.7. A
flow net, such as the one shown in Figure 6.7, is a network ohhese sdeclec1 streamlines and equ i
potential lines. Let's select the equipotential lines such that the total head difference between
two adjacent lines is the same ( = ilh = h/JN,,) . "'fe wil l selec t the streamlines such that the flow
rate ilq is the sa me in all flow channels. Let's say there are 1\/ flow channel s and Nd eqU ipotential
drops as shown in the figure (N, = 3 and N,I = 6 in this particular example).
Let's consider the zone ABCD. The velodt y of flow from A D to BC is v AD _ Be = k ~:' . Con
sidering a unit thickn ess (perpendicular to the plane), the flow rate is ilq = k ~' n. Since there
are N, flow channels, the total flow rate Q becomes:
N a
Q =kh, f 
Nd b
84 Geotechnical Engineering
If the st reamlines are selected s uch that a = b (at ever y location ), the flow rate per unit thickness
is given by:
N
Q = kh, .L (6.11 )
N"
fl ow nets are generally drawn such that a = b at every location , forming curvilinear squares.
The values of (/ ( = b) can be different from location to location, formin g differen t sizes of cur
vilinear squares.
Example 6.6: Compute the flow rate through the soil beneath the concrete dam shown if the
permeability of the soil is 3.2 X 10 4 cm/s. Find the pore water pressures at points A, B. and C,
and compute the uplift thrust on the dam.
12m
I" .1
3m
TH "O 2m
As seen in Example 6.6, once the flow net is drawn, it is a straightforward exercise to determi ne
the pore water pressure at a point within the flow region.
(6.1 2)
Several dams across the globe (e.g., Baldwin Hills Reservoir Dam, Los Angeles, 1963; Teton Dam ,
Idaho, 1976; Val di Stava Dam. Italy. 1985) have suffered catastrophic failures due to piping often
with short notice. Piping failures are often catas troph ic and can cause severe hu man and eco
nomic losses at the downstream side. As a result, large safety factors (as high as 5) are commonly
used against possible failures by piping. For temporary structures such as cofferdams, this can be
lower. The Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual (2006) recommends a safety factor of 23.
Some examples of dams that have failed possibly due to piping are shown in Figure 6.8.
(b)
(3)
Worked Example 6). This makes it difficult to sketch the flow net. Here, we wi ll use a trans
formed section where the entire flow region is red rawn wi th horizont al di mensions multi 
pl ied by .jk)k". without change in the vertical. scale. It can be shown mathematically that the
streamlines and equ ipotential lines in the trans rormed section intersect at 90, and hence the
flow net can be sketched and used as before. 'Ihc flow rute can be computed using Equation 6.10
with k=Jk~xkll'
hand , the pore channels must be large enough to allow the free flow of water, thus pre vent 
ing any buildup of excess pore water pressure. This is known as the permeability criterion. In
add ition, it is a common practice to select the filte r material such that the grain size distribu
tion curves of the fi lter grains and the soil bei ng protected have the sa me shape. These criteria
can be summ ari zed as:
Here, D Is is taken as the average pore size of the filter. The permeability and retention criteri a
defi ne the lower and upper bounds for the grain size distribut ion curve of the filter. The U.S.
Navy ( 197 1) suggests two additional conditions to reinforce the retention criterion, as shown
below:
~,
" ....... ' . " ,
,
. , ~
"
"Q,
"
H..
"
=
" Q,
H, = Layer 2
(6.13)
H I + H 2 +,,+H"
(6.14)
k"
Permeability and Seepage 89
, H, 0,  Layer 1
~
H, h, layer 2 ~
,
..
,'"
D'
n '.j
~ ~, '7
I ,) ,.
" ,.
;:.
.: }tT:' ..
(a) Stratified soil profile (b) Equival@nthomogeneoussoil
Example 6 .7: Use SEEP/W to draw the flow net fo r the sheet pile arrangement shown. The
permeability of the soil is 2.5 X IO ~ cm/s. The soil is underlain by an impervious stratum.
Label the equipotential lines and show the flow rate. Show the fi nite element mesh used in the
analysis.
Continues
92 Geotechnical Engineering
Sheet pile
Impervious stra
Solution: The finite element mesh with 363 elements and 423 nodes used in the analysis is shown.
16  \l
"

12
Ie 10  \l
~ 8 1 I
~ 6
, I, I
, I
, I
, , , ,
2
~:~r~:i .: ,,.
I I
I
, .~. , ~1~ ~~
, :":","! ' , , ,
o
o 5 10 15 20
Distance (m)
25 30 35
'" 45
The flow rate is displayed as 5.831 X 10 ' m'J s. 1be hurizonLal axis (bou om ofth e soil layer)
is the datum.
The flow rate can be computed using the fl ow net and Equation 6. 10 as:
Q =2.5 X10 7
X6X2. =6.3x 10 7
m J/s,
12
Continues
Permeability and Seepage 93
16
"
12
10
] 17
< 8
.~ 6
"
~
4
o 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45
Distance (m)
which is in agreement with the value (5.831 X 10' ml/s) calculated by SEEP/ W. Note that
N/N4 is only approximately 5/ 12.
~
.:. Elevat ion, pressure, and total heads arc forms of energy expressed as
length.
:. Velocity head in soils is negligible.
.:. Elevation and total heads depend on lhe datum; pressure head is
independcnt of the datum .
~indet'
:. Alwa)'s show the datum when solving seepage problems .
:. Pore water pressure = Pressure head X 1'....
:. Constant head permcabil it), tests are for coarsegrained soils and
falling head tests are for fine grained soils.
: Stream lines and equipotential lines are orthogonal only when the
soil permeability is isot ropic .
:. The Student Edirion of SEEP/ W can be used for drawing flow nets
and computing flow rates, pore water pressures, etc.
94 Geotechnical Engineering
WORKED EXAMPLES
l. Water flows th rough a 100 mm diameter granular soil specim en as shown. The water
levels on both sides are maintained constant during the test, and Lh e void raLiu of the soil
is 0.82, and Gs :::: 2.68.
a. What is the maximum possible value for h such that the soil does not reach quick
condit ion?
650mm
b. For h :::: 150 mm, 175 ml of water was collected in 15 minutes. Find the permeability
of the soil and the effective vertical stress at A 220 mm below the top of the sample.
Solution:
a. Let's take tail water level as the datum . Head loss across the sample is 650 mm:
G  I 2.68  1 II
if =  '  = =0.923;?:  ~h~600 mm
l +e 1+0.82 650
Total heads at head water and tail water are 150 rom and 0 respectively:
Solution:
a.
Nf = 3, Nd = 8, ilL = 9.0 m
3
:. Q = (1.6 x 1O~) x 9.0 x  x 24 x 3600 = 0.47 m 3/day per J11 run
8
b. Aft = 9.0/8 = 1.125 m per equ ipotential drop
Let's take the downstream water level as the d atum. TIlen , total head at A is 1. 125
m. Elevation head at A is  10.5 m .
:. Pressure head at A is 11.625 m.
:. Pore water pressure at A = 11.625 X 9.8 1 = 114.0 kPa.
c. In the curvilinear square to the right: of the sheet pile at exit, the distance along the
sheet pile is measured as 3.5 m:
:. i" it.mn = 1.125/3.5 = 0.32
3. A small area is protected from flooding by sheet piles as shown. TIle original water level was
at the top of the clay layer. Later, the water level is expected to rise by 4 m outside the area
water level
2m
Silty sand
,,
"
 ~ 
2m
Sandy gravel
o
rvious stratum
Permeability and Seepage 97
protected from flooding. This is expected to cause some upward seepage through the clay
layer between the two sheet piles. A piezometer measurement shows that the pore water
pressure at B is 88.2 kPa. The silty sand can b e assumed to be saturated due to capillary ef
fects. The bulk unit weights of silty sand, clay, and sandy gravel are 18.0, 17.5, and 18.5 kNl
m) respectively.
a. Calculate the total heads at A and B, taking the top of the sandy gravel layer as the
datum . Show that there is hardly any head loss due to the flow through the gravel.
b. Calculate the vertical total stress and ver tical effective stress at B.
c. Find the hydraulic grad ient fo r the upward flow between the sheet piles in the clay
layer.
d. Find the total an d pressure head and pore water pressu re at C.
Solution:
a. (EH), ~ 0.0 m, (P H), ~ 7.0 m > (TH), ~ 7.0 m
(EH), ~  2.0 m, (PH), ~ 88.2/9.8 1 ~ 8.99 m > (TH), ~ 6.99 m
:. Total head loss from A to B is 0.01 m, which is negligible; the total head loss
within the gravel layer is negligible.
h. At B. (l v = 18.0 X 2 + 17.5 X 3 + 18.5 X 2 = 125 .5 kPa and u = 88.2 kPa
:. a,' ~ 125.5  88.2 ~ 37.3 kPa
c. At top of the day layer, EH = 3 m, PH = 0 7 T H = 3.0 m . In the sandy gravel
layer, TH = 7.0 m .
." . Total head loss across the day la}'er = 7  3 = 4.0 m
:. Hyd raulic grad ient wilhin the clay layer = 4.0/3.0 = 1.33
d. (TH)c ~ 7.00  1.33 X 1.0 ~ 5.67 m
(EH)c ~ 1.0 m > (PH)c ~ 4.67 m
:. uc = 4.67 X 9_8 1 = 45 .8 kPa
4. An unlined irrigation canal runs parallel to a river and the cross section is shown on page
98. The soils in the region are generally stiff clays that are assumed to be impervious. There
is a 200 mmthick sand seam connecting the canal and river as shown, which continues to
a length of3.0 km along the river. Assumi ng that th e permeabi lity of the sand is 2.3 X 10 2
cm/s, compute the quantity of water lost from the irrigation canal per day.
Solution: Let's take the water level in the river as the datum.
:. Total heads at the canal and the river is 20.0 111 and 0 respectively, with the head
loss across the sand seam being 20.0 m.
:. Hydraulic gradient = 20/250 = 0.080.
98 Geotechnical Engineering
Sand seam
cao';'I~~C"~Y"~f;;::/~ ~ 1
200 m
~~G~
~I
By Darcy's law, velocity of flow = (2.3 X 10 2) X (0.080) = 0. 184 X 10 1 em/s.
Crosssectional area of flow = 3000 m X 0.2 m = 600 m 2
.". Flow rate = (0. 184 X 10 4 m/s) X (600 rn l ) X (24 X 3600 s/day) = 954 m 3/day.
5. In a twodimensional seepage problem (see the illustration on the next page), show that
the equation of flow is given by:
al II al l!
kx ax 2+ky ay2= 0
where h(x,y) is the total head at a point in the flow region.
Solution: The horizontal and vertical d imensions of the elemenl shown in the figure are dx
and dy respectively.
The net flow into the element being zero, and considering a unit width normal to the plane,
ah ah
v 
, =~k'ax and v, = k, ay
Substituting these in the above equation,
k a' h k a'li _
x ax2+ Y;:ry2 ~ 0
Permeability and Seepage 99
[J
h(x,0
yt!
x
6. A streamline and an equipotential line are shown in the illustration. From the first prin
ciples, show that th ey are perpendicular to each other.
EquipOlentialline
Solution: Let the velocity of the fluid particle at P be v, with horizontal and vertical com
ponents of Vx and Vy respectively. In time dt, poi nt P moves a distance of dx and dy
respectivel}', which are given by dx = v" dt, and dy = v),dt. Therefore:
dy Vy
dx "x
100 Geotechnical Engineering
..dy
.dx k,(:)
k"
(dh) . . along the st.rcamh nc at
. P
ax
Along the equipotential line at P, h(x,y) = constant:
ah
:. dh =  dx+  dy =0
ah
ax dy
Size (mm) 0.02 0.04 0.075 0.15 0.30 0.425 1.18 2.36 4.75
% finer 6 23 47 70 80 98 100 100
It is required to design a granular filter satisfying the four criteria given in Section 6.7,
Design of Granular Filters. Plot the grain size distribution curve for the soil and mark the
upper and lower bounds for the possible grain size distribution curve of the filte r.
In the contract specifications, the geotechnical consultants have proposed the following upper
and lower bounds as the criteria for filter grains. Does this meet your expectations?
Permeability Criteria 1: 0 15. hl, > 4 DIs. ,0>11 70[ 5. filw > 0.24 mm
Retention Criteria 2: D I 5. 1illC. < 5 D 85. $(,;1 7 DIS. fille. < 2.75 mm
Retention Criteria 4: 0 50, fi ll<. :=:; 25 D 5O, soil '7 D 5O. fill .. :S 4.0 m m
These four values are shown in the grain size distribution plot.
The grai n size distributions of the soil and the upper and lower bounds fo r the filter grains
as speCified by the consultant are shown in the figu re. The fo ur criteria fro m Section 6.7
are calculated here and are also shown in the fig ure below. The band suggested by th e
consultant fully lies with in the bounds speCified by the fo ur criteria.
100 ~~
90
60
70
_ _ ,___ ~ __,_ ~0
" _ ~~
g'
'iii
~
60 r
r : I _._
I'
~
c?

.1 _ _
~
~
&oi
l
<5!

9. 4
'1
I
f ::['n=~~c~rt; ~~~l~"
~ l)
Il~ ' cl  _
"
0>
L 30 . I~ ,/ cri
'
I 
  . :, 
20  ,  ,I 2 t+
I I 10 I
10 Ii ~
o + ~'' ..
0.01 01 10
Grain size (mm)
8. Seepage takes place be neat h a concrete dam wi th an upstream blanket and a sheet pile
cutoff wall as shown in the top fig ure on the next page. The permeability of the soil is
7.5 X 10 6 cm/s. Usin g SEEPIW, draw the now net an d determi ne the foll OWing:
a. Flow rate
b. Pore water pressures at A and B
Repeat steps a. and b. for kx = 7.5 X 10 6 cm/s and k, = 1.5 X 10 6 cm/s_
102 Geotechnical Engineering
5.0m 14.0 m
I ":
4.0 m
1.5 m Blanket
A 0.5 m
4.0m Sheet pile
B
5.0m
Imporvlou stratum
Solution: The flow net obtained from SEEPI W is shown. The flow rate is 7.26 X 10 8 m 3/s
perm width:
ti ll = 43.6 kPa
Un = 69.2 kPa
.cs
2Q
g
~
>
!l?
UJ
'0
Distance (m)
Permeability and Seepage 103
20
...
"
35 40 45
Distance (m)
REVIEW EXERCISES
1. Three cyli ndrical granular soil samples of the same length and diameter are subjected to a
constant head fl ow as shown in the figure on the following page. If the permeability of the
sa nd, Silty sand, and gravelly sand is 2 X 10 2,6 X 10 3, and 4 X 10 2 cm/s respectively,
find hI and h ~.
104 Geotechn ical Engi neering
300mm
Silty
5.and
~od
2. A 50 mm diameter and 90 mm long silty clay sample was subjected to a falling head
permeameter test using a setup si mil ar to the one shown in I~ i gure 6.4b, where the inner
diameter of the standpipe was 3.0 mill . ThE: head d ropped from 870 mm to 450 mm in 5
minutes. What is the perm eability of the sample?
Answer: 7.1 X 10 5 cm/s
4. Write a SaOword essay on piping problems and quicksand, giving examples of dams that
have had failures attributed to the dam's piping.
Permeability and Seepage 105
5. List the empirical correlations on perm eabili ty of granular soils and list their
limitations.
7. Water flows under constant head through the two soil samples 1 and 2, as shown in the
figure. The crosssectional area of the sample is 2000 mml. In tive minutes, 650 011 water
flows through the samples.
a. Find the permeability of the samples, a nd
b. In sample 2, find the pore water pressu rc at a point 40 mm above the bottom.
~
11\
g
lJ 90 mm
60mm
If
fIJ: 30mm
.
1 l 00mm
40mm
"~ :5:r:
r .,;:J:'l't.~
I?~'
120mm
Ii>,
..
';
~'
8. Water flows through the constant head se tup in the laboratory, as shown in the figure,
where two identical dense sand samples A and B are placedone horizontally and the
other vertically. The samples are 50 mm diameter and 100 mm in length. The water lev 
els in the left and right sides are maintained at the levels shown, ensuring constant head
th roughout the test. Th e void ratio of the sand is 0.92 and the specific gravity of the grains
is 2.69. If 165 g of water was collected in the bucket within 15 minutes, what is the perm e
ability of the soil ?
What are the pore water pressure and ver tical effective st ress at the mid height of
sample H?
/iln
I I
190mm
n L
4{1 mm
r
I'00mm
100mm
I"
'"
Answer 0.98 X 10 2 cm/s; 1349 Pa, 78 Pa
Water ~
 Datum
JJ?'
140~' B
,~ 267
10. A soil sample within a sampling tube is con nected to an experimental setup (as shown in
the figure) to carry out a constant head permeabili ty test. The crosssectional area of the
tube is 75 mm and the length of the sample is 250 mm . If 875 ml of water flows through
the sample in 5 minutes, find the permeability of the soil.
~
/1\
45mm
35mm
120mm
101
11. A 500 mIong levee made of compacted clay impounds water as shown in the figure on
page 108. There is a I mIhiek sand seam along the entire length afthe levee at a IS'" hori 
zontal inclination that connec ts the reservoir to the ditch. Th e permeability of the sand is
3 X lO  l em/s. Determine the quantity afwater that flows into the d itch in mJ/day.
108 Geotechnical Engineering
Reservoir Levee
12. Seepage takes place beneath the concrete dam shown in the figure, where a sheet pile is
present at the downstream end. Permeability of the fine, sandy, silty soil beneath the darn is
3.6 X 10 4 em/s. Find the following:
a. '!be flow rate in m 3/day per m run;
b. 'fhe safety factor with respect to piping, assuming that the void ratio is 0.8 and the
specific gravity of the soil grains is 2.66; and
c. The uplift force on the bottom of the dam.
o~c==~o==~~
2 3 4 5
(m)
8.:; m
2.0m
1.0m
2.0m
Answer; 0.23 m J/day per tn, 4.5, approximately 300 kN per m width
Permeability and Seepage 109
13. Everything else being the same, which of the two da ms in the figure will experience larger
seepage through the underlying soil? Why?
Which of the two will have a larger exit hydraulic gradient? Why?
Which of the two dams will have a larger upli ft? Why?
So' Soil
14. The equipotential lines are shown on pagt: 1I 0 for three seepage problems: (a) seepage
be neath a conc rete dam, (b) seepage beneath a sheet pile. an d (c) seepage near a cofferdam.
Draw the streamlines and complete the now nets. Assum ing that the permeability of the
underlying clayey sand is 2 X lOs cOlIs. compute the now rates.
Answer: 4.7 X 10 1 mJ/s per ttl, 2.4 X 10 7 mJ/s per fII, 3.1 X 10 ; mJ/s per ttl
15. A 10 mwide and 20 mh igh min e stope has a 4 mhigh and 2 m wide d rain as shown in
the figure on page Ill . rhe stope is backfill ed with saturated hydrauli c fill that is essentially
a silty sand material. O nce filled, the permeability of the hyd raulic fill is 5.6 X 10 4 cm/s.
Draw the now net. Esti mate the flow rale and the location and magnitud e of the maximum
pore waler pressure with in the stope.
Answer: 1.0 11/J!day per m, I I I kPa af boftOIll corner
16. A sheet pile is d riven into the ground in a wate rfront area during some tempora ry con
struction work. as shown in the figure on page 110. The silty sand has a permeability of
4.2 X 10 1 cm/s and a water content of 28%. The speci fi c graVity of th e soil grains is 2.65.
Draw th e now net and calc ulate the flow rate and safety fac tor with respect to piping.
Answer: 3.9 mJ/day per m, 7.9
110 Geotechnical Engineering
16m
I'
6m
Concrete dam
Sheet pile
5m
2m
6m
CJayoy sand
4m
"
V
6m
6m
Impel'VlOUS stratum
Permeability and Seepage 111
10m 2m
I~'==:;z===,'~.1+>1
Saturated
20m
hydraulic fill
3m
9 105m
1m
10m
17. A concrete dam shown on page 11 2 rests on a fine, sandy silt having a permeability of 5 X
10 4 cm/s, which is underlain by an imperv ious clay stratum. The satu rated unit weight of
the sandy silt is \8 .5 kN /m 3. Draw a flow n<~ t. Compute the flow rate beneath the dam in
mO/day per meter width and the uplift force on the base of the dam per meter width. What
is the safety factor of the dam with respect to piping?
112 Geotechnical Engineering
5m
1m
m
7.75 m
S.25m
tralum
18. Seepage takes place beneath a conc rete dam shown below resting on a fine, sandy silty soil
having a permeability of 5 X 10 4 cm/s and a saturated unit weight of 19 kN/m 3 . A sheet
pile is also provided at the upstream end of the dam in an attempt to reduce th e seepage.
Determine the quantity of seepage in m1/day per meter width, the safety factor with respect
to piping, and the upl ift thrust on the dam.
Answer: 0.81 mJlday per In width, 1200 kN per 111 width, 5.2
19. A long porous drain is placed at a depth 3 III below the ground level as shown in the figure
q all page 11 3 to collect the water percolating through the soil above. The permeability of
the soil is 2.0 X 10 5 cm/s. There is an impervious stratum at the depth of 6 m. Assum ing
. . atmospheric conditions within the drain and at ground level, draw the flow net and esti 
. ~~" . ' mate the flow rate. [Hint: The perimeter of the drain is an equipotential line; make use of
symmetry and draw only one half of the flow net.]
Permeabi~tY and SeepdtJ~ 113
GL
1Z
3m
o
3m
Imperv us stratum
20. In a layered soi l system (see Section 6.8 Equivalent Permeabiliti es for OneDimensional
Flow) where the flow is onedimensional and is either hori zontal or ve rtical, is the hori
zontal permeability always greater than the verlical permeability? Discu ss.
IHi nt: Select a three to fourlayer soil profile and use a spreadsheet to compute th e
equivalent permeabilities for a wi de range of values.]
21. Try Review Exercises 15, 16, 17, and 19 using SEEP/W.
22. Seepage takes place beneath a concrete darn underlain by a two layer soil profile shown
below. Use SEEP/W to draw the flow net and compute the flow rate, pore water pressures
at A and B, uplift on the dam, and the exit hydraulic gradient.
tS.Om
I "1
A
k" 2.5e  S em's Tl.0m
k " 8.00  6 em's !4.2 m
1(V}:10(H) slope
Duration: 15 m inutes
2. A 3 mthick sand layer is underlain by a deep bed of clay where the water content is
29%. The water table is at the bottom of the sand layer. Th e unit weight of sand is
18 kN/m J , and G s for clay grains is 2.70. Find the effective vertical stress at a depth
10 m below the ground level .
(2.5 points)
3. A sheet pile is driven into a 12 m deep dayey sand bed as shown. Without drawing
th e flow net, determ ine the pore water p ressure at the bottom tip of the sheet pi le.
(5 points)
4m
8m
12m
lmpeNlOU stratum .
Vertical Stresses Beneath
Loaded Areas 7
7.1 INTRODUCTION
In Chapter 5, we saw th at the com putation of the vertical normal stresses (1" at any depth within
a soil profile is fairly straightforward. It is simply the sum of th e product of the layer thickness
and the unit weight of the sail lying above th e point of interest, wh ich is written as:
(7.1 )
where Hi = thickness of th e ;th layer above and 'Yi = unit weigh t of the soil in the i!h layer. When
a foundation or embankment is placed o n the ground, the st resses within the underlying soil
are increased. It is often necessary to compute the increase in the vertical stress .6.(1" induced by
these surface loads.
Soils are particulate media formed of granular skeletons made of soil grains. 'lhe load transfer
mechanism can be very complex here. As a matter of simplicity, soils are treated as continuous media
(or contilluum) in stress calculations and in the designs of foundations, retaining walls, slope stabil
ity, etc. IJere, soils are treated like any other engineering material (e.g., steel) that is a continuum.
Stressstrain d iagrams of soils are often simplified as either linear elastic (Figure 7. 1a), rigid
perfectly plastic (Figure 7. lb), or elastic perfectly plastic (Figure 7. 1c). In Figures 7.lh and 7.lc,
the material yields when a reaches the values of oy' known as the yield stress. Here, the material
becomes plastic, undergoing very large deformat ion while there is no increase in (J. In reality,
soils can be strahl hardening or strain softening w ith the stressstrain plots as shown in Figure
7. 1d. Neve rtheless, at low stress levels, it is reasonable to assume thatlhe stressstrain variation
is linear. In th is chapter, we will assume that soil is a linear elastic colltilltlUm.
u 0
" "
0, u
E
(,)
,
Ib)
, TC , 1<)
(d)
,
Figure 7.1 Stressstrain plots: (a) linear elastic (b) rigid perfectly plastic (c) elastic
periectly plastic (d) strain hardening and strain softening
115
116 Geotechnical Engineering
(7.2)
where z = depth of the point below the horizontal surface and r = horizontal d istance of the
point from the vertical centerline.
Westergaard (1938) treated soil as an elastic material interspersed with a large n umber of
infinitely thin, perfectly rigid sheets th at allow only vertical deformations, and showed that .dO'v
can be expressed as:
(7.3)
where v is the Poisson's ratio of the elastic medium, which can vary in the range of 0 0.5 for
linear elastic materials. The Boussinesq and Westergaard influence factors (18 and Iw) are com 
pared in figure 7.3 for Poisson's ratio values of 0, 0.1, and 0.2 . The Boussinesq equation gives
larger values of dO'v when rlz < 1.5 (i.e., when the stress increase is Significant). For larger rlz,
the values of LlO',. are very small and are about the same [or both methods. In geotechnical engi
neering practice, the Boussinesq equation is widely used for two reasons: It is simpler than the
. GL
,,
:z
: aO'v
L___ !. __lt
0.5
I I
C\  Boussinesq
~'1\\
0'
 Weslergaard(v _ O)

