# Soil Mechanics-II Consolidation Dr. Attaullah Shah ground SIVA 1

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Soil Mechanics-II Consolidation Dr. Attaullah Shah ground SIVA 1

Consolidation The process, involving a gradual compression occurring simultaneously with a flow of water out of the mass and with a gradual transfer of the applied pressure from the pore water to the mineral skeleton is called consolidation. The process opposite to consolidation is called swelling, which involves an increase in the water content due to an increase in the volume of the voids. Consolidation may be due to one or more of the following factors: 1. External static loads from structures. 2. Self-weight of the soil such as recently placed fills. 3. Lowering of the ground water table. 4. Desiccation ( Draught). The total compression of a saturated clay strata under excess effective pressure may be considered as the sum of 1. Immediate compression, 2. Primary consolidation, and 3. Secondary compression. 2

The portion of the settlement of a structure which occurs more or less simultaneously with the applied loads is referred to as the initial or immediate settlement. This settlement is due to the immediate compression of the soil layer under un-drained condition and is calculated by assuming the soil mass to behave as an elastic soil. If the rate of compression of the soil layer is controlled solely by the resistance of the flow of water under the induced hydraulic gradients, the process is referred to as primary consolidation. The portion of the settlement that is due to the primary consolidation is called primary consolidation settlement or compression. At the present time the only theory of practical value for estimating time-dependent settlement due to volume changes, that is under primary consolidation is the one-dimensional theory. The third part of the settlement is due to secondary consolidation or compression of the clay layer. This compression is supposed to start after the primary consolidation ceases, that is after the excess pore water pressure approaches zero. It is often assumed that secondary compression proceeds linearly with the logarithm of time. However, a satisfactory treatment of this phenomenon has not been formulated for computing settlement under this category. 3

The Process of Consolidation The process of consolidation of a clay-soil-water system may be explained with the help of a mechanical model as described by Terzaghi and Frohlich (1936). The model consists of a cylinder with a frictionless piston as shown in Fig. The piston is supported on one or more helical metallic springs. The space underneath the piston is completely filled with water. The springs represent the mineral skeleton in the actual soil mass and the water below the piston is the pore water under saturated conditions in the soil mass. When a load of p is placed on the piston, this stress is fully transferred to the water (as water is assumed to be incompressible) and the water pressure increases. The pressure in the water is u p This is analogous to pore water pressure, u, that would be developed in a clay-water system under external pressures. If the whole model is leak proof without any holes in the piston, there is no chance for the water to escape. Such a condition represents a highly impermeable clay-water system in which there is a very high resistance for the flow of water. It has been found in the case of compact plastic clays that the minimum 4 initial gradient required to cause flow may be as high as 20 to 30.

If a few holes are made in the piston, the water will immediately escape through the holes. With the escape of water through the holes a part of the load carried by the water is transferred to the springs. This process of transference of load from water to spring goes on until the flow stops. when all the load will be carried by the spring and none by the water. The time required to attain this condition depends upon the number and size of the holes made in the piston. A few small holes represents a clay soil with poor drainage characteristics. When the spring-water system attains equilibrium condition under the imposed load, the settlement of the piston is analogous to the compression of the clay-water system under external pressures. 5

One Dimensional Consolidation A general theory for consolidation, incorporating three-dimensional flow vectors is complicated and only applicable to a very limited range of problems in geotechnical engineering. For the vast majority of practical settlement problems, it is sufficient to consider that both seepage and strains take place in one direction only; this usually being vertical. One-dimensional consolidation specifically occurs when there is no lateral strain, e.g. in the oedometer test. One-dimensional consolidation can be assumed to be occurring under wide foundations. A simple one-dimensional consolidation model consists of rectilinear element of soil subject to vertical changes in loading and through which vertical (only) seepage flow is taking place. There are three variables: the excess pore pressure (u) the depth of the element in the layer (z) the time elapsed since application of the loading (t) The total stress on the element is assumed to remain constant. The coefficient of volume compressibility (m v) is assumed to be constant. The coefficient of permeability (k) for vertical flow is assumed to be constant. 6

Consolidometer Used to measure consolidation of saturated clay water system. Also called Oedometer. The soil sample is contained in the brass ring between two porous stones about 1.25 cm thick. by means of the porous stones water has free access to and from both surfaces of the specimen. The compressive load is applied to the specimen through a piston, either by means of a hanger and dead weights or by a system of levers. The compression is measured on a dial gauge. At the bottom of the soil sample the water expelled from the soil flows through the filter stone into the water container. At the top, a well-jacket filled with water is placed around the stone in order to prevent excessive evaporation from the sample during the test. Water from the sample also flows into the jacket through the upper filter stone. The soil sample is kept submerged in a saturated condition during the test. 7

