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Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748

Discharge capacity of prefabricated vertical


drain and their eld measurements
M.W. Bo*
Bullen Consultants Ltd., 11/12 Eldon Place, Bradford BD1 3AZ, UK
Received 20 February 2002; received in revised form 11 April 2003

Abstract

Discharge capacity is the most important parameter for performance of prefabricated


vertical drains. However, the required discharge capacity for best performance of vertical
drain is still uncertain. This paper described the single basic equation to obtain the required
average discharge capacity. The estimated values were supported by the eld measurement of
discharge capacity with different drain spacings, different penetration length and different
thickness of compressible layers. It was found that required discharge capacity is in an order of
106 m/s for 100 mm width drain.
r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Discharge capacity; Hydraulic gradient; Prefabricated vertical drain; Conning pressure;
Deformation

1. Introduction

Discharge capacity is important parameter that controls the performance


of prefabricated vertical drains (PVD). Only PVDs having sufcient discharge
capacity can function well. There are two major uncertainties related to the
discharge capacity of vertical drain. The rst one is the determination of the required
discharge capacity qw to be used in design (Holtz et al., 1991). Estimation of
required discharge capacity was proposed by various researchers (Mesri and Lo,
1991; Kamon et al., 1994; Den Hoedt, 1981; Kremer et al., 1982; Holtz et al., 1991;
Bo et al., 2000). Another is the measurement of the discharge capacity of the drain in
laboratory and the eld. The rst problem is the variation of discharge capacity with

*Tel.: +44-1274-370410; fax: +44-1274-734447.


E-mail address: mwb1@bullen.co.uk (M.W. Bo).

0266-1144/$ - see front matter r 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/S0266-1144(03)00050-5
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lateral stress, buckling of drain and siltation, etc. and later is due to lack of sufcient
eld data.
Different apparatus and methods of testing often give different values of discharge
capacity which was extensively described by Bo et al. (2000) and may not be
discussed again here. Field measurement of discharge capacity can be carried out
using settlement and piezometer monitoring data. However, such analyses were
rarely carried out in practice. This paper briey discussed the determination of
average required discharge capacity, and eld measurement carried out at Changi
East reclamation project.

2. Denition of discharge capacity

Discharge capacity is dened as the rate of water ow per unit hydraulic gradient.
Q dl
qw Q ; 1
i dh
where qw is rate of water ow per unit hydraulic gradient in m3/s, Q is average
quantity of water discharge per unit time (m3/s), i is hydraulic gradient and is
dimensionless, l is ow length and h is head of water (m). Since the discharge
capacity is dependent upon water ow rate, it is usually measured under a
temperature of 20 C (68 F).

3. Determination of required average discharge capacity

Required discharge capacity was proposed by Mesri and Lo (1991) as 5 times the
discharge factor D based on back analysis data on three major embankment
projects. The discharge factor is dened as
qw
D 2
: 2
Kh lm
2
The required discharge capacity is qw 5 Kh lm where Kh is horizontal perme-
2
ability of soil and lm is maximum drainage length. For most clay, the required
discharge capacity varies from 2 to 80 m3/yr. Kamon et al. (1994) dened the
required discharged capacity as follows:
0:25  0:1  Fs  H  p  Ch
qwreq ; 3
4Th
where qwreq is required discharge capacity in cm3/day, Th is dimensionless time
factor for radial drainage, Ch is horizontal coefcient of consolidation in cm2/day
and H is length of PVD in cm.
Since consolidation involves dissipation of water, total amount of water dissipated
is dependent on the compressibility of soil and the thickness of soil. Den Hoedt
(1981) stated that the required discharge capacity for a 100 mm width drain should
be at least 3  106 m3/s based on allowable settlement of 40 mm/day for a 30 m long
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M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748 39

drain. Dutch recommended on minimum qw of 5  106 m3/s under a hydraulic


gradient i of 0.6 and conning pressure of 100 kN/m2. Kremer et al. (1982)
proposed qw of 25  106 at 10 C under hydraulic gradient of unity and conning
pressure of 15 kN/m2. Holtz et al. (1991) recommended that the qw to be between
3  1069  106 m3/s under 300500 kN/m2 pressure.
A summary of the discharge capacity specied in a number of soil improvement
projects is presented in Table 1. It can be seen that the specied discharge capacity
ranges from 5 to 100  106 m3/s under straight condition and from 6.3 to
32.5  106 m3/s under buckling condition.
As a rule of thumb, the total volume of water to be discharged can be estimated
using the following equation:

Qv H ev De =22 p; 4

where Qv is volume of water drained out from soil in m3, H is thickness of soil in
meters, ev is volumetric strain and De is equivalent diameter of drain in meters. If the
time to complete the primary consolidation is known the average ow rate can be
calculated as
Qv
Q : 5
t
The initial hydraulic gradient can be estimated using the initial excess pore
pressure and the vertical drain length. Then the required average discharge capacity
becomes

Q Lgw H ev De =22 p L gw
qw ; 6
Dd0 t
0
Dd
where L is prefabricated vertical drain length in meters, Dd0 is additional effective
load (kN/m2) and gw is density of water (kN/m3).