   Weslergaard(v = O, l )
0.3
'   Westergaard (v =0,2)
>;
"
0.2
,,
"
1\
0.1
0 .~
o 0.5 1.5 2 2.5 3
.1,
Figure 7.3 Comparison of Boussinesq and Westergaard values
Westergaard equation, and since the flo. estimates are greater from the Boussincsq equation, it
can only overesti mate the loadings \vithin the soil, and hence be conservativethis is not a bad
thing in geotechn ical engineering. Using Equatio ns 7.2, 7.3, or Figure 7.3, one can calculate the
vertical normal stress in crease at any poin t within the soil mass. From now on , we will limit ou r
discussio ns to the Boussinesq equation.
Example 7.1 : A 500 kN point load is applied on an elastic half space. Plot the vari ation of the
normal stress increase do. with depth (a) along the vertical centerline, (b) along a vertical line
I m away from the load, and (c) along a vertical line 3 m away from the load.
Solutiofl ;
AaO' (kPa)
0 20 40 60 .0 100
0
  ~
,\
2
~
g 6 ir
if
~
Q 10
 ,.0
__ 'a, m 
12
..... . (:3m 
14
16
I
11 8 Geotechnical Engineering
GL
:,,
,
,,
:,
: ll. a~
l___ ~__ lt
(7.4)
where x = horizontal distance of the point of interest from the vertical line load.
0 .26
I, 3.0
, =2.0
0.24
V _~
.'
'.,
} VV i ' = 1.5
0.22
" /s i ' " 1.2
02
I' ~ " 1.0
0.18
,'" VJ./
V
/
..
~
0. 16
~
0 0 .14
~~ V/
c
,
E 0.12 V
01
V
./
0.08
0.06
0.04
:;
0.02
'::/' .....
o
0.0 1 0.1
m
Figure 7.5 Influence factors for .10. under the corner of a uniform rectangular
load
.6.0" = Iq (7.5)
120 Geotechn ical Engineering
where q is the uniform applied pressure and the influence fac tor I is given by:
(7.6)
where m = Biz and n = Liz. Here, Band L are t.he breadth and length respectively of the loaded
area, and z is the depth of the point of interest under a corner. Variation of I with m and n is
shown in Figu re 7.5 where m and n are interchangeable. The influence fac tor obtained or Figure
7.5 can be used with Equation 7.5 to determine the vertical stress increase at any depth within
the soil under th e corner of a uniform ly l oad~:d rectangular fo oting. This can be extended to
obtain Aav at any point within the soi l massnot necessarily under the corner. This will require
breaking up the loaded area into four rectangles and applying the principle of superposition
(see Example 7.2). This can be extended further to Tshaped or Lshaped arcas, too (see Worked
Example 7.2).
Example 7.2: A 3 m X 4 m rectangular pad fooling applies a uniform pressure of 150 kPa to the
underlying soil. Find the vertical normal stress increase at 2 m below points A, B, C, and D.
A ,C
rf' , .!
3m :8 
r 1ID
'_ _ ~i,
4m
_ _ __ L __ J
Continues
Vertical Stresses Beneath Loaded Areas 121
i
j :J~,i E
.. !
Ism j
,.
i
i ._._._.J.~._
H G
I
4m  I'
1m I
AFGH ~ DHA.E  DGFE
:.J = I oHtlF.  l ocF
DHAE: L = 5 m, B = 1.5 m, Z = 2 m~' m = 0.75, n = 2.5 t I DIIAE= 0.177
DGFE: L = 1 m, B = 1.5 m, Z = 2 m + m = 0.75, n = 0.5 t IOGF~ = 0.107
:.60". = 2 (0.177  0.107) X 150 = 21.0 kPa
We can see from Example 7.2 that f), O",. is the m aximum under the center of the loaded area,
as expected intuitively. Let's see how Au,. varies laterally along a centerline with depth through
Example 7.3.
122 Geotechnical Engineering
Example 7.3: A 3 m x 3 m square footing carries a uniform pressure of 100 kPa. Plot the lateral
variation of .6.0",. along the horizontal centerline at depths of 1 m and 3 m.
Solution: Due to symmetry, we will only compute the values of Ao. for the right half of the footing at
points~, B, C. ... H, spaced at 0.5 m intervals as shown.
O.Sm
3m  ._._._._._.;_._,
AB ...... __ ._
C.p _......H_... ._..... _.......
. E F G H .
I
3m
100
I
90
+ z:1m 
80
 .  z=3m 
if
"
70
60
50
" '\'\
~
<l 40
I
" '\ .
30
20
~'\
10 I~ ~ ~
0 ~
o 2 3 4
The values of .6.0,. computed as in Example 7.2 are summarized on page 123 and are shown in
the plot.
COfllirlUes
Vertical Stresses Beneath Looded Areas 123
Under A B C D E F G H
Aa. (kPa) @ I m depth 86.4 83.6 71.6 45.6 19.6 7.0 2.6 1.2
Aa. (kPa) @ 3 m depth 33.6 32.4 29.0 24.0 18.4 13.6 9.4 6.4
At shallow depths, the 2: 1 approximation gives lower values for l1a. when compared to the
maximum value obtained under the center using "the Boussinesq equa tion. At very large depth s,
the 2: 1 approximation gives h igher values. See th~: figure on page 133. In the case of a strip foot
ing (L = 00) carryi ng a line load (load per unit length), Equation 7.7 becomes:
IJ.o ~ Q (7.8)
(B+z)
where Q is in kN/ m .
Q
r
L+z
Bu
1" ~ I
Example 7.4: Using Equation 7.7. estimate L~O'v at I m and 3 m depths below the 3 m square
footing in Example 7.3 carrying 100 kPa. How do the values compare with those computed in
Example 7.3?
(7.9)
Figure 7.8 shows a flexible, circular loaded area of radius a, applying a uniform pressure q
to the underlying soil that is assumed to be a.n elastic half space. The vertical normal stress
Vertica l Stresses Beneath loaded Areas 125
q
$0"". .. ,~,,;p
o
/ VI ~
:;~:: \
xl 8 25
2
\  ,.. \.
"
O2q f;:q O.lq
3 ~ .'
1.5
4 \ '\
4.5 ~
I' /
5
 2.5  2  1.5  1  0.5 0 0.5 1.5 2 2.5
xl 8
Figure 7.7 Pressure isobars for uniformly loaded flexible square and strip
increase .6.o~ al point X at depth z below the center ca n be calculated using Equation 7.9.
What would be the rad ius a in ter ms of z, suc h tha t 6o~ would be O.lq? From Equatio n 7.9, it
can be calculated as O.2698z. Repeating this exercise for .o.u. of O.2q. O.3q, etc., the va lues are
tabulated in Figure 7.8.
When a = O.9 176z, aov at X is O.6q. When a = 0.7664 z, .6.0. at X is O.Sq. Therefore, when
the annular zone between these two circular areas (sec Figure 7.8) is subjected to a pressure of
q .6.11. at X would be O.lq. This is the underlying principle of Newmark's chart.
Newmark (1942) developed the influence ch'lrt shown in Figure 7.9, which consists of con
centric circles of differen t radii, the values of which are given in Figure 7.8. In drawi ng the
circles, the value of z was taken as the length of the line shown in Figure 7.9 as scale, which
126 Geotechnical Engineering
I z
~Lla,_ L\a, a
X
I
0 0
O.1q O.2698z
O.2q O.4005z
O.3q O.5181z
O.4q O.G370z
O.5q O.7664 z
Elevation
I O.6q O.9176z
O.7q 1.1097z
O.8q 1.3871z
O.9q 1.9084z
q 00
Plan
+
Figure 7.8 Stress increase beneath the center of a flexible circular load
is simply the depth of the point of interest, X. If a pressure q is applied over the annular zone
between any two adjacent circles, this would i:ncrease the vertical normal st ress at X by o. J q.
The radial lines divide the annular zones into 12 equal blocks. 1bere are 120 equal blocks in
Newmark's chart in Figure 7.9, and pressure q applied on any of them will lead to an increase in
normal vert ical st ress of 1/ 120q at X.
How do we use Newmark's cha rt to find do . under a point within a loaded area at a certain
depth, z*? Newmark's chart has a scale that is shown along with the figure, which is simply the
depth z at which Aov would be computed. The radii of the circles were computed on the basis
of this length z. Therefore, all that is required now is to redraw the loaded area to a new scale
where the length shown in Newmark's chart equals the depth of interest, z~. The pOint under
which AO"v is required is placed exactly on the center of the chart and the number of blocks that
Vertical Stresses Beneath loaded Areas 127
scale : depth, Z=
I = 11120
z
are covered in Newmark's chari are counted. If t1 blocks are covered by the loaded area, .6u, is
given by:
.6U. = II Iq (7.10)
where q is the applied pressure and I i:; the influen ce factor. which is simply the reciprocal of the
number of blocks in Newmark's chart.
128 Geotechnical Engineering
Example 7.5: The loaded area shown carries a uniform pressure of 60 kPa. Using Newmark's
chart. find the vertical normal stress increase at 6 m below X.
6m
x
3m
Solution: Let's redraw the area to a scale of 6 m := scale length shown in the chart. and overlay the
rescaled area on the chart such that the point X is at the center. Counting the blocks covered by
the loaded area, including those fractions when they are covered only partially, n = 69.5.
: . .6.a. at 6m below X = 69.5 X (11120) X 60 = 35kPa
better way to draw the axes and label them. Use IView/Preferences ...1 to change the way
the geomet ry, fonts, and graphical outputs are displayed.
Use!Sketchl Uneslto sketch the geom etr)' using free lines. You can uselModifvIObjects... 1
to delete or move the lines. ISketchl is different from IDrawl. Use IDrawIRegiollL I on the
sketched outlines to create the real geometry and to define thc zoncs of different materi
als. Altern atively, one may omit lSketch l and start from IDrawl instead, especially in sim ple
problems. While Sketching, Drawing, or Modifying, right clicking the mouse ends the
action. The ISketch l menu is useful for drawing dimension lines with arrowheads and for
labeling the dimensions and objects. It is a good practice to break the soil into regions so
that the finite element mesh can be made finer in the regions of interest.
2. Defining soil properties and assigning to regions:
Use IDrawIMaterials... 1 to assign the soil properties (e.g., Young's modulus) and apply
them to the regions by dragging. The Student Edition can accommodate up to three
different materials that are placed in 10 different zones, all of which are assumed to be
linear elastic. When we are interested in the change in stresses caused by the applied
loadings, we may assume the soil unit weight to be zero to neglect the gravitational
stresses.
3. Defining the boundary conditions:
Assign the boundary conditions through IDraw/Boundary Conditions ... I. Here, spec ify
the fixities (no displacements along the xly directions) along the boundaries and cre
ate new boundary conditions 10 specify the known loadings o r displacements at the
boundarie~ . U~e a ~epa raLe name Lag for each boundary condition. Once a boundary
condition is created. it can be applied to a point, line, or a region. Apply the boundary
conditions by dragging them to the relevant location. Take advantage of symmetry
and analyze only onehalf of the problem in twodimensional plane strain problems.
Remember, we have to use the 500 elements wisely! Avoid the boundary interference
by selecting them as far as possible. When we assume that there is no displacement in
the x and y directions, the assumption must be realistic.
4. Defining the finite eieme11t mesh:
This step gives us a taste of finite element modeling. The Student Edition of SIGMA/W
limits the number of elements to 500. The default mesh would be adequate for most of
our work here. The mesh can be seen through IDraw/Mesh Properties ... I. The mesh size
can be varied by adjusting the global dement size; as the element size increases, the
coarser the mesh becomes.
Verticol Stresses Beneath loaded Areas 131
The area of int erest can be divided into a few regions (up to 10 in the Student
Edition) and the mesh density can be varied with in the regions ~ providcd the total
number of elements docs not exceed 500.
5. Solving the problem:
O nce the problem is fu lly defined through steps 1 4, it can be ISOLVl::"1d, and the results
ca n be viewed in a ICONTOUR I window. You can switch between th e IDEFINE I and
'CONTOUR I windows wh ile experimenting with the output. This can be very effective
for a parametric study. ITools/Verify l can be used for checking the problem defi nition
before solving.
6. Displaying tlte results:
ICONTOURI can be lIsed to di splay the st ress co ntou rs and displacement co n 
tours. From IDraw/Contour.. .! , th e int<: rva ls and colors can be varied. By click
ing the IDraw/Con tour Labe/~, the curso r changes into a crossh ai r. By placing the
crosshair on a conto ur li ne and clicking the mouse, the contour value is labeled.
IDraw/ Mohr Circlesl ca n be used to d l'aw the Moh r circle represe nting the state
of stress at any poi nt , along wit h the elem ents show ing the normal and shear
stresses. IDraw/Graph ... 1 can be used to generate va rious plots of stress vs . depth ,
d is placements vs. distance, etc. More than one grap h can be selected by click
ing the first on e, holding the sh ift key, and th en cli cking the last one on the list.
IView/ Result Information ...1prOVid es full information about the stresses and displace
men ts at any point in a separate window.
Example 7.6: A 10 m diameter silo applies a uniform pressure 0[200 kPa to the underlying soil.
Assuming the soil to be linear elastic with E = to MPa and v = 0.2, estimate the settlement
below the centerline using SIGMA/ W. Show the vertical stress increase contours with 20 kPa
intervals and the boundary conditions. Use the default fini te element mesh. How many ele 
ments and nodes are there?
Solution: In SIGMA/W, let's take gravity as 0 and avoid the gravitational initial stresses. This is an
axisymmetric problem and we will model along a radial plane.
Continues
132 Geotechnical Engineering
The default mesh has 450 elements and 496 nodes. Settlement beneath the center = 159 mm.
Tank
 2
,
 6
,
 '0
 '2
 14
I<  16
S
>  18
~
w
 20
 22
 2'
, ,,
 26 4 Il'~ < ;.. ,     .. r
I .. ~ 1..J. 1t~ ... 1
 28 ; . ~ ~ Bo~)m boundary j L  t
..I i (No ~r/vert displacement) .61'
 30 I ,
" c I. I
 32
, 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17
Distance (m)
Vertical Stresses Beneath Loaded Areas 133
~
Reinindel' .:. Soil is treated as an clastic cont inuum in this chaplcr.
:. Boussinesq analysis is prererrcd over Westergaard's due to it s sim
plicity and conservativeness .
:. Equatio n 7.5 and Figure 7.5 can be applied ollly under {I corner of a
uniform rectangular load .
:. Newmark's chart can be applied on any irregularly shaped, uni
for mly loaded area .
~ SIGMA / W can be used 10 compute stresses and deformations in
plane strain and axisymmetric problems.
WORKED EXAMPLES
I. A square. flex ible footing of width B applies a uni form pressure of 150 kPa to the under
lying soil . Compute the normal. vertical stress increase along the vertical cen terli ne using
the mn coefficients (Equatio n 7.5) and the 2: 1 distribution (Equation 7.7) at d iffere nt
depths and plot them.
Solution:
o 50 100 150
o
  ~

 ,
_ r
zJB 2
rf
3
I ~
 r
Using mn coetficients
Using 2 :1 distribution
I
I
4
I I
134 Geotechnical Engineering
2. The area shown in the fig ure carries a uniform pressure of200 kPa. Find the vertical nor
mal stress increase at 5 m below A, B, and C.
8m 5m
' 1+<  +1
C T
7m
6m
.
B
Solution: Let's use the m n coefficients, remembering that they can only be used for 8u v
under corners. We will also add a few dashed lines and poi nts as shown .
8m 5m
I <=~ I <'=.jl L
o .,_ .........__.,
C i
!
! 7m
,i
p
A
...1"'::;
Ml.
am
8 o N
6.(J ~ =
qBL
(B+z)( L+z )
~0.2q=
qB'
(8 + z )'
~
(B+<)' = 5

B
Fro m the pressure isobars in Figure 7.7. t1O"v = 0.2 q at approximately l AB.
4. A 3 m wide and very 10llg slrip fooling applies II uniform pressure of 120 kPa to the
underly ing soil. Find the vertical st ress increase at a 2 m depth under the centerline using
mn coefficients.
Solution: Let's divid e the strip into four quarters and find 6.O"v under the corner of one. For
each quarter,
L= 00 . B = 1.5 m , Z = 2 m ~ 1 = 0.179
:.lIa, = 4 X 0.179 X 120 = 85.9 kPa
5. A 10m diameter silo applies a uniform pressure of 200 kPa to the unde rlying soil.
Assuming the soi l to be linear ebstic with E" = 10 MPa and v = 0. 2. draw the vertical
st ress increase Aa. conto urs in 20 kPa intervals using SIGMA/W. Use a finer mesh close
to the loaded area. Plot the lateral stress va ri ation of 6.ov at 2.5 m. 5.0 m, and 15.0 m
deplhs.
Solution: Let's divide the mesh into six regions and adjust the mesh d ensity using
IDraw/Mesh Properties... I. such that the mesh is finer at the top left. and coarser at the
136 Geotechnical Engineering
bottom right. Th is will be solved as an axisymmet ric probl em, and \ve will consider a
radial plane as shown.
200
I
180 1
160
140
~ 120
':l" 100
"
~~
80
150
40
:20
I I
32 I I 0
1 1 3 5 7 9 11 n 15 17 0 2 4 6 8 10
Distance (m) Dislal1Ce (m)
REVIEW EXERCISES
1. Try Worked Example 2 using Newmark's chart.
2. The loaded area shown on page 137 applies a uniform pressure of 80 kPa to th e underlying
soil. Find the norm al vertical stress increase at 4 III below A, B, and C.
Vertica l Stresses Beneath Loaded Areas 137
c,,
6m
B ',,,
A
3m 6m 3m
I"0(<>.",...'+10( ,. 1
3. A strip footing of width B applies a uniform pressure of q to the underl ying soil. Using the
2:1 distribution, fi nd the depth (in terms of.8) at which .1.0",. ::::: 0.2q. Compare this with the
estimate from the pressure isobars shown in Figure 7.7.
Answer: 48
4. A 2.5 mwide strip footin g applies a uniform pressure of 100 kPa to the underlying so il
The Young's modulus and Poisso n's ratio of the soil are 14 M Pa and 0.25 respectively. Using
SIGMA / W, develop the pressure isobars and plot the variation in vertical stress increase
.1.0"" with depth along the vertical centerline.
S. Repeat the previolls exercise substituting a 2.5 m d iameter circular footing and compare
the findings.
3m 10m
1111 11 1111 II I
GL
Soil 1: E" v,
7. An embankment is being bui lt with a berm as shown. The emban kment soil properties are:
E = 18 MPa, v = 0.2,), = 20 kN / m 3 . The 5 mthick foundation soil has E = 8 MPa, v =
0.25, l' = 18 kN/ mJ, and is un derlain by bed rock. Use SIGMA/W to analyze the problem
and report the settlement of the crest of the emban kment at the centerli ne. Show the verti 
cal stress increase auv contours.
3m 4m 3m Om
'4 . ' 111 . ,4 . '4
2m
3m
5m
Bedrock
Answer: 83 111m
Consolidation 8
8.1 INTRODUCTION
When an embankment or a foundation is placed on soil, settlement takes place. The weaker the
soil is. the greater the settlement will be. In the case of dry or saturated granular soils. the settle
ment is almost instantaneous, whereas in saturated days, this occurs over a much longer time
through the process of consolidation.
Consolidation is a process in saturated days where the watcr is s qu ee~ed out by the ap
plied external loads, thus gradually increasing settlement due to a reduc tion in void ratio. The
settlement eventu ally stops, but only after a long time. We will assume this length of time to be
infinity for now based on Terzaghi's consolidation theory, which we will discuss in Section 8.5.
Let's consider a soil element X in Figure 8.1a where the initial values oftotal and effective verti
cal stresses and porc wate r pressures are 0 >(1 = "tAl", o ~ = y'11, and UIJ = "()I, respectively. If a
uniform surcharge of q kP ... is applied at the ground level (sec Figure 8. 1b). the above values will
inc rease by !lo(t), !lo'O). and !lu(t) respectively where (t) reflects the time dependence of these
changes. Figure 8.1c shows the variation of the consoli dation settlement with time where the
fina l consolidation settlement s( is reached only at a time of oo. Figure 8. 1d shows the variations
of flo(t), 1l0'(t), and llu(t) with time.
o =o'+ u
hence:
..::lo = ..::lu' + Au
At any time during consolidation:
Il.a(t) ~ q
hence:
Il.a' (I) + au(t) ~ q
Immediately after th e surchar ge is applied, waler carries the entire load . Hence, at I = 0 , Au
= q and Ao' = O. With time, d rai nage takes place and the load is gradually tra nsferred from
the water to the soil skeleton (Le., Au decreases and fl o' increases). Finally, al l = 00, the excess
139
140 Geotechnical Engineering
q
GL HHHHHHH HHGL
} M
Uoo w y...h
a~. y'h M
,
" u.(t)w Uoo ... 4u (t)
(} :(t) .. a~ ... AU',(f)
,. U  "(. h u(l) _ u~ ... aU(I)
o
f'
. " !lj'"
".
,
(,) (b)
Aa(/)
Aart)
Aa(t)= q
E, Au(l)
~ ,
"~
w
a' (/)
f1u I
/ .. 0 1=00 Time 1=0 ( = 00 Tim e
(01 (d)
Figure B. 1 Consolidation fundamentals: (a) just before applying surcharge (b) dur
ing consolidation (cl settlement versus time (d) Au, Au'. and tw versus time
pore water pressure ind uced by the applied surcharge is fully dissipated and the entire surcharge
is carried by the soil skeleton, making du = 0 and du' = q.
Clay H
(.J (bJ
Figure 6.2 Onedimensional consolidation: (a) in the field (b) in the laboratory
decreased by tlH (same as s, in Figure R i c) from the initial value of H o' and the void ratio has
decreased by tle from the initial value of eo. Therefore, the average vertical strain within the clay
is tlHIHo.
From the phase diagrams, the average vertical strain can be computed as:
(J+e, )
Therefore:
tlH tle
(8. 1)
L> V,I
e vol
m =   . ~ (8.2)
v fla' da'
where Vo = initial volume, tl V = volume change, and da' = effective stress increase that causes
the volume change d V. In onedi mensio nal consolidation where the horizontal crosssectional
area remains the same, tl VIVo = flHIHo. Therefore, Equation 8.2 can be written as:
(8.3)
142 Geotechnical Engineering
GL
GL
Clay (eo>
,
!~e
Ie. Water
II Solid
11 Solid
(,) (b)
Figure 8.3 Changes in layer thickness and void ratio due to consolidation: (a) at
I = O+ (b)att = O()
which is a simple and useful equation for estimating the fina l consolidation settlement, So' The
coefficient of volume compressibility m,. is often expressed in MPa J or m 2/MN. It can be less
than 0.05 MPa  I for stiff clays and can exceed 1.5 MPa 1 for soft clays.
Example 8.1: A 5 mthick day layer is surcharged by a 3 mhigh compacted fill with a hulk unit
weight of20.0 kN/m l . The coefficient volume compressibility of the day is 1.B MPa  I . Estimate
the final consolidation settlement.
Solution:
.1.0' = 3 x 20 = 60 kPll
C E\
Figure 8.4 e vs. log 0 ', plot: (a) definitions (b) virgin consolidation line
144 Geotechnical Engineering
do and that the path is a straight line with a slope of Cr. The dashed line shown in Figure 8.4b is the
virgin consolidation line VeL, which has a slope of Cr. It can be seen that as soon as the reloading
path meets the Vel near Band C, the slope changes from C, to C, and the clay sample follows the
virgin consolidation line. Similarly, when unloading takes place from the Vel , the slope changes
from Cr to Cr. Every time unloading takes place from the yeL (e.g., at B and C), a new precon
solidation pressure is established. The initial state of the clay at A had been attained by previous
unloading from the VeL (near B) sometime in it s history, which may have been hundreds of years
ago. At no stage can the day reach a state represented by a point lying to the right of the VeL. As in
the case ofthe ocdometer sample discussed above, the days in nature also undergo similar loading
cycles, and everything discussed above holds true for field situati ons as well. It should be noted
that the preconsolidation pressure is the maximum past pressure that the day has experienced ever
in its history.
The ratio of the preconsolidation pressure to the current effective vertical stress on the clay
is known as the overconsolidation ratio OCR. Thus:
,
up
OCR ~
, (8.4)
u,"
If O"'J = O" ~ (i.e., the eo and (7 ' ,;) values of the clay lie on the YC l ), the clay is known as f10rmally
consolidated where the OCR = 1. If a '>(I < ap ' (Le., the eoand a'>(I values of the clay plot to the left
of the VeL), the clay is known to be overcolISolidated. The OCR is larger the further the values
get fro m the VCL. In Figure 8Ab. at A and D, the clay is overconsolidated and at B. C, and E. it
is normally consolidated. The virgin consol idation line is unique for a clay, has a specific loca
tion and slope. and appli es to all overconsolidated and normally consolidated states of that clay.
Typically, the compression index va ries from 0.2 to 1.5, and is proportional to the natural
water content W", initial void ratio eo. or liquid limit LL. Skempton (1944) suggested that for
undisturbed clays:
There are numerous correlations reported in th,~ literature that relate C, with eo. W~ , and lL. The
recompression index Cr , also known as the sweJ.ling index C" is typically 1/5 to 1/15 of C,.
Consolidatio n 145
Example 8.2: A consolidation test was carried out on a 61.4 mm diameter and 25.4 mmthick:
saturated and undisturbed soft clay sample with an initial water content of 105.7% and a G, of
2.70. The dial gauge readings. which measure the change in thickness at the end of consolida
tion due to each pressure increment, are summarized. The sample was taken from a depth of
3 m at a soft clay site where the water table is at ground level.
a. Plot e ys. log (J/v and determine a'p, C,. C,., and the overconsolidation ratio.
b. Plot t n y ys.log a/y
Solution: The initial void ratio can be computed as eo = 1.057 X 2.70 = 2.854. Initial height Ho =
25.4 mm. With these, let's calculate the values of e and tnv at the end of consolidation due to the
first pressure increment of 5 kPa:
t:.H = 12.7  12.352 = 0.348 mm
From Equation 8. 1:
t:.e =( 0.348
25.400
)X(l+ 2.854) =0.0528
~ e = 2.854  0.0528 = 2.801
0.348 )
(
~ m = 25.4 = 2.74MPa J
v (5xIOJ )
For the next pressure increment where (J/v increases from 5 kPa to 10 kPa:
Ho = 25.4  0.348 = 25.052 mm
Co = 2.801, t:.o' = 10  5 = 5 kPa. and t:.H = 12.352  12.294 = 0.058 mm
From Equation 8. 1, t:.e = 0.058/25.052 X (I + 2.801) = 0.0088
Using these values, at the end of consolidation:
H = 24.994 mm, e = 2.79:2, and m. = 0.46 MPa[
Continues
146 Geotec hnical Engineering
This can be repeated for all pressure increments during loading and then fo r unloading as well .
The values computed are summarized in the following table:
0'. (kPa) Dial reading (mm) H. (mm) tlH (mm) .e e m. (MPa ')
a 12.7 25.4 2.654
5 12.352 25.4 0.348 0.0528 2.801 2.74
10 12.294 25.052 0.058 0.0088 2.792 0.46
20 12.131 24.994 0.163 0.0247 2.768 0.65
40 11 .224 24.831 0.907 0.1376 2.630 1.83
so 9.053 23.924 2.171 0.3294 2.301 2.27
160 6 .665 21 .753 2.388 0.3623 1.938 1.37
320 4.272 19.365 2.393 0.3631 1.575 0.77
640 2.548 16.972 1.724 0.2616 1.314 0.32
160 2.951 15.248  0.403  0.0611 1.375
40 3.533 15.651  0.582  0.0883 1.463
5 4.35 16.233  0.817  0.1240 1.587
The plots of void ratio vs. effective stress and m. vs. effective stress are shown on page 147.
The preconsolidation pressure a'p is approximately 35 kPa. Now, let's compute the values of C,
and Co from the plot. The unloading path is relatively straight and we will use the values of e
and a'. at the beginning and end of unloading to calculate C,:
30 , r
':'1 ,'I",' "! "I ,;,;
I T!. 'IT" 1 I : :L, ;r,~ :T
i, T .' 11""
I IT
j
1I
I_t",:t','~Ii1iI+_T',
2.8 +_+ I::~~ 1'" I I ! i !; I
2.6 I l l i l l li II' ~ ,"!t!1
2.< t_HI Iji;:,;
i:1++ 1 i I I I" ,I I ! I ! II
~ 2.2 i I II"!! I i i !i TI\' I II :11',
~ 2.0 t',r++:I' :'+Ii1' ;, +,1 !I+,I "'I,RIIP~ a+,'I! + j i+
j c' 1,LH,I
I I if
\.,+:r:i+11m
1.8 +I I :++j+
:tl 1jft:, t+:,,Tl C+:IT I::t:1i'ri i! II
1,2 +_L
1.0 I LilIL,j.L
i Ii.LIIH, 1 ~I,IlI,'L''illji
1 .1IlI'.I.LIILLIIH ,
10 100 1000
Effective verti.:al stress (kPa)
3
I Ii' i I I I
I I: I ,I I jill j
1
,, '"
25 I
II
~
~
2
I I '" , I II !~
I I:
/~ I
~ , 1
i! I !,
I Ii' I j 1
i i ; I I!
.'
~ 1.5 ,
I, I 1\ '11' i !I ,III ,I 1' , I I II i I
, I I i \; i .' 1 ' I Ii raJ ~ ! i i
0.5
I l i ! II
, , j' I, I I ' \I I I :.... III
o
10 100 1000
Effective vertiGai Slress (kPa)
e
e
eo __ ' A
~ F ield VCl
e
eo
A
Field VC l
Figure 6.5 Field corrections: (a) determining (1 ~ (b) field veL of a normally consoli
dated clay sample (el field veL of an overconsolidated clay sample
Consolidation 149
6. Extend the straight line part of the laboratory virgin consolidation line and draw a
horizontal line through 0.42 Co to intersect at B (anchor pOint B)
7. Join the anchor points A and 8, which is the field virgin consolidation line, the slope
of which is the true Cr
In the case of overconsolidated clays, it is requi red to have an unloadreload cycle after
the preconsolidation pressure to determine Cr. "lbe procedure for overconsolidated clays
(see Figure 8.5c) is as follows:
I. Determine a'" using Casagrande's procedure
2. Determine the initial void ratio eo, and the initi al in situ effective overburden pres
sure (1' l
3. Mark eo and 0.42 eo on the vertical void ratio axis
4. Mark a' p and a' ,(l on the horizontal a' v axis
5. Determine C, from the unloadreload cycle
6. Draw the horizontal line through eo and the vertical line through a' ,() to meet at
anchor point A
7. Draw a line with a slope of Cr through A to intersect the vertical line through a'" at
anchor point B
8. Extend the straightline part of the laboratory virgin consolidation line to intersect the
horizontal line through 0.42 eo at anchor point C
9. Join the anchor points A, B, and C to form the field e  log 0' . plot (line BC is the
field virgin consolidation line, th e slope of which gives the field value of C" which
should be used in th e designs)
It can be shown from the first principles of the consolidation theory (discussed later in
Section 8.5) that in normally consolidated clays, C, and myare related by:
M34C,
m = (8.6)
y (I+eo)a~\"erngc
where (I' "'erage is the average effective stress during consolidation. If the loading is entirely in
the overconsolidated range, C( can be replaced by Cr.
The consolidation test in an oedom eter also generates stressstrain data. However,
the vertical strains (AHIH) take place under lateral constrai nts. lllcrcfore, the coefficient
of volume compressibility m" exp ressed as (AHI H) / Ao' , is the reciprocal of constrained
modulus or oedometer modulus D, defined as t1a'/(t1H/H) . Drained Young's modulus E
and constrai ned modulus D are related by:
where" = Poisson's ratio of the soil under drained conditions, K ::::: bulk modulus of the soil,
and G = shear modulus of the soil. With drained Poisson's ratio in the range of 0.100.33, D =
11.5 E. K and G arc related to E by:
E
K =  (8.8)
3{i  2v)
and
. E
G=    (8.9)
2(1+ v)
LIe
s, =   H o (8. 10)
1 + eo
Since the clay is saturated, eDcan be determined from Equation 2.6 as eo = wG,. How do we find
6e? Here, we will look at three scenarios (see Figure 8.6). In each, the applied vertical stress
increment !la' causes the day to consol idate from the init ial void ratio of eo where the initial
effective vertical stress is a'><l. The initial and final states are shown by points A and B respec
tively.
a. In normally consolidated clays (Figure 8.6a);
In normally consolidated clays, the initial state (point A) lies on the VeL. During con
solidation, the poi nt moves from A to B with a reduction in the void ratio of !le, which
can be computed as:
a:. +6a'
d e = C, log ='c:,.:=
, (M.II)
0 ,0
b.In overconsolidated days where a'VJ + da' S a'p (Figure 8.6 b);
In overconsolidated clays where the applied pressure is not large enough to take the clay
past the p reconsolidation pressu re (Le., a',() + !la' :S a'p )' the expression for de is similar
10 Equation 8. 11 w here C" is replaced by C" and becomes:
Consolidation 151
e e , e " veL
e, ,,
, veL
, e, A '
~,
"P
6 A , ,.
,, 0
~"'P :
,
6e~ '
B
:++, ,, 6u' ,
,, 1
:
, ,
;
i II 60" i
.
~
: ,
,
, +
, ,
a~ u'..,+ 6(1 a, a~ o~ a ~+ .1.a '
0'. (log) 0'. (log) U. (log)
(a) (b) (,)
Figure B.6 Three scenarios: (a) normally consolidated (b) Qverconsolidated where 0 ' ..
+ .6.0' :s a'. (e) overconsolidated where (1 '.., + l!.o' ~ a'.
(8.12)
Example 8.3: The soil profile at a site consists of a 5 mlhick normally consolidated day layt:r
sandwiched between two sand layers as shown on page 152. The bulk and saturated unit weights
of the sand are 17.0 kN/lll l and 18.5 kN/ml. An oedometer test carried out on an undisturbed
clay sample obtained from the m iddle of the clay layer showed that the compression index and
recompression index are 0.75 and 0.08 respectively. The natural water content of the clay is
42.5% and the specifi c gravity of the soil grains is 2.74. It is required to bui ld a warehouse that
would impose 30 kPa at the ground level.
Continues
152 Geotechnical Engineering
CI.eIY
5m
a. Estimate the final consolidation settlement of the warehouse, neglecting the settlements in
sands.
In an attempt to reduce the postconstruction consolidation settlements, a proposal has been
made to carry out preloading at this site. A 40 kPa surcharge was applied over a large area,
and the clay was allowed to consolidate. Once the consolidation was almost complete, the
surcharge was removed.
b. What would be the net reduction in the ground level?
c. What would be the final consolidation settlement if the warehouse was built?
=
Solution: eo == 0.425 X 2.74 1.165 7 "(... = 17.69 kN/m 3
s = 0.1789 x5000=413mm
, 1+1.165
b. Due to 40 kPa surcharge:
For unloading:
81.0
de = 0.08 Iog = 0.0237
4 1.0
0.0237
ilH = 'X 4488=55mm
1+0.9432
Now:
e = 0.9432 + 0.0237 = 0.967. H = 4488 + 55 = 4543 mm
Net reduction in ground level = 5000  4543 = 457 mm
c. Ifthe warehouse is built now (H = 4543 111m and e = 0.967):
4 1. 0+ 30.0
.6.e= 0.08 Iog =0.019 1
41.0
0.019 1
s<= x4543=44mm
1+0.967
(A significant reduction from the 413 mm originally expected.)
bottom boundaries of the clay layer. When the surcharge Au is applied at the ground level,
the entire load is immed iately (at time = 0 +) carried by the pore water and there is an im
mediate increase in th c porc watcr pressure at a ll depth s by a value of Auo, which is equal to
Au (see Figure 8.7b). This excess pore water pre ssure di ssipates with time duc to the drainage
from the top and bottom, grad ually transferring the load to th e soil skeleton in the form of an
increase in effective stress Au '. At time = I , the variation of the excess pore water pressure Au
wit h depth Z is shown in Figure 8.7c. At any li me during the consolidation, Au = Aa'(z,t) I
dU (Z, t) at any depth. Over time, d(1' increa ses and du decreases (at any depth) by the same
amount. At the end of co nsolidation (time = 00), the applied surcharge is tran sferred in its
entirety to the soil skel eton; hence, Au = 0 and Au' = du at all depths, as shown in Figure
8.7d. Th is is exac tly what we hypothesized in Figure 8. 1d, only qualitat ively.
.  r ~Ir ,.
.z
+{1'0
Cl ..
C~y H
6u :: \ 0
I~+l A u
I ..
\u" '" au
., Au
Au Au'
!,, "
./ Undissipaled ~.
,,
, I
,I
z a o'(z)=O z
_____ \1
Dissipated
(0) (e) (d )
Figure 8.7 Dissipation of pore water pressure during consolidation : (a) dou
bly drained clay layer (b) at time = o ~ (c) at time = t (d) at time = 'JC
Consolidation 155
Terzaghi (1925) showed that the governing differential equation fur the excess pore water
pressu re can be written as:
(8. 14)
where M = (1r12)(2m + 1), and Z and T are a dimension less depth factor and time factor defined
as Z = zlH,J.r and T = c"tIHd,z. H,J.r is the maximum length of the drainage path within the clay
layer. If the clay is drained from top and bottom as shown in Figure 8.7a, it is known as doubly
drained, and H olr = H!2. When the clay is underlain by an impervious stratum, drainage can
only take place from the top. Therefore, Hdr = H. C can vary from less than I ml/year for low
V
permeability clays to as high as 1000 m 2/year for sandy clays of very high permeability. Figure
8.8 proposed by the U.S. Navy (1986) can be used as a rough guide for checking the Cv values
determined by the laboratory.
I 
~
u' 10 +==""==..;'f'CC~=6....,,=+,=t=~~*===i
,
1::= =__ ___ = 
~ ~ ~
 
