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Plaxis Bulletin
issue 15 / march 2004

SIMULATION OF A SOIL NAILS DYNAMIC PULLOUT RESPONSE Three Dimensional Deformation Analysis of a Deep Excavation Practical Application of the Soft Soil Creep Model

Editorial Plaxis Users Inquiry New developments Recent activities Plaxis Practice THREE DIMENSIONAL GROUND DEFORMATION ANALYSIS OF DEEP EXCAVATION ADJACENT TO RAILWAY EMBANKMENT IN THE CITY OF ROTTERDAM Plaxis Practice SIMULATION OF SOIL NAILS DYNAMIC PULLOUT RESPONSE Plaxis Practice WHAT IS THE MECHANICAL IMPACT OF WATER IN GROUND? Plaxis Tutorial PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE SOFT SOIL CREEP MODEL 3 3 4 5 6 The Plaxis Bulletin is the combined magazine of Plaxis B.V. and the Plaxis Users Association (NL). The Bulletin focuses on the use of the finite element method in geotechnical engineering practise and includes articles on the practical application of the Plaxis programs, case studies and backgrounds on the models implemented in Plaxis. The Bulletin offers a platform where users of Plaxis can share ideas and experiences with each other. The editors welcome submission of papers for the Plaxis Bulletin that fall in any of these categories. The manuscript should preferably be submitted in an electronic format, formatted as plain text without formatting. It should include the title of the paper, the name(s) of the authors and contact information (preferably email) for the corresponding author(s). The main body of the article should be divided into appropriate sections and, if necessary, subsections. If any references are used, they should be listed at the end of the article. The author should ensure that the article is written clearly for ease of reading. In case figures are used in the text, it should be indicated where they should be placed approximately in the text. The figures themselves have to be supplied separately from the text in a common graphics format (e.g. tif, gif, png, jpg, wmf, cdr or eps formats are all acceptable). If bitmaps or scanned figures are used the author should ensure that they have a resolution of at least 300 dpi at the size they will be printed. The use of colour in figures is encouraged, as the Plaxis Bulletin is printed in full-colour. Any correspondence regarding the Plaxis Bulletin can be sent by email to bulletin@plaxis.nl or by regular mail to: Plaxis Bulletin c/o Dr. W. Broere PO Box 572 2600 AN Delft The Netherlands The Plaxis Bulletin has a total circulation of 8000 copies and is distributed worldwide.




Editorial Board: Dr. Wout Broere Dr. Ronald Brinkgreve Mr. Erwin Beernink Mr. Marco Hutteman


Plaxis Users Inquiry

LAST YEAR A QUESTIONNAIRE WAS SENT BY THE DUTCH PLAXIS USERS ASSOCIATION, TO PLAXIS USERS, ASKING THEM ABOUT THEIR DAY TO DAY EXPERIENCE WITH THE PLAXIS PROGRAMS AND INVITING THEM TO GIVE THEIR VIEW ON FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS AND EXTENSIONS TO THE PLAXIS PROGRAMS. THE RESULTS FROM THE INQUIRY ARE PRESENTED AND DISCUSSED IN THIS ISSUE OF THE BULLETIN. In this article, the conclusions derived from the questionnaire and the feedback from the Plaxis Company are discussed by Dr. Bakker (director of PLAXIS BV) and Mr. Hutteman (Plaxis Users Association). THE QUESTIONNAIRE Many users remarked that they were unsure about the planned developments for and continous improvement of the 2D version of Plaxis. This topic is discussed in the column New Developments, which focuses this time on the long term developments for Plaxis V8 and its successor Plaxis V9. The Soft Soil Creep model has been available in Plaxis for several years now, but from the users' responses it is clear that the determination of the input parameters for this model is not always straightforward. The Plaxis Tutorial in this issue explains how the value of OCR influences the creep behaviour and how this value can be estimated if sufficient soil investigation data is lacking. You will also find the other regular columns in this issue, such as a review of Recent Activities and a list of upcoming Activities. Although it was intended to discuss the results of the last Benchmark in this issue, we decided to extend the deadline for the Benchmark No. 3 until May 16th. We hope that this will allow sufficient time for the people who still want to enter a solution, but did not find the time until now. And as always, users can share their experience in Plaxis Practise. This time an innovative use of the Plaxis 3D Tunnel program is presented, describing the analysis of a deep excavation for a metro station in Rotterdam. Although the entire project involves bored tunnels, the article focuses on the deep excavation pit instead of the tunnels, and shows how the complex situation can be analysed using 3D finite element calculations. We would like to use this opportunity to invite you to contribute to Plaxis Practise. Sharing your experience with Plaxis with other users is what makes this part of the Bulletin such a success and we hope to see more contributions for the following Bulletins. Although the response was below expectation, with 23 fully filled out forms, all major Dutch contractors and consultants did reply. The amount of forms returned on behalf of the company was large enough to derive some general conclusions. Summarized, the main results as evaluated by the Dutch Plaxis users Association were: Plaxis is mainly used in design, for design purposes and variation analysis. The type of analysis is mainly for soil-structure interaction; coupled settlement and stability analyses and foundation engineering. Further, PLAXIS is widely used with respect to different types of structures. In addition to that the users have a large demand for background information on latest material models, and examples how to use these models and how to derive the necessary parameters would be highly appreciated. Although the efforts put into the further development of 3D computer codes is understood and appreciated, the users emphasize that 2D developments are still very important and demanded for. The PLAXIS manuals and specific courses are highly appreciated. In addition to that the users would desire to be informed via a) the Bulletin, and b) through additional workshops. The further use of the internet to share case studies would be advocated. With respect to 2D versus 3D analysis; in practice PLAXIS 3D analysis is not yet widely used. This might be partly due to the complexity of these models. A major shift from 2D to 3D on the short term is not foreseen. In practice the use of 3D analysis is thought to be limited to specific applications, where the complexity would demand the additional effort. THE DISCUSSION Bakker: In general the results are well understood, and coincide with the views and aims that the Plaxis Company strives for. The priority that the users ask for with respect to the use and presumably the further development of the 2D codes is understandable, although we think that the efforts put into 3D developments in past and upcoming years are necessary to assure continuity in serving the Plaxis users also for the future. However we understand that the main use of the Plaxis computer codes still is and will be for a number of years for the application of 2D problems. Therefore we have to find a balance between serving present and future needs of our user group. (E.g. see also the issues discussed in the Column on New developments in this issue of the bulletin, which discusses some of these 2D developments still going on) Hutteman: This is seen and some of the developments of the 3D have found its way into the 2D version of the program. Although we understand that, to serve its continuity the PLAXIS Company must be on the edge of the envelope, the tension between the ongoing concern in daily GeoEngineering and next generations needs should be carefully monitored. >>> Since the PLAXIS program became available on a commercial basis back in the late 1980ties, there has been a strong relation between the users and the Plaxis organization. This resulted in the founding of the PLAXIS Users Association, which is also represented in the PLAXIS Foundation. Over the years the Plaxis Users Association has contributed in the different stages of the development of the program, by feedback to the Plaxis organization on the needs of Dutch geotechnical engineers. Furthermore the Users Association and the PLAXIS Company work closely together on the publication of the PLAXIS Bulletin, a joint initiative. As one of last years activities the Dutch Plaxis Users Association did a poll amongst their members about the use of and the satisfaction of the PLAXIS programs.

