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Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions
2013, 5(5): 06370643
DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1226.2013.00637

Effect of the overconsolidation ratio of soils in surface

settlements due to tunneling

Ludmila Strokova*

Institute of Natural Resources, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Tomsk, 634050, Russia

*Correspondence to: Dr. Ludmila Strokova, Professor of Natural Resources Institute, National Research Tomsk Poly-
technic University, 30, Lenin Avenue, Tomsk, 634050, Russia. Tel: +7-3822-426159; E-mail:

Received: May 17, 2013 Accepted: July 15, 2013


Construction of urban tunnels requires the control of surface subsidence to minimize any disturbance to nearby buildings
and services. Past study of surface subsidence has been limited to mainly empirical solutions based on field studies, and
very few analytical studies have been carried out. The available analytical solutions are not sufficient to include complex
ground conditions; hence, a comprehensive analytical solution coupled with numerical modeling is necessary to model the
effect of surface subsidence due to tunneling. This paper presents the results of modeling of surface settlements due to
tunneling using the finite element method. The effect of the overconsolidation ratio of soils expressed in terms of the co-
efficient of earth pressure at rest (K0) on surface subsidence due to tunneling is investigated. It is demonstrated that surface
settlements appear to be sensitive to K0 values, and for geotechnical calculations pertaining to overconsolidated sand and
clay soil, K0 values of 0.6 and 0.8, respectively, are proposed.
Keywords: surface settlement trough; coefficient of earth pressure at rest

1 Introduction rest" under conditions of zero lateral strain. The coeffi-

cient K0 is the ratio of in-situ horizontal effective stress to
The correct definition of the in-situ stress state is an the vertical effective stress. K0 is determined by field or
important element in the numerical simulation of many laboratory tests. K0 changes depending on the relative
geotechnical problems. The determination of lateral earth density, stress history, overconsolidation ratio (OCR),
pressures is necessary at the design and application stage plasticity index, and similar soil properties. An overcon-
of most engineering structures. Especially, the knowledge solidated soil is a normal soil which was subjected to a
of lateral earth pressure is required to design tunnels, re- greater load in ancient geological time than nowadays.
taining structures, and deep foundations. Tunneling in soft The coefficient of earth pressure at rest decreases in
ground always leads to stress rearrangements and defor- the reloading stage, especially in loose sands, but in very
mations in the surrounding soil. The deformations can be dense sands K0 values remain almost constant in the
detected by the evaluation of measurement data available loading and reloading stages. Various relationships have
from previous tunnel project siteseither empirical pre- been proposed for K0 (Table 1).
dictions or by numerical calculations. Vertical stresses can According to the theory of elasticity, K0=/(1),
easily be determined from depths, densities, and ground- where = Poissons ratio, as is usually recommended.
water information, but horizontal stresses are more diffi- Calculations by finite element methods using elasto-
cult to assess. They usually have to be estimated from plastic models require laboratory and computing exper-
empirical values of K0, the coefficient of earth pressure "at iments to determine the input parameters of the models.
638 Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643

Table 1 Empirical equations for determination of K0

Stress history References Equation

Jky (1944) K 0NC = 1 sin , where = effective internal friction angle
Brooker and Ireland (1965) K 0NC = 0.95 sin
Alpan (1967) K0NC = 0.15 + 0.233 lg (IP) clay, where IP = plasticity index

Loading Mayne and Kulhawy (1982) K 0NC = 1 0.987 sin clay, K 0NC = 1 0.998 sin sand
OCR1 11.5o )
1 sin( crit
Bolton (1991a,b) K 0NC =
11.5o crit
1 + sin( crit 11.5o )

2 sin crit
Simpson (1981, 1992) K 0NC =

2 + sin crit

Wroth (1975) K 0 = OCR K 0NC (OCR 1) , where = Poissons ratio
Brooker and Ireland (1965) K 0 = K 0NC (OCR)n , n = f(1/Ip), n 0.4 0.05
K 0 = (1 sin(1.2 )) (OCR)sin(1.2 )

Schmidt (1966)

Unloading K OCR
K 0 = , where Ka = the Rankine active earth pressure coeffi-
Prska (1973) 1 K a (1 OCR)
1 sin
cient, K =
1 + sin
Meyerhof (1976) K 0 = K 0NC (OCR) , = 0.5
Mayne and Kulhawy (1982) K 0 = (1 sin ) (OCR)sin

Mayne and Kulhawy (1982) K 0 = (1 sin ) + 1 OCR
(1 sin )
OCRmax 4 OCRmax
Shohet (1995) K 0 = K 0OC (cu v )NC (cu v )OC , where cu = undrained cohesion
1 K 0OC 1
Sivakumar et al. (2001) 1 K 0
= slope of pre-yield undrained stress path plotted in the v h plane, from a
consolidated undrained CIU test; = ratio of slope of unload-reload line plotted in
the v ln v plane, from oedometer and isotropic compression tests.
OCR = overconsolidation ratio.