_  : " ' . N"m,"y ,~_ , ___ _
consolidated         
 ::;: .   clays
(8.16)
The interrelatio nship among Uz(t}, T, and Z is shown graphically in Figure 8.9a. It can be seen
that the degree of consolidation at any time is th(: minimum at the middle of the doubly drained
clay layer, o r at the impervious boundary of a singly drained clay layer.
At any time, the degree of consolid ation varies with depth. How do we define an average
degree of consolidation at a specific time for the entire thickness that we can also equate to the
frac tion of the consolidation settlement that has taken place at that tim e? The average degree
of consolidation U'f!, for the clay layer at a specific time is defined as the area o f the dissipated
excess pore water pressu re d istribution diagram in Figure 8.7c, divided by the initia l excess pore
water pressure distribution diagram in Figure 8.7c. It is given by:
(8. 17)
(8.18a)
The relationship between U..g and T is also show'n graphically in Figure 8.9b.
02 ~re
O.
0.6
"' ~~ ;,
0.3 02 03 0.5
Deg ree of con50lidat ion, U,
(iI )
06 0] 08 0.8
,
,
!, I I, I I
0.8 I i T U.,
, u.,
~
I I T
, I
,,
I I 0.00 0.000
0.8 ~
0.0 0.0
, I 1/1 0.3 0.008 , 0.05
0 .1 0
0.252
0.357
< 0]
. 1
0.2 0.03 1
,, 0 .1 97 0.500 
0.6 /
,"
I I 0.3 0.071 0.20 0.504
, I 0.4 0.126 0.30 0.613 'c,
1/ I ,

,   0.5 0.197 0.40 0.698
, 0
0
0
05
0'
/ .
0.6
03
0.'
D.2f17
0.403
0.567
0.50
0."
0.764
0.8 16
! 0.70 0.856
~ OJ I I 0.9 0.848 , 0.80 0.88 7

"
i 02
! I
. 0.9S
3.0
,
1.163
, , 0.848
0.90
Loo
0.900
0.912
0.931

0,2 1

< ,
0.3
, I. , I
1.50
2,00
0.980
0. _ ,
I , , I
0
o 0' 06 08 32 3' L6 L8 2
TI me faClOr, T
Ibl
Figure B.9 Degree of consolidation chart s: (a) UZ T variation (b) U_ T variation
read ing of d ,oo. A sim ple graphical const ruction using the properties of a parabola is
required to define do, the reading corresponding to a time of 0+ (i.e., just after loading,
which cannot be measured). Mark an arbitrary time t and then 4t on the time axis, and note
the corresponding dial gauge readings, the difference being x (see Figure 8.10a). Mark this
offset distance x above the dial gauge reading corresponding to t, and this defines do. The
dial gauge reading corresponding to U.vg ,= 50% is computed as d so = (do + d joo )/2. The
time tso corresponding to d so is read off the plot. This is the time when U.vg = 50%. From
Figure 8.9b, Tso = 0.197. Therefore:
where H dr is half the thickness of the sampl e if it is doubly drained and full thickness if sin
gly drained. The coefficient of consolidation c,. can be determined from Equation 8. 19.
b. Taylor's square root of time method
Taylor's (I948) method requires plotting dial gauge readings against the square root of
time, as shown in Figure 8. 1Ob. The early part of the plot is approximately a straight line,
which is extended in both directions as shown by the dashed line. The intersection of this
line with the dial gauge reading axis defines do. Another straight lin e is drawn through
do such that the abscissa is l.l 5 times larger than the previous line (see Figure 8. lOb).
The intersection of this second lin e (dotted) with the laboratory curve defines the 90%
consolidation point. The value orYt oo can be read off the plot:
(R.20)
!Time
I u
\
'/ ".
"':,. go " I
\~
~ >c Y ~\~
""
(a) (b)
Generally. Taylor's method gives larger values than Casagrande's method. Nevertheless, both
laboratory values are often significantly less than the Cv values that are backcalculated in th e
field. In other words, consolidation in the field takes place at a faster rate, and the laboratory
methods underestimate the coefficient of consolidation. ShukJa ct al. (2008) reviewed the differ
ent methods reported in the literature for determining the coefficient of consolidation.
C =_~e (8. 2 1)
(I ~logt
C", can be determined from the tail end of the dial gauge reading versus the log time plot (Figure
8.11 ), which is used for determining Cv by Casagrande's method. Mesri and Godlewski (1977)
Time (log)
",,
Consolfdation ~
,
:. Secondary compression
observed that CjCcvaries within the narrow range ofO.02S 0.lO for all soils with an average value
of 0.05. The upper end of this range applies to organic clays, peat, and muskeg, and the lower end
applies to granular soils. The modified secondary compression index CaE is defined as:
C~.
=~ (8.22)
. 1+e p
where ep is the void ratio at the end of primary consolidation . For normally consolidated clays,
Ca~ lies in the range ofO.00S0.02. For highly plastic clays or organiC days, C"'~ can be 0.03 or
higher. For overconsolidated clays with OCR :> 2, Ca~ is less than 0.001 (Lambe and Whitman
1979).
Between times tp and t (> tp), the reduction in the void ratio ae and the secondary compres
sion settlement 5, are related by (see Equation 8.1):
s.
LIe = '(I +e ) (8.23)
H P
p
whe re Hp and ep are the layer thickness and void ratio respectively at the end of primary consoli 
dation (see Figure 8.11). From Equations 8.2 1 and 8.23, the secondary compression settlement
5, at time t (> tp ) can be expressed as:
Hp t
ss = Co. log  (8.24)
1 + ep tp
In practice, it is qu ite difficult to arrive at a realistic estimate of Hp and ep' On the othe r hand,
No and eo, the values at the beginning of consolidation, are readily available, and therefore,
H,J (l + ep) in Equation 8.24 can be replaced by Hi (1 + eQ ) .
Example 8.4: A 20 mmthick clay sample at a. void ratio of 1.71 is subjected to a consolidation
test in an ocdomcter where the dial gauge reading is initially set to 0.0 mm. The vertical pres
sure on the sample was increased from 0 to 272.6 kPa in a few increments, each being applied
for 24 hours. During the next increment when 0,' was increased from 272.6 kPa to 543 kPa,
the timedial gauge readings were:
Continues
Consolidation 161
a. Determine the coefficient of consolidation during this pressure increment using Casa
grande's log time and Taylor's square root of t ime methods
b. Determine the coefficient of volume compressibility during this increment
c. Determine the coefficient of secondary compression during this increment
d. Estimate the permeability during this increment
Solution: a. Casagrande's graphical construction for determining do, dlOO' and tso is shown in the fig
ure on page 162 where do = 3.63 mm:
d 100 = 5.05 mm ~ d5(l = 4.34\ mm ~ tso = 33 m inutes
The average thickness of the sample during consolidation (i.e., at 15(1):
= 20  4.34 = 15.66 mm
Continues
162 Geotechnical Engineering
"
I
Bcingdoubly drained, H d , = 15.66/2 = 7.83 mm:
et""
T5(j= O. 1 97=~~
H d,
0.197X7.83 2 2
:. '~ = = 0.37 mm hum
33
Taylor's graphical construction to determine t90 is shown in the figure on page 163, from which
Vt90 = 11.95 mino,s. Hence, t9() = 143 minut es:
do = 3.60 mm, d9fj = 4.86 mm
5
:. dso = 3.60+(4.86 ' 3.60)x  = 4.30 mm
9
.'. Average thickness of the sample during consolidation =
20  4.30 ~= 15.70 mm
:. H d , = 15.70{2 = 7.85 mm
cI
7: = 0.848 =~ ~
" H'
2
036 mm ' Imm
0.848 X7.85 '=.
"
c =
" 143
VTIme (minOO)
o 10 20 30 40 50
3.5
!,,
E
g
4.0 \ ,,
,,
,,
.~
u
~
45
5.0
\'\;
'. , ,,
,
,,
5.5
h.
6u' = 543.0  272.6 = 270.4 kPa
ilH = d uJO  c4 = 1.42 mm
Ho = 16.41 mm
:.m =   :=
~o 1.42
~ 6 u' 16Al x 270A
= 0.32 X '10 J kPa 1 = 0.32 MPa  1
c. Let's consider the two points A and B on the tail of the Casagrande plot, and find the void
ratios at these points. From the very beginning of the consolidation test to A:
Hi) = 20.0 mm,eo = 1.7 1, 6H = 5.15 mm
:.de" =5.15
 x ( 1+1.71 ) =0.698
20.0
From the very beginning of the consolidation I.est to B:
Ho = 20.0 nun. to = 1.71,6H = 5.33 mm
5.33
6e B =x(l+1.7 1)=0.722
20.0
:. eA = 1.710  0.698 = 1.01 2; e,l = 1.710  0.722 = 0.988
:. Change in void ratio between A and B = 0.024. tA = 680 min, 18 = 6000 min:
Continues
164 Geotechnical Engineering
0.024
:. C. = =0.025
log 6000  log 680
WORKED EXAMPLES
l. The void ratio and effective vertical stress da ta from a consolidat ion test are summarized:
a: (kPa) e
1.4 2. 14
6 2.08
\3 2.03
26 1.95
38 1.88
58 1.8 1
86 1.70
\30 1.55
194 lAS
11 0 1.47
26 1.53
52 1.52
104 1.49
208 1.43
416 \.22
The sample was taken from a depth of 2.6 III below the grou nd level in a soft day deposit
where the water table coinc ides with the grou nd level. The initial void ratio was 2.20 and
G, ~ 2.70.
a. Draw the laboratory e versus log a/ plot and determi ne the preconsolidation using
Casagrande's procedure. Is the day normally consol idated?
b. Carr y oul Schme rtmann's procedure and determine the in situ virgin consolidation
line.
c. Determ ine the compression index and recompression index.
Solution:
I .
c III; r~ '1 .~
",
16
.~
'i:
 :j+1I+1t 1 ttl
>
Jh
1.4
I ;....

'
+,
__ L \
r rI I
I
, 1!+ . hi ill
1.2
i
1.
0.42e.   F ::: 
0 .'
10 0 ;" Op' 100 1000
Vertical eHective stress (kPa)
2. The soil profile at a :i ite consists of a 3 mth ick sand layer b m= 16.5 kN/m l, 1'..1 = 18.5
kN/mJ) underlai n bya6 mthick day layer (w = 27%. G. = 2.70, /"ri p  0.31 MPa  \ c. =
2
2.6 m /year). wh ich is underlain by a gravel laye r as shown in the foll owing figure. A 3 m
compacted fill with a unit weight of20 kN/mJ is requ ired to be placed at the ground level.
a. What would be the fin al consolidation sett lement?
b. How long will it take for 50 mm of consolidation sett le mc n t~
c. \"'hat would be the consolidation settlement in one year?
Consolidation 167
Gl
. ,~
6m Clay
d. What would be the values of a,., cr',? and u at a 2 m depth within the clay after one
year?
e. Plot the variation of pore water pressure and effective stress with depth after one
year.
Solution:
a. From Equation 8.3:
b. s(t) ~ 50 mm >
50
U~,"g =   = 0.4 48, H dr =3.0 m
11 1.6
T
__ c/ _,, 1 __ 0.15xJl years = 6.23 m o n th s
H 2dr 2.6
c. t = 1 year ?
~: .a r.d u(kPa)
o 20 60 80 100 '20
'" '50
o
~r~~
, .
, . ,. ." /\
.
,
,
,, \. ...
..
II
t= 1 vea \ .
2
,
,
, \ . \
\ ~\ '\
1, ,
3
,
~ ,
0 1= 0, oIJ,
4
, ,
~ \
,
,\ ,
,,
,
. ,\.0
,
5
,
6
I ~ ~. ~f\ ,
,
Consolidation 169
Note that the pore water pressure variation is the same at t = 0 (before loading) and at 00
(end of consolidation). See how the effective' stress variation plot changes du ring consoli
dation.
3. A clay layer consolidates after 6 years when its thickness is 5.70 m and the void ratio is
1.08. Assuming C" = 0.04, estimate the seco ndary compression settlement in the next 15
years.
Solution: Using Equation 8.24:
5.70 21
5, = 0.04 x x]og m =59 mm
1+1.08 6
4. A 3 mthick sand layer is underlain by a thic:kclay layer. The water table lies I m below
the ground level. Bulk and saturated unit weights of sand are 16 kN/m 3 and 20 kN/m 3 re
spectively. Two undisturbed clay samples weTe taken from depths of 5 m and 11 m below
the ground level. The water contents of both samples were 35% and the specific gravity of
the soil grains is 2.75. The virgin consolidation line for the clay as determined from previ
ous tests is shown. Calculate the in situ values of the void ratio and the effective vertical
stress, and mark the locations of the two samples. Is lhe clay normally consolidated or
overconsolidated at the two depths? Assum ing the recompression index is about 1/ 10 of
the compress ion index, estimate the overconsolidation rat ios.
1.75 ,
1.5
~ I
I
! I
, ,,
,
,
i i ~, ,I
:i
~
I
1.25 f
I I ,
,
i I, ~ I
i ,i : i
~~
~,
[ I' _ I
 , I ; I
Ol/h% : , I ;
.0
g 0.75 ,
I I
,
. I! , i ' I,
0.5
, I
,
I
, I
~I
'
, , I !
,
0.25
, ,
, ,
,
, ~
, I I
, i , ,
I!
0 
" ."
Effe<:tive vertical stress {kPal
"00
170 Geotechnical Engineering
The slope ofVCL is 0.70, which is the compression index C,. Therefore, C, "'" 0.07
At 5 m depth below GL:
120
.". OCR at 5 m depth below the ground level =  = 2.2
54
1.75 T~
'
I  ',' ;, " ~
. '; '    " '1' 1 " , 'ITTl
I!
1
: ............. " I : I! 1 I
'.5 +....::"",~t,"",.";oT,, : i :!' I' " ! I, : !
1.25 I ~CO~/tOr.,' ,J , '
Ii, ~~ ; I ~ i !j ~ J
~ I: I :~ I "7  , j~ i ! ! I' i !! ,i
:2 I! +'+,
I I ' , I"' ~ i Iii j
~ 0.75 ++ .t'+l"""~
C+++';'I+H
I
, ,', I ' I
, ' I ., ,I
i i i I I' I I
05 +__L.._"__L_r,'+ ' ,~, ~
1 _ _'_' , , '
I I P I
+~',_c.~.+_~'',_+_r~
,
0 .25 1 "" sample from 5m depth ' : I !
2 I ;
= sample from 11m depth I i
O +~~~~~
'0 100 1000
EHective vertical stress (kPa)
Consolidation 171
c = L>.e 0.0956 = 0 3
400 . 2
( .6.log(1~
log 
200
L>.H / H
IU " = _,0".9 .:.5_ = 0.257 x 103 kPa  l = 0.257 M Pa  l
L>.o' 18.5 1 x 200
(8.6)
de 0.096
~H =  H o =     x 17.56 = 0.954 mm
l +eo 1+0]67
New thickness = 17.56  0.954 := 16.61 mm
~H computed by the two methods (1.805 rnm and 0.954 mm) are quite diffcrent.TIlc
problem is from my, which is stressdependent. The value computed fo r 200 400 kPa
range will not be the same for 400800 kPa. range as we have assumed. Therefore, the C,
method is more reliable unless we have the right values fo r m ,.
6. Two und isturbed clay samples were taken from the middle of the overconsolidated and
normally consolidated clay layers in the soil profile shown. The water table is at the top of
the overconsolidated clay layer. Consolidation tests were carried ou t on the two samples
and the results are summarized.
2.0 m OC cl~l y
NCcla,y
Assume that the bulk and saturated unit weights of the san d are 16.0 and 19.0 kN/m 3
respectively. Specific gravity of the clay soil g rains is 2.70. A 2 m h igh compacted fill with
a unit weight of 20 kN/m 3 is placed at the ground level.
a. What would be the fi nal consolidat ion settlement?
b. What would be the consolidation seu lemenl after one month ?
c. What wou ld be the pore water pressures and effective stresses at the middle of the
layers after one month?
d. Plot th e variation of consoli dation settlement with time and find the time taken for
200 mm of consolidation settl ement.
Solution :
a. For OC clay:
e == 0.20 X 2.70 = 0.540 ? 1' ..1 = 20.6 kN/m 3
For NC clay:
e = 0.29 X 2.70 = 0.783 ? I'S>I = 19.2 kN/mJ
For DC clay:
u'~ ~ I X 16.0 + 1.0(20.6  9.81)
= 26.8 kPa at the m id layer
For NC clay:
u'~ ~ 1 X 16.0 + 2.0(20.6  9.81) + 1.5(19.0  9.81) + 1.5(1 9.2  9.81)
= 65.5 kPa at the midlayer
The increase in vertical normal stress, .6.a' = 2 X 20 = 40 kPa, is the same at all
depths.
At middepth of DC clay:
a'\() = 26.8 kPa, d a' = 40 kPa ? a '\{1 + da' ( = 66.8 kPa) > a 'p (= 50 kPa)
a' a' + .:la' 50 66.8
.". de = C, logf + C, log "0 , 0 . 06 log + 0.55 log =0.08 55
a vo Gp 26.8 50
114 Geotechnical Engineering
OC: T= '=
c ,t
H2
~I3x 
12
12
= 1.0 ~?U",,,,= 94 %?se ttlement = 0.94
~
X I I I = 104.3mm
d,
2sJ I I
NC: 'J'=.....:L=~=O.023
2
? V " ,s = 17% ~ settlement = 0.1 7 X 209 = 35.5 mm
H 2d, 3
350
300
E
~ 250 /'
E
E
200
I
ic
150
~
"
lic
0
100
0
50
0
0 50 100 150
Time (months)
Note that the upper layer co nsolidates Significantly faster fo r two reasons: (a) it is
over consolidated and (b) it is doubly d rained.
REVIEW EXERCISES
1. Compression index Co is often related to th e natura l water content, liquid limit , and
initial void ratio of the clay. List some empirical correlations relating Cc with any of the
above.
176 Geotechnical Engineering
.... 2. List all assumptions in Terzaghi's onedimensional consolidation theory and show that:
. 'q"T
au = ca'u
 
i!t az'
where u is the excess pore water pressure. List the boundary conditions of the above gov
erning differential equation fo r a doubly drai ned clay layer of th ickness H.
4. A 3 m saturated clay laye r is covered by 1 m thick sand and is underlain by sand as well.
The water table is 0.5 m below the grou nd level, and for vertical stress computations, all
layers may be ass umed to have unit weights of 18 kN/m J An oedometer test was performed
on an undisturbed clay sample obtained from a depth 1.9 m below the grou nd level. The
initial water conten t of the clay was 35.7% and the specific gravity of the soil grains was
2.65. The sample thicknesses after 24 hours at each load increment in the consolidation test
are su mmarized:
a: (kPa) 50 100 200 400 so
H(mm) 19.05 18.44 18.03 17.63 17.21 17.33
a. Pl ot e and moagainst av ' (log).
b. Calculate both the compressio n in dex and the recompression index of the clay.
e. Is the clay normall y consolidated or overconsolidated at th e depth where the
sample was taken from? Why?
Answer: 0.14, 0.06; Normally consolidated.
5. The soil profil e at a site consists of 3 m oJ sand (y", = 17.5 kN/ ml, 'Y, = 18.9 kN/m l )
underlain by 6 m of clay (w = 27%, G, = 2.70, tn v = 0.32 MPa  J, Cv = 4.9 mm 2/ min),
which is undertai n by bed rock. The water table lies 1 m below the ground level. A 3 Ill high
compacted fi ll (y", = 20 kN/ m3 ) is placed o n the ground in an attempt to raise the ground
level.
a. What would be the final consolidat ion settlement of the day layer?
b. How long will it take for a 50 mm co nsolid ation settlement to occur?
c. What would be the consolidation settlement in one year?
AI/swer: J J 5 mm, 2.23 y ears, 35 mm
Consolidation 1 77
6. A saturated clay sample in an oedometer is under vertica l pressure of 120 kPa and is at a
normally consolidated state. The void ratio and the sample height at this stage are 1.21 and
18.40 mm respectively. When the vertical stress was increased to 240 kPa at the end of the
consolidation, the thickness of the sample was reduced to 16.80 mm. When the vertical
pressure was reduced to the original value of 120 kPa, the sample heaved to a thickness of
16.95 mm. Estimate both the compression index and recompression index of the clay.
What would be the reduction in thickness from now if the vertical pressure was increased
by 200 kPa? What is the average coefficient volume compressibility during this pressure
increment?
Answer: 0.64, 0.06, 0.82 mm, 0.24 MPa J
7. The top 10 m at a site consists of sandy silt (')'... = 17 kN/mJ and 'Y"" = 19 kN/m 3) . The water
table lies at I m below the ground level. The sandy silt layer is underlain by a 2 mthick clay
layer ('1 .., = 19.5 kN/m 3, m~ = 1.2 MPa I ), which is underlain by sand. Ifthe water table is
lowered by 3 tn, what would be the consolidation settlement?
Answer: 56 mm
8. The soil profile at a site consists of a top 4 m layer of dense sand followed by 2 m of clay, which
is underlain by a stiff stratum. The water tab le is at 2 m below the ground level. The follow
ing data was obtained from a consolidation test on an undisturbed sample obtained from
the middle of the clay layer: water content = 36%, specific gravity of the clay grains = 2.72,
compression index = 0.72, recompression index = 0.07, preconsolidation pressure = 85 kPa.
The bulk and saturated unit weights of the s.and are 17 kN/m 3 and 18.5 kN /m 1 respectively.
The ground level was raised by placing 2 m of compacted fill with a unit weight 0(20 kN/mJ.
Estimate the final consolidation settlement.
It is proposed to construct a warehouse covering a large area on top of the raised ground,
which is expected to impose a pressure of25 kPa. What would be the additional consolida
tioH settlement?
Answer: 62 mrn, 71 mm
9. A large area of soft clay along the coast is to be reclaimed for a new tourist development.
The site investigation shows that the soil profile consists of:
a. 01 m depth: Loose silly sand ('1..,1 = 18 kN/rn 3)
b. 1 6 m depth: Soft clay
c. 6 10 m depth: Very stiff low permeability clay
178 Geotechnical Engineering
The current average water level is I m above the silty sand (i.e., the area is tidal and hence
submerged, except whe n at low tide). An oedometer test was carried out on an undisturbed
clay sample obtained from the middle of the clay layer, and the results are:
Initial (in situ) water content 56%
Specific gravity of the soil grains 2.71
Compression index 0.50
Recompression index 0.06
Preconsolidation pressure SO kPa
a. Is the clay normally consolidated or overconsolidated?
b. Tf the site is fi lled to a 3 m depth with a sandy soil (Ym = 18.0 kN/m 3 and ')'sat = 20.0
kN/m 3 ), estimate the fina l consolidation settlement of the day.
c. Once the consolidation due to the above fi ll is completed, a warehouse will be con
structed on lOp of the fi ll, imposing a u.niform surcharge of 30 kPa over a large area
(i.e., onedimensional consolidation). What would be the addit ional consolidation
settlement due to this wareho use?
Answer: Overconsolidatetl, 188 111m, 152 111m
10. The soil profile at a site consists of 2 m of sand underlain by 6 m of clay, which is underlain
by very stiff clay that can be assumed to be impervious and incompressible. The wate r table
lies 1.5 m below the ground level. The soil properties are as follows:
Sand: I'..t = 18.5 kN/m J , I'm = 17.0 kN/m 3
Clay: eo = 0.8 10, I'",t = 19.0 kN/m 3, c. = 4.5 m 2/year
When the groun d is surcharged with 3 mhigh compacted fill with a bulk unit weight of 19
k N/m 3, the seuiement was 160 mm in the first year.
a. W hat would be the settlement in two years?
b. After one year since th e fill was placed, what would be the pore water pressure and
the effective stress at the middle of the day layer?
c. If the clay is normall y consolidated, estimate the compression index and the coef
ficien t of volu me compressibility.
1
Answer: 230 mm; 73 kPa and 76 kPa; 0.42 and 1.20 MPa 
11. Two clay layers are separated by a J mthick sand layer as shown. The water table lies
1 m above the ground in this lowlying area. The soil characteristics are summarized in the
table on next page.
Consolidation 179
1m
"
1m
Stiff c1 y (1mpervlous)
A 2.5 III fil l (I'm = 18 kN/m 3, I'm = 20 k N/m l ) was placed on the ground to raise the ground
level.
a. Taking into consideration the settlements in both layers, find the final consolida 
tion settlement.
b. How long will it take for 160 mm ?
c. Using a spreadshee L, plot the vari ation of a v ' and u with depth for the top 8 m of the
soil at:
t ~ 0 (just before th e fill was placed)
t = 0 '" (just after the fill was placed)
. t=lyear
t = oc
Answer: 250 mm, 1 year
180 Geotechnical Engineering
Quiz 4 . Consolidation
Duratio n; 20 minutes
I. A 20 mill thick sample in a singly dra in(~ d laboratory consolidat ion test reaches 75%
consoli dat ion in 5 hours. How long will it take to reach 75% consolidation for a 5
mthick clay sandwiched between two sand layers in the field?
(4 points)
2. A clay layer has consol idated in 5 years. The secondary compression in the next 7
years is 40 mm. How much additional secon dary compression settlement would you
expect within the next IO years?
(4 poi nts)
WV ~
This book hn rr&e material available 101' download lrom the
Web Added Value TN resoorce center at www.jrosspub.com
Shear Strength 9
9.1 INTRODUCTION
In engineering applications, when working with steel, conc rete, or timber, it is necessary to
ensure that th ey do not fail in tension, compress ion, or shear. Here, we design them such that
their tensile strength is greater than the tensile stresses within the material, that the compressive
strength is greater than the compressive st resses within the material, and that the shear strength
is greater than the shear stresses within the material. In soils, failure almost always occurs in
shear.
Soil consists of an assemb lage of grains. Failure takes place when the shear stresses exceed
the shear strength along the failure surface within the soil mass. Along the fa ilure surface
when the shear strength is exceeded, the soil grains slide over each other and fai lure takes
place. There will rarely be a failure of individu al soil grains. Shear failure occurs well before
the crushing or breaking of individual grains. Figure 9.1 shows the failure of an embankm ent.
Shear stress is denoted by 7, an d shear strength (or shear stress at failure) is de not ed by 'Tf The
soil wedge shown by the darke r zone will be sta ble and will remain in equi lib rium on ly if 7 <
7/. When T becomes equal to Tf>fail ure takes place where the so il wedge slides down along the
failure surface. Such shear fai lure can occur within the backfill s behind retaining walls or in
the so il mass underlying a foundation .
181
182 Geotechnical Engineering
Failure surface
The milliondollar question is, what would be the normal 0 ", and shear T ,'Y stresses on a plane
at A inclined at 0 to vertical (see Figure 9.2aH In other words, if the coord inate axes are rotated
counterclockwise by an angle 0, what would be the new normal and shear stresses with respect to
x' and y' directions? These values would also rep:resent the normal and shear stresses on two dif
ferent orthogonal planes at A. Remember, we arc stit! referring to the same point A.
"" '1'_.
'. " '
y
v ~t" x'
o~1...
.. )(
la) (0)
Figure 9.2 Stress transformation and Mohr circle lor state of stress at point A:
(a) stresses at the point and (b) Mohr circle
Shear Streng th 183
(1,,'
(a+a )+(a a)
= 11 2 1 ;x; 2 y cos 20  T xy sin 20 (9. I)
(a.a,).
Tx'1' = 2 sm 20 +T xy cos 20 (9. 2)
From Equations 9.1 and 9.2, it can be shown that the major and minor principal stresses at A are:
a. +a, )
a 1.3 =(  2 R (9.3)
where
~
R=
a. a, ), +T 1
 (9.4)
2 .,
Here, U l and OJ are the major (larger) and minor (smaller) principal stresses, respectively. They
are the maxim um and m inimum possible values for the normal stress at point A. Remember
that pri ncipal stress occurs on a plane having no shear stress. The planes on which the principal
stresses occur are known as principal planes. The two pri ncipal planes are perpendic ular to each
other. Us ing Equations 9.1 a nd 9.2. the normal u" and shear Txt stresses with respect to the new
coordinate axes Ox' and Oy' can be determined fo r any value 0 (0. These arc simply the stresses
acting on a plane through point A, inclined at ao angle 0[0 to vertical.
From Equations 9.1 and 9.2:
[((1" , 
u+o
Xl"
2 )]' ( )'
U(/
2 '
2 22
cos 20+T xy sin 202T JI)' (
aa
"
2 ' )sin 20 cos 20 (9.5)
(9.6)
(9.7)
The above is an equation of a c ircle in a/ = T~ space where R, a;r' ur> and Txy are known con 
stants. The ci rcle has a rad ius of R and the coordi.nates of the center are (ax + oy)/2 and O. Such
a circle drawn on (J T spacc (see Figure 9.2b), is called a Mohr circle. It is a conven ien t, graph ical
way of determining the no rmal and shear stresses at any plane passing through point A.
184 Geotechnical Engineering
'. ~
, ....\\
YL
20
,,
,,
,
o
~J
x
~( '
(.) (b)
Figure 9.3 Rotation of a plane at a point: (a) point (b) Mohr circle
It can be seen from the Mohr circle in Figure 9.2h that the maxim um shear stress at A is the
same as the radius of the Mohr ci rcle R. Equation 9.3, wh ich gives the principa l stress values, is
even clearer from looking at the figure.
lbe state of stress at eve ry point (e.g. poin t A in Figure 9.2a) within the soil mass can be
represented by a unique Mohr circle. Figure 9.3a shows a point for which the state of stress is rep
resented by a Mohr circle shown in Figure 9.3b. The normal (J" and shea r T a stress on planea are
shown by pointa on the Mohr circle. What wou ld be the values of (Jb and Tb on pJaneb inclined
at an angle of 8 counterclockwise to planea? Th<:y can be obtained by going counterclockwise by
28 from pointa on the Mohr circle, as shown in Figure 9.3b. Th is is a key feature of a Mohr circle.
Example 9.1 : Draw a Mohr circle for the state of stress at a point shown in the illustration and
fi nd the principal Slresses and the maximum shear stress at the point. What would be the in 
clinations of these planes?
35kPa
_ 1 40 kPa
95kPa
+
'L {1
o x
Continues
Shear Strength 185
Example 9 . 1: Continued
What would be the normal and shear stresses on a plane incli ned at 30 to vertical, counter
0
clockwise?
Solu tion:
,.="",....,40 kPa
+ ..... 95kPa
60
r(kPa)
YL
o K E
p~
60
Continues
186 Geotechnical Engineering
(9.8)
A plot of Equation 9.8 on T  (J plane gives the fa ilure envelope shown in Figure 9.4a. TIle failure
envelo pe suggested by Mohr is not necessarily a straight line. We have seen that for eve ry point
She"
strength at
c
.;
" " 10)
Figure 9.4 Failure criterion: (a) Mohr's (b) Coulomb's
Sheor Strength 187
with in the soil mass, the state of st ress is represented by a unique Mohr circle. Therefore, the soil
mass remains stable if all the Mo hr ci rcles are contai ned wit hin the envelope. TIl e two circles in
Figure 9.4a represent the stat es of stress at two different points withi n the soil: A and B. Circle
A touches the failure envelope where T = '1f : hence shear fa ilure takes place at poi nt A. Circle B
is well within the envelope ('1 < Tf ); therefore , point B is stable. You may note that we arc only
showing the upper half of the Mohr circle due to symmetry abou t the horizontal ax is. This will
be the case in fu ture discussions as welL
Coulomb (1776) suggested that Tj is proportional to af ' and related them by:
Tf =c+ o tan (99)
where c and q, are the shearstrength paramete rs, known as the cohesion and friction angle
respectively. Large paramet ers equate to more strength. Tan is si m ilar to the friction coef
fic ient p. that you Ill ay have encoun tered in physics. The fri ct ion angle is also known as the
angle of inten/al friction or the angle of shearing resistance. For now, cohesion can be seen as the
stickiness of the soil
TIH.> MohrCoulomb fai lure criterion is the same as Equation 9.9; we replace the slightly
cu rved Mohr's fa ilure envelope (Figure 9.4a) wit h Coulomb's stra ight line (Figure 9.4b), which
is a reasonable approxi mat ion, particularly whe n the normal stresses are not very high .
It can be seen in Figure 9.4b and Equation 9.9 that the soil derives its shear strength from two
separate components: cohesion and frict ion. The contribution from cohesion is c, which remains
the same at all stress levels. The frictional contribution OJ tanq" however. increases with the in
creasing value of Of In granular soils, is slightly larger for angular grains than it is for rounded
grains due to better interlocking between grains. In granular soils, it can vary in the range of
28_45; the lower end or the range for loose soils an d the upper end for dense soils. Relative den
sity Dr is directly related to the friclion angle with a higher Dr' implying a higher cf>. Understand 
ably, gran ular soils have no cohesion (i.e., c = 0) and consequently, the failure envelope will pass
through the origin in T  O plane. You can feel the grittiness in a granular soil, but it is never sticky.
The sticki ness comes only when the soil is cohesive, as is the case with days. Typical values of co
hesion can range from 0 to more than 100 kPa, depending on whether we are talking in terms of
total st resses or effective stresses. which we will discuss Inter.
.
0...0 . . 0.
t '.
'.
t,
., .,
Failure plane
~
or,
. ~~~~~~~~.
S T '=
III .1. . 4,
"'O
4"
Figure 9.5 A common loading situation: (a) state of stress (b) Mohr circle representation
(el failure plane
above values, where the diameter of the Mohr ci rcle is .10 (also the principal stress difference at
that instant). When.1o increases, the Mohr circle becomes larger, and this conti nues until the
Moh r ci rcle touches the fail ure envelope (at P) and failure takes pl ace. Let's ignore the smaUer
Mohr circles and take a closer look at the failure circle.
The minor principal stress 0 , remai ns constant throughout the load ing and is represented
by a fixed point R. Th e radius of the Mohr circle al failure is D.u/ 2. T is th e center of this circle,
which touches th e envelo pe at P. Therefore, TP is perpendicular to the fai lu re envelope. PS is
perpendicular to the u3xis. Therefore, L TPS == 4>. Noting that the major and minor principal
plan es are horizontal and vertical respectively (see Figure 9.5b), it can be deduced that the fail 
lire plane, represented by pOint P on the Mohr circle, is inclined at 45 + 4>/2 to horizontal or
45  4>/2 to vertical (Figure 9.5c). OS and SP give the values of normal of and shear Tf stresses
on the failure plane. They are:
(9.10)
(9. 11 )
(9. 12)
Shear Strength 189
Example 9 .2 : A granular soil specimen is initially under an isotropic stress state where the all
around confining pressure is 50 kPa. The specimen is subjected to additional vertical stress that
is gradually increased from zero. The specimen failed when the additional vertical stress was
96 kPa. What is the friction angle of the soil?
Another specimen of the same granular soil at an isotropic confining pressure of 80 kPa is
subjected to similar load ing. Find the following:
a. The additional vertical stress required to fa il the sample
b. Major and minor principal stresses at failure
c. Orientation of the failure plane
d. Normal and shear stresses on the fail ure plane
e. Maximum shear stress within the sample and orientation of this
Solution: At failure,U l = 50 kPa and U l = 50 + 96 = 146 kPa. The Mohr circle (dashed) is shown
with center at rand radius (6u/2) of 48 kPa. In granular soils, c = O. Therefore, the failure enve
lope passes through the origin. The envelope is tangent to the Mohr circle at P.
.. L OPT ""' 90<'
"T(kPa)
o
..
.,
50
,:'
"
,. 1 ..
48 T
.. 1 I fI (kPa)
I .'I_~ao",_~.~l+ /lfl,12 ..
(" fb1
For the second specimen, we can use the friction angle calculated here.
Now, (J3f == 80 kPa and olf == 80 + flup where 60J is unknown. The subscript f denotes failure.
60, n
a. sin =0.490 = ;:::~;:c~ lJ.(1J = 153.8 kPa
80+ 6 0, 12
Continues
190 Geotechnical Eng ineering
(9.13)
and
(9.14)
The pore water pressure is hydrostatic and is equal in all directions. The total stresses, effec 
tive stresses, and the pore water pressure at X are shown in Figure 9.6a. The Mohr circles in
terms of total and effective stresses are shown in Figure 9.6b. From Equations 9.13 and 9.1 4,
0" ]  er} =(1;  (1; , hence bo th Mohr circles have the same diameter. They are separated by a
horizontal distance of u. When the pore water pressure is negative, the effective stresses are
larger than the total stresses, and the Mohr cirde in terms of effective stress will be the furthest
to the right.
In Section 9.4 and Example 9.2, we saw how the Mohr circle expands from a point until it
touches th e failure envelope when the fa ilure occurs. Larger initial confin ing pressures corre
spond to larger values of Aerj al fa ilure. Let's see how we can determine th e fa ilure envelope and
find the cohesion and fricti on angle in terms of total and effective stresses.
Let's take three representative soi l samples A, B, and C, and subject them to d ifferent CO Il 
fin ing pressures. Maintaining the confi ning pressure, we will apply additional vertical stress Aa
and increase this from zero until the sample fails at !:la" when we will measure th e pore water
pressure Uf OThe principal st resses at fa ilure in term s of total and effe ctive stresses call be com
puted for each sample as follows:
CJ 3j =(1, (9.15)
". u
~ ~
' 0 ' + (1 +0+
",+ X
",
. u
t'. t t
u
",
Tota! Effecti .... e Pore water
stresses stresses pressure s
(n)
, ,' , ,'
" "
.. '
u
I' ', I
u
I+ I
(bl
Figure 9.6 Total and effective stresses; (a) state of stress (h) Mohr
circle representation
From the above values, separate Mohr circles and fai lure envelopes can be d rawn in terms of
lotal and effective slresses, as shown in Figure 9.7. The shear strength parameters can be deter
mined in le rm ~ uflolal (c, ) and effective (c', </>') stresses.
,
Effective stresses
~'
Totat stresses

