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349

Guofu Zhu, Jian-Hua Yin, and James Graham

Abstract: This paper models consolidation of the foundation soils under a test embankment at the new Chek Lap Kok International Airport in Hong Kong. The modelling used a simplified finite element method and material parameters derived from results in the original site investigation report. Various features that need to be considered in applying the simplified method are illustrated through this case study. Good predictions of settlement results are obtained. Relatively large discrepancies in pore-water pressure predictions suggest that the nonlinear nature of hydraulic conductivity needs to be taken into account when large compressions are likely to occur. Geological conditions are shown to be a key fac- tor in successful modelling of consolidation behaviour.

Key words: consolidation, pore-water pressure, case modelling, finite element method, vertical drains, settlement.

Résumé : Cet article modélise la consolidation des sols de fondation sous un remblai d’essai au nouvel aéroport inter- national Chek Lap Kok de Hong Kong. La modélisation a utilisé une méthode simplifiée d’éléments finis et des para- mètres du matériau dérivés des résultats du rapport de l’investigation originale du site. Diverses caractéristiques qui doivent être considérées dans l’application de la méthode simplifiée sont illustrées dans cette étude de cas. De bonnes prédictions des résultats de tassement ont été obtenues. Des divergences relativement importantes dans les prédictions des pressions interstitielles portent à penser que la nature non linéaire de la conductivité hydraulique doit être prise en compte lorsque des compressions importantes peuvent vraisemblablement se produire. On montre que les conditions géologiques sont un facteur clé pour modéliser avec succès le comportement en consolidation.

Mots clés : consolidation, pression interstitielle, modélisation de cas, méthode d’éléments finis, drains verticaux, tasse- ment.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Zhu et al.

363

Introduction

Vertical drains are often installed in soft-soil engineering projects where subsoils consist of fine-grained soils with low hydraulic conductivity. The intention of the drains is to shorten the drainage path and hence speed up the consolida- tion process. Following derivation of the differential equation by Rendulic (1935) for one-dimensional (1D) radial dissipation of excess pore-water pressure, Carrillo (1942) showed that two-dimensional (2D) flow problems can be uncoupled. As a result, solutions to vertical and radial consolidation problems can be combined to give solutions to the entire 2D problem.

Received January 18, 2000. Accepted October 13, 2000. Published on the NRC Research Press Web site on April 9, 2001.

G. Zhu and J.-H. Yin. Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China. J. Graham. ^{1} Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, The University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 5V6, Canada.

^{1} Corresponding author (e-mail: jgraham@cc.umanitoba.ca).

Probably the best known study of this topic was by Barron (1948). He assumed two types of vertical strains that might occur in a uniform clay layer: (i) “free vertical strain” result- ing from a uniform distribution of surface load, and (ii) “equal vertical strain” resulting from imposing the same vertical deformation on the entire surface of the clay. Later, Horne (1964) presented a formal solution to the layered con- solidation problem with vertical drains. Yoshikuni and Nakanodo (1974) gave a rigorous solution taking well resis- tance into consideration. Olson (1977) obtained an approxi- mate solution for the case of vertical drainage under ramp loading using the equal strain assumption. Zhu and Yin (2001) used the free-strain assumption to develop a mathe- matical solution for consolidation analysis of soil with verti- cal and horizontal drainage subject to ramped loading. Simplified solutions were also obtained by other research- ers, for example Hansbo (1981), Zeng and Xie (1989), and Xie et al. (1994). These closed-form solutions cannot conve- niently be extended to account for layered systems, time- dependent loading, well resistance, variable coefficients of consolidation, and inelastic stress–strain behaviour. To overcome these difficulties, some researchers (Hart et al. 1958; Olson et al. 1974; Atkinson and Elered 1981; Onoue 1988; Lo 1991) resorted to numerical solutions using

Can. Geotech. J. 38: 349–363 (2001)