Benchmark No. 3: Embankment 1

Specifications of benchmark no. 3 can be found in Plaxis bulletin issue 14 / September 2003 (www.plaxis.nl > news > plaxis bulletins). Users are kindly requested to mail the results to Helmut.Schweiger@tugraz.at. The extended deadline is: 16 May 2004. All results will be kept strictly confidential.

New developments
>>> Bakker: In addition to the attention on 2D developments, the users ask for more communication and information about the use of present (material) models available, but also about ongoing development. They emphasize the importance of the PLAXIS Bulletin, as a medium to communicate these issues. Hutteman: This is just one end of this topic; next to this the Dutch users would like to see more backgrounds on the parameter determination. E.g. type of soil investigation vs. parameters vs. PLAXIS models Bakker: Apart from the general conclusions looking into more detail to specific statements put forward by the users, one remark worth mentioning is that 3D Tunneling is not specifically more important than other Geotechnical problems, which can be placed into the perspective that the first 3D computer program that PLAXIS released was named and dedicated to Tunneling. Here it may be put forward that the functionality for tunnel problems in practice is not too much a limitation, which is well understood, by a large user group of this program. Nevertheless we expect that the new 3D Foundations program to be released shortly will serve a larger user group. Hutteman: Please note that in this bulletin holds an article where the 3D tunnel program was used in an excavation analysis of a building pit. Bakker: In addition to that, plans have been developed to widen the applicability of the 3D Tunnel program into a more generally applicable program for Underground Construction; i.e. including all the necessary functionality for deep excavations. Therefore a new full 3D mesh-generator is being developed, which will widen the applicability of this new program with respect to geometry. Hutteman: As last general remark I would like to stress that although we sometimes would like to see more small improvements in the existing products (mostly included in the intermediate internet updates) we fully support the PLAXIS program on its product developments CALL FOR FURTHER COMMENTS Since both the Dutch Users Association and the PLAXIS Company would like the international opinion on the present and future developments of the PLAXIS program, we challenge you to send your comments to either the PLAXIS Company or the PLAXIS Users Association. We value the users opinion and we will continue trying to serve the PLAXIS users as best as possible with respect to their needs. Klaas Jan Bakker Director PLAXIS BV Marco Hutteman Dutch Plaxis Users Association The improvement of soil models to enhance the practical engineering applicability has been a theme throughout all Plaxis developments. Although some users have expressed their difficulty in following new developments in soil modelling, others complain that specific aspects of soil behaviour are not yet captured by the existing models. We see it as a challenge to provide all users with the necessary information to be able to benefit from the new developments. Some of these aspects are: Strain-dependent stiffness (especially high stiffness at small strains), which is important for an adequate description of deformations around soil retaining structures and tunnels. Accumulation of volumetric strain upon cyclic loading, which is important to enhance dynamic analysis, taking into account liquefaction and stability. Hysteretic damping during cyclic loading, which relates to the former issue. Anisotropy of strength and stiffness, which is important for the advanced modelling of clay and peat. Hence, there is still a demand for improvement of the models. It is planned for Version 9 to implement a new model based on kinematic hardening, which captures the first three features mentioned above to a certain extent. The last feature, anisotropy, is planned to be included in the Soft Soil Creep model.

Ronald Brinkgreve & Klaas Jan Bakker, Plaxis BV


In recent years a lot of emphasis in our communication has been put on 3D developments, such that it might give the impression that Plaxis 2D is pass. However, in this column we like to clarify that this is not the case. In addition to the 3D developments we do plan and perform further 2D developments to enhance the capabilities of Plaxis 2D, since by far most of the engineering and design applications are still 2D. As with most Plaxis upgrades so far, the new 2D developments (from Version 8 towards Version 9) are a balanced mixture between modelling requirements and user-friendliness; functionality requirements from users on the one hand, and scientific developments that we consider necessary and useful on the long run at the other hand. Some of these planned developments are described below.

Recent activities
3DFOUNDATION The most recent activity is the completion of our latest novelty the 3DFoundation program. 3DFoundation is designed for the analysis of raft, pile-raft and offshore foundations. Large arbitrary 3D soil geometries and meshes can easily be generated by the definition of one or more boreholes. Structures or structural parts and piles can be defined independent of non-horizontal soil stratigraphy by well defined dedicated wizards. Directly following the Experienced Plaxis User Course we organize on March 25 a special one day course on the new 3DFoundation program. Contact our sales staff at info@plaxis.nl for more information on 3DFoundation or the one day course. PLAXIS STAFF In October Arjan Bregman joined the Plaxis Sales & Marketing department. His main activity is to support the sales department and to assist the marketing manager in his worldwide marketing campaign. Arjan studied and graduated Industrial Management at the Haagse Hogeschool. Arjan will furthermore assist Plaxis during trade fairs and symposia. Andrei Chesaru studied Civil Engineering and graduated at the TU Delft, specializing on tunneling technology. He also has several years of experience working as part-time programmer. Within Plaxis he will work on the development and maintenance of user-interface applications. USER MEETINGS Last quarter of 2003 user meetings were organized in Karlsruhe, Delft and Oslo for respectively the European, Dutch and Norwegian users. With over 50 participants and a good mixture of presentations and fruitful discussion groups the European Plaxis user meeting in Karlsruhe was very successful. Especially the results of the discussion groups are a challenge for Plaxis to be also state of the art in geotechnical engineering in the coming decade. PlaxFlow was the central theme at the Dutch users day. During this day lectures by groundwater flow experts were combined with the opportunity to learn more about PlaxFlow during a workshop. In continuation of these successful user meetings we scheduled the 1st North American Plaxis users meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on June 11, 2004. COURSES After succesfully conducting courses in German, French, Spanish, Portugese and Arabic we are proud to announce our first short course in Italian. This course will be held from 26 till 30 April in Naples. For an extensive overview on course and other upcoming events see Activities on the back page of this bulletin. AGENT IN INDIA Ram Caddsys Pvt Ltd is founded in 1998, Ram is distinguished in the engineering software arena by the expertise of its personnel and their commitment to bring better quality products and reliable service. Ram aims at providing top quality state-of-the art software for Geotechnical, civil and structural engineering industry. Ram is privately held and headquartered in Chennai, India. Today, Ram has forged alliance with many software developers, who are leaders in A/E/C industry to market their solutions through out South-East Asia and Middle East. Mr. Ram Kumar will be providing technical support on Plaxis software in India. He has varied experience in modeling the soil and soil-structure interaction problems. He has worked on the analysis of slope stability, sheeting design, 2D & 3D tunnel modeling, Pile group analysis and design, 3D soil structure interaction analysis for various foundations etc.