 :;.:c'...'< '
c "" '" C
//
.".
'
. . ... "":_... " , ' '\
B '/ B \\,
T_,"'T .: \
ec+L_L'_LL1_''___"i_~i___ _'_______~\~
"
Figure 9.7 Mohr circles and failure envelopes in terms of u and u'
pressures existing initially. Let's look al two extreme situations: (a) immed iately after const ruc
tion, known as shortterm, (b) very long time after construction, known as longterm. It is nec 
essary to ensure that the soil mass remains stable at all times: shortterm, longterm and at any
time in between.
If the em bankment was built slowly such that there was no buildup of excess pore water
pressure and there was adequate time available for drainage, the loadi ng is known as drained
loading. This situation is far from realityengineers cannot wait that long. On the other hand,
if the entire embankment is placed instantaneollsly, there will be bui ld up of pore water pres
su re with hardly any time allowed for drainage in the shortterm. Such loading is known as
undrained loading. In reality, th e load ing rate fa ll s somewhere between the two situations, and is
neither fully drain ed nor fully undrained. Most of the time, the shortterm loading is assumed
to be instantaneous, hence undrained, especially in days. In granular soils, wh ich have high
permeability, even short ~ t erm loading is drained .
Irrespective of the loading rate, all the excess pore water pressure would have eventu<llly dis
sipated over time (I.e., longterm ) after the embankment had been placed. This situation can be
analyzed as drained loading. For all soils, drai ned loading can be assumed for longterm analysis.
Shear Strength 193
The total stress or shortterm analysis is generally carried out in terms of total stresses using
undrained shear strength parameters c~ and .,. Here, soil is treated as a continuum \vithout sep
arating it into soil skeleton and pore water. It is not necessary to know the pore water pressures.
The effective stress or longterm analysis is carried out in terms of effective stresses using the
drained shear strength parameters c' and q,'. 'Ole laboratory test procedu res for determining
the undrained and drained shear strength parameters are di scussed in the following sections .
Cring
Water under
cell pressure
Impervious
+
+
+
;;:; t:,.,=
+
+
+
J 0,
rubber
Cylindric._,.I . _+ I
Perspex II
Soil
membrane =:
+ Soit
spocimen
+
.:=
+ +
+ Porous stone
+
+
+
+
ttttt
Cell pressure pressure
or drainage tiitt
Fig ure 9.9 Triaxial l est setup
194 Geotechnical Engineering
Th e test consists of two stages: (a) application of isotropic confining pressure fIr and (b) ap
plication of the deviator stress fj.fI . Depending on whether the drainage is allowed or not duri ng
these two stages, we sim ulate different loading scenarios. While applying the confi ning pres
sure, if drainage is allowed, the soil specimen consolidates. When the d rainage valve is closed,
thus not allowing any drainage, the specimen cannot consolidate irrespective of the magnitude
of the confining pressure. Here, the confining pressure is carried solely by the pore water. Wh ile
applyi ng the deviator stress, allowing drainage simulates drained loading, and not all owing any
drainage simulates undrained loading. Th is gives three possible combinations that are com 
monly used. They are:
a. Co nsolidated drained (CD) triaxial test (ASTM D4767)
b. Consolidated undrained (CU) triaxial t est (ASTM D4767; AS 1289.6.4.2)
c. Unconsol idated undrained (U U) triaxial test (ASTM 02850; AS1289.6.4. 1)
You may ask, Why not include the unconsolidated drained triaxial test too? It just has no practical
relevance.