Table 1
Summary of discharge capacity specied in different projects

Straight Condition Buckled Condition

DC Test condition DC Test condition

Netherlands o10 m thick >10 350 kPa, 30 days >7.5 350 kPa
>10 m >50 350 kPa, 30 days, i 1 >32.5 350 kPa, 30 days
Singapore >25 350 kPa, 28 days >10
Thailand >16 200 kPa, 7 days, i 1
HongKong >5 200 kPa
Malaysia >6.3 400 kPa, i1 >6.3 400 kPa, 40 m
Australia >100 300 kPa
Finland >10
Greece >10 100 kPa

Note: DC is the Discharge Capacity in m3/s  106.


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Eq. (6) gives the requirement of average discharge capacity. Since rate of
settlement is varying during the consolidation process, the rate of ow will be faster
in the earlier and slower in the later stage. In that case discharge capacity required in
the earlier stage may be greater than average discharge capacity estimated from
Eq. (6).

4. Field measurement of discharge capacities

Several pilot tests with PVD were carried out in Changi East Reclamation
Projects. Two different types of PVD such as Colbond CX1000 and Mebra MD7007
were used in these pilot test areas. Several different spacings were installed to the
various thickness of layers and various magnitude of load. Details of pilot test areas,
type of material used, spacing, length of PVD and magnitude of addition loads are
shown in Table 2 and layout of pilot tests areas from three different projects such as
Changi East Phase 1B, Phase 1C and Area A (North) are shown in Fig. 1.
Required average discharge capacity for each plot of PVD with various spacings
were estimated applying Eq. (6) and were shown together with manufacture
specication of discharge capacity and project specied discharge capacity
(Table 2). It can be seen that project specied discharge capacity is usually lower
than manufactures discharge capacity and generally much higher than estimated
required average discharge capacity. However, it should be noted that average
discharge capacity obtained from Eq. (6) is based on average rate of ow throughout
preloading period. In reality the rate of ow or rate of settlement is much faster in
early stage of settlement and much slower in later stage of settlement. Therefore,
actual required discharge capacity may be one or two order higher than that
suggested from Eq. (6). Therefore, the specied discharge capacity in an order of
25  106 m/s for straight condition and 10  106 m/s for buckled condition may be
the suitable values. It could be checked against eld measurement. It can be seen in
column 9 of Table 2 that estimated average discharge capacity is increasing with
drain spacing due to constant time duration required for consolidation was assumed
in the calculation. However, it is obvious that the closer the spacing the faster will be
the completion of consolidation period. Therefore time requirement were adjusted
for various drain spacing. It was found that the required average discharge capacities
are becoming much closer. However, it was still found that the wider the spacing the
greater was the average discharge capacity. It was also found that for the same drain
spacing the required average discharge capacity is increasing with thickness of clay to
be treated in other words increasing with magnitude of settlement.
Geotechnical instrumentation such as surface and deep settlement gauges and
piezometers were installed in each plot of test area. Settlement and pore pressure
were measured in weekly basis. Typical installation arrangement of settlement
gauges and piezometers is shown in Fig. 2. Comparative plot of settlement
measurements from each plot of test areas for three different projects are shown in
Fig. 3. Discharge rate of water was calculated from the settlement rate data and
hydraulic gradient was obtained from the piezometers monitoring data. Average
Table 2
Details of pilot areas, type of material used, spacing, length of PVD, magnitude of additional load and estimated discharge capacities

No. Project Type of Panel No. PVD PVD Thickness Additional Estimated ave. Estimated Manufacturer

M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748


drain spacing length of clay load discharge discharge specied
(m) (m) treated (kPa) capacity capacity discharge
(m) (m3/s  106) normalized capacity
by duration (m3/s  106)
of pre-loading

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(m3/s  106)

1 Phase 1B Colbond A2S-71 2.0  2.0 36.78 29 163 0.210 0.118 90.0
2 Colbond A2S-72 2.5  2.5 43.95 35 152 0.540 0.194
3 Colbond A2S-73 3.0  3.0 43.81 35 150 0.780 0.194