Another interesting feature in Version 9 will be the possibility to automatically perform model parameter variations in order to evaluate the sensitivity of the computational results with respect to model parameters. We will create an automatic procedure based on the input of an upper and lower bound of certain parameters. This will provide users a bandwidth of results, rather than a single answer. This approach will also enable a kind of probabilistic analysis for those who are ready to make a next step, but the automatic parameter variation by itself is already a great benefit for most users. Parameter selection, in general, is probably the most difficult part in any Plaxis analysis. To support users in the selection of soil models and their parameters, we will implement a facility that enables users to simulate standard soil tests on the basis of material data sets they entered. This enables the user to review the consequences of selected parameters in an early stage, and allows for optimisation of parameters for practical problems based on available soil test data. Of course, this should not be the only source of information to be used to select model parameters, but such a facility can be quite helpful, especially when using advanced soil models. In addition to parameter selection, another issue is the way parameters are related to the topology of the underground. The development of the 3D Foundation program has further enhanced our methods on 3D modelling of the underground. The conceptual idea developed could also be used as a basis for the 2D models if we further investigate the possibilities to import soil data. It is expected that import of such data might become a new feature in the next upgrade of Plaxis 2D. Many Plaxis users are nowadays struggling with the use of finite element computational results in design codes, such as the new European codes (Euro Code 7). Working groups are discussing how to use the finite element method in conjunction with Euro Code 7, but this is still an ongoing discussion. Nevertheless, most proposals seem to converge to a similar method, which is based on strength reduction (phi-c reduction, as called in Plaxis). We will closely follow the discussions and make the necessary implementations to enable users to follow the proposed procedure. Herewith we trust to have made clear that, in addition to all 3D developments as communicated earlier, we do intend to continue developments of the Plaxis 2D computer programs. We recognize that most users will continue to use Plaxis 2D for engineering applications. With the improvements as mentioned above, we hope to enhance the capabilities of Plaxis for design purposes in addition to its capabilities as an analysis tool. We are open to hear further suggestions how this can be achieved.

Plaxis Practice


ir. V.M. Thumann, Rotterdam Public Works Engineering Department, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT In Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the new RandstadRail underground line is going to be built in the period 2004 - 2008. Approximately two-third of the 3.0 km long Statenweg route will be constructed using tunnel-boring techniques. The remaining part is built in deep conventional excavations (depth around 20 m), which are also used for line-up and dismantling of the tunnelling equipment. This paper highlights some of the geotechnical calculations as performed during the engineering of the excavations near the Rotterdam Centraal station railway yard. Special attention has been paid to the ground deformations of the railway yard embankment that are expected to occur during the excavation works, as very strict tolerances apply to railtrack position and elevation. Modelling of the excavation geometry for one- and two-dimensional geotechnical calculations revealed that quite a number of simplifications had to be made on following aspects: surface profile (embankment vs. street elevation), varying distance between excavation and embankment, supporting effect of perpendicular diaphragm walls, more or less independent behaviour of diaphragm wall sections, etc.. It has therefore been decided to perform additional three-dimensional computations. The selected software (Plaxis 3D) provided sufficient possibilities to account for all kinds of asymmetry within the geometry. Verification of the Plaxis 3D results was done through evaluation of the calculation results for a one-dimensional geometry by 1D-, 2D- and 3D calculation tools. The results from the 3D calculations show some typical features of soil behaviour, such as arching effects. The ground deformations on the railway embankment as derived from the output data have been used in the official procedures for obtaining permission for working close to, and partly on, terrain owned by railway company ProRail. RANDSTADRAIL IN ROTTERDAM In Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the new RandstadRail underground line is going to be built in the period 2004 - 2008. After completion it will provide connections from the centre of Rotterdam to the towns and cities in northern direction: a.o. Den Haag and Zoetermeer. RandstadRail will be linked to the terminal station of the existing Erasmus underground line, which is located in the vicinity of the Rotterdam Centraal railway station. On October 28, 1999, local authorities have decided on the preferred routing of the RandstadRail line on Rotterdam territory, known as the Statenwegtrac, variant 2. Approximately two-third of the 3.0 km long Statenweg route will be constructed using tunnel-boring techniques. The remaining part is built in deep conventional excavations (depth around 20 m), which are also used for line-up and dismantling of the tunnelling equipment. This paper highlights some of the geotechnical aspects involved in the design of the excavations near the Rotterdam Centraal station railway yard. EXCAVATIONS NEXT TO RAILWAY EMBANKMENT Relatively deep excavations are required at the Conradstraat, near Rotterdam Centraal railway station. Here, the arrival of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) is planned. The location and dimensions of the excavations are mainly determined by limitations related to tunnelling in soft soil conditions, existing buildings and infrastructure, future connection to Erasmus underground line, and general specifications for underground railway design (a.o. slope inclination). As illustrated on Figure 1, the excavations will be located very close to the railway yard. At some points the distance to the nearest rail-

way track is about 5 meters only. Terrain conditions are: Conradstraat street level at NAP -0.3 m, railway yard elevation at NAP +3.0 m. An impression of the local site conditions is shown on Figure 2 (camera positions as indicated on Figure 1).