 Total stresses
1 (kPa)   Effective stresses
~u = o
',P'
" , :: ~.,=:~:  : ;::,~...:..~.:.,...:::"~ ::...  
1
~ ~ ~...
.~ Y.'
,\ I
'... ... ,
...,
c , .. , .\ . . . . .
,, ,' "\ , ,,
I I \ , ...
U
'
,
C' L~C______"'______"__"'____'C~'
, ________~'C~~~'
"
O,u ' (kPa)
is horizontal for a saturated soil, implying that " = o. Cu is known as undrained shear strength
of the clay.
During undrained loading, the volume of the soi l sample remai ns constant. Therefore.
when the sample is compressed, the length decreases and the crosssectional area increases.
In computing the additional vertical stresses. the corrected area should be used. If An = initial
crosssectional area of the sample, and e = axial strain at present. the corrected area can be
computed as Au/O  1:).
Being relatively quick and inexpensive, UU triaxial tests are quite popular in geotechnical
engineering practice for deriving the undrained shear strength of the clay. However, the test
does not provide the shear strength parameters in terms of effective stresses c' and ', which
are required for carrying out an effective stress analysis.
Now that we have means of deriving c' , ', cu' and ", determining when to use which one
may be a bit confusing. Recall our discussion on drained and undrained loading in Section 9.6.
In cohesionless soils, always use ' and c' = 0, and carry out the analysis in terms of effective
stresses. For longterm analysis in days, assuming drained cond itions, use c' and ' to carry
out an effective stress analysiS. For shortterm analysis in saturated clays, assuming undrained
condit ions, use Cu and I< = 0 to carry out total stress analysis.
Example 9.3: The shear strength parameters in tcrms of effective stresses are: c' = 15 kPa and
' = 30. In an unconsolidated, undrained UU triaxial test on a sample of this day, the cell
pressure was 250 kPa and the deviator stress at failure was 136 kPa. What would have been the
pore water pressure at fa ilure?
Another specimen of the same day consolidatt:~d under a cell pressure of 120 kPa and backpressure
of 50 kPa was slowly loaded to failure under drained conditions. The backpressure was maintained
during the shearing as well. What would have bcen the additional vertical stress at failure?
Solution: Let's draw the envelope first with c' = 15 kPa and 1>' = 30
sin30= 68 7Uf=208kPa
26+(250u/ )+68
Continues
Shear Strength 197
1 (kPa)
120
80
,,'(kPa)
26 250  u,
(a)
1 (kPa)
120
A ~~7J~~~~~~~~L~7T~~=J~~ll~
o 40 80 120 160 200 240 280
2'"70 o'(kPa)
(b)
(9. 19)
Unconfined compression tests are sim pler and quicker to perform than are UU triaxial tests.
The only drawback is that they are less reliabk than the Cu derived from a UU test. A rough
estimate of the unconfined compressive strength can be obtained from a pocket penetrometer; a
simple handheld device thai is pushed into the day sample or walls of an excavation and read
off directly. The estimate costs literally nothing" but the values are very approximate. A hand 
held lorvane is a similar device that is pushed into the clay and twisted, thus applying a torque,
until the clay is sheared and the reading gives an estimate of q". Undrained shear st rength can
be obtained as 1/2 quo
Skempton (1957) suggested lhat for normally consolidated clays, the undrained shear
strength and the effective vertical overburden stress 0:.0 are related by:
,
iii i
(.) (b)
( ~ )oc = (~.)
(f vo (J v o NC
(OCR)" (9.21)
Mesri (1989) suggested thai fo r all days, cJ(J~ = 0.22 where (J~ is the preconsolidation pressure
(see Section 8.3 in Chapter 8). These empirical correlations are useful in estimating the undrained
shear strength of clays. On the basis of Cu o r qu' clays can be classified as shown in Figure 9.12.
V," Soft
Medium
Stiff Ve ry sHfI Hard
sol! or firm
Example 9.4: Two 50 mm diameter undisturbed samples A and B are taken from the clay at
the depths shown. It is expected that sample A is slightly overconsolidated and B is normally
consolidated. For the clay LL = 65 and PL = 1.7:
GL
2m
@
Tm Clayb... =19kN/m')
Dense sands
& DC clays
Loose sands
Upper box & NC clays
Soil
Shear load (5) Over
Dense sands
Lower Expansion & DC clays
box (fixed)
(a) (b)
Figure 9.13 Direct shear test: (a) schematic diagram (b) ro..,. Il,~, variations
loose sands and normally consolidated clays, the shear stress in c rea~es to a maximum value TJ at
large strain. While shearing, the sample contracts; hence the vertical displacement is downward.
In dense sands and overconsolidated clays, shea l~ stress increases to a maximum value Tf,p"ak and
decreases to a lower value Tj.rc<;Ju.l at larger strains. The maximum value of shear stress is known as
the peak shear strength, and the value at large strain is known as the residual shear strength. Here,
we can define the fail ure in terms of peak or residual values of shear stress. In loose sands and nor
mally consolidated clays, they are the same. The test can be repeated for three or more different
values of normal load N, and shear stresses at failure and the corresponding normal stresses can be
plotted on 7(J space where they lie on a straight line, which is the failure envelope. The cohesion
and friction angle can be determined from this eltlvelope.
As the loading prugresses ill dellse sallds or overcOllsolid ated days, the sample compresses
initially, but only up to the point where it cannot compress any further. Then the grains start
sliding over each other, enabling the sample to expand as seen in Figure 9. 13b. This is known as
dilation. Irrespective of the initial relative density, at very large strains, all samples would reach
the same void ratio, known as the critical void ratio, and the soil would be said to have reached
critical state. For all practical purposes, residual values can be taken as the cri tical state values.
In dense sands or overconsolidated days, '~.k i s greater than 4tt""'idu~l; the denser the sand, th e
larger the difference. At large strains, the cohesive bonds are destroyed and th e residual strength
is purely frictionaL Therefore, C',..,.iJual ,.,.. 0 in cohesive soils. Typical values of peak and residual
friction angle for granular soils are given in Table 9.1. ''''hich friction angles do we use in prac
tice peak or residual? It depends on the situation. In most geotechnical engineering problem s,
202 Geotechnical Engineering
Table 9.1 Friction angles of granular soils (after Lambe and Whitman 1979)
Friction angle, .:, (degrees)
Soil type Residual Peak
Mediumdense sill 2B30 2832
Dense silt 2B30 3034
Mediumdense. uniform fineIomedium sand 2630 3034
Dense. uniform finelomedium sand 2630 3236
Mediumdense. wellgraded sand 3034 3440
Dense. wellgraded sand 303' 3646
Mediumdense sand and gravel 3236 3642
Dense sand and gravel 3236 '048
strains are small and peak values are appropriate. In problems involvi ng large strains (e.g., land
slides). residual values may be more appropriate.
Clays have a fabric that comes from the particle orien tat ions and the bonds between them.
Two extreme situations are floccula ted and dispersed fabrics (see Section 3.3). Most of the time,
it is in between these two. When a cl ay is remolded (i.e., highly distu rbed), so me of the bonds
are broken and the fabri c is partly destroyed. Th is lead s to a reduct ion in strength and stiffness.
Sensitivity S, is defined as the ratio of the undisturbed to the remolded shear strength. At very
large strains, clay becomes remolded; therefore. the ratio of peak 10 residual shear strength is
apprOXimately equal to the sensitivity. Highly sensitive clays have flocculated fab ric. In highly
sensitive clays, se nsitiVity can be as high as 10 or even more, where the clay will lose it s st rength
al most co mpletely when remolded. Some clays w ill regain their strength afte r some lime since
remoldi ng.1lleY are known 10 be thixotropic. This is common in bentonite, which is commonly
used as dri ll ing fluid to support the boreholes.
t,
a<lJ~ I~ . <1<1J +
t !lU,
; ',
(a) Isotropic (a) Devialoric
Figure 9.14 Pore water pressure buildu p due to principal stress increments
fore, il ll = ilu l + il U2' Skempto n (1954) ex pressed the change in pore water pressu re due to
aV I and ao) as:
lI u = B(lIu, +A(lIu ,  Il.u, )] (9. 23)
where aU I = Bdll) and dU 2 = BA(dll l  do)) where BA is som eti mes denoted by A. Th e con
stants A and B arc known as Skempton's pore pressure parameters.
B is the ratio of the pore water pressure in crease to the increase in confining pressure in
u ndrained loading. In a fu lly saturated clay, B ~"" 1. Even with a slightly lower degree of satura
tion, B can be significantly less than I. A typical variation of B with the degree of saturation is
shown in Figu re 9.1 5a. Thi s Bparameter is often used in triaxial tests to determine if the sample
is fu lly satu rated. A value fo r B greater than 0.95 is often a good indication that the sample is
fu ll y saturated. If the soil skeleton is very stiff (e.g., very dense sand s or very stiff clays), B can
be significantly less than 1 even whe n fu lly sat urated.
In clays, A is a fu nction of the overconsolidation ratio OCR, stress path , anisotropy, strain
rate, etc. It varies during the loading. The value of A at failure is denoted by AI' the variation
of which with OCR is shown in Figure 9.ISb. For normally consolidated d ays, Af is generally
close to I, but can be as low as 0.5. For lightly overconsolidated clays, Af is in the range of 00.5.
Highl y overconsolidated cl ays dil ate under deviator loadin g where Af can be negative, implying
that negative pore water pressures develop. For vcry sensitive clays, Af can be greater than 1.
It should be noted that dO l and .6.0') are not necessarily the changes to 0'1 and 0'3 They are
the algebraically larger and smaller values, respectively, of th e two principal stress increments.
Compressive stress increments are positive.
204 Geotechnical Engineering
0.8
06
B
0.4
0.2
0
60 70 80 90 100
Degree of saturation (%)
(.)
08 =1
~+ +  \_____J
0.6 + 
0.4 I
~
A,
0.2 
1 I" ............ ,
0
0.2
0.4
t
i
2
'=~j
4 8 16 32
OCR
Ib)
" If +
(  2 "J! ) sinq,+ccosq,
p
,,
,
,,
,,
,
,,
, (a,,  <1l/ 1f2
,,
, ,,
,
A
ceo! <> 0" 0 a" <1
(a ,, + a3, )12
I I
Figure 9.16 Mohr circle at failure
I Sin4 ,( 4
. = tan 45  
( l+smcp 2
and
The above derivations, including Equations 9.24 and 9.25, are applicable in te rms of effective
stresses and total stresses.
Failure envel~
l'
.'::> Stress path
CCOS o
,
(c)
Figure 9.17 Stress path concept: (a) stress point (b) Mohr circles and stress path
(c) stress path and failure envelope in 5 t plane
Mohr ci rcle has coo rdinates of I";(lh) and (I";"hJ in 70 plane. We will call th em sand t re
spectively. defining s = {(Iv;"") and I = {(Iv;"") . We will reserve the notations p and q for three
d imensional representations. which are used in cri ticalstate soil mechanics but not discussed
here.
A stress path is the locus of the stress point as shown in Figures 9.17b and 9. 17c. Here, we
will just show the top of every Mohr circle and connect them as the loading progresses. Instead
of drawing the Mohrcircles o n 07 plane. we will draw stress paths on st plane. In 07 plane, the
fa ilure envelope is 7f = C + of tanrp. What would be the failure envelope in st plane?
Fro m the Mohr circle at fai lure, shown in Figure 9.16:
"'f+a'f
( 2 )sin + C cos4>
Therefore, the slope of the failure envelope in st plane is sin and the intercept on (axis is c
cosq,. When the st ress path meets the failure envelope on st plane, failure takes place.
As in the case of Mohr circles, stress paths can also be d rawn in terms of effective stresses
where s can be replaced wilh s' , where 5' = (0;;0;,) . There is no t', since t is the same as t' . Re
member, there is nothing called T' water cannot carry shear stress. Generally, total and effec
tive stress paths are plotted on the same graph \",here both 5 and 5' are shown on the horizontal
axis, preferably using the same scale for all 5, 5', and t.
Solution: a. The computed values during the undrained loading are summarized in the table.
b.
.,
slOlb = tana = 136 = 0.45 ~ Ib = 26. 11 ..,.0
303
c.
~
Rtinindet' .:. A circle represents the state of stress at a point. Due to sym
metry, we only show the up per half in geotech nical engineering .
:. Shear strength is derived from two separate components:jriction
and cohesion . The frictional contribution is proportional to the nor
mal stress, and cohesive contribution is a constant at all stress levels.
:. Clays are undrained shortterm and drained longterm. Granular
soils are drained both in th<~ shortterm and in the longterm. Use c'
and $ ' for drained analysis (in terms of effective stresses) and Cu and
$" for undrained analysis (in terms of total stresses) .
:. For normally consolidated days and granular soils, c' = o.
:. For clays, during undrained loading, " = O. The undrained shear
strength c" (= 112 q.,) can be obtained from a UU triaxial , uncon 
fined compression lest, or estimated by using a pocket penetrometer
or empirical correlations .
:. Failure can be defined in terms of peak or residual values. (P'p<.k >
'.."dUllI and e'.... ". O.
.... Skempton's pore pressure equation relates the changes in ai' a" and II,
under undrained conditions . irrespective of the initial state of stress.
:. c and in 70 plane are similar to e coS and tan i(sillrp) in st plane;
in 7 0 plane we draw Mohr circles, and in st plane we draw stress paths.
:. When plotting Mohr circles, use the same scales for both (0 and
7) axes; otherwise a circle would look like an ellipse. In st ress path
plots, the same scale for both axes is recommended.
:. Empirical correlations are useful for preli minary estimates. They are
very approximate .
:. Clays are classified as soft, medium, elc. based on q" (see Figure 9.12).
WORKED EXAMPLES
1. A sa turated d ay sam ple was consolidated in the triaxial cell under a cell pressure of 150
kPa without any backpressure. The drainage valve was then closed and the deviator stress
was gradually increased from zero to 200 kPa when failure occurred. If e' = 15 kPa and
(jJ' ::: 20, fin d the pore water pressure and Skempton's A parameter at fa ilu re.
Solution: This is a CU triax ial test. At failure, a'3j = a', ::: 150  IlJ and l1aj = 200 kPa
where uf is the pore water p ressure at failu re.
Shear Strength 211
~ ~ ~ 1 (kPa)
+ = 150  u,kPa
+t t .
(I ~
20
+ . ' 'O
+ . ,,
,,
+ . \ , 100
,,
,
++ + +. C
,, '(kPa)
c'co! ';" 17' ;150  u
I 1 ' , I
t t t
From the Moh r circle:
100
~W= ~~ = ~2~
15cot 20+150  uj + 100
During the entire shear:
.1(13 = 0,.1(11 = 200 kPa, .111 =  1.2 kPa
Substituting these in Equation 9.23, with B :: I:
1.2
Af = 200 ,, 0.006
2. A conventional, consolidated drained triaxial test was carried out on a normally consoli
dated day sample. The consolidation pressure' was 150 kPa and the deviator stress at failure
was 320 kPa. Find the effective fric tion angle.
An identical specimen of the same clay was (:onsolidated to 1SO kPa and was subjected
to a conventional, undrained triaxial test where the deviator stress at fai lu re was 100 kPa.
Find the pore water pressure and Skempton's Aparameter at failure.
SoLution: The day is normally consolidated.
: . c' =; 0
150 + 160
212 Geotechnical Engineering
7 (kPa)
CDtes!
Q'(kPa)
150 160
T (kPa)
cu test
The friction angle ' must be the sam e in the CU triaxial lesl, where at failure, fj,af = 100
kPa, and (JJI = 150 kPa. The pore water pressure at failure uf is unknown.
At failure (kPa) ~
Determin e c, , c', and ' using (a) Mohr circles, and (b) stress points at failu re.
Solution : The values of <T), (11' U, <T 'l, <T'l, S, s', and t at failure are summarized:
No. 03 (kPa) !lOt (kPa) ut (kPa) "I (kPa) q'3 (kPa) q 't (kPaJ s (kPa) s ' (kPaJ t (kPCI)
250
.  
 ~E
"];
'eclive
" l.
200 t;;:;7 ...
"'"
~~. .
~
V ~"
'<. ...
150
~~~:.
_x: ...
~  .. ...
~
"'
100
50 ~
A 'l r ",><..,
( If ( 1\
'/
_.
i\
....
"" 1\
I
0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700
Normat stress (kPa)
200
150
'i. 100
'"
a. Mohr circles: From the tange nts to the Mohr circles, c = 34 kPa, cb = 18; and c' =
25 kPa and 4>' = 28
b. Stress pOints: From the st ress points envelope shown below, c = 26 kPa, q, = 19;
and c' = 19 kPa, 4>' = 28
4. The current state of stress at a saturated clay clcment in the ground is:
II xkP, T (kPa)
11120 kPo
j l : 10 kPa
t1 u 31 30 +)1' kPa
!! 300 10
At railure
(J (kPa)
17.3 40  x 50+)1'
1""'""10( ., 1...,,..        + I
Shear Strength 215
a +a a  a a' +a'
:.5 = ..0 ho =95kPa;1 = 1'0 hO =25 kPa ;5~ = .. 0 hO =65kPa
0
2 2 2
Let's apply a small vertical stress increment y and calculate the changes in 5, t, u, and 5'.
We can draw the total and effective stress paths from these:
.6.(1,. = y, L~(1J. = 0
j j yk'" t(kPa)
~ 1120kPa
t t
 O 7okPa
u .. 30+xkPa
F
I
i
' I, ,~
ESP
u,= 30+2z
,~
,
,," TSP
t! r~
i, "
fZ " 26.6"
8.7
E
T
t 25
17.3
1+1
65
10 10( '"  I
s. s' (kPa)

6. Skempton's A and B parameters of a saturated clay deposit are 0.8 and 0.97 respectively.
Due to the construction of an embankment on this clay, the total horizontal and vertica l
stresses at a poin t increased by 40 kPa and 60 kPa respect ively. W hat wou ld be the in 
crease in pore water pressure? TIle above Clay has c' = 0 and </1' = 27. A triaxial sample
is consolidated under a cell pressure of 300 kPa and backpressure of 100 kPa. Once the
consolidation was completed, the sample was sheared und rain ed by applying a vertical
load. What would be the principal stress d iffe rence and pore water pressure at fai lure?
Solution:
~Oll = 40 kPa; ~ov = 60 kPa :lo d03 = 40 kPa and d0"1 = 60 kPa
Substituting in Equation 9.23:
Il.u ~ 0,97 [40 + 0.8(60  40) ) ~ 54.3 kPa
At fa ilure, let AOj = x.
\Vith d0"3 = 0 and d0 1 = x, from Equation 9.23:
~Uj = 0.97(0 + 0.8x) = 0.776 x
.. . Uj = IUU + U. 776x,03j= 300kPa; andolj= 300 +x
The Mohr circle at failure is shown in the figu re o n page 2 17:
O.5x
sin27= :lox=145.3kPa
lUU  U.776x + U.5x
Ao, =X
1 (kPa)
t t t ~
U, = 100 + O.776x
U, = 2000.776x O.5x
o'(kPa)
I~ ~I~ I
ttt
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. A consolidated, drained triaxial test was cond ucted on a normally consolidated clay under
a confining pressure of 276 kPa. The deviator stress at fa ilure was 276 kPa.
a. Find the friction angle.
b. What is the inclination of the failure plane to horizontal?
c. Determin e the normal and shear slresst!s acting on the failure plane.
d. Determine the normal stress on the plane of maximum shear stress.
e. Explain why the failure took place along a plane as determined in (b) and not
along th e plane where the shear stress is the maximum .
Answer: 19.5; 54.1"; 368 kPa, 130 kPa; 414 kPa
2. A series of consolidated, undrained triaxial tests were carried out on specimens of a satu
rated clay under no backpressure. The lest data at failure are Sllmm arized:
a. Draw the Mohr circles and find the cohesion and fric t ion angles in terms of effec
tive stresses.
b. Compute Skempton's A parameter at fa:ilure for all three specimens.
218 Geotechnical Engineering
4. Consolidated, undrained triaxial tests were carried out on three samples with no backpres
sure. The test results at fai lure are summarized:
Cell pressure (kPa) 300 400 600
Principal stress difference at failure (kPa) 186 240 360
Pore water pressure at fa ilure (kPa) 159 222 338
Using (a) Mohr circles and (b) stress points, determine the shear strength parameters in
terms of total and effec tive stresses.
Answer: 5 kPa, 13; 7 kPa, 23
5. A series of unconsolidated, undrained triaxial tests were carried out on three sam ples of
d ay. The confining pressures and the add ition al vertical stresses that are required to fa il
the samples are summarized below. Draw the Mohr circles in terms of total stresses, and
determine Cu and rP".
Confining pressure (kPa) 100 300 600
Additional vertical stress at failure (kPa) 252 271 290
Answer: 120 kPa, 2.4
cos<p" ) c
q" = 2( 1. _ Sln
'.A.
'Pj,
U
,

7. A consolidated, undrained triaxi al test is being carried out on a normally consolidated clay
where c' = 0 and fjl' = 26. The triaxial specimen was consolidated under a cell pressure
of 300 kPa and backpressure of 80 kPa. Skempton's A parameter al failure is estimated to
be 0.80. The drainage valve has since been dosed and the vertical deviator stress increased
to failure. What would be the deviator stress and pore water pressure at failure?
Answer: 153 klla, 202 klla
8. A normally consolidated soft day specimen is consolidat ed in the triaxial cell under an
all around pressu re of 200 kPa with no backpressure. Th e drainage valve is then dosed
and the cell pressure increased by 300 kPa, and the pore water pressure increased to 300
kPa. Then, the vertical deviator stress was in creased from 0 to 110 kPa whe n the sample
failed, and the pore water pressure was 420 kPa. Find th e effec ti ve frictio n angle and
Skempton's pore pressure parameters B an d Ai' A second specimen of the same day is
co nsolidated under an all aroun d pressure of 70 kPa. Un der undrained cond itions, the
ve rtical stress is increased to failu re. Find the vertical deviator stress and pore water pres 
sure at failure.
A thi rd specimen of the same clay was isotropically consolidated under 70 kPa and was
subjec ted to a vertical deviator stress that was increased to failure under drained condi
tions. What would be the deviator stress at failure?
Answer: 24.0, 1.0, 1.09; 39 kPa, 42 kPa; 96 kPa
9. A 50 mm diameter normally consolidated clay sample with 4>' = 27<1 was subjected to
an unconfined compression test where it failed under the axial load of 157 N. Find the
undrained shear strengt h and the pore water pressure within the sample.
Answer: 40 kPa,  48.1 kPa
residual shear loads at failure are summa rized below. Assuming that the cross~section area
220 Geotechnical Engineering
of th e direct shear sample remains the same in all tests, determine the peak and residual
effectivefriction angles:
Normal load (N) 100 200 350
Peak fa il ure shear load (N) 75 153 262
Residual failure shear load (N) 60 1 18 212
Answer: 3 1",3;0
II. A clay sample was consolidated in a triax ia l cell under a backpressure of SO kPa and cell
pressure of 1SO kPa. The drainage valve was then closed and the cell pressure was increased
to 200 kPa when the pore pressure increased to 98 kPa. What is Skemptods Bparameter?
The above sample was then subjected to a vertical deviator stress, which was increased
from zero under undrained conditions. The sample failed when the pore water pressure
was 160 kPa and the deviator stress was 70 kPa . What is Skempton's Aparameter at failure?
Assuming the clay is normally consolidated, fi nd the friction angle in terms of effect ive
stresses.
Answer: 0.96; 0.92, 27.8
12. A consolidated, undrained tri axial test was carried out on a 73.0 mm diameter and 146.6
mmlong decomposed granodiorite sample at an initial water content of 26%. The sample
was obtained from Palme rston Highway, North Queensland, Australia, to backanalyze a
slope failure, and was initially consolidated under a cell pressure of 200 kPa and backpres
sure of 150 kPa. The drainage valve was dosed and the cell pressure was increased to 254 kPa
when the pore water pressure increased to 182 kPa. Find Skempton's Bparameter. The nature
of the soil sample is such that it was not possible to achieve a higher B value. The drainage
valve was opened and the sample was consol idated furthe r under the cell pressure of 254 kPa
and backpressure of 1SO kPa. At the end of consolidation, the drainage valve was dosed,
locking in the backpressure in preparation for the undrained loading. The axial strain 8,
additional vertical stress applied to the samp le under undrained cond itions .dO', and the pore
water pressure u measured during the lesl are summarized in the table on page 221:
a. Plot the total and effective stress paths
b. Plot.6.a and pore water pressure agains l lhe axial strai n on the same plot
c. Find the peak and residua l shear st resses al failure, and the correspondi ng values
of AI
Ans wer; 0.59; 133 kPa, 11 7 kPa; 0.06,  0.09
Shear Strength 221
13. A d irect shear test was carried out on a sand sample under normal stress of 450 kPa. The
shear stress al fa il ure was 310 kPa. Assuming that the fa ilure plane was horizontal, d raw
a Mohr circle and find the prin cipal stresses and th e orientation s of the major and minor
principal planes.
Answer: 34.6; 1040 kPa, 287 kPa; il/clined at 117.7 and 27.JD respectively to horizontal
q. .
14. The following test data were obtained from three consolidated, undrained triaxial
tests on a satu rated clay with no backpressure:
Confining cell pressure, (1, (kPa) lOll 200 300
';' ..
Deviator stress at fail ure, .6.aj (kPa) 146 191 239 ..
Pore water pressure at fa ilure, Uj (kPa) 56 133 176
222 Geotechnical Engineering
a. Plot the stress pOints at failure and determine the shear strength panlmeters c' and
'" ' .
b. Compute Skempton's Aparameters at failure for all three samples. \Nhy are they
different?
c. Is the clay normally consolidated or overconsol idated?
d. Three fu rther samples of the same clay, A, B, and C, are consolidated under a
confining pressure of 150 kPa with no backpressure. Sample A is sheared slowly
under drained conditions with the drainage valve open to ensure there is no pore
water pressure building up. Sample B was sheared quickly under undrained cond i
tions with the drainage valve closed. In the case of Sample C, the drainage valve
was dosed and the confining pressure was increased to 250 kPa. Then the deviator
stress was quickly applied to failure under und rained conditions. Find the deviator
stress at failure for all three samples. Assume an appropriate value of A/ for samples
Band C.
Answer: 42 kPa, 19"; 0.38, 0.70 and 0.74; OC; 263 kPa, 173 kPa, 173 kPa
15. The state of st ress at a point within a saturated clay is given as: (T,{j = 140 kPa, (TIrO = 100
Q
kPa, U o = 40 kPa. Skempton's A and B parameters for this day are 0,5 and I respectively.
Shear strength parameters are: c' = 0 and ' = 26,
'," ' . ';' a. Calculate the init ial values So' s~, and to and show the total and effect ive stress
". ", ' pOin ts, along with the fa il ure envelope on ss' / plane (see Vlorked Example 5).
b, When the fo ll owing stress changes take place at this point under undrained condi
tions, calculate the changes in 5, 5', and t.
i. Both O'y and O'h increased by 10 kPa.
ii. O'v increased by 10 kPa and 0'" remained th e same.
iii. O'h decreased by 10 kPa and O'y remained the same.
c. From the above values from (b), plot the stress points for the t hree situations. As
suming the loading continues with further increments, draw t he stress paths in
terms of total and effective stresses.
d. Determine the maximum shear stress and the corresponding pore water pressure in
the soil element at fail ure for scenarios (ii) and (iii).
e. Disc uss the stress paths for loading scenario 0).
Answer: (a) 120 kPa, 80 kPa, 20 kPa; (b) 10 kPa, 0, 0; 5 kPa, 0, 5 kPa;  5 kPa, 0, 5 kPa (d) 35 kPa,
25 kPa; 35 kPa, 55 kPa
Shea r Strength 223
16. The state of stress at a point within a saturated clay is given as: O"l :; 140 kPa, 0"110 = 100 ~
kPa, Uo = 40 kPa. Skempton's A and B parameters for this day are 0.5 and 1 respectively. .
Shear strength parameters are: c' = 0 and </>' = 26<>. ".
a. Calculate the initial values So' s ~, and to. Show the total and effective stress . ~:. ' .. '
points along with the failure envelope on ss' t plane (see Worked Example 5). .
b. When the following stress changes take place at thi s point under drained conditions,
calculate the changes in s, 5', and t.
i. Both U y and Uh increased by 10 kPa.
ii. U y increased by 10 kPa and O"h remained the same.
iii. 0"/1 decreased by 10 kPa and U v remained the same.
c. In which of the above scenarios will th,ere be no failure?
d. In scenario (iii), what would be the vertical and horizontal stresses at failure?
Answer: (a) 120 kPa, 80 kPa, 20 kPa; (b) 10 kPa, 0, /0 kPa; 5 kPa, 5 kPa, 5 kPa;  5 kPa, 5 kPa,
 5 kPa; (c) seel/ariu (i); (d) 140 kPa, 79 kPa
224 Geotechnical Engineering
1. In a d irect shea r test on a sandy soi l, the shear load at failu re was 135 N when the
normal load was 190 N. What is the friction angle of the sand ?
(1 point)
2. In a consolidated, drained triaxial test on a sa ndy soil, the principal stress difference
at fai lure was twice the confining pressure. What is the effective fr iction angle?
(2 poi nts)
3. An un co nsol idated, undrained triaxial test was carried out on three clay samples
fro m a homogeneous, saturated clay at confini ng pressures of 100 kPa. 200 kPa, and
300 kPa. In all three cases, an additional verti cal stress of 110 kPa was required to
fail the samples. suggesting that <Pu :::: 0 and cu :::: 55 kPa. If it is known that the clay
has c' = 15 kPa and <p' = 25, what would be the pore water pressures at failure fo r
the above three samples?
(7 points)
ThiS book has free material available for download from the
Web Added Value ' M resource center at www.jrosspub.com
Lateral Earth Pressures 10
10.1 INTRODUCTION
Pressure at a point within a liquid is the same in aU directions (e.g., pore water pressure). Due
to fr iction between the grains, this is not the case in soiJs where normal stress varies with direc
tion. The lateral earth pressure can be quite different from the verrical normal stress that we
h.we been calculating in the previous chapters.
Very oft en in geotechn ical engi neering, we encounter problems that require the compu
tation of the latera l loadings on structures such as retaining walls, braced excavations, sheet
piles. basemen t walls, etc. Now that we know h ow to compute the vertical stresses at a point
within the soil mass including the vertica l stress increases caused by various loadi ngsit is
time to look at the horizontal loadings. Figure to. 1 shows examples of a few typical geotcch .
nical applications where it is required to know the horizontal loadi ng. Figure 1O. l a shows
a concrete canti levered retaining wall that prevents the soil on the right from entering the
highway; to assess th e retaining wall's stability, it is necessary to know the horizontal load
ings on both sides. Figure 10.1 b shows a cantil(!vered sheet pile that su pports the walls of the
excavation. Sheet piles are sheets of concrete, timber, or steel that interlock and arc driven
into the grou nd to form a conti nuous wall. To ensure the excavatio n's stability, it is required
to know the horizontal earth prl!ssures on both sides of the sheet pile. When excavating nar
row trenches fo r the purposes of laying pipelines etc., the excavation wall s are supported with
timber or steel sheets and horizo ntal struts as shown in Figure I O.Ie. A good understanding
of the horizontal earth pressures is necessar y for computing the loadings on the struts and for
designing the braCing system.
The focus of this chapter is to determi ne the horizontal normal stresses and their va ria 
tions wi th depth under special circumstances. Th e total and effective horizontal stresses are
denoted by (Jh and (1" " respectively. The th ree special circumstances are atrest state, active
sta te, and passive state. The state of atrest is ver y st able. whereas the active and passive states
occur when th e soi l fail s. We ge nerally force 1110st of ollr geotechn ical problems into one of
these three situations, which are typically eas ier to solve. There are no simple analytical solu
tions to the problem when it lies outside these three states.
225
226 Geotechnical Engineering
Ground level
Ground level Ground level
~
Sirul
Excavation
level
"
.'. .... .
(.)
Shool pile
(b)
Excavalion level
(e)
GL
"
(a) (b)
GL
(e)
Figure 10.2 Atrest state: (a) stresses at different points (b) Mohr circles (e) Ko for
different soils
where v is the Poisson's ratio of the soil. There are few empirical correlalions for estimati ng Ko
The most popular of these is the one proposed by Jaky (1948) for normally consolidated clays
and sands, shown as:
Ko = 1  sin rp ' (IU.2)
where cp' is the effective fr iction angle. For normally consolidated clays, Massarsch (1979)
showed that:
Ko ~ 0.44 + 0.0042 PI (10,3)
228 Geotechnical Engineering
The above equations show that typical values of Ko for normally consolidated soils are in the
range o(OA to 0.6. For overconsolidated soils, it can exceed I (i.e., 0' h > 0'.), and can be as high
as 3 for heavily ovcrconsolidated clays. For overconsolidated soils:
(10.5)
Mayne a nd Kulhawy (1982) suggested that m = sin cp'. Eurocode 7 (ECS 1997) suggests that
m = 0.5 if the OC R is not very large.
Example 10.1: In a normally consolidated sandy clay deposit, the water table lies at a depth of
4 m. The bulk and saturated unit weights or the soil are 17.0 kN/m 3 and 18.5 kN/m' respec
tively. The effective friction angle of the soil is k nown as 25" from a consolidated, drained
triaxial test. Find the total horizontal stress a.t JO m depth.
Solution:
' = 25" ) Ko = I  sin 25 = 0.58
At 10 III depth:
a'v = 4 X 17.0 + 6 X (l8.5  9.81) := 120.1 kPa; u = 6 X 9.81 = 58.9 kPa
: .O'h= ~ u t = 0.58 X 120.1 = 69.7 kPa
ah = a'h + U = 69.7 + 58.9 = 128.6 kPa
Example 10.2: A rigid basement wall retains 6 m of backfill as shown below. The Ko values orlhe
sand and clay are 0.45 and 0.56 respectively. Assuming the enti re soil mass is in .f<ostate, draw
the lateral pressure distribution with depth and determine the magn itude and location of the
resultant thrust on the wall.
Solution: Let's compute the values of (1' h' u, and 01', at z = 0,2 m, 3 m, and 6 m depth where z is mea
sured from the ground level.
Mz = O,~ = O,u = ~~ = O,mdo ~ = O
Atz = 2m:
a'v = 2 X 16.5 = 33.0 kPa
U'h = K" 1.1'. = 0.45 x 33.0 = 14.9 kPa
u = 0 ) Uh = a'h + u = 14.9 kPa
Continues
Lateral Earth Pressure s 229
At z= 3 m (in sand ):
a~ = 2 X 16.5 + 1 X (18 
9.8 1) = 41.2 kPa
= =
a'h Ko a'. 0045 X 41.2 = 18.5 kPa, and
u = 1 X 9.81 = 9.8 k Pa
:. a k = a'" + u = 28.3 k Pa
Atz = 3m (in day) :
a'. = 4 1.2 kPa
a'~ = Ko a'. = 0.56 X 41 .2 = 23. 1 kPa, and
u = 9.8 kPa
0h = a ' h + u = 32.9 k Pa
At z = 6 m (inday):
a'. = 2 X 16 .5 + 1 X ( 18  9.81) + 3 X (18.5  9.81) = 67.3 kPa
a 'h = Ko a'. = 0. 56 X 67.3 = 37.7 ,kPa, and Continues
230 Geotechnica l Engineering
u = 39.2 kPa ~
Uk= U'k + u = 76.9 kPa
These values are summarized:
U'I, (kPa) u (kPa) Uh (kPa)
z= o 0 0 0
z = 2m 14.9 0 14.9
z = 3 m (sand) 18.5 9.8 28.3
z=3 m (clay) 23.1 9.8 32.9
z = 6m 37.7 39.2 76.9
The variations of U'h' u, and Uh against depth are shown on the previous page.
The Uh = zplot is divided into the triangles and rectangles above. The horizontal load contribu~
tions from each area (per m width), and the distances of these loads above the bottom of the
wall are sum marized:
Zone Horizontal load (kN/m) Height (m) Moment (kNm/m)
I 0.5 X 14.9 X 2 = 14.9 4.67 69.6
2 14.9 X 1 = 14.9 3.50 52.2
3 0.5 X 13.4X I = 6.7 3.33 22.3
4 32.9 X 3 = 98.7 1.50 148. 1
5 0.5 X 44 X3=66.0 2.00 132.0
Total 201.2 424.2
:. The magnitude of the horizontal load (including the water thrust) is 20 l.2 ki'1l m acting at a
height of2. 11 m ( = 424.2/201.2 ) above the b4)ttom of the wall.
toward the soil on the left, belo w the excavation level. The wall movement leads to a reduction
in a'" within the soil mass on the right, and an inc rease in U'l! within the soil mass on the left.
a ~ remains the same during the wall movement. When the ho rizontal movement of the wall
becomes large, fa ilure takes place with in the soil mass on both sides of the wall due to different
mechanisms. We wi ll discuss them separately.
(10.6)
. 0 ""
' =KAO'
where KA = (:=::::)
= tan !(45  q,'12), known as Rankille's coefficient of active eartll pressure. In the
case of cohesive soils, because of the cohesion intercept on the 7axis, Equation 10.6 becomes:
(10.7)
The horizontal and vertical planes on th e Mohr circle are shown along with the val ues of a'.
and O 'h. in Figure I O. 3b. The fa il ure plane is represented by point P on the Mohr circle. It can be
deduced that the failure plane is inclined at 45 + cp'/2 degrees to horizo ntal.
GL
Figure 10.3 (a) lateral movement of a
smooth wall (b) when the wall moves
away from the soil (c) when r.. o
the wall moves toward the soil
Smooth wall
'"" "
r, , 0
+f'
Excavation lev,al
lal
GL
,
(I'. ="(z
,
+ 0
0'
' o, A
~
(I'hO
" "
i
1'1
Excavation level
,
,
+.
(1'. '" "(Z
'p',"
., t
0 A
" h" ~ a'"O
"
1'1
Lateral Earth Pressures 233
Therefore:
, ,
. I AP _""hp,_U,'
S lll ~ = =
AD U hp +U~
where Kp = C~::~ :; ) = tan 2 ( 45+1>72), known as Rankille's coefficiellt of passive earth pressure. In
cohesive soils, Equation 10.8 becomes:
( 10.9)
The horizontal and vertical planes are shown along wilh the values of a' ~ and a '~p on the Mohr
circle in Figure 10.3c. 'fhe fa ilure plane is represented by point P on the Mohr circle. It can be
deduced that the failure plane is inclined at 45 . rp' /2 degrees to horizontal.
The passive state occurs when the soil is laterally compressed to failure. The active state oc
curs when the soil is allowed to laterally expand to failure from the initial atrest state. The ac
tive state occurs at every point within the soil mass to the right of the wall, and the passive state
occurs at every point within the soil mass to the left of the wall, with the failure planes oriented
at 45 + ~ '/ 2 and 45  ~ ' 12 degrees respectively to hori zontal as shown in Figure lO.4a.
When the wall moves away from the soil, C1'" decreases from the initial va lue of a'hO (= Koa '.)
to 0'"" (= K/lC1'.) at the active state, as shown in Figure lO.4b. When the wall moves towa rd the
soil, a'h increases from the initial value of a 'ltO ( = Koa'.) to U'hp ( = K"a'v ) at the passive state, as
shown in Figure WAc. The active and passive earth pressures are the lower and upperbound
values for the ea rth pressure at a point within the soil mass. This applies to any loading situation.
The lateral movement requ ired to fully mobilize the active (A active) or pass ive (a passive) state
depends on the soi l condition. These values are typically 0.12.0% of the wall height. The values
are significantly less for the active state than the values for the passive state. In other words, the
act ive state must be fu lly mobilized before the passive state. The weaker the soil, the larger the
horizontal movement required to mobil ize act ive and passive states. The late ral displacement
can take place due to translational movement of the wall or rotation around the top or bottom
of the wall. The passive ea rth pressure coefficient is un order of magnitude greater than the ac
tive earth pressure coefficient. For example. when~ ' = 30, KII = 0.333, Ko = 0.5. and Kp = 3.
GL
SmooTh wall
'.. ".

Act ive state
Kou'v
Acllve slale
8.= 45+ ';"12
8p : 45 o'l2 XX
8. 9.
KAu'.
0
' "
Horizontal movement
Failure plane
(bJ
K'p'.
'"
K,u',
' "
0 Horizontal movement
(oj (oj
Figur e 10.4 (a) failure planes (b) u '~ variation w hile wall moves away from the soil (e) u'~
variation while wall moves toward the soil
The resultant active Pi\ and pass ive Ppthrusts on the wall are the areas of the pressure diagrams,
given by:
I , ,
PA = K Ay H (10, 10)
2
and
I 1
PI' =  K pyh (1 0,11 )
2
which act at heights of HI3 and hl3 respectively fro m the botto m of th e wall .
(J'h in cohesive soils is give n by Equation s 10 .7 and 10.9 in active and passive stales respec+
tively. The variations of O'h with depth are shown in Figure lO.5b. For cohesive soils in the active
state, the soil is in tension up to a depth of Zo At the ground level (z = 0), the values of a'A in
the active and passive states are  2c'v'Ki\ and 2c' v' Kp respectively. In granula r soils, they were
zero. In the viewpoi nt of a designer, active thrust is a load and passive thrust is a resistance.
Lateral Earth Pressures 235
GL
Tension
H Compression H
(a) (b)
Figure 10.5 l ateral earth pressure distributions: (a) in granular soils (b) in cohesive soils
Theoretically, the tensile st resses near the ground on the right work in favo r of the designer, thus
reduci ng the resultant thrust and improving the stability. In reality, tensile cracks are likely to
develop up to a depth of zoowith little contact between the wall an d the so il in Ihi s zone. There
fo re, it is unwise to rely on these tensile stresses. It is a good practice to neglect the tensile zone
and to conservatively estimate the resultant active thrust as O.5K,{y( H  ZO)2, TIle depth Zo can
be calculated as 2e' 1(,,( VK,,). For clays in undrained situations, c" and <Pu = 0 should be used in
Eq uations 10.7 and 10.9, wit h KA = Kp = 1. The dept h Zo becomes 2cJ y.
(10. 12)
236 Geotechnical Engineering
Gl
h
P,
K,:t h
2 2
Q cos""" JCOS "  COS f:jJ'
KP = COS '' (10.13)
2 2
COS"  JCOS {3  COS '
The resultant active and passive thrusts arc given by 0.5 K,,:yH2 and 0.5 K,tyll . When {3 = 0.
Equations lU. 12 and 10.13 are the same as the Rankine's coefficients of earth pressure with hori
zontal backfills. When " =1= 0 (Le., cohesive soil s), the above equations cannot be appl ied. For a
specific friction angle. K... increases with {3, and K" decreases with (3.
Example 10.3: A 6 mhigh smooth, vertical wall retains 4 m of sandy backfill underlain by
2 m of clayey gravel. The entire soil mass is in the active slate. '...nd = 34 0 ; 'doyq ",oti = 31 0 ;
and C" '!OYCY Mrow:l = 5 kPa. If a uniform ~urch arge of25 kPa is placed at the ground level on top of
the retained soil mass, what would be the magnitude, direction, and location of the additional
horizontal thrust due to this surcharge?
Solution: KA . aand= tan ,(45  234) =0 . 283;K A.cl.~~= tan ,(45  231)= 0.320
The distribution of additional (T'h, caused by the surcharge, is shown:
:~5 kPa
++++ +++t t t
7.08 kPa
4m
The resultant thrust, PA = 4 X 7.08 + 2 X 8.00 = 44.32 kN per m width, acting at a height of
y, given by:
(4 x 7.08x 4)+(2x:8.00x I)
y= 2.917m
44.32
,
", p,
Force triangle (Passive) "
w,
Force triangle
A
(Aclive)
Figure 10.7 shows a gravity retaining wall v'lith granular soils on both sidesright in the ac
tive state and left in the passive state. In active state, failure takes place when the soil wedge ABC
slides along the failure plane AC inclined at (JA 1:0 horizontal. 111e exact inclination of the failure
plane is not known. We will assume a series of values for (JM and will carry out a lrial and
error process. For any assumed value of (J I\> the soi l wedge is in equilibrium under three forces:
selfweight of the wedge W.." known in magnitude and di rection; active thrust PIo.' known in
direction but not the magn itude; and reaction on the failure plane Rio.' known in direction, but
not the magnitude. We can deduce from Chapter 9 that the reaction Rio. would be inclined at
an angle of cp' to the normal to the failure plani~. This is true on a soil soil interface such asAC
When a soil mass slides along another material surface such as AB. this angle wou ld be less, and
is known as the angle of wall friction, denoted by O. This angle of wall frict ion depends on the
friction angle of the soil and the surface characteristics of the material. It can be determined
from a direct shear test. For a soil concrete in terface, b can be taken as 0.5 0.8 cp', with %cp'
being a popular choice. 011>' is generally higher for concrete than it is for steel. The lower end of
the range applies when so il is in contact with timber, steel. and precast concrete, and the upper
end applies to castin place concrete where the interface is relatively rough. Theoretically, 0 s b
s ', with b = 0 for very smooth walls and b =: 1>' for very rough walls.
The active thrust p. . for the assumed value of (J" can be determined by drawi ng a force tri
angle as shown in Figure 10.7. This can be repeated for several values of 0", against which the
computed values of P" can be plotted. The highest value of P" is taken as the resultant active
thru st on the wall.
The graphical procedure discussed above is quite similar for the passive side as well. When
the computed values of PI' are plotted against the assumed values of 0,,> the lowest value of P" is
taken as the resultant passive thrust on the wall. Remember, active thrust is a load and passive
thrust is a resistance. Therefore, taking the maximum value for P" and the minimum value for
Pp makes sense.
Lateral Earth Pressures 239
When the g round surface is inclined at (3 to horizontal on the active side, the resultant ac+
tive thrust PAcan be shown to be 0.5 KA'YH2, wh ere KA is given by:
For a A = 90,0 = 0, {3 = 0, K. . reduces to what is given by Rankine's theory for vertical walls
with horizontal backfills. Coulomb's theory does not give the location of the active thrust PA We
can assum e it is acti ng at a height of H/3 from Ih e bOllom of the wall. inclined at 0 to the normal
to the wall soil interface as shown in the figure.
The passive thrust PI' can be written as 0.5 K I>"(h 2 , where h is the height of point E from the
bottom, and Kp is given by:
(3 is the inclination of the ground level on the passive side. For a i' = 90,0 = 0, (3 = 0, K" reduces
1'0 wha t is given by Rankine's theory for vertical wall s with horizontal backfills.
Allowing friction along the soil wall interface leads 10 a reduction in P/1 and an increase in
Ppfrom what is expected when the wall is smooth . Tn reality, the failure planes (or more appro
priately, surfaces) are curved near the bottom of the wall, which leads to a slight underestima 
tion of the active thrust. The e rror is more Sign ificant on the passive side, especially when (, >
' /3, grossly overest imating the passive thrust. More realistic estimates of PI' can be obtained by
neglecting the wall friction (I.e., (, = 0) or by using Rankine's theory.
In granular soils, the soil wedges in both active and passive states are in equilibrium under
three forces. In cohesive soils, it is necessary to include the cohesive resistance along the fail ure
plane within the soil (AC o r DF) and the adhesive resistallce along the wallsoil interface (AB or
DE). For both forces. the magnitudes and directions are known, and hence the force polygon
ca n be drawn . The cohesive resistance is the producl of the length of the failure plane (Ae or
DF) and cohesion . The adhesive resistance is the product of the le ngth of the wall soil contact
plane (AB and DE) and adhesion. We defined the angle of wall friction (, as a fraction of '. A
similar definition is applicable for adhesion. It can be defined as a fraction of cohesion. typically
0.5 0.7, where the fraction depe nds on rhe conran su rface and whether the soil is in the active
or passive state.
240 Geotechnical Engineering
~
Reminder .:. Ko is defined in terms of effective stresses; (Jh1a. is not a constant .
:. Ko = 1  sin ' in normally consolidated clays and sands; it
increases with the OC R.
.:. Rankine's theory assumes that the wall is vertic<ll and smooth.
Coulomb's theory allows the wall to be inclined a nd frict ion and/or
adhesion along the soilwall interface.
:. Rankine: ~or a smooth, vert ical wall against a horizontal backfill ,
at" = KAa:  2c'.JK: and (1~p = K pa: + 2c' jK;; fa ilure planes are
inclined at 45 + ' /2 to horizontal in the active state and 45  ' /2
to horizontal in .the passive slate. K A = ( ::::~:: ) = tan 2 (45  ' 12 )
and KI' = C:::~: ) = tan {4541' 12 ) . Use Equations 10. 12 and 10.13
2
WORKED EXAMPLES
I. The soil profile shown in the figure on page 241 consists of a 6 mth ick sand layer under
lain by saturated clay where the watcr table lies 2 m below the ground level. The e ntire
soil mass is ret ained by a concrete retaining wall and is in th e active sla te. Find the total
horizontal earth pressu res at A, 8, a nd C.
Solution :
Atk
0"'.= I X 17 = 17kPa
O"'h = K", 0"'.=0.283 X 17 = 4.81 kPa, a n d fI =0
:.O"h = O"'h + u = 4.81 = 4.8 kPa
Lateral Earth Pressures 241
a', ~
2 X 17+ 3 X (20  9.8 1)  64.6 kPa
(1'" = K. . (f'v = 0.283 X 64.6 = 18.3 kPa
u = 3 X 9.81 = 29.4kPa
:. a" = (f'n + u = 18.3 + 29.4 = 47.7 kPa
At e
a', ~ 2 X 17+ 4 X (20  9.81) + 2 >( (19  9.8 1) ~ 93.1 kPa
(f lh = K... (f'y  2c'v'KA = 0.406 X 93 ..1  2 X 20 X \10.406 = 12.3 kPa
u = 6 X 9.8 1 = 58.9 kPa ,) a" = 12.3 + 58.9 = 71.2 kPa
2. A smooth retaining wall with 2 m of embedment in the clayey sand retains a 6 mhigh
sandy backfill as shown in part (a) of the figu re on page 212. Assuming that the enti re soil
mass on the right side of the wall is in the active state and the soil on the left is in the pas
sive state, compute the active and passive thrusts on the wall.
Solution:
K p.dayey>and
' 25) =2.46
=tan (,45+
2
2
Let's calculate (f'h values on the right (active) side.
242 Geotechnical Engineering
Gl
6m Sand
4>' = 33, 'YO' = 17 kN/m 3
(a)
o~ (kPa)
Gl
Sao'
Cla~sand
(b)
The problem below shows the plo t of KAv(~rs u s ' for different values of {3 based on Ran 
kine's tbeory (Equation 10.12) and Coulomb's theory (Equation 10.14). In Equation 10.14,
substituting 0',\ = 90;
cos'
K  ~,~~~~~~
A  c:::;: fin(' +o),ln(</>' (3)
...;cos u +
cos (3
The above expression was lIsed to develop the plot for Coulomb's K II
0.50 r 11,
I I 
Rankine '
0.20
~ ~ '  .". i I' I i
_.....
28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Friction angle (deg)
In the case of Coulomb's theory, as expected, the greater the wall fri ction, the lower the
laleral earth pressure. Nevertheless, there is very little difference between 0 = 0.5 ' and
0 = 0.8 q,', the d ifference being less than 2% in K,.,. For {3 = 10  20, Rankine's and
Coulomb's theories give very sim il ar values. For small values of {3, Rankine's theory gives
la rge r earth pressures, and hence is more conservative than Coulomb's theory. K,.. increas
es w ith {3.
4. A ver tical wall retains a granular backfill where the ground level is horizontal. It is pro
posed to use Coulo mb's earth pressure theory for computin g the lateral earth pressure,
assum ing the backfill is in the active state. Assess the effect of O/' o n K A
Lateral Earth Pressures 245
K _ coseb'
A  Jcoso+jsin(eb'+o)sin q/
lhe above expression for K,., was used to develop the illustration o n this page for 0/<jJ' values
0(0,0.25, 0.5, 0.75, and l.0. For bleb' = a (sm ooth \vall), the K,., values are the same as those
from Rankin e's theory. It is expected that the larger th e wall fr iction 5/1>', the lower the K A
At high fricti on angles, there is som e inconsistency when bl<jJ' is greater than 0.25. "Ihere
is abo ut a 10% reduction in KA when oleb' increases from a to 0.5, and there is little change
from 0.5 to 1.0.
0.4 ,      ,    ,      ,     ,    ,     ,
0.35 Fo;x
0.25
+++++I
&Jr) ' ,,0
KA 0 .3 +"""=""'o::r",,+++1
1iI~ '
"" 1
0.25 +ft
28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Friction angle (deg)
5. A smooth, vertical wall relains an inclined granu lar backfiU. Discuss till: differellce
between the KA. values obtained from using Rankine's (Equatio n 10.12) and Coulomb's
(Equation 10.14) th eo ries.
Solution: Subst ituting b = a in Coulomb's equation does not g ive Rankine's K,\; th ey are
slightly different. They are the same o nly when {J = O. Co ulomb's K" from Equation
10.14 becomes:
coseb'
KA = ""E~~~::C
sin.p' sin( q,'  ill
1+
cos (3
246 Geotechnical Engineering
The Kit values generated for i3 = 0, 5, 10, '15, an d 20 are shown. Both Rankine's and
Coulomb's theories suggest that the larger the (3, the larger the K", which can be seen in 
tuitively. When the wall frict ion is neglected, Coulomb's K" values are slightly larger than
Ra nkin e's Kit values al all frict ion angles; they are the same only for {3 = o.
0.50 ~~~I~~~~
0.45
~" ~, ~: ' 11';'=,, ;::,::~
20 ' ~
I
';"" I""" I
0.40 P" ."~"'.' , ..
K~ 0.35
0.30
0.25
0.20
1
28 30 32 34 36 38 40
Friction ;9.ngle (deg)
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. State whether the fo llowing are true or fa lse.
a. In the act ive state, the lateral thrust on a smooth. vertical wall retaining a horizon
tal backfill is greater in loose sands than it is in dense sands.
b. In the passive state, the lateral thrust on a smooth vertical wall retaining a horizon
tal backfill is greater in loose sands than it is in dense sand s.
c. A smooth. vertical wall retains a granular soil , which is atrest (Ko state). The lateral
thrust is greater if the soil is overconsol:id ated than if it is normally consolidated.
d. A smooth wall retains an inclin ed granular backfill. The larger the inclinatio n of the
back fill , the larger th e lateral thrust.
e. Generally, Coulomb's K" is greater than Rankine's.
Answer: True, False, True, True, False.
Lateral Earth Pressures 247
2. A 5 m~high smooth, vertical wall retains a granular backfill with unit weight of 18 kN/m 3
and a friction angle of 35. Find the magnitude and location of the resultant active thrust. If
a 10 kPa uniform surcharge acts at the top of the backfill, find the magnitude and location
of the active thrust.
Answer: 61.0 kNl m @ 1.67 m above tile bottom; 74.5 kN @ I.B2 m
3. An 8 III high smooth, vertical wall retains a backfill where the ground level is horizontal.
The top 3 m of the backfill consists of clay INhere " :: 10 kPa, 'Y = 19 kN 1m3 , and q:, =I
23". The bottom 5 m is sand where 'Y = 19 kN/m ) and ' = 33. Assuming the backfill is
in the active state, estimate the depth up to which tension cracks would be present.
Neglecting the tensile zone, esti mate the magnitude and location of the active thrust
that you would recommend.
Answer: 1.59 m; 162.3 kNl m @2.29mabove tlle bottom
4. A 10 m ~ hjgh gravity retaining wall retains a granular backfill where the ground is inclined
to the horizontal at 15. The friction angle and bu lk unit weight of the backfill are 34" and
18 kN/ml. The wall is inclined at 80" to hori;wntaL Using Coulomb's theory and assuming
a wall frict ion angle of 20, estimate the magnitude of the active th rust on the wall.
Answer; 371 kNlm
5. A smooth, vert ical wall retain s a 7 mhigh g ranular backfill with the ground level being
horizontal. The water table lies at a depth of 3 m from the top. The fric tion angle of the
backfill is 32". The bulk and saturated unit weight of the soil are 16.5 kN / m 3 and 18.0 kNI
rn J respectively. Assuming the soil is in the active state, determine the magnitude and loca ~
tion of the horizontal thrust on the wall.
Answer; 225 kN@2.30 m above the boltom
6. A 6 mhigh vertical wall retains a granular backfill where the ground level is inclined at
10 to the horizontal. The bulk unit weight of the fill is 18.0 kN/m J , and the friction angle
is 33". Assuming the backfill is in the active state, determine the magnitude of the resultant
thrust on the wall assuming the fo llowing:
a. Rankine: Smooth wall
b. Coulomb: Smooth wall
c. Coulomb, O/' = 0.5
d. Cou lomb, O/' = 0.67
Answer; 99.6 kNl m. 106.2 kN. 97.6 kN. 97. 0 kN
248 Geotechnical Engineering
7. A 3 mhigh vertical wall is pushed against a granular soil where the ground level is horizon
tal. The bulk unit weight a nd friction angle of the soil are 18.0 kN/ m 3 and 34 res pectively.
If th e soil is in the passive state, determine the horizontal thrust assuming the following:
a. Rankine: Smooth 'wall
b. Coulomb: Smooth wall
c. Coulomb, iii</>' ~ 0.5
d. Coulomb, iii</>' ~ 0.67
Answer: 286.5 kNlm, 286.5 kNl m, 548.1 kNlm, 726.3 kNlm
8. A smooth gravity wall retai ns a 12 mhigh backfill as shown in the figure below. The lop 8
m is sand, which is underlain by some clay: The soil properties are as follows:
Sand: I'm = 18.9 kN/ m J, 1'.., = 19.8 kN/m 3;,p' = 32
Clay: 1'.., = 20.1 kN/m ); ' = 18, c' = 20 kPa
Assuming that the entire soil is in the active state, find the location and magnitude of the
total thru st on the wall.
9. The gravity wall shown in the figure on the next page retains medium dense sa ndy soil
with a friction angle of 35 and a saturated unit weight of 20.0 kN/ m 3. The specific gravity
Q
"': .
.
;'......
of the sand is 2.65 and permeabili ty is 4.5 ){ 10 3 cm/s.
a. Compute the flow rate beneath the wall in m 3/day pe r m width
b. Find the safety factor with respect to piping
Lateral Earth Pressures 249
n,
c. Compute the pore water pressure and effective vertical stress at A, C, D, and E
d. Estimatc the total thrust on the right side of the wall, assuming that the entire soil is
in the active state
1.0m
1<>; A GL
3.5m
GL
1.5 m
Answer: 3.9 ",Jlday per m; 2.3; 0 kPa, 2J kPa, 37 kPa, 25 kPa, 0 kPa; akPa, 33 kPa, 63 kPa, 5 kPo, 0