2 Experimental design Our experiments were designed to determine the pa-

rameters K0 and OCR for modeling deformations around
To provide a tool to improve the state-of-the-practice tunnels in Munich. The city of Munich forms the core of
of controlling ground movements associated with tun- a fast-growing urban region in the Alpine foreland of
neling, this paper presents a numerical procedure that Bavaria, in southern Germany. The subsurface is com-
effectively and efficiently updates design predictions of posed of Neogene and Quaternary formations made up
surface settlements during tunnel construction. Several of loose alluvial, fine to coarse-grained sediments. To-
authors have studied the influence of K0 in numerical days landscape is known as the Munich Gravel Plain,
analysis of tunnel surface settelements, including Gunn which comprises outwash terrains formed during the
(1993), Addenbrooke (1997), and Franzius (2005), Pleistocene glacial periods as well as the modern flood-
who found that the settlement troughs become wider plain of the River Isar. These rather young gravel terrac-
and shallower with increasing K0 values. In our studies, es, caused by a major unconformity and hiatus, overlie
the nonlinear elastoplastc Hardening Soil Model was Neogene molasse deposits of the Alpine foreland basin,
applied to investigate the influence of K0 on surface which in contrast are comprised of fine-grained fluviatile
settlement. and lacustrine facies.
Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643 639

We carried out an inverse analysis using data from Based on the results of various laboratory and field
tunnel U-8 in Munich. This tunnel is approximately 14 m tests, many methods have been developed to determine
below the ground surface and its diameter is 7 m. Our the K0 of different soil types. Laboratory methods have
calculations of the settlement parameters were modeled been preferred because they are easier than field tests.
by 15-noded triangular elements in a plane-strain mesh Currently, K0 consolidation tests can be performed using
(Brinkgreve, 2004). The initial stress conditions were an oedometer or a triaxial apparatus. Because the oe-
geostatic. Inclinometer data were used as observations in dometer test has the disadvantages of unknown side fric-
the inverse analysis that calibrated the numerical model. tion as well as difficulties measuring the radial stress, the
In this study, the effects of K0 and the OCR were also triaxial apparatus more fully describes the K0 condition.
investigated. Recent advances in control techniques and equipment
There are different methods of determining the encourage the easy use of triaxial K0 consolidation tests.
preconsolidation stress, p, from laboratory oedometer
data. Casagrande (1936) developed the most commonly
used method, which we used here. The following steps
describe this construction (Figure 1):
Visually choose the point of minimum radius (or
maximum curvature) on the consolidation curve (point A).
Draw a horizontal line from point A.
Draw a line tangent to the curve at point A.
Bisect the angle made by steps and .
Extend the straight-line portion of the virgin
compression curve up to where it meets the bisector line
obtained in step . The point of intersection of these two
lines is the preconsolidation stress.
Table 2 shows the results of the estimation of OCR
from compression tests for Neogene molasse deposits. In
general, the data confirm statements of geologists about
the erosion of deposits in the Quaternary Period through Figure 1 Casagrandes method for determining
reconstruction of the alpine paleorelief in the region. preconsolidation stress

Table 2 Estimation of OCR from compression tests

Sampling z Preconsolidation Calculated mark of antecedent

Sample No. OCR
depth (m) (kPa) Stress, p (kPa) surface (m)
01-60221 24.8 356.8 1.850 5.20 124
02-60189 28.0 392.0 1.675 4.20 107
03-60193 32.6 442.6 2.000 4.50 130
04-a-60194 33.4 451.4 2.075 4.60 135
04-b-60194 33.4 451.4 2.375 5.30 160
05-60195 35.5 474.5 1.925 4.10 121
06-60477 23.5 342.5 1.200 3.50 71
07-60479 32.1 437.1 2.100 4.80 139
08-60482 35.8 478.4 1.975 4.10 125
09-60494 28.5 356.7 2.325 6.60 166
10-62151 19.5 250.5 1.650 6.60 117
16-61741 25.8 319.8 1.750 5.50 119
17-62170 20.0 292.0 2.400 8.22 179
19-a-60052 33.6 411.6 1.850 4.50 120
19-b-60052 33.6 411.6 2.075 5.00 139
20-60146 23.0 373.0 1.875 5.00 125