Figure 1: General location plan.

Figure 2: Site impression photographs.

Following excavations are described in detail in this paper: Excavation (reference coordinates) I-west (km 0.220 to km 0.230) I-east (km 0.188 to km 0.220)
(*) NAP: reference elevation

Length x Width 10.0 m x 20.0 m 30.0 m x 17.5 m

Excavation depth (*) NAP -19.1 m



NAP -2.0 m Submerged excavation; water level @ NAP -0.5 m NAP -16.8 m NAP -1.0 m Dry excavation to NAP -18.3 m NAP -7.5 m NAP -13.5 m

The retaining wall has been designed as a reinforced concrete diaphragm wall down to NAP -42.5 m with thickness 1.50 m. Additional anchoring is used on the railway embankment side in order to counteract the ground pressure driving force. Cross section drawings of the excavations are presented on Figures 3a and 3b.

lowing aspects: surface profile (embankment vs. street level), varying distance between excavation and embankment, supporting effect of perpendicular diaphragm walls, more or less independent behaviour of diaphragm wall sections, interaction between excavations, etc.. It has been decided to use three-dimensional computations to account for these features. The selected software (Plaxis 3D) provided sufficient possibilities for modelling of the geometry; building the model and performing the analyses appeared to be rather time consuming, however. The 3D analysis has been split into two parts denoted c and d for practical reasons (hardware limitations), as shown on Figure 4. The diaphragm wall is assumed to be in place at start of the calculations. Length of the diaphragm wall sections are 2.9 m and 0.1 m. The 0.1 m sections, having very low strength properties, are located between each pair of 2.9 m sections to simulate the reduced interaction effect between the longer elements.

Figure 3a: Cross section a-a.

Figure 4: 3D finite element analyses model geometry.

Figure 3b: Cross section b-b. GEOTECHNICAL ANALYSES REQUIRED Special attention has been paid to the ground deformations of the railway yard embankment that are expected to occur during the excavation works, for following reasons: 1. Obtaining permission for working close to, and partly on, terrain owned by railway company ProRail; 2. Anticipating on remedial levelling activities on the railway yard, as very strict tolerances apply to railtrack position and elevation. Initially, one-dimensional calculations were performed for the structural design of the diaphragm wall. These analyses are not sufficient to determine ground deformations at the railway tracks on the embankment. Therefore, two-dimensional finite element calculations are required to find the ground deformations at varying distance from the retaining wall. In this particular case, additional three-dimensional finite element calculations were executed to account for all kinds of asymmetry. MODELLING OF GEOMETRY Modelling of the excavation geometry for one- and two-dimensional geotechnical calculations revealed that quite a number of simplifications had to be made on fol-

ROTTERDAM SOIL DATA General soil conditions at the site, which are typical for the Rotterdam region, are as follows: Elevation (NAP m) from: to: -0.3 -4.5 (surface) -4.5 -5.5 -5.5 -8.0 -8.0 -17.0 -17.0 -35.0 -35.0 -37.5 -37.5 -40.0 -40.0 -41.0 -41.0 -44.5 -44.5 -45.0 -45.0 -50.0 -50.0 .... Water pressure head (NAP m) -1.6

Origin - Type of soil fill - sand Holocene - clay Holocene - peat Holocene - clay Pleistocene - sand Kedichem - clay Kedichem - sand Kedichem - peat Kedichem - loam Kedichem - sand Kedichem - loam Kedichem - sand

(deg) c (kPa) 25.0 0.0 18.0 12.4 16.6 27.2 18.0 26.4 13.0 24.5 26.4 24.5 26.4 8.0 10.0 10.0 0.0 8.0 0.0 3.5 4.0 0.0 4.0 0.0

-2.4 -2.4

-2.4 -2.9

The data coming out of the extensive RandstadRail laboratory testing programme have been used to determine the required input parameters for the geotechnical calculations.

Plaxis Practice

1D VERSUS 2D VERSUS 3D ANALYSIS - VERIFICATION OF RESULTS The one-dimensional analyses as used for the structural design of the diaphragm wall have been performed using MSheet software. An iterative solution procedure was followed to account for the dependency of the wall stiffness (reinforced concrete) on the bending moment. For verification of the calculation models, the same one-dimensional geometry has been analysed using both Plaxis 2D and Plaxis 3D software. For comparison, the horizontal displacements as derived from the MSheet analysis are shown next to the Plaxis output data in Figure 5a (Plaxis 2D) and Figure 5b (Plaxis 3D). The maximum values as determined from the analyses are as follows: Analysis Location umax (ref. Fig. 1) (@ elevation) 1-D b-b 63 mm (NAP -13.6 m) 2-D b-b 89 mm (NAP -13 m) 2-D b-b 64 mm (NAP -13 m) Soil model Software (version)

FULL 3D CALCULATION RESULTS - SPECIAL FEATURES The horizontal displacements in model x-direction as calculated by the three-dimensional Plaxis 3D analyses are shown on Figure 6. Following aspects from the full 3D analysis results are highlighted: Consequences of analysis split into part c and d. It is noted that the displacements towards the edge of the model are affected by the boundary conditions. The influence area of the boundary conditions appears to be different for each analysis, due to the variation of excavation geometry. Careful evaluation and interpretation of this aspect is very important, as to obtain a reasonable combination of output data coming from both analysis parts. Diaphragm wall behaviour. As intended, each diaphragm wall section along the railway yard is supported only by anchors and struts, and does not get any significant support from adjacent sections. As a result, direct support due to presence of the perpendicular wall is limited to just one diaphragm wall section only. Arching effect. The arching effect around the excavations is clearly visible on the displacements plots. Locally, the supporting effect due to the perpendicular diaphragm walls has a major influence as well. Horizontal displacements of diaphragm wall. For comparison, the maximum values as determined from the Plaxis analyses of the 2D- and 3D-geometry are as follows: Analysis Location umax (ref. Fig. 1) (@ elevation) 2-D b-b 64 mm (NAP -13 m) 3-D b-b 21 mm (NAP -12 m) Soil model Hardening Soil Hardening Soil Software (version) Plaxis 3D Tunnel ( Plaxis 3D Tunnel (

Mohr-Coulomb MSheet ( bi-linear springs Hardening Soil Plaxis 2D ( Hardening Soil Plaxis 3D Tunnel (

Figure 5a: Model verification - One-dimensional geometry analysis MSheet (1D) vs. Plaxis 2D.