kPa; 139 kN per m (It J.8 m (lbove the bol/om of the woll.
10. A rigid basement wall shown in the figure on the fo llowing page rctai ns a granular back
fi ll. A st rip footing of width b at the ground level applies a uniform pressure of q to th e
underlying soil . For q = 50 kPa, a = 1.5 In , b = 2.0 m, and h = 7.0 m. Assu ming the soil
to be elastic (E = 10 MPa, I' = 0.25), use SIGMA / W to assess the horizontal load ings on
the basement walJ dl1e to the strip load.
Assuming that the wall does not yield, the literature reports that the horizon tal stress at a
point A is give n by:
Note that in real ity. the wa ll is expected to yield . making the horizon tal stress significantl y
greater. the value of wh ich is given by:
WNi:
This book has free material available for download from the
Web Added Value n resource center at www.jrosspub.com
Site Investigation 11
11.1 INTRODUCTION
When constructing either a dam or a building a l a site, it is essent ial to know what is beneath
the surface. To ensure th at the constructed facility is stable and meeting expectations during its
design life, we must know th e subsoil profile and soil characteri st ics before we can carry out a
proper enginee ring analys is. Unlike most engin eering materials such as concrete and steel, soils
have a high degree of variability associated with their properties. Th e soil conditions can vary
dramatically within just a few m eters, making them diffic ult to deal with . Another difference
is that we typically have the luxury of specifying the grades of steel or concrete that we have
determined will meet our reqUirements. When it comes to soils, however, we are expected to
assess an d understand th e soil conditions and work around them. It is not as sim ple as call ing
for a better quality soil to suit your purpose.
Site investigation (also known as subsurface exploration or site characterization) is a process
that can involve many tasks induding desk stlldy, site reconnaissance, drilling, sampling,geophys
ical surveys, laboratory tests, and in situ (or field) tests. These tasks atlempt to defi ne the subsoil
profile and determine the geotechni cal characteristics of the different soils that are encountered.
Depending on the nature of the project and the available budget, the site investigati on can ac
count fo r 0 1.5% of the total project cost. A good site investigation exercise should gather as
much info rmatio n as possible about the site for a m inimal cost.
The desk study is the first stage of the site investigation program. This requires accessing all
available information such as aerial photos and geological, topograph ical, and soilsurvey maps.
All this is accessible through federal, state, and. local governmental agencies. Soil information
can also be obtained from the soil data of nearby sites. Today, 'with Googlc Earth and online
topographical maps fro m local agencies availab.le through the Inte rn et, substantial inform ation
including the contour levels, aerial images, vegetation, and ground water information can easily
be obtained. Site reconnaissance involves a site vis it with a camera to collect firsthand informa
tion on site access, exposed overburden, rock outcrops, nearby rivers or streams, vegetation,
previous land use, problems with nearby structures, etc. These two stages can cost literally noth 
ing, but play an important rol e in planning the detailed site investigation program .
Boreholes an d trial pits are an integral part of any site investigation program. Boreholes
are typically about 50 75 mm diameter holes usually vertical advanced into the ground to
25 1
252 Geotechnic al Engineering
d epths as high as 50 m or more for the purpose of obtaining samples and identifying the
underl ying soi ls. The samples are then transported to the laboratory for a seri es of tests such
as water content and Atterberg limits determination , consolidation. triaxial test, etc. Trial
pit s, also known as Jest pils. are made at a few location s usi ng an excavator or backhoe. They
are relatively inexpensive, but are limited in depth. Beyond 4 m, due to sho ri ng and bracing
requi rement s to support the walls of the pit. the cost of trial pits ca n increase Significantly.
Th e advantage of a t rial pit is th at it enables visual inspec tion of the so il. Undisturbed block
samples can be cut from the wall o r floo r of a tr,iai pit. In clays, it is common practice to push
a pocket penetrometer into the walls of th e pit to read unconfmed compress ive strength. These
are approx imate, but they are obtained at no additional cost. Figu re 11 . 1 shows a pocket pen
etrometer with an attachment for soft clays.
A typical layout of boreholes and trial pits at a proposed site is shown in Figure Il.2a. Bore
holes arc not always advanced to the refusal or bed rock as shown in Figure I I.2b. For smaller
structures and lighter loadings, boreholes can be terminated well before reachi ng the bedrock.
Generally. undisturbed samples are collected from day layers only; it is very difficult to get
und isturbed samples from granular soils. Figu re 11.2c shows some clay cores recovered from
boreholes. which are placed in a core box shown on the left. with the depth d early identi fied and
sealed to prevent moisture loss. Figure 11.2d shows und istu rbed day samples in sampli ng tubes
that are waxed at th e ends and sealed in plastic w raps to prevent moisture loss during transpor
tation to the soil testing laboratory.
Site Investigation 253
Drill rig
c Trial pit
o Borehole
o
o Proposed building
o
io . / ...... a
o r
At !
e 0
i tA
0;1.
n ...........Q. O
o o
Road
(0) (d)
Figure 11.2 Site investigation: (a) site plan and layout of boreholes and trial pits (b) sectional
elevation AA (e) soil sample in tube riner and sample tray (d) sealed samples in the lab
11.2.1 Drilling
To preven t the borehole walls from caving in. especially below the water table, and to prevent
the bottom of the borehole from heaving due to stress relief. it is com mon practice to fill the
254 Geotechnical Engineering
hole with a drilling fluid such as a 6% b e ntonit e~water mix, at least up to the watertable level.
The drill ing flu id is thixotropic, showing very low st rength when remolded and relatively high
strength while at rest. While th e drilling progresses, the agitation within the borehole keeps
be ntonite in liquid form , giving a hydrostatic p ressu re to the walls; when the drilling stops, it
quickly solidifies, supporting the borehole walls and the base. A casing or liner can be used for
the upper parts of the boreholes to prevent caving.
Auger drilJillg is the si mplest and most com mon method of boring. A hel ical auger is screwed
into the ground with a steady thrust to advance the cutting tool (Figu res 11.3a, b and c). For
sha!low depths or in weak ground conditio ns, this can be done by hand (Figu re 11.3d ). In fi rm
ground conditions, the auger is mechanically driven from a drill rig. The samples recovered
from auger boring are high ly disturbed, but are still sui table for visual cl assification and fo r
identification of the soil stratifi cation . Figure 11.3 shows the types of augers used in the field.
The auger can be removed from the hole along with th e soil at any stage to push sampling tubes
into the hole fo r collecting undisturbed sam pl es.
Wash boring is a popular method of drilling in most soils, except in gravels. A drill bit in the
shape of a chisel is raised and then dropped inlo Ihe borehole to cui and loosen the soil. Waler is
sent down the drill rod to exit at high velocity through the holes in the drill bit, wash ing the soi l
trimmings and bringing them to the surface through the annular space between the rod and
the borehole wall. The water is recirculated, wh ich allows the soil particles from the cuttings to
settle in a sump. Any change in stratification can be detected from the color of the wash water.
Percussion drilling is probably the only mel hod thai is applicable in gravelly sites or wher
ever there is significant presence of boulders and cobbles. Here, a cutting tool in the form of a
shell (or baler), clay cutter, or chisel, attached 10 Ihe end of a drill rod, is repeatedly raised by
1 2 m and then dropped. The shell, clay cutter, and chisel are used in sands, clays, and rocks
respectively. The trimmings and soil particles can be brought up by reci rculated wate r.
Rotary drilling is mainly employed in rocks. Here, a drilling 1001 in the form of a cutting bit
or coring bit is attached to the drill rod. It is rotated under pressure to advance into the soil or
rock. A drilling fluid is pumped down the drill rod to cool and lubricate the cutting tool and to
carry the cuttings to Ihe surface.
Due to budget constraints, it is often necessary to limit the number of boreholes and the depth
to which they are extended. Every additional borehole is an added expense for the client. They are
generally spaced at intervals of 15 m (for heavy loads) 10 50 m (for very light loads). Along high
ways, boreholes can be located at 150 500 m intervals. The boreholes should be advanced to depths
where the average vertical stress increase due to the proposed structure is about 10% of the pressure
applied at the surface, or where the additional vertical stress increase is about 5% of the current effec
tive overburden stress. ASCE (1972) suggests using the smaller of the hvo depths.
11 .2.2 Sampling
In granular soils, it is very difficult to obtain undisturbed samples from the field. There are
special techniques (e.g., freezi ng the ground , usi ng resins) for sampling in granular soils, but
Site Investigation 255
(e)
(b)
(d)
256 Geotechnical Engineering
they are very expe nsive. Therefore, the common practice is to rely on in situ (or field) tests to
determine thei r geotechn ical characteristics. If necessary, reconstituted samples ca n be used in
the laboratory. These are laboratory samples prepared to a specific packing density to match the
in situ conditions. Therefore, the sampl ing cxe rdse discussed herein is releva nt to sampling in
cohesive soils.
Attcrberg limi ts, water content, specific gravity, etc., commonly known as index properties,
ca n be determined from remolded samples and tr immings. Nevertheless, consolidation tests
and triaxial tests requi re good quality, undistu:rbed clay sam ples, which can come from tube
samples o r block samples. Tube samples (see Fig ures 11.2c and 11.2d) arc obtained by pushing
thin walled metal tubes, about 75 100 mm in d iameter and 600 900 mm in length, into the soil
at desired depths. Under exceptional circum stances, very large diameter boreholes and samples
are taken, but only to li mited depths. These can be very expensive. Block samples are obtained
from the wall or floor of an excavalion or trial pit. Sampl es can be cut from these blocks for
co nsolidation or triaxia l tests.
Especially in cohesive soils, any disturbance duri ng sa mpling can destroy the fab ric, which
ca n resull in an underestimation of th e strength and sti ffness. 'lberefore, it is highly desirable
to minimize the soil sample disturbance du ring sampling and later during the handli ng and
transportation. The di stu rbance to the soil sample comes in two form s. Fi rst, when the sample
is brought to the ground from a certain depth, there is a sign ifica nt stress relief When the sam
pling tube is manipulated into the borehole, there can be a mechan.ical disturbance in the sample,
especially in the annular region near the wall of the sampler. While the stress rel ief can not be
avoided, the mechanical disturbance can be m in imized. The degree of disturbance becomes
greater as the wall th ickness increases. An area ratio A Ris introduced to quantify the degree of
mechanical disturbance as (Hvorslev 1949);
Example 11 .1: A thinwalled Shelby tubeD.! has an external diameter of 76.2 mm and a wall
thickness of 1.63 mm. What is the area ratio?
Solution:
A =76.202  72.942 x lOO =9.1 %
R 72 .942
Figure 11.4 shows the undrained shear streng th and You ng's modulus data obtained in the
site investigation exercise for the proposed 1000 mhigh Nakheel Tower in Dubai, where the
ground cond itions consist of weak rocks. The u ndrained shear strength and Young's modu
lus were measured by pressuremeter tests car ried out within th ree boreholes an d undistu rbed
samples recovered from the si te. A triple tube PQ3 co ri ng method was used for collecti ng good
quality cores. In spite of all the precautions and testing most of th e samples on the same day,
mostly due to stress relief, the undrained shear strength and Young's modulus measu red from
th e samples in the laboratory were signi fican tly less than the in situ values measured by the
pressure meter at all depths. In this case, the stress relief effects were quite significant in the
carbonatecemented siltstones.
11 .3 IN SITU TESTS
In situ tests consist of inserting a device into the ground and measuring its resistance to pen 
etration or deformation, which is then translate d into strength and stiffness parameters. The
most common fo rm of in situ tests are the pen etration tests (e.g., standard penetration test,
;';Ullt: penet ration test) where an openended sampler or a sol id cone is dr iven or pushed into
the ground, and the resistance to penet ration is measured. Thi s resistance is translated into
strength and stiffness of the soiL Aboul 80 90% of the in situ testing exercises worldwide con 
sist of penetration tests such as standard penetration tests or cone penetration tests. From the
pc nctration resistance at any depth, the shear strength parameters (e.g., 1>', cu ) and soil stiffness
E can be determined.
~
'"
C>
~
o oV I
Shear strength (MPa)
2 3  6 0 oU ' VVV
Young 's modulus (MPa)
=.vvu
2000 ""UUU . ___
400() __
'0
"o
n
OT
0
Q.
m
20 0 20 0
~
<0
0 0 ?/:x", "x .:: 5
40
. 0
0 00
o
~
00
~ ~
0
';:o~:.
0
o )....r':I __ rF'
0
0
0 UCS/2
__ BH203 Pressuremeter
...... SH208  Pressuremeter
40
60
_~X~X~~~~~~~~~::::~~~~~~;;;;;;:
X
I.Nx "
x
!XXx X
~
XX
.t~
}~
 BH203. Pressuremeter
__ BH208_PresSlJremeler
~.
0
<0
~
0
0.,  SH204Pressuremeler XX I.  SH204.Pressu remeter
.0. e o~ l;~;~~
.. :'j
"': "'~i~?t:~X~X~U~CS~'~".~L'~b:)::
6()
0
80 L 80
@,0 , 0 ':l.. 0 0 101 ~
.s 0
0
.9
0
08 0
010 on E . __
I!X..~
~ x ~
 120 o 0 U ,
o
~ 0
010
00 0
0 120 ~~X~'~l~~~~~rt
I X,:.~.
7' X
% ~~ ~
XX  . . .
o 00 0
160
140 0 0 00
000 0
o
0
0
o
0
0
o.~
0 ~
0
0 0 .1>' /
 160
 140 1~~;!lt~:X~~~~~'~~f::~~~~==
x~ >
X'
:x
X
,
,./
o 0 0 "0 JL______1LXL___1X______'________"_______
200  200
Figure 11.4 Effects of stress relief on shear strength and stiffness (Data courtesy of Dr. Chris Haberfield, Golder Associates, Australia)
Site Investigation 259
In situ or field tests are carried out at the site within or outside the boreholes. Advantages
of in situ tests are that they are rapid and provide a continuous record with depth in a relatively
short time. There is no sampling. and therefore no sampling disturbance. The so il is tested in
its in situ state, representing a larger volume. However, it is not possible to determine the soil
parameters from them directly. They are dete rmined indirectly by so me empirical or semi 
empirical methods. An advantage with the laboratory tests is that we have complete control of
lhe drainage and boundar y condiLions and have a rational means (e.g., Mohr circles) of analy:t
ing and interpreting the test results. In situ tests are not there to replace laboratory tests. When
the in situ test data are used in conjunction with the laboratory test data, they complement each
other; one should never be at the expense of the other. Let's have a look at some common in situ
tests for soils.
Figure 11 .5 Penetration tests: (a) schematic diagram of SPT (b) photograph of SPT (Courtesy of Mr. Mark
Arnold) (c) photograph of a dynamic cone penetration test rig
Due to the variabil ity associated with the choice of the SPT equipment and the test proce
dure worldwide, various correction fac tors are applied to the measured blow count N. The two
most important correction factors are the overburden pressure correction eNand the hammer
efficiency correction Eh The blow count, corrected for overburden pressure and hammer effi
ciency. (N1)6/J' is expressed as:
(11.3)
c." is the ratio of the measured blow count to what the blow count would be at the overburden
pressure of toni sq. ft (approximately 1 kg/cm l ). Several expressions have been proposed for e N'
the most popular one being (Liao and Whitman 1986) :
c ~ 978 1 ( 11.4)
N u:"' (kPa)
The actual energy delivered by the hammer to the splitspoon sampler can be significantly less
than the theoretical value, which is the product of the hammer weight and the drop. Kovacs and
Salomone ( 1982) reported that the actual efficiency of the system is between 30 and 80%. Most
SPT correlations are based on a hammer efficie:ncy of 60%, and therefore, the current practice
Site Investigation 261
is to accept th is 60% efficiency as the standard (Terzaghi et al. 1996). Assumi ng that hammer
efficiency is inve rsely proportional to the measu red blow count, Eh is defi ned as:
,:H::,::m::m
coe,,:',::e::
fli::JC::ie::n::cly ( 11 .5)
Eh =
60
N60 (= EJ, N) is the blow count corrected for hammer efficiency, but not corrected for over
burden. Two other correction fac tors are boreho le diameter correction Cb and drill rod length
correction Cd' which are given in Tables 11. 1 and 11.2. These are discussed in detail by Skemp
ton ( 1986). Blow counts should be multiplied by these factors. When using sa mplers with li ners,
the blow count is overestim ated; a furth er multiplication factor 0( 0.8 is recommended in dense
sands and clays, and 0.9 in loose sands (Bowles 1988). These correction factors must be used
whet! defining N,..., and (N,)6tJ.
The only parameter measured in the stand ard penetration test is the blow count and its
variation with depth at every test location. In gran ular soils, the blow coun t can be translated
into effective friction angle q:,', relative density Dr' or Young's modulus E. There arc several em 
pirical correlations relating either N60 or (N 1)60 to q:,', D r> and E.
A very popular correlation used in geotech nical engin eering practice is the graphical one
proposed by Peck et a!. (1974 ) relating N60 and q'.I', which can be approx imated as (Wolff 1989):
ifJ' = 27. 1+0.3 N hO  0.00054 N~ (J 1.6)
The more recent correlations between N60 and <P' also account for the overburden press ure by
incorporating u:O in the equation or by simply using (N1)60' Schmertmann's ( l975) graphical
relation, N60  q:,'  u:", ca n be expressed as (Ku Ihawy and Mayne 1990):
r
where p.. is the atmospheric pressure ( = 101.3 kPa). Hatanaka and Uchid a (1996) suggested
thal for sands:
(I 1.8)
Table".1 Borehole diameter correction Table 11.2 DrUI rod length correction
factor C" (Skempton 1986) factor Cd (Skempton 1986)
Borehole diameter (mm) Correction factor C. Rod length 1m) Correction factor Cd
60115 1.00 04 0.75
150 1.05 46 0 .85
200 1.15 610 0.95
> 10 1.00
262 Geotechnical Engineering
Friction anglcsestimaled from Equation 11.6 are quite conservative (i.e., lower) compared to those
derived from Equations 11.7 and 11.8. The differe nces can be quite large for dense sands.
Skempton ( 1986) suggested that for sands w it h a D, > 35%:
Example 11 .2: A standard penetration test was conducted at 6 m depth and the blow counts
measured for 150 mm penetration are 11, 13, and 12. The SPT rig used an automatic hammer
that was released through a trip mechanism. with a hammer efficiency of 72%. Find N60 and
(N1)60 at this depth. Assume an average unit weight of 18 kN/m) for the soil, and assume that
the water table is .....ell below this depth.
Continues
Site Investigation 263
eN =9.78x C I = 0.94
\f6X18
:. (N j ) " , = 0.94 X 30 = 28.2
In Chapter 3 (see Figure 3.3) we saw how granular soils are classified as loose. dense, etc. Figu re
11 .6 shows the approximate borderline values of N w , (N1)60' 1J', and (N1)roID; for granular soil s.
0 15 35 65
I
85 100
I
' D,(%)
N. 4 10 30 50
" (N,).. 3 8 25 42
"o'(deg) 28 30 36 41
"(N,).. 1D,2 65 59 58
' Tel7~hi 0\ P~k ( 1948): Gibb 8. Holtz ( 1957); "S~empton ( 1986); 'Peck et at. ( 1974)
Figure 11.6 Borderline values of D" N, and 41' for granular soils
264 Geotechnical Engineering
stone
(.) (0)
have high J, and low q,. Figure 11 .7b shows a soiltesting truck equipped with a slatic cone that is
carrying out a COlle penetration test at a mine site. A closeup view of the cone and the interior
of the truck are shown in the insets. The friction ratio j~ at any depth , defined as:
C
q,.. _(} vO
= _  ( 11.1 4)
" Nk
Site Investigation 265
~
::. ~~
i==
T
 'I
~
;;;
1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Clay(l)
8
I
sensitivfine
~~ r
gtained )
Or anic (I)
Figure 11 .8 A chart for classifying soil based on static cone penetration test data
(adapted from Robertson at at. 1986)
Example 11.3: For the piezocone data shown in Figure 11.9, determine the soil located at 2 m
depth below the ground level.
where 0 ,(1 is th e total overbu rden pressure at the test depth and Nl is the cone factor that varies
in the range of 1425. which can be obtained th rough calibration. The lower end of the range
applies to normally consoli dated clays and the upper end to overconsolid ated clays, The cone
factor depends on the penetrometer and the Iype of day, and increases sligh tly with the plastic
ity index. Based on the test data from Aas et a!. ( 1986), Nt can be estimated by (Bowles 1988):
Nt = 13+0. 11PI :t: 2 (I U S)
266 Geotechnical Eng ineering
,, ,
eontRn .... oce
s:e....
.~
,,
0.10
, 
~ MP~J
... ..
."
" ." ", .... . .. .. ..,.
"" ", .w "
" " .. Port .....""'. ! ~1P~1 frw:t/l Ra,o
o 2
~l
I1 ' } =;:
"
,
, ''' ..,.. ~
~
IT   I I
1 ,
t ""
, ,,
,
I I"1 i
<; i' ~
'. .~:+tt~
,
(
I
'
I,
I
~
f=
 .
I ~. ,,..<J. ..
<~ I
. =,I ' I I'
>1 I
I I
..fJ+tI flt  , I
I , (
. S . I
  I i
, f
! If..  .
,,
!6I!(), ,!i!lS'4 ~
r TO (...... HOI
~"9''
CO<>eTI
H I:::j
l SANDS
IlOGll~!.IOl ut
!=
I
,
C
i E S TNA
STATtON A HADlN.iO
eooo:!_lmJ ~ "l)4J;.O' N l .... S1I2~ IiERBER' R,VE RANNIISAAHCH BUllE Sl'l e
Figure 11.9 Piezocone data and soil classification (C<::Jurtesy of Mr. Leonard Sand s, Venezuela)
where PI is the plasticity index of the soil. Mayne and Kemper (1988) suggested an Nk of 15 for
electric cones and 20 for mechanical cones. Thecl assification of clays based on the undrained shear
~ lreng lh and their corresponding consistency terms are given in Table Il .3. Also given in the table
are the approximate borderline values of (N ,)t\O and qJ p"and the fi eld identification guide.
Kul hawy and Mayne ( 1990) showed that the q< a~ 1J' relat ionship in sands, proposed
graphi cally by Robertso n and Cam panella ( 198.3), can be approximated by:
In 1970, Schmertmann proposed that E = 2 q( in sands, and later (Sch mertmann et aL 1978)
mod ified this to E = 2.5 q<fo r axisym metric loading and E = 3.5 q, fo r plane strainl oad ill g.
Geotechn ical engin eers do not always have the luxury of havi ng both the SPT and CPT
data. When on ly on e is avail able, it is useful to h ave some means of converting from one to the
Site Investigation 261
' Con sistency c~ (kPa) ' (N,I, qcfp. ", "FIeld identifica tion guIde
Very soft < 12 02 < 5 Exudes betWf!en fingeNi when squeezed in hand: easily
penetrated with a list to a depth 01 several centimeters
Soh 1225 24 515 Can be molded with light finger pressure; easily penetrated wit h
the thumb to a depth of several centimeters
Firm 2550 48 Can be molded with strong finger pressure; can be penetrated
with a thumb using moderate effort to a depth of several
centimeters
Stiff 50100 815 1530 Cannot be molded by fingers; can be indented with a thumb,
but penetrated only with great effort
Very stiff 100200 1>;)0 3000 Readily indented with a th umbnail
Hard > 200 > 30 >60 Can be indented with a thumbnail, but with difficulty
' Terzagnl & Pec~ (1948); 'McCarthy (2007); " Austlllti"" Slandards (1993); "Canadian Geotec hnicat Sociely (1992)
other. Ratios of qJNro for different soils. as given by Sanglerat (1972) and Schmertmann ( 1970,
1978), are shown in Table 11.4. Robertson et al. (1983) presen ted the variation of q.l Nw wiLh the
median grain size D5/)' and the upper and lower bounds are shown in Figure 11.10. The soil data
were limited to Dso less than I mm. Also shown in the figure are the upper and lower bounds
proposed by Burland and Bu rbidge (1985), and the average values suggested by the Canadian
FOllndation Engineering Manual (Canadian Geotechnical Society 1992). Kulhawy and Mayne
(1990) and AnagnostpouJos et al. (2003). All the curves in Figure 11.8 take the (ollowing (orm:
(~) =co;.
N",
(I 1.1 7)
The values of a and c are shown in Figu re 11.10. Kulhawy and Mayne (1990) approximated the
dependence of q.lN6(J ratio on D5/) (mm) as:
q, )
(
~ = 5.44D~6 (I !.IS)
N ",
Based on an extensive database of 337 points with test data (or Dso as high as 8 mm, Anagnos
topoulos el al. (2003) noted that [or Greek soils:
( 11.1 9)
268 Geotechnical Engineering
Soil
Silts, sandy silts, slightly cohesive sillsand mix 2" (24)"
Clean, fine to medium sands and slightly silty san d s 34" (3_5)'
Coarse sands and sands with little gravel 56" (4_5)
Sandy gravel and gravel 810" (68)"
"Values proposed by Sangleral (1972) and reported in Peck el al. (1974)
"V.,lues suggested by Schmertmann (1970, 1978) reported by Holtz (t99 t ) In parentneses.
25
.J,_~,1,",.U ..!,l.~II,~ .. 0.33
. """."d."d IJurbkItot fl N5I L_ ' .90 0.32
 RwII._tlal.(1II31Vooer m' ""
20
 __ "al(I~ I3I~
." /
/
,/
/
15
,
(q J p)IN.. " cD.: ,
. . a ,./
10
 'v ,/
s ,, 
;;;;;;;
  

;;~~~
1j.1).\t> :;.;!.. "
 . 
 ~
  ~ ~ 

o
0.01 0.1 10
Kulhawy and Mayne (1990) also suggested that Q.lN6U ca n be related to the fine content in a
granular soil as:
In clays. the cone ca n be paused at any depth for carrying out a porepressure dissipation test
to determ ine the co nsolidat ion and permeabilit y characteristics. Includ ing a geophone in the
Si1e Inves1igation 269
piezocone enables the measu rement of shear wave velocities from which the dynamic shear
modulus can be determ ined. Such piezocones are known as seismic cOlles.
where II and d are the height and breadth of the rectangular blades (i.e., height and diameter
of the cylindrical surface sheared), which are t ypically of a 2:1 ratio with d in the range of
,T_ I ~ Torque T
, .' . ~
, It
V..,.
;I
C'I Cbl Col
Figure 11 .11 Vane shear test (a) in a bore hole (h) vane (e) vane and
torque meter (Courtesy of Dr. K. Pirapakaran, Coffey Geotechnies)
270 Geotechnical Engineering
38 100 mm for the field vanes (Figure 11.1 I e) . Miniature vanes are used in laboratories to
determine the undrained shear strength of cla)1samples still in sampling tubes. The test can be
continued by rotating the vane rapidly after sheari ng the day to determine the remolded shear
strength. The test can be carried out at depths as high as 50 m.
A back analysis of several fail ed embankments, foundations , and excavations in clays has
shown that the vane shear test overestimates the undrained shear strength. A reduction factor
A has been proposed to correct the shear strength measured by vane shear test, and the correct
shear strength is given by:
Air
Water
P,
P,
Yielding
, + Guard cell
,, +
p ... v:
+
Measuring cell
+ P, In situ state
+
Guard cell
+
P, Contact with borehole wall
v, v
(., (b) ,
Figure 11 .12 Pressuremeter test: (a) schematic diagram (b) pressurevolume plot (c) photograph of
test setup and a pressuremeler
Ep ( dP ) (I 1.26)
G= 2(I+v) = Vo dV p' Po
where Vo is the volume corresponding to the in situ sta te where P = Po. From the in situ hori 
zontal stress Po, rhe coefficiem of earth pressure at rest Ko can be determined. In sands, the pres
suremeter test gives the effective friction angle cp'. In clays, the test gives the undrained shear
st rength C~ and the horizontal coefficient of consolidation Ch' The selfboring pressuremeter has
a CUll ing tool at the bottom and does not require a prcbored hole for inse rting the probe, thus
min imiz.ing the disturbance due to stress reIit:f.
is mounted flush with one face (Figure 11.13a). The bottom 50 mm of the blade is tapered to
provide a sharp cutting edge when penetrating the soil. The blade is advanced into the soil, gen
erally using a cone penetration test rig, at a rate of20 mmls, but sometimes using impactdriven
hammers similar to those used in a standard penetration test. A general layout of the test setup
is shown in Figure II.13b.
At any depth, three pressure readings are taken: (a) the pressure requ ired 10 bring the mem 
brane flush with the soil surface, generally after 0.05 mm movement, known as li ft ofT pressure
(b)
I')
, Material
,
index .,, Constrained
modulus .,, Un drained
shear strength .,, Horizontal
stress index ,.,, Shear wave
velocity
"0' .5 5 10 0 10 20 00 40 60 00 2 4 6 8 00 200 400
If
., ~
f
4 4 4 4 4
8 8 8 8 8
12 12 12 12 12 ...
~~.
16 16
16
20
" 16
20 20
,
t 20
. r~
.~
24 24 . ,:;:::S' 24 24
28 28 28 28
32 32 32 32 32
J6 "0 6{)36 6 36
40 0 2 4 6 0 200 400
Id M (MPa) Cu (kPa) Kd Vs (m/s)
(0)
Figure 11.13 Marchetti difatomeler: (a) dilatometer and control unit (b) setup (c) sample data (Courtesy of
Professor Marchetti, Italy)
Site Investigation 273
or A pressure, (b) the pressu re required to push the membrane laterally by l.l mm against the
soil, known as B pressu re, and (c) the pressure when the membrane is deflated, known as clos
ing pressure or C pressure, which is a measure o f the pore water pressure in the soil . The test is
conducted at 200 mm depth inte rvals.
The interpretation of a di latomete r test is rather empirical. A material index 1p. horizontal
stress index Kn, and a dilatometer mod ulus Eo are comp uted empirically. The materi al index,
which is low for soft cl ays, medium for silts, and high for sands, is used to identify the soil. A
horizontal stress index is used to determ in e horizontal stress, and hence Ko' the OCR, and the
undrained shear strength c" in clays and the effe(:tive friction angle tjJ' in sands. The dilatometer
modul us is used to determi ne the constrained m odulus, and hence the modulus of elastici ty_
A typical datasheet wit h interpretations from a dilatometer test location is shown in Figure
11.l3c.
(a)
(t'l
Figure 11.14 Borehole shear test: (a) shear head (b) test in progress
(Courtesy of Professor David White, Iowa State University)
Site Investigation 275
p.
75
E
4.5 E
.,;
c
~
.2
, 3 5
,,,
~
, ""
,, 1.5
ExtrapOlated in situ stress
f_
P
a
a Log pressure
(.) (b)
Figure 11 .15 Ko steppedblade test (Courtesy of Professor David White, Iowa State University)
shown in Figure 11.1 5, the logarithm of pressure is plotted against the blade thickness. The
pressure correspond ing to zero blade thickness Po is extrapolated from the figure and is taken
as the total in si tu horizontal pressure, from wh ich Ko can be computed once the pore water
pressure is known from the groundwa ter table depth. The pressure should increase with blade
th ickness. Any data that do not show an increase in pressure with an increase in step thickness
must be discarded, an d o nly the remaining data should be used in estimating the in situ hori 
zontal pressure.
is anchored into the ground or loaded by jacking against a kent/edge carrying heavy weights. A
kentledge is a stack of heavy weights used to keep the horizontal reaction beam from moving
up while jacking in a plate load test or a pile load test (see Chapter 13). The main problem wi th
the plate load test is the influence depth, which is only about 12 times the width of the loaded
area. Therefore, the plate load test assesses the loaddeformation characteristics at ver y shallow
depths. whereas the actual depth of influence in the prototype structure would be significantly
more. In other words, the plate load test can miss some problem soils that are present within the
influence wne of the prototype foundation .
11 .4 LABORATORY TESTS
Appropriate laboratory tests on disturbed and undisturbed samples collected from a site are an
integral part of a site investigation exercise. While the index properties are relatively inexpen
sive to determine, consolidated drained or und rained triaxial tests and consolidation tests are
quite expensive. When working within a limited budget, one should be prudent when selecting
the number of samples for laboratory tests and deciding on the types of tests.
Index properties can be determined from the disturbed samples, including trimmings and
those samples collected from the splitbarrel sampler of a standard penetration test. They are
useful for classification purposes, and also when using empirical correlations (e.g., Equations
8.5,9.20) to estimate the compressibi lity and st rength characteristics of clays, wh ich can be use
ful in the absence of any other data. espeCially in the preliminary studies.
High quality undisturbed samples arc necessary for triaxial and consolidation tests. They
come from Shelby tubes or special samplers such as piston samplers where the disturbance
is minimal. The details of laboratory tests are discussed elsewhere. The major laboratory tests,
their purposes, and the parameters derived are summarized in Table U ,S.
Triaxial
Consolidated drained c' and 0 '
Strength/stability analysis
Consolidated undrained c ' and o
Unconsolidated undrained
Unconfined compression
Settlement calculations Consolidation
Permeability ,
Seepage analysis Constant head (coarse)
Falling head (fines)
278 Geotechnical Eng ineering
coffey") geotechnics

8<1<....,."". }()()(
, .r
Engineering Log  Borehole p ,"'!". "0.
PORT OF BRISBANE CORPORA nON 0., . . .. ".~ ; 13.~. 200&
..........
""",
"'_ ' '''~dr'' ''''''' _ _ ''
_00

....... __ .
 
_.""*' ,. ....'. .
.
lI". _ _ _ "
"
, " "' '
""
o ~
"""
...... 
,~ , ~
"
'"
"'.
Figure 11 .16 A typical bore log (Courtesy of Dr. Jay Ameratunga, Coffey Geotechnics)
$ile Investigation 279
coffey e) geotechnics
Engineering log  Borehole 
~.
Projod No'
..
)()(X
,

D... _
c.r.: PORT OF BRISSANE CORPORATION 13.1,2006:
D"'~"": 1U.2OOf
Prqed: FlJTUR~ Re"CLAMATlON ~I>" JO
_ _ ... _ , TEII/MINA L 11
~
_. 

.
. .."
.....
U.

_ _ !O _ _
____


'"' 
...
..
""""""
P I_
$I'f _ _...
_ _
. 


 
.!. :"!!:...... :   

".
Figure 11 .16 (Continued)
280 Geotechnical Engineering
@J
Rei;;indet' .:. Laboratory and in situ tests are complements; one should not be
carried out at the expense of the other.
:. The stanclard penetrat ion fest i .~ unreliable in cohesive soils. Still ,
there are a few empirical correlations that can be used to derive the
approximate undrained shea r strength .
:. In cone pe net ration tests, d ays have higher J. a nd sands have higher
q.. As a result, d ays have hight:r /II. and sands have lower f~.
o!o 80 90% of in situ tests consist of standard pe netration tests and
cone penetrat ion tests.
:. The vane shear lest is mainly for soft d ays and determines c".
:. The borehole shear test and the Ko stepped blade test are very spe
cialized tests.
WORKED EXAMPLES
1. Show fro m the first prin ciples that the und rai ned shear strength in a vane shear test is
given by Equation 11.2 1.
Solution: The vane is rotated quickly enough to ensure th at the test is carried out under
undrained condit ions. The vane shears a cyli ndrical fail ure surface as shown in the
figure on page 28 1. where the shear stress at fa ilure is the same at the uppe r and lower
horizontal circular areas and the vertic~1 1 cylind rical surface. Let's calculate the torque
resisted by the shear stresses along these surfaces.
Cylindrical surface:
, d,
Failure (shear) ,
surlace .rr "':::;"!:3==;::'C
h
f
T 
'd<.~II
For equilibrium, the torque applied to shea r the clay is given by T = T l + 2 T2:
h 7fd '}
J7fd''2+6
:. T = 7/ 1
The test bei ng undrained , 7f = cu :
2T
:'C= 7rd 2 (h+~)
u
2. In a standard penetration test in san ds. the blow count measu red at 10.0 m depth was 22.
An automatic hammer released by a trip with an efficiency 0( 70% was used in the test.
The unit weight of sand is 18.0 kN/m J .
a. Find Nfi() and (N1)6Q
b. Estimate the fri ction angle, relative d ensity, and You ng's modulus by all possible
correlations
Solutiol1 :
a.
70
N,,=22x= 25.7
60
J'3'
4>'=lan  '
Leonards ( 1986):
E = S X 25.7 X 100 kPa = 20.5 M Pa
Ku lhawy and Mayne (1990) give simi ia r values for E.
3. A 65 mm X 130 mm vane was pushed into a clay and rotated; th e sh earing occurred
when the applied torq ue was 20.0 N m. W he n th e vane was fu rther rotated to remold the
d ay. the torque dropped to 8.5 Nm. The p lasticity index of the d ay was 40. Find the un 
dra ined shear strength and the sensitivity of the clay.
What would be the maximum load that C<1Il be applied to a 50 mm diameter sample col
lected from this d epth?
Solution: Fro m Equation 11.21:
2T 2 x 20
c" = ""d' (I' + d ) = ,( 0.065 )pa = 19870 Pa = 19.9 kPa
" 1rxO.Oh5 0.130 +  
3 3
From Equ ation 11.23:
Bjerrum's correct ion :
). = 1.7  0.54 log PI = 1.7  0.54 log 40 = 0.S3
:. Peak undrained shear st rength = 0.83 X 19.9 = 16.5 kPa
Similarl y. residual undrained shear strength = 7.0 kPa
:. Sensitivity = 16.517.0 = 2.4
Site Investigation 283
144
'" ' = tan _,[ 0.1 + 0.38 log (I SOOO)] = 40.9 deg
(!:)
N",
= S.44 X 0.526 = 4.54
N~ = (lS,OOO/lOO).; 4. S4 = 33
REVIEW EXERCISES
I. Compute the area ratio of a splitbarrel sampler used in a standard penetratio n test and
see ifi l gives good quality, undisturbed samples.
Wha t are the different types of hammers used in a standard penetration tcst? Give the ir
approximate energy ratings.
284 Geotechnical Engineering
~ 2. W hat is a scrcw plate test? Prepare a short s ummary with a figure where appropriate, dis
. TiT
cussing the salient features.
Surf the Internet for information on seismic cone tests and write a short summary with a
simpl e schematic diagram.
4. Carry out a literature review and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of in situ testing
and laboratory testing.
5. Carry out a literature review and list five refere nces on in situ test ing of soils and two each
on pressuremeter tests, dilatometer tests, borehole shear tests, and Ko steppedblade tests.
6. A 75 mm X 150 mm vane was pushed into a clay in a borehole and rotated. At initial shear
ing, the applied torque was 60 Nm. Later wh en the vane was rotated fu rthe r, the torque was
reduced to 35 Nm. T he plasticity index of the clay is 35. Find the peak and residual shear
strengths of the clay. What is the sensitivity of the clay?
Answer: 33.6 kPa, 19.6 kPa; 1.7
7. A borehole shear test was carried o ut where the following data were measured at shear
failure on the borehole wall s:
Normal stress (kPa) 38.5 84.0 124.0 168 .0
Shear stress (kPa) 28.0 32.0 81.0 103.0
Find the effective cohesion and friction angle (after Handy and Spanglcr, 2007)
Answer: 0 ami 30"
8. A Kosteppedblade test was carried o ut in ;) soil and readings were obtained from all fou r
blades at two subdepths. T he readings are as follows:
Step thickness (mm) 3.0 4.5 6.0 7.5
Pressure (kPa) 110 168 190 205 at subdepth 1
152 183 24 1 210 at subdeplh 2
Plot the logarithm of the measured pressure against the thickness and estimate the in situ
horizontal stress.
Answer; 60 kPu
Site Investigation 285
9. The following questions arc related to the bore log given in Figure 11.1 6.
a. What is the predominant soil within the top 4 m ?
b. W hat is the predominant soil below 10 m depth?
c. What is the reduced level at the ground. level?
d. What is the diam eter of the borehole?
c. What is the blow count from the standard penetration test at 10 m? How would you
classify th is sand?
f. What is the undrained shear strength of the clay at 4.5 m dcpth?
g. What is the undrained shear strength at the bo ttom of the borehole?
h. How many 75 mm diameter tube samples were collected in clays?
I. What is the difference between the NvaJues with and without the'" sign?
10. Access http://www.gintsoftware.com and use their trial version of gint to prepare a bore
log with as much detail as possible. What other software packages are available for this
purpose? Compare th em.
\ 1. The data from a piezocone penetration test is given in the figure o n page 286. Note that
the cone resistance q~ is plotted to two different scales. The groundwater table lies 1 m
below the ground level. Develop the soil profile for this site.
286 Geotechnical Engineering
., "
Cono 11<.,..."". ('I<I ..... ''''' ~'' ...... IU,I''''
I _""U .....
"
I
'' . ,, ,
'' ' ~'' .. 
.
.r:::::..  '  _. _._ 
.'7
. . " "" " ,".
, "
, , ,i  :,  ~
 '}'
"'"
." , ,,, .:',, ~,,, ,~, ':.,  '
r'
, . ,
,
,
,, ",
, '",''",'
, ,.
, , ". ,,. ,
','
, ,
,
,
_ 0 _ _ _ _ >" __
"
"".
L_~ __ ' ____ "' __ '
":
__
,
, , ,  , .  ;  : : .  t  ': +: 'h~  ~  +
.. , , ,,
,
I
. ': ')~!~H
" "
:Jf "'
~tr~t
" ~.
j
~~~H'fI
!i i ~ :I
.. .
,r'
,,,; :.~ : :~
~~': '
, , , , ,...
~.,
.
~. .
,
,,.. ,,.,.,.,
" , ,,  ,
~C L L
? i
 , _ . _., _.
,
,
.., . ~
,
,.. ,  ,  ,..,  ~ , ,, ,', ,',  ,., ,
, " ,. ,
. !I
.. .'::~:e:L.. _._ ~_, ~ l.._. J WJ
0 .0 0 .2 0.' o.e O~ 1.0
c......""...," 10<1 MP.
Site Investigation 287
Duratio n: 20 minutes
4. What param eters can be derived from the blow count N in a standard pe netratio n
test of g ranul ar so il s?
(I point)
288 Geotechnical Engineering
7. What are the parameters that can be derived from a pressuremeter test?
(1 point)
WV ~
This book has free materia! aVCli!able for download from the
Wt:!lJ Adut!d value'" rttSOUrce center at vvwvv.jro:;spub.com
Shallow Foundations 12
12.1 INTRODUCTION
Foundations arc structural elements that are intended to safely transfer the loads from the
structure (e.g., building, transmission tower) to the ground. The two major classes of founda
tions are shallow!oulIdatiollS and deep foundations. Shallow foundations transfer the e ntire load
to the soil at relatively shallow depths. A common understanding is that the depth of a shallow
fo undation DI mllst be less than the breadth B. Breadth is the shorter of the two plan dimen
sions. ShaUow foundations incl ude pad foot ings, strip (o r wall) footings, and mat foundations as
shown in Figure 12.1. Pad foot ings, typically 1 4 m in breadth. are placed under the columns,
spreadi ng the column loads evenl), to the grou nd. Simil arl y, strip footi ngs are placed under
the walls that carry the line loads. Combined footings or strap footings carry more than one col
umn load. Mat foundations, also known as raft foundations, carry multiple column and/or wall
loads. When a substantial plan area ofthe building (e.g., more than 50%) would be occupied by
isolated footin gs, it may be cost effective to provide a raft foundation by concreting th e entire
Figure 12.1 Types of shallow foundations: (a) pad footing (b) strip footing (el mat or raft foundation
289
290 Geotechnical Engineering
plan area. A typical high rise building can apply 10 15 kPa per floor. Deep fou ndations have a
depth greater than the breadth, and are discussed in Chapter 13.
A pad footing of plan dimensions Band L. carrying a load Q, applies a pressure of QIBL to
the underlying soil. A strip footing of width B. ca rryi ng ,\ line load of Q kN/ m, applies a pres
sure of QIB to the und erlying soil. Th e length o f a st rip footing is Significantly greater than th e
breadth; hence BIL is o ft en assumed to be zero.
Example 12.1: A 2.0 mwide strip footing carries a wall load of 300 kN/ m. What would be the
pressure applied to the underlying soil?
Solution:
300
q applitd =2' = 150 kPa
Example 12.2 : Two columns at a spacing of 6 In are resting on pad footings that have settled by
5 mm and 20 mm. Determine if there is excessive angular d istortion.
Solution:
Dille rential seulement = 20  5 = 15 mm
Angular d istortion = 15/6000 = 1/400 ~ withi n limits
,..O,(Surcharge)
Figure 12.2 Assumed failure surface within the soil during bearing capacity failure
292 Geotechnical Engineering
Figure 12.3 Failure modes of a shallow foundation : (a) general shear (b) local
shear (c) punching shear
clearly fo rmed heave appears at the ground level near the footing. The other extreme is punch
ing shear failure, which occurs in weak, compressible soils such as very loose sands where the
failure surface does not extend to the ground level, the fai lure load is not well defi ned, and there
is no noticeable heave at the ground level (Figure 12.3c). Between these two modes, there is
local shear failure (Figure 12.3b), which occurs in soils of intermediate compressibility such as
mediumdense sands, where only slight heave occurs at the ground level near the footing.
In reality, the ground conditions are always improved through compaction before placing
the fo oting. For shallow foundations in granular soils with a Dr > 70% and in stiff clays, th e
failure will occur in general shear mode (Vesic 1973). Therefore, it is reaso nable to assume that
the general shear failure mode applies in most situations.
The applied pressure at failure is known as the ultimate bearing capacity quit (Figure 12.3).
'fh is is the maximum pressure that the footing can apply to the underlying ground before fail
ure occurs within the soil. Obviously, we want to see that the pressure applied by the footing is
significantly less than the ultimate beari ng capacity, thus lim iting the probability of failure. The
allowable bearing capacity q.1I is defined as:
_. qui!
q"II  (12. 1)
F
where F is the safety factor, which is usually about J for shallow foundations. 10 account fo r the
uncertainty in the design parameters and in the simplified theories, we use safety factors that
are significantly higher than those used by our structu ral engineering counterparts. The high
safety factor is attributed in part to the unfactored dead and live loads that are used to calculate
the design loads. The applied pressure qapp should not exceed the allowable pressureideally,
they should be equ al.
Granular soils:
Dense gravel or sand/gravel > 600
Mediumdense gravel or sandlgravel 200600
Loose gravel or sandlgravel < 200
Dense sand > 300
Mediumdense sand ,00300
Loose sand < ' 00
Cohesive soils:
Very stiff clays 300000
Stiff clays '5()J00
Firm clays 75150
Soft clays and silts < 75
textbooks (see U.S. Army 1993, Bowles 1986). Hc;:re, the specifi ed values do not reflect the site or
geologie conditions, shear strength parameters of the soil. or the fo und ation dimensions. Some
typical values are given in Table 12.1.
Example 12.3: A square fooling is required to carry a 600 kN column load in a mediumdense
sand. Estimate its width.
Here, c, /'t' and /'2 are the cohesion and unit weights of the soil above and below the footing
level respectively. N" N q, and Nyare the bearin g capacity fac tors that are funct ions of the friction
angle. The ultimate bearing capacity is derived from three distinc t components. 'The first term
in Equation 12.2 reflects the contribution of cohesion to the ultimate bearing capacity, and the
second term reflects the frictional co ntribution of th e overburden pressure or surcharge. The
last term reflects the frictional contribution of the selfweight of the soil below the footing level
in the fail ure zone.
For square and circular footings, the ultimate bearing capacities are given by Equations 12.3
and 12.4 respectively.
Sq uare: quit = 1.2 eN, + 1'1 Dj + 0.4 BY 2N y (12.3)
Remember that the bearing capacity factors in Eq uations 12.3 and 12.4 are those of strip foot
ings. In local shear failure, the fa ilure surface is not fully developed, and thus the friction and
cohesion are not fully mobilized. For this local shear failure, Terzaghi red uced the values of
friction angle and cohesion to tan  1(0.67 ) and 0.67 c respectively.
Terzaghi neglected th e shear resistance provided by the overburden soil, which was simply
treated as a surcharge (see f igure 12.2). Also, he assumed in Figure 12.2 th at 0:" = q,. Subsequent
studies by several others show that a = 45 + q,/2 (Vcsic 1973), whi ch makes the bearing capac
ity factors different from what were originally proposed by Tcrzaghi. With a = 45 + cP12, the
bearing capacity factors Nq and N, become:
The above expression for N, is the same as the one originally proposed by Prandtl (192 I), and
the one fo r Nq is the same as th e one given by Rc issner ( 1921). Wh ile there is a consensus about
Equations 12.5 and 12.6, various expressions h:ave been proposed fo r Ny in the literature, the
most used being those proposed by Meyerhof(l963) and Hansen (1970). Some of these differ
ent expressions for Ny are presented in Table 12.2. The bearing capacity equation can be applied
in terms of total or effective stresses, using c' and ', or Cu and u.
Shallow Foundations 295
For undrained loading in clays, when 11u = 0 it can be shown that Nil = 1, Nl = 0, and N,
= 2 + 11" ( = 5.14). Skempton (1951) studied the variation of N( with the shape and depth oflhe
foundation. He showed that for strip footing, it varies from 2 + 11" at the surface to 7.5 at a depth
greater than 4B. For square foot ings, it varies between 211" at the surface and 9.0 at depth greater
than 4B. Therefore, for pile foundations, it is generally assumed that Nc = 9.
Most of the bearing capacity theories (e.g., Prandtl, Terzaghi) assume that the footing soil
interface is rough. Concrete footings are made b}' pouring concrete directly on the ground, and
therefore the soilfooting interface is rough . Schultze and Horn (1967) noted that the way the
concrete footings are cast in pl ace, there is adequate frict ion at the base, which mobi li zes fric 
tion angles equal to cp. Even the bottom of a metal storage tank is not smooth since the base is
always treated with paint or asphalt to resist cor rosion (Bowl es 1996). Therefore, the ass ump
tion of a rough base is more realistic than a smooth one. Based on experimental studies, Vesic
( 1975) stated that foundat ion rough ness has little effect on the ultimate bearing capacity, pro
vided the foot ing load is vertical.
Meyerhof's (used predominantly in North America) and Hansen's (used in Europe) Nyap
pear to be the most popu lar of the different expressions given for Ny in Table 12.2. The values of
N~ . proposed by Meyerhof(1963), Hansen (1970), Vesic (1973), and Eurocode 7 (EC7 1995) are
shown in Figure 12.4 along with th ose of Nq and .N(. l::or 11 < 30, Meyerhof's and Hansen's val
ues are essenti ally the same. For cp > 30, Meyerhof's values are larger, the difference increasing
with 11. Indian standard recommends Vesic's Ny (Raj 1995). The Canadian Foundation Engineer
ing Manual (992) recom mends Hansen's N~ fac tor.
1000
~ fNy~
,Ny
~
~
~
100
~J#/
u
~
u
~
c
c
m
10 ~
,... 
~
~
~ k /r' fNy
o 10 20 40 50
FricliiJn angle (deg)
footing level), which was included in Meyerhof's (l95I) modifications, which are discussed
here. Meyerhof's (1963) modifications, which are accepted worldwide, are summarized here.
Meyerhof (1963) proposed the general bearing capacity equation of a rectangular foot ing as:
(12.7)
where Nc> Nq, and Nyare the bearing capacity fa.ctors of a strip footing. The shape of the footing
is accounted for through the shape factors 5, . 5'1' and Sy' The depth of the footing is taken into
account through the depth factors do dq and d". The inclination factors ie' iq , and il' account for
the inclination in the applied load. These fac tors are summarized below.
Shape Jactors (MeyerhoJ 1963):
(12.8)
Sq = s..,. = 1+0.1 L
B tan , ( 45+2'
"')
( 12.9)
~ 1 fo r "' ~ O
(12.10)
Shallow Foundations 297
( 12.11 )
~ 1 forq, ~ O
i( (1 ;~y
=iq = (12.12)
Here, a is the inclination (degrees) of the footing load to the vertical. Note that in spite of the
load being inclined, the ultimate bearing capacity computed from Equation 12.7 provides its
vertical component.
PlalTestrain correction:
It has been reported by several researchers that the friction angle obtained from a plane
strain compression test p. is greater than that obtained from a tr iaxial compression test !<
by about 4 to 9 in dense sands and 2 to 4 in loose sands (Ladd et al. 1977). A conservative
estimate of the planestrain frict ion angle may be obtained from the triaxial test by (Lade and
Lee 1976),
(12.14)
Allen et al. (2004) related th e peak friction angl,~s from direct shear d. and planestrain com 
pressio n tests through the following equation :
(12.15)
The soil element beneath the centerline of a strip footing is subjected to planestrain loading,
and therefore the planestrain friction angle must be used to calculate its bearing capacity.
The planestrain friction angle can be obtained from a planestrain compression test, which
is uncommon. 'The loadi ng condition of a soil element along the vertical centerline of a square
or circular footing resembles more of an axisymmetric loading than a planestrain one, thus
requiring an axisymmetric friction angle that can be determined from a consolidated d rai ned
or undrainedtriaxial compression test.
298 Geotechnical Engineering
Based on the suggest ions made by Bishop (196 1) and Bjerrum and Kummeneje ( 1961) that
the planestrain friction angle is 10% g reater than that from a triaxial compression test, Meyer
hof ( 1963) proposed the corrected friction angle for the use with rectangular foolings as:
Equation 12.16 simply enables interpolation between 1>"1 101 (for HI L= 1) and 1>pl.nnlrai n (for
BIL = O). The friction angles that arc available in most geotechnical designs are derived from
triaxial tests in the laboratory or in situ penet r ation tests. Planestrain tests are complex and
uncommon. Therefore, unless stated otherwise, it can be assumed that the friction angle is
derived from axisymmetric loading conditions,. and should be corrected using Equation 12. 16
for rectangular or strip footings.
Eccentric loading:
When the footing is loaded with some eccentricity, the ultimate bearing capacity is reduced.
Meyerhof (I963) suggested the effective footing breadth B' and length L' as R' = R  2 ej) and
L' = L  2 el , where ell and eL are the eccentricities along the breadth and length directions as
shown in Figure 12.5.
For footings with eccentricities, B' and L' should be used to compute the ultimate bearing
capacity (Equation 12.7) and shape factors (Equations 12.8 and 12.9). To compute the depth
factors (Equations 12.10 and 12.11), B should be used. The unhatched area (A' = B' X L') in /
Figure 12.5 is the effective area that contributes to the bearing capacity. Therefore, the ultimate
B
1< I
Figure 12.5 Meyerhof's eccentricity correction
Shallow Foundations 299
foo ting load is computed by multiplying the ultimate bearing capacity by this area A ' . When the
hatched area is disregarded, the load acts at the center of the remain ing area.
Meyerhof's bearing capacity equation (Equation 12.7), with the correction factors for
shape, depth , and inclination , is a sign ificant improvement from Terzaghi's equation. There are
also similar approaches suggested by Hansen ('1970) and Vesic (1973, 1975) where the bearing
capacity equation and the correction factors are d ifferent. They have two additional sets of cor
rection factors to account for the ground inclin ation (gr' gq' and gr) and base inclination (br, bq,
and br ) that cate r to the foo tings constructed on sloping grounds and footings where the base
is not horizontaL
(12. 18)
We generally use Cu and CPII = 0 for short term stability analysis in terms of total stresses, assum 
ing undrainnl cum.li Liulls.
300 Geotechnical Engineering
Example 12.4: In a clayey sand with c' = 10 kPa, 4>' = 32, and l' = 18 kN/m), a 1.5 m X 2.0 m
rectangular footi ng is placed at a depth ofO.5:m as shown below. The un it weight of concrete is
23 kN/m J The water table lies well below the foundat ion level . What is the maximum column
load allowed on this footing?
GL
D,:o.5m
e:l.5m
Solution :
s~ = 1+0.21.5
 tan 2 (45+16.4 ) = 1.50
2.0
Depth factors:
0.5 tan(45+
d , = 1+0.2 . 16.4 ) = 1.1 2
1.5 .
Continues
Shallow Foundations 301
Q( 12CX)
q(x)='B I + T (12.19)
302 Geotechnical Engineering
,
,
,',
Bi
, >1
B
1< I
laJ IbJ loJ
Figure 12.6 Pressure distribution beneath an eccentrically loaded strip footing: (a) eccentric load
(b) equivalent concentric load with moment (e) plan view
ll1 Cmaximum and minimum values of the soil pressure, which occ ur at the two edges of the
strip footing, at x = O.S B and x =  o.s B respectively, are given b)':