The results of determination of the coefficient of earth tension begins at the stage of unloading a sample.
pressure at rest by K0 consolidation for loam firm are In this test, the K0 by normal consolidation (OCR=1)
presented in Figures 2 and 3. The coefficient of lateral equaled 0.45; by unloading the sample, the K0 increased to
pressure is defined at the moment when vertical effective 0.9 (OCR=5). Triaxial tests have been performed to de-
640 Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643

termine the model parameters and provide data for valida- lasse clay soil are given in Figures 4 and 5. K0 values that
tion of the model to predict the behavior of soil. Estimates were obtained from empirical equations and values ob-
of K0 at K0 consolidation for 20 samples of Neogene mo- tained from laboratory tests were compared (Table 3).

Figure 2 The variation of measured horizontal stress at different applied vertical stresses

Figure 3 The variation of coefficient of earth pressure at rest (K0) at different applied vertical stresses
Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643 641

Figure 4 Variation of K0 with OCR on unloading

Figure 5 K0 in a Munich tunnel as a function of the depth (Pelz, 2010)

642 Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643

Table 3 Comparison between K0 values obtained from empirical equations and values obtained from laboratory tests

Sample K0NC by K0NC K0 from

Name Soil characteristic ' () Ip (%)
No. Alpan by Jky experience
01-60221 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 28.2 0.53 0.46
02-60189 Clay Without mica 28.4 0.53 0.43
08-60482 Clay Without mica 23.3 0.51 0.35
10-62151 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 32 22.3 0.50 0.47 0.45
12-62178 Loam Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 34 7.2 0.39 0.44 0.45
13-62183 Clay Without mica, above with calcareous inclusions 31 25.9 0.52 0.48 0.36
16-61741 Clay With calcareous inclusions, mica 36 20.8 0.50 0.41 0.32
17-62170 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 36 17.5 0.48 0.41 0.23
18-61603 Silty clay With calcareous inclusions, mica 34 16.7 0.47 0.45 0.50
19-60052 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 39.0 0.56 0.32
20-60146 Silty clay With calcareous inclusions, mica 13.5 0.32 0.30
21-58168 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 21.6 0.50 0.37
22-60207 Clay Without mica, with calcareous inclusions 18.7 0.49 0.50
23-62775 Silty clay With calcareous inclusions, mica 32 13.3 0.45 0.47 0.45
24-62771 Clay With calcareous inclusions 40 18.2 0.48 0.36 0.53

Using this method, we predicted surface settlements creation of the tunnel in the input program. The initial
for a tunnel to be excavated in a section of the S-Bahn stress generation (K0 procedure) was used to generate the
Stammstrecke project in the city of Munich using both initial effective stresses with the appropriate values of K0.
empirical and numerical methods. Numerical modeling The following variations of the coefficient of K0
was carried out to get back-analysis for the experimental were accepted: for sand 0.426, 0.6 and 0.8; for clay
data in order to verify the input parameters that had been 0.576, 0.8 and 1.0. Data on the vertical movements of
assumed in the planning and design phases. PLAXIS 2D each settlement model from the PLAXIS program were
finite element software (Plaxis B.V., Delft, The Nether- used to compare calculated subsidence with different K0
lands) was used to simulate the volume loss by applying a values and the measured surface subsidence. As is ap-
contraction to the shield tunnel lining (uniform "shrink- parent in Figure 6, the best coincidence with measured
age" of the lining elements in a plane normal to the tun- subsidence had a settlement curve computed with
neling centerline). This contraction was defined during the k0OC 1 (for molasse sand, 0.6; for clay, 0.8).

Figure 6 Influence of the K0 value of soil on the calculated surface settlement

3 Discussion appear to be sensitive to the K0 value. Therefore, for ge-

otechnical calculations for overconsolidated soils, K0
Our experiments indicated that surface settlements values of 0.6 for sand and 0.8 for clay are proposed.
Ludmila Strokova, 2013 / Sciences in Cold and Arid Regions, 5(5): 06370643 643

4 Conclusions Laboratory, Crowthorne, UK.

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