The arching effect is considered to be the main reason for the large reduction of the calculated horizontal displacements when comparing the outcome of the 2D- and 3D-geometry analysis. The three-dimensional analysis of the geometry at location b - b results in horizontal deformations which are 65% less (21 mm vs. 64 mm) than the two-dimensional analysis. Railtrack deformations. The deformations of the railtrack on the embankment have been derived through processing of all (!) data points of the Plaxis geometry. The relevant points were found by selecting those with y-coordinate +3,0 m (embankement surface elevation). The vertical displacements of these data points have been put on drawing as presented in Figure 7. Another selection has been made where x-, y- and z-coordinate had to match with the railtrack line coordinates. The horizontal deformations perpendicular to the railtrack were calculated from these points as presented on Figure 8. EPILOGUE Dutch railway company ProRail is expected to provide a formal statement of no objection to the planned excavation works at the Conradstraat site by november 2003, after evaluation of technical information including the railway yard embankment deformations as described in this paper. The results of the described geotechnical analyses have also been used to optimise the funds reservation for the anticipated remedial railtrack levelling works. Start of the building activities is expected before end 2003. Extensive monitoring of railtrack and ground deformations in the vicinity of the building pit will be performed during the excavation works.

Figure 5b: Model verification - One-dimensional geometry analysis MSheet (1D) vs. Plaxis 3D. The two-dimensional analyses result in horizontal ground deformations at location b b (Plaxis 2D: 89 mm and Plaxis 3D: 64 mm) which are in the same order of magnitude compared to the one-dimensional analysis (MSheet: 63 mm). This gave sufficient confidence to proceed with full 3D analysis of the complex asymmetrical geometry. Further interpretation of the three-dimensional analysis results is discussed below.

Figure 6: Horizontal deformations around excavation I-west and I-east (3D analysis results; model x-direction).

Figure 7: Vertical deformations on railway embankment (3D analysis results).

Figure 8: Horizontal railtrack deformations (perpendicular to railtrack axis).

Plaxis Practice


Assoc. Prof. Tan Siew Ann, National University of Singapore & Mr. Ooi Poh Hai, National University of Singapore & Mr. Cheang Wai Lum, National University of Singapore

INTRODUCTION The assessment of an in-situ nail soil interface resistance and its load displacement characteristic are the main design parameters to ensure the stability and serviceability of a nail reinforced structure. Sufficient field pullout results are required for a safe and economic nailed structure design. However, the number of available pullout test results are always limited by time. In view of this, an attempt was initiated at the National University of Singapore to explore the viability of using dynamic pullout tests as an alternative test method to assess the nails static pullout behavior, because dynamic pullout tests appear to be faster than the conventional quasi static pullout tests. Before the prototype physical experiment for a dynamic nail pullout test will be carried out, a numerical analysis by Plaxis 8.2 was carried out to numerically understand the nails dynamic pullout behavior and to reveal the effect of a different loading duration. Although it is termed as a dynamic pullout test here, the simulated dynamic loading characteristic is similar to a kinetic (Statnamic) pile load test condition with relative wave length > 10 (Holeyman, 1992). FINITE ELEMENT MODEL AND MATERIAL PROPERTIES The horizontally oriented soil nail was modeled as a vertical inclusion in the middle of a soil drum, using the possibilities of the axisymmetry model. The numerical model is shown in Figure 1. For simple comparison between the dynamic and static pullout characteristics, uniform soil conditions were assumed. The horizontal boundary was positioned at a distance of 60r (r = nails radius) away (Randolph and Wroth, 1978) from the axis of symmetry. The upper vertical boundary was placed at 20r from the nails head to sufficiently eliminate boundary confinement effects. An absorbent boundary was placed at the right and bottom boundary to eliminate any spurious reflected waves. Table 1 shows the material types and material properties used in the analysis. Properties Material model Elastic modulus Poissons ratio Unit weight Friction angle Cohesion Dilation angle Rinter Table 1: Material properties INITIAL STRESS CONDITION The ground water condition was assumed to be dry. -Mweight was set to zero in the initial stress generation calculation step in order to avoid initial stresses generated by gravity. The initial stress condition was created by imposing load B (Figure 1) at the right boundary in the first step of calculation; creating a uniformly distributed normal stress along the nails shaft to simulate the initial stress condition for the actual, horizontally, oriented nail. In this calculation step, the absorbent boundary was deleted, the upper and bottom boundaries were vertically fixed, the left boundary was totally fixed Soil Mohr Coulomb 10MPa 0.3 18 kN/m3 36 0 0 0.75 Nail (steel) Linear elastic 200GPa 0.2 80 kN/m3 -

and the right boundary was totally free to allow the imposed load to transfer to the nails shaft. Interface elements were turned off in this calculation step.

Figure 1. Due to the characteristics of the axisymmetry model, the generated normal stress with the abovementioned method is uniformly distributed on the nails perimeter. Although this initial stress condition is different compared to the actual working nail in which the circumferential normal stress distribution is non-uniform, caused by the difference in vertical and horizontal stress, this shortcoming does not cause severe errors because the main purpose of this study is to compare the differences between static and dynamic pullout response of the modeled soil nail under the same conditions.

Figure 2. DYNAMIC STIFFNESS AND DAMPING COEFFICIENT According to the Plaxis 8 dynamic manual, radiation (geometry) damping, which will happen naturally in a numerical calculation, is the dominant damping effect for a single source problem with an axisymmetric model, and Rayleigh damping can be ignored. This statement agrees with the finding by other researchers such as Chow Y.K. (1981) who concluded that radiation damping is the dominant damping source in pile driving. In order to assess the accuracy of Plaxis 8.2 in the modeling of radiation damping, the dynamic response of a circular soil disk with a massless vibrating shaft at the axis of symmetry, as shown in Figure 2, was calculated. A known frequency harmonic load was imposed on the shaft and the calculated vibration response was measured. According to the dynamic equation of motion as shown below, Ma + Cv + Ku = F with M = 0, the dynamic stiffness (K) and damping (C) coefficient can be back-calculated by matching the measured displacement (u) and velocity (v) with the imposed


harmonic load (F). Figure 3 shows the back-analyzed stiffness and damping coefficient plotted against a dimensionless frequency, a0, defined as a0 = r Vs

It was found that the measured displacement trace is identical for 0 > 1.8, thus 2 is proposed as the optimum a value.