qmax
Q( 1+ 6e)
B
B (J 2.20)
(J 2.2 1)
It can be seen from Equation 12.21 that the soil pressure beneath the footing will be compressive
at all points, provided e < B16. Since there cannot be tensile normal stress between the founda
tion and the soil when e exceeds B16, one edge of the footi ng will li ft off the ground, reducing
the contact area, resulting in a redist ribution of the contact pressure. It is th ere fore desirable to
limit the eccentricity to a maximum of B/6, as shown by the shaded area in Figure 12.6c.
Figure 12.7a shows a rectangular fo oting with eccentricities of en and eL in the breadth and
length directions respecti vely. As before, the eccentric load Q can be replaced by a concentric
load Q and moments Q eg and Q eL about the y and x axes respectively (see Figurc 12.7b). The
contact pressure at any poi nt beneath the footing can be shown as:
(12e
q(x,y)= Q I+ fx+fy 12e) (1 2.22)
BL B L
Here, the origin is at the cente r of the foo ting and the x and y axes are in th e directions of
breadth and length respectively. The shaded area at the center a rhombus is known as the
kern. Provided the foundation load acts within I h is area, the contact stresses are compressive at
all points beneath the fo oti ng.
Shallow Foundafions 303
y ~ , ,
y A
,
,.e"" ._. __
_______"'Q
i_ ,.. _.,x .
x
,
B
I. >1
(a) (b) (e)
Figure 12.7 Twoway eccentricity in a rectangular footing: (a) eccentric load (b) concentric load
with moments (el kern
Solution: Substituting cs ::::: BIl2 and CL ::::: Ltl6 in Equation 12.22 gives:
1 x+y
q(x,y)=  Q ( l + 0.75)
BL B L
At A, x ::::: 0.58 and y = O.5L7
q, ='L(1+0.5+0.375)=1.875 'L
BL BL
At B, x ::::: 0.58 and y :::::  O.5L)
and
Q
qmill. =qc =: 0.125BL