Loads are applied in steps in such a way that the successive load intensity, p, is twice the preceding one. The load intensities commonly used being 1/4, 1/2,1, 2,4, 8, and 16 tons/ft2 (25, 50,100,200,400, 800 and 1600 kN/m 2). Each load is allowed to stand until compression has practically ceased (no longer than 24 hours). The dial readings are taken at elapsed times of 1/4, 1/2, 1,2,4, 8,15, 30, 60, 120, 240, 480 and 1440 minutes from the time the new increment of load is put on the sample (or at elapsed times as per requirements). Sandy samples are compressed in a relatively short time as compared to clay samples and the use of one day duration is common for the latter. After the greatest load required for the test has been applied to the soil sample, the load is removed in decrements to provide data for plotting the expansion curve of the soil in order to learn its elastic properties and magnitudes of plastic or permanent deformations. The following data should also be obtained: Moisture content and weight of the soil sample before the commencement of the test. Moisture content and weight of the sample after completion of the test. The specific gravity of the solids. The temperature of the room where the test is conducted 8

PRESSURE-VOID RATIO CURVES The pressure-void ratio curve can be obtained if the void ratio of the sample at the end of each increment of load is determined. Accurate determinations of void ratio are essential and may be computed from the following data: The cross-sectional area of the sample A, which is the same as that of the brass ring. The specific gravity, Gs, of the solids. The dry weight, Ws, of the soil sample. The sample thickness, h, at any stage of the test. Let Vs volume of the solids in the sample where We can also write If āeā is the void ratio of the sample, then hs is a constant and only h is a variable which decreases with increment load. If the thickness h of the sample is known at any stage of the test, the void ratio at all the stages of the test may be determined. The equilibrium void ratio at the end of any load increment may be 9 determined by the change of void ratio method:

Change of Void-Ratio Method In one-dimensional compression the change in height h per unit of original height h equals the change in volume V per unit of original volume V. For constant area. 10

DETERMINATION OF PRECONSOLIDATION PRESSURE Field method, Graphical procedure based on consolidation test results. Field Method: Based on geological evidence. The geology and physiography of the site may help to locate the original ground level. The overburden pressure in the clay structure with respect to the original ground level may be taken as the preconsolidation pressure pc. Not certain Graphical Procedure Casagrande (1936):The method involves locating the point of maximum curvature, B on the laboratory e-log p curve of an undisturbed sample as shown in Fig. From B, a tangent is drawn to the curve and a horizontal line is also constructed. The angle between these two lines is then bisected. The abscissa of the point of intersection of this bisector with the upward extension of the inclined11 straight part corresponds to the preconsolidation pressure.

COMPUTATION OF CONSOLIDATION SETTLEMENT Settlement Equations for Normally Consolidated Clays For computing the ultimate settlement of a structure founded on clay the following data are required 1. The thickness of the clay stratum, H 2. The initial void ratio, e0 3. The consolidation pressure p0 or pc 4. The field consolidation curve Kf The slope of the field curve Kf.on a semi-logarithmic diagram is designated as the compression index Cc The equation for Cc may be written as In one-dimensional compression, as per Eq. (7.2), the change in height A// per unit of original H may be written as equal to the change in volume V per unit of original volume V Considering a unit sectional area of the clay stratum, we may write 12

Therefore, Substituting for V for V If we designate the compression V of the clay layer as the total settlement St of the structure built on it, we have Substituting the value of e from previous slide ( e-logp curve) Consolidation tests will have to be completed on samples taken from the middle of each of the strata and the corresponding compression indices will have to be determined. The equation for the total consolidation settlement may be written as where the subscript ;' refers to each layer in the subdivision. If there is a series of clay strata of thickness, separated by granular materials, the same Eq. (may be used for calculating the total settlement. 13

During a consolidation test, a sample of fully saturated clay 3 cm thick ( ho) is consolidated under a pressure increment of 200 kN/m2. When equilibrium is reached, the sample thickness is reduced to 2.60 cm. The pressure is then removed and the sample is allowed to expand and absorb water. The final thickness is observed as 2.8 cm (ft,) and the final moisture content is determined as 24.9%. 14

A recently completed fill was 32.8 ft thick and its initial average void ratio was 1.0. The fill was loaded on the surface by constructing an embankment covering a large area of the fill. Some months after the embankment was constructed, measurements of the fill indicated an average void ratio of 0.8. Estimate the compression of the fill. 15

A soil sample has a compression index of 0.3. If the void ratio e at a stress of 2940 Ib/ft2 is 0.5, compute (i) the void ratio if the stress is increased to 4200 Ib/ft2, and (ii) the settlement of a soil stratum 13 ft thick. 16

Two points on a curve for a normally consolidated clay have the following coordinates. Point e1 0.7, Pl 2089 lb/ft2 Point 2: e2 0.6, p2 6266 lb/ft2 If the average overburden pressure on a 20 ft thick clay layer is 3133 lb/ft2, how much settlement will the clay layer experience due to an induced stress of 3340 lb/ft2 at its mid depth. 17

Assignment Two points on a curve for a normally consolidated clay have the following coordinates. Point e1 0.7, p1 2089 lb/ft2, Point 2: e2 0.6, p2 6266 lb/ft2. If the average overburden pressure on a 20 ft thick clay layer is 3133 lb/ft2, How much settlement will the clay layer experience due to an induced stress of 3340 lb/ft2 at its mid depth. 18