With r = the shafts radius, = the circular frequency and Vs = the soils distortion stress velocity. The theoretical value for the stiffness and damping coefficient derived by Novak et al (1978) was also plotted in Figure 3 for comparison. It can be concluded that the stiffness and damping coefficient simulated by Plaxis 8.2 agree well with the theoretical value.

Figure 5. RESULT AND DISCUSSION Figure 5 shows the load displacement curves calculated by Plaxis 8.2 for a stiff nail 100mm in diameter and 5m in length loaded by a half sine load with different loading durations. All dynamic loading results fall in the kinetic loading condition with a relative wave length > 10. The numerically simulated static load displacement curve is also plotted in this figure for comparison. This figure clearly shows that the difference between dynamic and static load displacement curves becomes less with longer loading duration.

Figure 3. ELEMENT SIZE EFFECT The effect of element size is crucial for dynamic calculations, especially for lumped mass finite element codes such as Plaxis. A model with too large element size adversely affects the stress wave propagation. Theoretically, the element size must be as small as possible but it is impractical to adopt very small elements because it increases the calculation time dramatically. Deeks and Randolph (1992) have proposed that for accurate simulation of stress propagation, the node spacing for a line element must be at least 1/12 of TL, the length travelled by the rising portion of the imposed load in the medium.

Figure 6. Figure 6 shows the dynamic soil response curves, which were derived from Figure 5 by subtracting the inertia effects. The inertia effect was assumed equal to the nails total mass multiplied by the nails head acceleration, considering that only the nails head acceleration is measurable in actual field tests. The difference between the soil response curve and the static pullout curve is now purely due to the radiation damping effect. The effect of an increase in the stiffness coefficient due to dynamic loading is negligible as shown in Figure 3. Figure 4. To assess the optimum element size for a 15-node triangular element, the same mesh in Figure 2 was utilized by replacing the harmonic load with a half sine load with a certain loading duration. Figure 4 plots the displacement trace measured at a distance of 0.5m from the imposed load for the mesh with a different ratio, defined as = TL Average Element Size Figure 7 and Figure 8 show the dynamic soil response and static load displacement curves for a 15m extensible nail, measured respectively at the nails head and the nails tip. Again kinetic loading conditions were ensured. These figures show that the dynamic soil response curves are almost similar to the static load displacement curve with insignificant dynamic effects. This is because a longer loading duration (> 60ms) is required to achieve a kinetic loading condition. The dimensionless frequency, a0, for a longer loading duration will be smaller; and the damping coefficient will also be smaller by referring to Figure 3. As an example, for a loading duration of 100ms, the a0 is equal to 0.03 and the damping coefficient is close to zero (Figure 3).


Plaxis Practice


Frans Barends, GeoDelft / Delft University of Technology

Water pressures play a crucial role in the stability of dikes and excavations. Stability and deformation incorporating the actual local pore pressures is based on: Figure 7. equilibrium: ij,j = p ,i (1)

and can be obtained by PLAXIS. The pore pressure field is conceived as input, as a conditioned volume force. How this field is determined? Figure 1 shows a typical canal embankment near Delft in the Netherlands which conducts the excess water pumped out of the lowlands, here almost 4 meter under the canal water level.

Figure 8. CONCLUSION In this article, the dynamic pullout test of a single soil nail was simulated using the Plaxis 8.2 dynamic module. At first, the ability of Plaxis 8.2 to accurately simulate the radiation damping effect of a vibrating shaft with an axisymmetric model was examined, and found to be closely comparable with the theoretical solution. From a series of parametric studies on the effect of element size, it is recommended that the ratio (as defined in this article) should be larger than 2 to ensure the accuracy of stress propagation in this lumped mass finite element program. The numerically simulated soil nails dynamic pullout behavior has provided convincing results on the viability of a dynamic pullout test to assess the static pullout behavior of both stiff and extensible nails. Generally the dynamic pullout response is stiffer than the static pullout response, mainly due to the damping effect (radiation damping). The increase in loading duration decreases the damping effect, and consequently the dynamic pullout response will be closer to the static pullout response. For the simulated case, the radiation damping effect is negligible for loading durations > 100ms. REFERENCES unsat. flow: Chow, Y.K. Dynamic Behavior of Piles. PhD Thesis, University of Manchester. 1981. Deeks A.J. and M.F. Randolph. Accuracy in Numerical Analysis of Pile Driving Dynamics. In 4th Int. Conf. Application of Stress Wave Theory to Piles, 1992, the Hague, the Netherlands, pp 85-90. Holeyman, A.E. Keynote lecture: Technolofy of Pile Dynamic Testing. In Proc. 4th Application of Stress Wave Theory to Piles, September 1992, the Hague, the Netherlands, pp 195-215. Novak, M., T. Nogami and F. Aboul-Ella. Dynamic Soil Reactions for Plane Strain Case. J. Engineering Mechanics Division, ASCE, vol. 104, pp 953-959. 1978. Randolph, M.F. and P. Wroth. Analysis of Deformation of Vertically Loaded piles. J. Geotechnical Engineering div., vol. 104, pp 1465-1488. 1978 For example, infiltration on a sloping surface shows a saturated zone on top and a wetting front propagating vertically, finally reaching the groundwater table underneath (see fig. 2) Saturated groundwater flow including storage effects, like fluid compressibility is formulated by: compr. flow: K ij (p ,j + z ,j ) ,i = n p ,t (4) K[](p ,i ) ,i + K[ ] ,z = ,t (3)

Figure 1: Stagnant flow in a canal embankment. The stationary groundwater flow pattern in the geological stratification consisting of peat, clay, and sand (top down) can be determined by the porous flow equation: stat. flow: K ij (p ,j + z ,j ) ,i = 0 (2)

where anisotropy and inhomogeneity are included in the permeability K. Capillarity and infiltration by rain, evaporation or overtopping water determine the dynamics of the groundwater table. Then the permeability K is a function of the moisture content . This flow field is described by:

The so-called elastic storage, related to the compressibility of the porous medium: , can be included in a similar manner: stor. flow: K ij (p ,j + z ,j ) ,i = S p ,t (5)



A typical result of the consolidation effect is shown for a dike, suddenly loaded with a high river level. The response in the pore pressures after one hour is shown in figure 3.