 C B
O. 125018L 11111111
11111111111111 1.1250>8'
reduces the bearing pressure. Because of the h igh stiffness of the thick concrete slab. rafts can
reduce differential settlements.
The bearing capacity computations for raft foundations are similar to those of the pad
or strip footings discussed in previous sections of this chapter. Par clays under undrained
conditions, Equation 12 .1 8 can be used to compute the net ult imate bear ing capacity of a
raft. Generally, due to the size of the raft:. the safety factor with respect to the bearing capacity
failure in sands is quite large. Extending Mcycrhof's ( 1956) work. Bowles (1988) proposed an
empirical relation for est imating the net allowable bearing capacity of shallow fo undat ions
in sands as:
In rafts. total settlements as high as 50 mm can be allowed while differential settlements are still
within tolerable limits. This is about twice the total settlement allowed for isolated footings in
granular soils .
Example 12.6: A IO m x 12 m raft is placed 5 m below the ground level in a clay with '. = 50
kPa and 'Y = 18.5 kN/m 3 For undrained conditions. find the net allowable bearing capacity.
How effective is it to increase the raft width and length to increase the net allowable bearing
capacity?
q"k.n", = 5.14 '. (1 +0.2 D; )( J +0.2~) = 5. 14 x 50 ( 1+0.21~)( 1+0.2 :~) =330 kPa
With F = 3, qaJ~n<t = l lO kPa
Increasing B and L has a negligible effect in increasing q.tLn<. in undrained clays; it helps to re
duce the net applied pressure by spreading thf: load over a larger area.
The structural design of a raft founda tion can be carried out in two ways: the rigid method and
the flexible method. These are briefly discussed below.
passi ng th rough the centroi d of the raft area (see Figure l2.8), with the axes parallel to th e
edges, is given by:
Q, M.. My
qx,y
( ) =+y+x ( 12.24)
BL /, /,
where Q, = EQ; = total colum n loads act ing on the raft; Mr = Q, ey = moment of the colum n
loads about the x'axis; My = Q, ex = moment of the colum n loads about tb e yaxis; ex. ey =
eccentri cities abou t the y and x axes respectivdy; lr = ne/ 12 = moment of in ertia about the
x. axis;~, = LB J /12 = moment of inertia about the y. axis . The maximum net contact pressure
y
b
iii
" 0,
e,
L II ,
.   ................  .. _._.  _._._._. 
~ ~ _
iQ
A I!!I
..:
; 11!1 ;
. 2 , 0..
I!il
0 ..
A I
Li ; ! J..j
I
~ ____________B~ ____________ ~
Section AA
co mputed from Equatio n 12.24 must be less than the net allowable bearing capacit), of the raft.
It can be seen fro m Equation 12.24 that the pressure d istributions along the x and y d irections
are linear.
Static equilibrium in the vertical direct ion causes the res ultant of col umn loads Q/ to be
equal and opposite to the resultant load obt'lined from integration of the reactive contact pres
sure in Equation 12.24. For simplicity, the rigid method suggests that the raft be analyzed by
tributary areas in each of the two perpendicu lar directions, simi lar to the structural design of
an inve rted twoway flat slab, as shown by the shaded areas in r: igure 12.8.
To calculate bending moments and shear forces, each of the two perpendicu la r bands is
assumed to be an in depe nd ent, continuous beam under constant average upward pressure q."
estimated by Equation 12.24.
This Simplification violates equilibrium, because bending moments and shear force s at the
common edge between adjacent bands are neglected. 'lherefore, the contact pressure obtained
by dividing th e sum of the column loads in each band by the total area of the band is not equal
to q.., as computed by Equation 12.24 . Therefo re, all loads a rc multiplied by a fa ctor 11 as shown
in Figure 12.8 such that qa\' X B X 1 == 11 EQ4i' en suring equilibrium .
d' z
M(x) = B,},  , (12.25)
dx
Shear force at x:
( 12.26)
308 Geotechnical Engineering
x
0, Beam
b 1q l~l~f ~ ~ r
1 (a) (b)
Figure 12.9 (a) flexible beam resting on soil (b) soil pressure replaced by Winkler
springs
Soil reaction at x:
dV d~z ,
q(x) = ~= ,. 1, . 4 = z k (12.27)
dx dx
Here, E" = Young's modulus of the foundation beam, I F = bhl ll2 = moment of inertia of the
cross section of the beam about the neutral axis, and z = vertical deflection of the beam at x
and k ' (kN/mz) = subgrade reac tion of the WinkJer beam (Figure 12.9b). Note the difference
between k' and k k' is for the beam, expressed in kN / m per m, and k, is for the loaded area,
j ;
expressed in kPa pe r m.
k' (kN /m2) and k, (kN/ ml) are related by:
k' = k, h (12.28)
(12.29)
Solving the gove rn ing differential Equation 12.29, deflection z is given by:
z = en. (C1 cos{3x + Cz si n13x) ( 12.30)
~=. ~
4 EFIF
(12.31)
According to The Ame ri can Concrete Institute Committ ee 336 (I988), the mat should be
designed by the ri gid method if the column spacing in a strip is less than 1.751{3. If the spacing
is greater than 1.751(3, th e fl exible method may be used.
Shallow Foundations 309
Example 12.7: A 3 mwide and 450 mmthick tributary strip from a raft footing applies an
average contact pressure of 250 kPa to the underlying sandy soil and is expected to settle
15 mm. Find the modulus of subgrade reaction k. If Econc'It = 30 CPa, up to what column spac
ing shou1d this strip be designed by the rigid method?
Solution:
IF =(3.0)(0.450)3 =0.0228 m
12
3.0X I6.7x106 _I
(3=. ~ = 0.37 m  H.75 1(3 = 4.73 m
4 x 30xlO x O.0228
k. can be determi ned from a plate loading test. Vcsic ( 1961) suggested that:
where E, = Young's modulus of the soil and V, = Poisson's rat io of the soil. For practical pur
poses, Equation 12.32 can be approximated as:
( 12.33)
Example 12.8: A 2.5 mwide strip footing rests in a sandy soil where E, = 25 MPa and v, = 0.3.
The thickness of the footing is 0.30 m and E.c~ = 30 MPa. Estimate the coeffid ent of the
subgrade reaction using Equations 12.32 and 12.33. Determine if the approximation holds.
Solution:
Equation 12.32 ?
/) _ /)
fooling  pl~I" (B + )'(l  '~
28
0.3
'
4
D)
B (i2.34)
The last term in Equation 12.34 is to account [or the reduction in settlement with the increase
in foo ling d epth. Leonards ( 1986) suggested replac ing \I.i with I!J based on additional load test
data. The values of 01'1.1. can be obt ained from Figu re 12. 10, which summar izes the pl ateloadi ng
test data that is suppli ed by Terzaghi and Peck ( 1967). This method was originally proposed for
square footin gs, but is also applicable to rectangular and st rip foo tings, provided it is prudently
applied. In the case of rectangular or strip footings, the deeper influence zone and increase in
the stresses within the soil mass a re compensated fo r by the increase in th e soil stiffness.
Example 12.9 : A 2 m square pad footing carrying a column load of900 kN is placed at a depth
of 1.0 m in a sand where the average Noo is 28. What would be the settlement?
Solution:
qopp = 900/4 = 225 kPa; N(,f1 = 28
From Figure 12.10, oplotr = 6 mm:
o~.
log
=6   2X2)'( 3")2
(2+0.3 Jx = 15.1 mm
Shallow Foundations 311
Figure 12.10 Settlements of 300 mm x 300 mm plate (load test data from the
late Professor G. A. Leonards, Purdue University)
q I
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIt I
,+ +, t.d.tl
~I
I 0( 81
Cz '" ~z
Cz = ~z' Iz
Figure 12.11 Uniform pressures on elastic half space: (a) infinite lateral extent (b) limited lateral
extent
12.1 Ib), the strains would he obviously less. Th e vertical strain e. along the ce nterline at depth
z can be w ritten as:
e ~ = iLl
E Z ( 12.35)
,
where E. and I: arc the Young's modulus and stro.in influence fac tor respectively at depth z. Based
on some finite clement studies and luad tests on model fuoti ngs, Schmertmann proposed that
the influence factor varies with depth, as shown in Figure 12. 12a, which is known as the 280.6
distribution. This 280.6 d istribution does not take into account the shape of the foot ing.
The influence facto r increases linearly from 0 al the foot ing level to 0.6 at a depth of O.5B
below the footing and th en decreases linearly to 0 at a depth of 28 below the footing. Dividing
the granular soil beneath the fooling into sublayers of constant Young's modulus and integrat
ing the above equat ion. the vertical settlement s can be expressed as:
: =18 1 dz
s = C1C2 qnct L '
to E
(12.36)
t
where C l and C2 are two correction fac tors that accou nt [or the embedment and strai n relief due
to the removal of overburden and timedependence of the settlement respect ively, and q~ is the
net applied pressu re at the foo ting level. Cl an d C2 are given by:
C,~ 1 0.5(a;,
q,ct
) ~0.5 (12.37)
t
C, ~ 1+0.2 log  (12.38)
 0.1
where a:., is the effective in situ overburden stress at the footing level. and t is the ti me in years
since the load ing. Leonards ( 1986), Holtz (1991) and Terzaghi et al. ( 1996) suggest that C2 ::::: I,
disregarding the timcdependent settlements in granular soils. It is suggested that the lime
dependent se ttlements in the foo tings studied by Schmertmann are probably due to the thin
layers of days and silts interbedded with in the sands in Plorida, where most of Schmertmann's
load lest data o riginated. Schmertmann (1970) recommended that Young's modulus be derived
from the static cone resista nce as E = 2 q,. Leonards (I986) suggested that E (kg/cru 2 ) = 8 N6()
for normally consolidated sands, where N6() is the blow cou nt from a standard penetration test
( I kg/em' ~ 98. 1 kPa).
Schmcrtmann's (1970) original m ethod does not take into account the footing shape. Real 
izing the need 10 account [or the footing shape. Schmertmann et al. (1978) made some modi 
fica tions 10 the original method. the modified influence fa ctor diagram is shown in Figure
12. 12b where the strain influence factor extends to a depth 0[28 for square footings and 4B
$f"iallow FouncfQtions 31 ~
00~~0:;.::2~0;.:4.=0r6," o ;0:..,..~0;;.2,'0;::4:;c:0;:.6,>"
8
fl.O~'.1 0.58 munuon mu 0.58 0.58
,
8 8
~\
.,
8
, ,
,,
28 28
<J:' 1,. _
(see Eq.12.39)
28
.'
..
" '
~ ... /
~:
'"
,,
: I
,
"
38 38 38 _ 4J
"
48 48 48
(a) Schmertmann (1970) (b) Schmer1mann et al. (1978) (e) Terzaghi et al. (1996)
z z z
Figure 12.12 Schmertmann et al.'s influence factors
for strip footings, peaking at depths ofO.5B and B respectively. The peak value of the influence
factor is given by:
Example 12.10: A 2.5 mwide strip footing carrying a wall load of 550 kNJm is placed at a
depth of 1.5 m below the ground as shown i n part (a) in the figure on page 314. The entire
soil below the ground level is granular and the average tip resistance from a cone penetration
test is given for each layer. Estimate the settlement after IO years using Schmertmann's (1970)
method. The average unit weight of sand = 18 kN/m). Continues
314 Geotechnical Engineering
d=______,
I
to.
0.75m
5
m
1
"
= 8"M,P: :~'"T'_';=
"'':i=c;;o",,.,Q., '
225
m
0.24
1 '5 m
21m)
3m qc ",12MPa
(.) (b)
Solution: Assuming that the concrete and soil unit weights are about the sam e, the net pressure ap
plied to the underlying soil is 550/2.5 = 220 kPa.
The first step is to draw the influence factor diagram as shown in part (b) :
C = 1 _ 0.5~5 X I8 = 0.94
1
220
and
10
C2 =1+0.21og 0.1 = 1.4
Calculate '~:Z fo r each layer assuming constant E = 2q, within the layer, and then find the sum.
~~B lzdz 0.5x O.75{O.24 + 0.6)+O.5X 2.25{O.6+0.24) 0.5 x l.5x0.24
L.  
zzO Ez
=0.5x0.5x0.24
2 x9
+
2x8
+
2xl4
=0.0885 mf MPa
: . Settlement = 0.94 X 1.4 X 220 X 0.0885 mm = 25.6 mm
Shollow Foundations 315
Terzaghi et al. (1996) suggested the simpler influence facto r diagram shown in Figure 12.12c
with the influence factors sta rting at the same point, reaching the same maximum of 0.6 at the
same depth of 0.58, but extending to depths of 2B and 48 for square and strip footings respec
tively. For rec tangular foot ings, they suggested an interpolation function to estimate th e depth
of influence z/ (see Figure 12.9c) between 28 and 48 as:
Terzaghi et al. ( 1996) suggested taking E = 3.5 qr for axisymmetric loading and increasi ng it by 40%
for planestrain loading, and suggested the follO\'li ng expression for E of a rectangular footing:
where LIB should be limited to 10. These modifications provide more realistic and less conser
vative est imates of settlements. Nevertheless, the above values of E in the range of 3.54.9 qrare
significantly larger than what is recommended in the literature.
0.1 10 100
i
I
0.1
0.01
Figure 12.13 Upper limits of settlement per unit pressure (after Burland et al. 1977)
316 Geotechnical Engineering
that can be expected. This figure can be used to see if the settlement predicted by a specific method
falls within bounds. They suggested that the probable settlement is about 50% of the upper lim it
shmvn in the figure, and that in most cases, the maximum settlement will be unlikely to exceed 75%
of the upper limit.
Burland and Burbidge (1985) reviewed the above settlement records and proposed an in 
direct and empirical method fo r estimating the settlements of shall ow foundations in granular
soils based on Nvalues from standard penetration tests that remain uncorrected for overbur
den pressure. The influence depth z/ was defined as:
(12.42)
where Zj and B a re in meters. They expressed the compress ibility of the so il by the compressibil
ity index (,' which is similar to the coefficient of volume compressi bility mv used in the consoli
dation of saturated clays. For normally consolidated granular soils, I, was related to the average
blow cou nt with in the influence depth N 60 by:
1.7 1
I c==U (12.43)
N ",
where Ie is in MPa I . For ove rconsolidated granular soils, Ie is YJ of what is given in Equation
12.43.
Burland and Burbidge (1985) suggested that the settlement can be est imated from:
settlement = q Ie Z/ (12.44)
Note that Equation 12.44 is in similar form to Equation 8.3, which is used for estimating consol
idation settlements in clays. In normally consolidated granular soils, Equation 12.44 becomes:
1.71 0 7
.'lett1ement ;= q 1.4 B . ( 12.45 )
N ",
In overconsolidated granular soils. if the preconsol idation pressure a~ can be estimated, Equa
lion 12.44 b ecoIl H:s:
settement
1 1.71 BO>.
=1 q==T4 ' <'
lorq_a (12.46)
p
3 N ",
2, ) 1.7 1 07 , ,
1
settement= ( q  a p _1.4 B lorq2a p (12.47)
3 N ",
For fine sands and silty sands below the water table where N6(j > 15, driving the sp!itspoon sam
pler can dilate the sands, which can produce negative pore water pressures that would increase
Shallow Foundations 317
the effective stresses, and hence overestimate the blow counts. Here, we should apply Te r zaghi'~
correction as shown in Equation 12.48:
In gravel or sandy gravel, N6lJ should be increased by 25% using Equation 12.49:
lbe settlem ents esti mated as above apply to square footings. For rectangular or strip foot ings,
the settlements have to be m ultiplied by the following fac tor 1.:
f
s
=( 1.25 LIB ) '
0.25 + L/B
(1 2.50)
The maximum value off, is 1.56 when LIB = 00 . The settlements estimated above imply that there is
granular soil at least to a depth of z/. lf the thickness Hsof the granular layer below the footing is less
than the influence depth, the settlements have to be multiplied by the following reduction fac tor j;:
(12.51)
Burland and Burbidge (1985) noted some timed epe nde nt settlements of the footings and sug
gested a multiplication factor J, given by:
t
!. =1+ R, + R, log (12.52)
3
where R3 takes into consideration the timedependent settlement duri ng the fi rst th ree years of
loading, and the last component accounts for the timedependent settlement that takes place
after the fi rst three years. Suggested values for R} a nd Rr are 0.3 0.7 and 0.2~0 . 8 respectively. The
lower end of the range is applicable fo r static load s and the upper end for flu ctuating loads such
as bridges, silos, and tall chimneys.
Tan and Duncan (1991) introduced two parameters, accuracy and reliability, to quantify the
quality of the settlement predictions, and applied these to 12 different methods using a large data
base of settlement records. Accuracy was definc;:d as the average ratio of the predicted settlement
to the measured settlement. Rellability is the probability that the predicted settlement is greater
than the measured settlement. Therefore, an ideal settlement prediction method will have an ac
curacy close to 1 and a reliability approaching 100%. There is often a tradeoff between accuracy
and rel iability. The methodsofTerzaghi and Peck (1967) and Schmertmann et al. (1978) have high
reliability but poor accuracy. showing their conservativeness in the estimates. They overestimate
the settlement, which leads to an underestimation of the allowable pressure. On the other hand,
the Burland and Burbidge (1985) method has good accuracy and poor reliability with more real
istic predictions, which can also underestimate the sett lements and is therefore less conservative,
It is widely documented in the literature that the designs of shallow foundations in granular
soils arc usually governed morc by sc ttlemt:nl considerations than by bearing capacity consi d
erations. Therefore, more care is required in the settlement computat ions. The Burland and
Burbidge (1985) method gives significantly smaller settlements and higher allowable pressures
compared to the more conservative Terzaghi and Peck (1967) method.
, , , ,,
T~
..
$<"",.ftm . . . e1 "'. (l.n)
, .
h l. "~ p.<~ (IK') 8,,"an~ 8.'~Id!l<
9
9
o9
oM
V
, ~o
ow ~
V V
(01m
, /'
, ~/ ' V y
. ._.bIoI NttIoomon! lml1m01)V"'" ~ O.
IY V V
... _ .... _ _ """mm)
, /' /
I/" 1/ / ' ~, 06
/'
, ~ 1:::::= I / 1/' v V
';P v~ / \0/ V V ~ 0.5
I
n
1:7.1<,': r:: '/ l/' V V .!~ 0.4 " V
II ~ ::
,
v.. II V/ ~ .," 02 o.~
II '/; ~
~
II! ~
711V/, r/;, I:;~
,
,~
o
o o
o
III rf o
!V; o
o 10 m m ~ ~ 00 o '0 20 :xl 010 ~ 00 o 10 m ~ 010 ~ ~
Pr<!dlCled Settlemenl(rrm) Preolcted ~Icmentlmm)
PredlCl<!d utliement (mm)
Figure 12.14 Probabilistic charts for settlement predictions (after Sivakugan and Johnson 2004)
Shallow Foundations 319
the Terzagh i and Peck, Schmertmann et al. , and. Burland and Burbidge methods. For example,
if the Schmertmann et al. method predicts a settIement of20 mOl, the probability that the actual
settlement will exceed 25 mm is 0.2.
Example 12.11 : The settlement of a 3.0 III square footing in a mediumdense sand under an
applied pressure of 200 kPa was estimated to be 18 mm using the Burland and Burbidge
method.
a. Determine if the settlement is within the limit suggested by Burland and Burbidge in fig
ure 12.13.
b. What is the probability that the actual settlement would exceed (i) 25 mm or (ii) 40 mm?
Se<;ondary
compression
Without creep
_c L~_~_
r ~ _ ~~C:~=CCCC
 ____ _
~ With creep
~
(,) (b) (0)
Figure 12.15 Settlement variation with time: (a) fooling (b) in sands (c) in clays
320 Geotechnica l Engineeri ng
0.95
I I
J1.o 0 .9
\ ........... ......
,
,
I
0.85
0 .8
o 2 4 6 8 10 12 16 18 20
O,IB
1.8
7i For H/B oc & M=O,: ,=3]
,
1.2 f
f
H
7~ BIL  0.5 <
0.6 ? ,
,
0.
g::; 
Circle
,
,
0.2
o
.. ./
Figure 12. 16 /10 and J1. , values for immediate seHlement calculations
suggested by Schmertmann (1970) and Burland ;and Burbidge (1 985). Creep settlement accounts
for a small fraction of the overall settlement in gr anular soils.
Unlike in granular soils, the settlements are not instantaneous in coh es ive soils. In saturated
cohesive soils (Figure 12.1 Sc), the settlements consist of th ree componen ts: immediate settle
Shallow Foundations 321
ment Si' consolidation settlement SO' and secondary compression s. Immediate settlement occurs
immediately after the load is applied and is instantaneous. Generally, it is only a small fraction
of the total settlement that also includes consolidation and secondary compression settlements.
The consolidation settlement occurs due to the expulsion of water from the saturated clay and
dissipation of excess pore water pressure. This can take place over a period of several years. The
secondary compression settlement (see Section 8.6), also known as creep, is aSSllmed to occur
after the consolidation is completed. Therefore, there will be no excess pore water pressure dur
ing the secondary compression stage.
qB
Sl = li Il oll] (12.53)
"
The values of Ilo and Ill> originally suggested by 'Hnbu et al. (1956), were later modified by Chris
tian and Carrier III (1978) based on the work by Burland (1970) and Giroud (1972). The values
of Ilo and Ill> assuming an undrained state with 11 = 0.5, are given in Figure 12.16.
Obtaining a reliable estimate of the undrain ed Young's modulus Euof clays through labora
tory or in situ tests is quite difficult. It can be estimated using Figure 12.1 7 proposed by Duncan
and Buchignani (I 976) and the U.S. Army (1994). Ej cu can vary from 100 for very soft clays to
1500 for very stiff clays. Typical values of elastic moduli for different types of clays are given in
rable 12.3. Immediate settlement is generally a s mall fraction of the total settlement, and there
fore a rough estim ate is often adequate.
1600  ~
,
1400
 I
1200 """ I
I
,,'
",'
1000
800
L PI < 30
'" '\
" 1'
I
600
I
j
0
Overcons.olidation ratio, OCR 10
Example 12.12: A 3 m X 4 m footing placed at a depth of2 m below the ground level as shown
applies a pressure of 140 kPa to the underlyi ng soil. There is a very stilT stratum at a depth of
4 m below the footing. The day has an overconsolidation ratio of 2 and plasticity index of 30.
The unconfined compressive strength is 160 kPa. Eslimate the immed iate settlement.
Gl
140 kPa
2m
Clay 4m
Continues
Shallow Foundations 323
Solution.: Let's find the fac tors 110 and III first.
DiB:::; 2/3 = 0.67 ? From Figure 12.1 6a, Ilu = 0.93
BIL = 3/4 = 0. 75 and H/S = 4/3 = 1.33 7 From Figure 12.16b, III = 0.45
OCR = 2 and PI = 30 ? From Figure 12. 17, EJc. = 570
c. = 0.5 q. = 80 kPa ? E. = 570 X 80 kPa = 45.6 MPa
_qB _ 140x3000. _
,   11011]  :x. 0.93 x 0.45 mm  3.9 mm
'Ell 45,600
WORKED EXAMPLES
1. It is required to provide a strip foot ing to carry a wall load of 450 kN/m in a sandy soil
wi th rjJ ' = 32 and l' = 18 kN/rn ). Tht! unit weight of concrete is 23 kN/m ). What is the
0
necessary width so that the sa fety factor with respect to bearing capacity is 3?
Solution: Let's assume Df = 0.5 m, and that the entire 0.5 m is made of concrete.
GL
,.
O.Sm
.,
450 450
qapp.net =  + 11 .5  05X I8=  +2.5kPa
8 B
0.0940) x 18x0.5x34.1 + ( 1+ 0.0940)
qu ll.gro,;s=
( I + B 
8
x0.5xBx 18x38.5
28.85
= 339.5 + 346.5 8 +   kPa
B
28.85 28.85
q"" 0" = 339.5+346.5 B+    0.5 x 18 = 330.5+ 346.58+   kPa
, B B
_
qal~n~t (kP a )  12.5N6(I
(B+O .3 )' (
1+
_~ DJ )(lllaXiIllUm settlement (mIn))
B 3 B 25
At x Q ( 1
=  B12 andy = LIZ > q(BI2, LIZ) = BL  B L) =  Q
4  
1 =q
3B 2 L2 6BL mm
Since q>nin < 0 , some areas beneath the footing are nOl in compression. Let's identify
the region where this occurs by locating the points on the bottom (Y =  Ll2) and left
(y =  B12) edges where q = o.
Q ( 1+
x=BI2>q(  BI2,y)=
BL
4 B 1 y =Q
382 L
 (1 +1 Y ) = 0
BL 3 L