4 Phase 1C Mebra LOT 1.5M 1.5  1.5 43.01 33 181 0.144 0.144 90.0
5 Colbond LOT 1.5C 1.5  1.5 42.67 33 181 0.144 0.144
6 Mebra Holland LOT 1.5MH 1.5  1.5 42.91 33 181 0.144 0.144
7 Colbond LOT 1.8C 1.8  1.8 42.77 33 173 0.210 0.146
8 Mebra LOT 1.8M 1.8  1.8 42.94 33 178 0.210 0.146
9 Mebra LOT 1.8M (S) 1.8  1.8 34.39 25 182 0.117 0.081
10 Mebra LOT 1.8M (D) 1.8  1.8 46.05 37 173 0.270 0.188
11 Colbond LOT 2.0C 2.0  2.0 42.66 33 171 0.270 0.188
12 Mebra LOT 2.0M 2.0  2.0 43.14 33 171 0.270 0.188

13 Area A North Mebra Holland LOT 1.5M (H) 1.5  1.5 49.95 40 171 0.210 0.210 90.0
14 Mebra Malaysia LOT 1.5M (M) 1.5  1.5 49.89 40 181 0.210 0.210
15 Mebra Holland LOT 1.8M (H) 1.8  1.8 50.47 40 172 0.315 0.219
16 Mebra Malaysia LOT 1.8M (M) 1.8  1.8 50.52 40 178 0.315 0.219

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(a)

(b)

(c)
Fig. 1. Layout of Pilot test areas: (a) Phase 1B, (b) Phase 1C and (c) Area A (North).
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M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748 43

X 5727.19

X 5743.39
CLUSTER-01
Y-451.60 Y-451.60

DS-01 DS-02 DS-03 DS-04 DS-05

DS-06 WS-01 SP-01 OP-01 OP-02

PP-01 PP-02 PP-03 PP-04


LEGEND :
WS-Water Standpipe
SP-Settlement Plate
DS-Deep Settlement
PP-Pneumatic Piezometer
OP-Open type Piezometer
Y-464.20

ACTUAL INSTALLATION DEPTH OF SOIL INSTRUMENTS


( CLUSTER-01 )

Fig. 2. Typical installation arrangement of settlement gauges and piezometers.

discharge capacity could be calculated from the surface settlement data and average
hydraulic gradient obtained from the piezometers monitoring data. Discharge
capacity of each sector of PVD in various soil layers can be calculated using
differential settlement from two deep settlement gauges installed at top and bottom
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0
2.0m x 2.0m (Colbond)
2.5m x 2.5m (Colbond)

Settlement (m)
0.5
3.0m x 3.0m (Colbond)

1.5

2
0 500 1000 1500 2000
(a) Time (day)

1
Settlement (m)

2
2m x 2m (Mebra)
2m x 2m (Colband)
3 1.5m x 1.5m (Colbond)
1.5m x 1.5m (Mebra-Malaysia)
1.5m x 1.5m (Mebra-Holland)
4
0 500 1000 1500 2000
(b) Time (day)

0
1.5m x 1.5m Mebra (Holland)
1.5m x 1.5m Mebra (Malaysia)
1
Settlement (m)

1.8m x 1.8m Mebra (Holland)


1.8m x 1.8m Mebra (Malaysia)
2

4
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200 1400
(c) Time (day)
Fig. 3. Comparison of settlement measurement from each plots: (a) Phase 1B, (b) Phase 1C and (c) Area A
(North).

of the sub layers. Hydraulic gradient can be obtained from the excess pore pressure
measured at the center of sub-layers. For this exercise only the average discharge
capacities calculated with former method is described and explained.
The eld measured discharge capacity from various test areas are shown in
Table 3. It can be seen that highest discharge capacity was again measured at greater
spacing area with thicker clay and lowest discharge capacity was measured at smaller
spacing with thinner clay layer up to the spacing of 2.0 m  2.0 m. However
3.0 m  3.0 m spacing is found to be too wide and discharge capacity reduced
Table 3
Measured discharge capacity from various test areas in the eld

M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748


Project Square spacing (m)

1.5  1.5 1.8  1.8 2.0  2.0 2.5  2.5 3.0  3.0

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Colbond Mebra Colbond Mebra Colbond Mebra Colbond Colbond
Discharge capacity (m3/s) Discharge capacity (m3/s) Discharge capacity (m3/s) Discharge capacity (m3/s)

Phase 1B Maximum 2.5E06 3.2E06 8.5E07


At 3 month 1.2E06 1.5E06 5.6E07
At 6 month 8.0E07 8.9E07 3.1E07
Minimum 2.5E08 6.2E08 2.6E08