Figure 2: Infiltration in a sloping surface. Figure 3: Two-dimensional consolidation effects. with a storage: S = n (1+ /n). From equation (2), (3), (4), and (5), the pressure field is obtained, which can be inserted in (1) to obtain the mechanical reaction of the soil. PlaxFlow is suitable to determine all these types of porous flow fields in a friendly and extensive manner. Volumetric deformations in soil by loading or creep induce porosity changes and consequently pore pressures, particularly noticed in the saturated zone. Consequently the groundwater flow changes. This interaction is called consolidation. Thus S, like in equation (5), is incomplete, sometimes incorrect. The full groundwater flow is to be described by: full flow: K ij (p ,j + z ,j ) ,i = (n p ,t + ,t + c / t) (6)

In cases with mainly one-dimensional deformation one may simplify ,t = p ,t and omitting the creep term c / t makes (6) equal to (5). In general e, representing the volumetric strain, depends on a multi-dimensional soil response, stresses and creep, and consolidation is described by (1) and (6), simultaneously. These equations are coupled by p and e. Such type of problems can be treated with models like PLAXIS and DIANA.

Two typical effects are distinguished. The first one shows at the clay-sand interface (bottom, rear side) a relatively thin zone of consolidation. There, pore pressures react mainly vertically and they are strongly attenuated. This phenomenon is important in dike design under transient loading. A special simple model for this effect, WATEX, is available. The other peculiar effect is an immediate pore pressure increase under the lee side slope. When this was observed in a real dike in 1978 one thought: Pore pressure increase indicates effective stress decrease, and hence, there is a stability problem for the lee slope. Well, this was one-dimensional thinking! The case is that the risen river water exposes a significant horizontal load on the dike that increases the horizontal effective stress. The corresponding porosity change causes the pore pressure increase. Here, the stability of the lee slope is not effected. In this type of problems the phreatic surface and the semi-saturated zone play a significant role. The recent dike breach at Wilnis and Terbregge, in the Netherlands, in the dry summer of 2003 clearly demonstrate this fact. At present, a semi-coupled combination of PlaxFlow and PLAXIS V8 cannot elucidate such phenomena properly. Maybe in near future a full coupling will be available.

For more information on Plaxis 3DFoundation

please contact Mr. Erwin Beernink at info@plaxis.nl


Plaxis Tutorial


Dennis Waterman, Plaxis BV & Wout Broere, Delft University of Technology / Plaxis BV

The Soft Soil Creep model distinguishes between primary loading and unloading/reloading behaviour and in this respect the model is similar to the Hardening Soil and Soft Soil models. In the last two models the distinction is made by means of a cap, i.e. a curved plane in stress space that defines the limit stress state between those two modes of loading. The position of this cap is initially determined by the preconsolidation stress. However, in the Soft Soil Creep model the position of the cap is not only determined by the maximum stress state that has been reached in the past, as is the case in the other two models, but it is also a function of time. In the Hardening Soil (HS) and Soft Soil (SS) models there is no time dependency in the model. The cap expands instantaneously if an increase in the load would cause the stress state to fall outside the current cap. In the Soft Soil Creep (SSC) model this shift of the cap needs time. If a higher load is applied, the cap will not follow immediately, but will take 1 day to adapt to the new stress state. This value of 1 day is an arbitrarily chosen value used in the model and cannot be varied by the user. Furthermore, when the cap reaches the applied stress state after one day, it will not stop expanding but continue to expand with a continuously decreasing expansion rate. Any change in the stress state will cause a change in the velocity with which the cap expands; an increase in stress, even when the stress remains below the cap, will cause an increased velocity of the cap expansion. Similarly, a decrease of stress will cause a decrease in the velocity of the cap expansion. The cap will, however, always keep expanding. It is evident that time is essential for the behaviour of the cap; therefore Plaxis Calculations will give a warning if a project in which the SSC model is used contains phases with a zero time step. Please note that this is a warning that can be ignored in some cases. An example would be a calculation phase where the soil layer that is modelled with the SSC model is not activated yet. As mentioned above the expansion velocity of the cap depends on time. This has consequences for the determination of the initial stresses as the history of the soil plays a mayor role here. Lets for example assume an embankment was constructed several months ago, consisting of soft soils which strongly exhibit creep behaviour. Presently we would like to continue construction on top of that embankment. When we construct a model for this case and assume that the subsoil and the embankment are both drained this could be easily modelled using time independent soil behaviour. In that case the embankment could be activated in the first calculation phase to model the present day situation; whether the embankment was built last week or last year is not important then. However, when the Soft Soil Creep model is used the time that has elapsed since the construction of the embankment is important for the construction on top of the embankment. It will influence not only the long term displacements but also the short term displacements. If the embankment had been built long ago, it would have had more time to creep. This would mean that the cap would have expanded more. Hence, when loaded, the embankment would show a stiffer (reloading) behaviour and less primary loading than if it were built only a week ago. An older embankment will show less short term settlements. The creep velocity will always increase due to the construction on top, but a more recently constructed embankment will always creep faster than an embankment that has been constructed long ago. As a result the long term settlements due to the last loading stage for a more recently constructed embankment will also be larger than in the case of an older embankment.

This example shows that the construction history is far more important when using the SSC model than it would be when using a time independent model. Of course the entire construction history can be modelled also, including the time between the actual construction of the embankment and the present day. There are many cases, however, where the in-situ history is not so clear. This is commonly the case when dealing with soft soil layers that have been undisturbed for centuries, but these soft layers will greatly influence the deformations of anything built on top. In order to properly model the creep behaviour two main parameters are needed for the initial situation at t=0. These are the location of the cap and its expansion velocity. These parameters cannot be entered directly by the user, but must be specified by means of the parameters * (modified creep index) and the OCR. The change of the creep rate in time is defined by the combination of parameters *, * and * where the modified creep index specifies the creep rate after 1 day. The creep rate for a specific soil is derived from these three parameters (see formula 6.23 in the Plaxis Material Models manual) so that the volume change due to creep over a period t equals

This defines the time-dependent creep behaviour, but does not yet define at what creep rate the Plaxis calculation starts. The latter is defined by the OCR. In the SS and HS model the OCR is simply the ratio of the maximum stress state ever reached in the past (the preconsolidation stress) and the current stress state. The same holds for the SSC model, but in this case the position of the cap is also time dependent. So the correct value of the OCR should also take into account the time elapsed since the soil was formed and started creeping. By default Plaxis assigns an OCR=1 to all clusters. In the SSC model this would mean that there has been creep for only one day. As said before, when the stress is increased beyond the cap it will take 1 day for the cap to expand to the new stress state, that means to the situation where OCR equals 1. This also means that the Plaxis defaults are only suited for a newly applied material which will exhibit large creep deformations. This is generally not the case for creep sensitive layers in the subsoil. Those layers should initially be assigned a proper OCR that represents the history of that layer. There are basically two ways to do this. The first possibility is to assign an OCR in Initial Conditions by either double-clicking on a cluster or specifying the OCR in the table of K0-values before starting the initial stress procedure (K0-procedure). The OCR can be obtained from proper laboratory tests but these may not always be available. Alternatively it is possible to estimate the OCR for soils where the last load step was primary (virgin) loading and the overburden has been constant ever since. In this case the OCR can be estimated using:

In this formula t is the time in days that has elapsed since the last primary loading step. Typically this is the time since the material was deposited, and in case of the OCR for an existing clay or peat layer it could even be a time in days equal to hundreds of years.


The second possibility to assign a correct OCR value in Plaxis is to leave the OCR equal to 1 in the initial conditions and start the calculation with a plastic nil step. For this phase set the time interval equal to t. Plaxis will now calculate the stress state due the creep over that period, which results in a certain OCR. In the second phase of the calculation the settlements due to the simulation of the creep history must be discarded using the reset displacements to zero option in Plaxis Calculations. Generally, if t is large the exact value becomes less important, as the OCR depends on natural logarithm of time. It makes a large difference whether soil has been in place for 10 days or 1 year, but there will be relatively little additional creep between 100 years or 200 years. When generating the initial stresses using the K0-procedure, the influence of the OCR warrants some extra attention. The initial vertical preconsolidation stress at a certain depth is calculated, as might be expected, from the effective weight of the soil on top multiplied by the OCR value that has been entered (c = OCR . 'y). When a plot of the OCR values obtained in this way is inspected, it can be noticed that the reported OCR values differ slightly from the input value. The reason for this is that the OCR value in Plaxis Output is defined in terms of isotropic stress measures using pp = OCR . peq. Here pp is the isotropic preconsolidation stress and peq is the isotropic equivalent stress state, defined as

Parameter Material model Type of material behaviour Unit weight of soil above phreatic level Unit weight of soil below phreatic level Modified compression modulus Modified swelling modulus Modified creep modulus Cohesion (constant) Friction angle Dilatancy angle Table 1: Material parameters

Name Model Type unsat sat * * * cref

Value Soft Soil Creep Drained 17.0 17.0 0.025 0.010 0.001 1.0 28.0 0.0

Unit kN/m3 kN/m3 kN/m2

For this case the sample is assumed dry and for initial stresses generation the default values for K0 and OCR are used. The calculation consists of 5 phases: 1. A load of -100 kPa is applied at the top with time interval zero. 2. A staged construction phase with a time interval of 100 days. Use the reset displacements to zero option. 3. Starting from the initial phase once more add a staged construction phase with a time interval of 36500 days (100 years). 4. A load of -100 kPa is applied at the top with time interval zero. 5. A staged construction phase with a time interval of 100 days. Use the reset displacements to zero option. Start the calculation and ignore the warning about calculation phases with zero time interval. Figure 2 shows a graph of the displacements vs. time for a node in the sample. The additional resting time of phase 3 increased the OCR from 1 to approximately 2.4 resulting in a stiffer behaviour of the sample as can be seen from the figure.

The reason for this is that the regular definition of OCR (c = OCR . 'y) is not always meaningful in complex 3D loading situations, whereas the isotopic definition is always valid. In order to illustrate this a simple example is given. Define in Plaxis V8 a square of 1x1m with standard boundary conditions and a distributed load on top. Define a material data set using the Soft Soil Creep model and the material type set to drained. Other material parameters are given in table 1. Normally one would use undrained material behaviour but to more clearly illustrate creep only drained behaviour is selected here.

0,000 -0,005 -0,010 -0,015 Uy (m) -0,020 -0,025 -0,030 -0,035 -0,040 -0,045 -0,050 0 20 40 60 Time (days) 80 100 120 immediate loading loading after 100 years

Figure 1: Geometry used in this example.

Figure 2: Time - settlement curve.



8 - 10 March 2004 Short course on Computational Geotechnics (German) Stuttgart, Germany 21 - 25 March 2004 International course for Experienced Plaxis Users (English) Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands 18 - 20 April 2004 Plaxis workshop (English) Cairo, Egypt 19 - 23 April 2004 International course on Computational Geotechnics (Spanish) Guayaquil, Ecuador 26 - 28 April 2004 Short course on Computational Geotechnics (Italian) Napels, Italy 22 - 27 May 2004 ITA-AITES 2004 Singapore 8 - 10 June 2004 International course on Computational Geotechnics for Experienced Plaxis Users (English) Boston, Massachusetts USA 11 June 2004 1st North American Plaxis Users Meeting Boston, Massachusetts USA 22 - 24 June 2004 International course on Computational Geotechnics (English) Bali, Indonesia 25 June 2004 1st Asian Plaxis Users Meeting Bali, Indonesia 25 June 2004 Geotechnical Innovations Stuttgart, Germany 22 - 24 June 2004 Short course on Computational Geotechnics (English) Manchester, England 25 - 27 August 2004 9th International symposium on numerical models in geomechanics (English) Ottawa, Canada 28 - 30 August 2004 Short course on Computational Geotechnics (English) Ottawa, Canada 18 - 20 October 2004 Short course on Computational Geotechnics (English) Trondheim, Norway 19 October 2004 Norwegian Plaxis Users Meeting Trondheim, Norway 11 - 12 November 2004 European Plaxis Users Meeting Karlsruhe, Germany 22 - 26 November 2004 15th Southeast Asian Geotechnical Conference (English) Bangkok, Thailand

Plaxis BV
P.O. Box 572 2600 AN Delft The Netherlands Tel: + 31 (0)15 2517720 Fax: + 31 (0)15 2573107 Email: info@plaxis.nl Website: http://www.plaxis.nl