Phase 1C Maximum 2.2E06 2.2E06 4.3E06 3.5E06 5.0E06 2.9E06


At 3 month 5.3E07 4.2E07 5.0E07 5.7E07 6.7E07 6.3E07
At 6 month 2.6E07 2.2E07 6.2E07 2.6E07 8.7E07 6.6E07
Minimum 1.9E08 1.8E08 2.0E08 2.0E08 3.3E08 2.3E08

Area A (North) Maximum 8.2E06 1.3E05


At 3 month 2.5E07 7.2E07
At 6 month 2.2E07 6.7E07
Minimum 2.1E08 4.0E08

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2.0E-06
1.8E-06 2.0 x 2.0 (Colbond)
1.6E-06
1.4E-06 2.5 x 2.5 (Colbond)

Q/l (m/s)
1.2E-06 3.0 x 3.0 (Colbond)
1.0E-06
8.0E-07
6.0E-07
4.0E-07
2.0E-07
0.0E+00
1 10 100 1000 10000
(a) Duration (day)

2.5E-06
1.8 x 1.8 Colbond
2.0E-06 1.8 x 1.8 Mebra (Malaysia)
1.8 x 1.8 Mebra (Malaysia)
2.0 x 2.0 Colbond
Q/l (m/s)

1.5E-06 2.0 x 2.0 Mebra (Malaysia)


1.5 x 1.5 (Colbond)
1.5 x 1.5 Mebra (Malaysia)
1.0E-06 1.5 x 1.5 Mebra (Holland)

5.0E-07

0.0E+00
1 10 100 1000 10000
(b) Duration (day)

5.0E-06
1.5 x 1.5 Mebra (Malaysia)
4.0E-06
1.5 x 1.5 Mebra (Holland)
1.8 x 1.8 Mebra (Malaysia)
Q/l (m/s)

3.0E-06
1.8 x 1.8 Mebra (Holland)
2.0E-06

1.0E-06

0.0E+00
1 10 100 1000 10000
(c) Duration (day)

Fig. 4. Comparison of discharge capacity from various drain spacing: (a) Phase 1B, (b) Phase 1C and
(c) Area A (North).

tremendously. The comparison of discharge capacity from various drain spacing


areas from each pilot tests are shown in Fig. 4. It was found that maximum discharge
capacity measured at initial stage was 13  106 m/s and minimum discharge
capacity measured at initial stage was 8.5  107 m/s. Therefore, it can be concluded
that the specied discharge capacity of 25  106 m/s for straight condition and
10  106 m/s for buckled conditions are not far from eld measured discharge
capacity ranging between 0.85  106 and 13  106 m/s and is much greater than
minimum discharge capacity measured at later stage ranging between 1.8  108 and
6.2  108 m/s. It can be seen in the table that the discharge capacities measured are
reduced to one order of magnitude usually at 3 months after consolidation especially
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M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748 47

for close spacing up to 2 m  2 m and at 6 months after consolidation for wider


spacing. The slight variation of discharge capacities for the same drain spacing with
the same type of drain in Phase 1C project for similar thickness of clay layers is due
to boundary effect explained by Bo et al. (1999). It was also reected in the
settlement measurement shown in Fig. 3.
It was also found that highest discharge capacity was occurred during rst
months. For most spacings minimum discharge capacities are two order lower than
maximum discharge capacity measured at initial stage.

5. Conclusion
* For implementation of PVD project, discharge capacity is the most important
parameter from the performance point of view among the material quality of
PVD.
* Required discharge capacity is generally specied between 6.3  106 and
32.5  106 m/s. However actual mobilized eld discharge capacity was rarely
documented.
* Average required discharge capacity can be calculated mathematically. However,
actual eld mobilized discharge capacity can be one or two orders higher than
average required discharge capacity values since settlement rate was much faster
in early stage of consolidation.
* Field mobilized discharge capacities were measured with the help of settlement
and piezometer monitoring data. It was found that eld mobilized discharge
capacity is increasing with decreasing spacing for the drain spacing of between
1.5 m  1.5 m and 2.0 m  2.0 m. For the same spacing eld discharge capacity is
increasing with increasing thickness of compressible layer.
* Maximum eld mobilized discharge capacities are ranging between 8.5  107 and
13.0  106 m/s and are quite closed to the specied discharge capacity of
25  106 m/s.
* However, minimum discharge capacities measured are much lower than specied
buckled discharge capacity of 10  106 m/s.

Acknowledgements

The author like to express his thanks to Mr. Kyaw Win Oo, Mr. Joel Z. Indedanio
and Mr. Hla Shwe of Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd. for their
graphical works and assistance in preparation of this paper.

References

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Engineering, August 1999. Balkema, Rotterdam, Seoul, Korea.
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48 M.W. Bo / Geotextiles and Geomembranes 22 (2004) 3748

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