DOI: 10.1139/cgj-38-2-349

© 2001 NRC Canada

350

finite differences. The finite element method has also been used to investigate the consolidation behaviour of soils with vertical drains. Runesson et al. (1985) studied the efficiency of partially penetrating vertical drains based on an assump- tion of linear free strains. Bergado (1993) analyzed the ef- fects of smear zone for Bangkok clay using a linear model. General two- and three-dimensional (2D and 3D) procedures (Siriwardane and Desai 1981; Selvadurai 1996; Lewis and Schrefler 1998; Cheng et al. 1998) are well developed, and various methods of matching the effect of drains under axisymmetric and plane strain conditions are also available (Hird et al. 1995; Indraratna and Redana 1997). Some spe- cial problems have also been investigated, for example, the sensitivity of consolidation behaviour to mesh discretization and the resulting damage of the poroelastic medium (Mahyari and Selvadurai 1998). However, application of 2D and 3D finite element proce- dures for the design of vertical drains may not be practical because of (i) difficulty in the determination of various model parameters for 2D and 3D conditions, (ii) the large amount of computation, and (iii) the frequent occurrence of numeri- cal instability and convergence problems for nonlinear cases. Recently, Zhu and Yin (2000a) used a general 1D soil model to develop a simplified finite element (FE) procedure for 2D consolidation analysis of soils with vertical drains. Using a 1D soil model has the advantage that the soil param- eters needed for the analysis can be easily found using con- ventional oedometer tests. By comparing results from the simplified method with those from a fully coupled 3D finite element analysis, the authors showed that the simplified FE procedure is efficient and numerically stable. This paper uses the simplified FE method of Zhu and Yin (2000a) to produce “true predictions” of the consolidation of foundation soils under a previously constructed test embank- ment at the new Chek Lap Kok International Airport in Hong Kong. True prediction is here meant to be as much like class A prediction as possible, although this is in fact an after-the-fact simulation. All the parameters adopted in the modelling were suggested in the original site investigation report except for the coefficients of hydraulic conductivity for the upper alluvial crust. These were estimated from the original report. Lessons from applying the new simplified method lead to useful conclusions that are described later in the paper. The following section presents a brief summary of the basic equations and provides an understanding of how the FE con- solidation model was used in this study. More details can be found in Zhu and Yin (2000a).

Basic equations

As in Barron (1948), the consolidation problem of soils with vertical drains is simplified to an axisymmetric one, as shown in Fig. 1. The solution assumes (i) the soil is fully saturated, (ii) water and soil particles are incompressible, (iii) Darcy’s law is valid, (iv) strains are small, and (v) all compressive strains within the soil mass occur in the vertical direction. Assumption (v) can be justified as follows. In most practical applications, vertical drains are installed in a regular pattern at close spacing in soils where the layers are approximately horizontal and the surface area is extensive.

Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 38, 2001

Fig. 1. Geometry of the simplified model for consolidation of soils with vertical drains. D, depth of clay layer; H, depth of drain; r, radial coordinate; r _{d} , equivalent radius of vertical drains; r _{e} , equivalent radius of influence of vertical drains; z, vertical co- ordinate.

The thickness D of the soil layer that contains the vertical drains (length H) is normally much less than the dimensions in plan. Average strains (and deformations) in soil with ver- tical drains occur almost exclusively in the vertical direc- tion. Engineers are normally concerned only with the average settlement (in plan) of soil layers with vertical drains and give much less attention to differential settle- ments in the localized area surrounding a vertical drain. The stress–strain behaviour of the soil can therefore be simpli- fied on average to be 1D. Numerical results from the simpli- fied method and from a fully coupled 3D finite element analysis demonstrate that the simplification is reasonable (Zhu and Yin 2000a). The governing equations for finite element consolidation modelling in this paper are given in the following sections.

The continuity equation The continuity equation for axisymmetric consolidation problems can be written

[1]

∇=q

∂ q

rr

+

q

∂ r

r

+

∂ q

z

=

∂ε

v

=

∂ε

z

∂ ztt

∂

∂

where q = (q _{r} , q _{z} ) ^{T} ; q _{r} and q _{z} are the radial and vertical flow rates, respectively; ε _{v} and ε _{z} are the volume and vertical strains, respectively (positive for compression); r is the ra- dial coordinate; z is the vertical coordinate; and t is time.

The constitutive equations Zhu and Yin (1999) wrote the general 1D constitutive model in the form

[2]

^{∂}^{ε}

z

=

∂

f ( σ

′

z

)

∂

t

∂

t

+

g (, σ

′

z

ε

z

)

where σ

′

z

is the vertical effective stress.

For the nonlinear elastic model used in part of this study,

[3]

^{λ}

f =

g = 0

V

lnσ ′

z

© 2001 NRC Canada

Zhu et al.

351

where λ/V is a constant in which λ is the compression index (ln-scale) and V is the specific volume. Most of the analysis described later used the 1D elastic viscoplastic (EVP) model suggested by Yin and Graham (1989, 1994):

[4]

f =

g

=

κ

V

ψ

ln σ ′

z

Vt

0

exp − ε

z

ψ

V

σ

′

z

σ

′

0

λ

ψ

where κ/V is a constant related to elastic compression, where

κ is the recompression index (ln-scale); λ/V is a constant re- lated to a reference time line (approximately the normally

consolidated compression line); σ

is a constant in units of

′

0

stress locating the position of the reference time line; and

ψ/V and t _{0} (in units of time) are two constants related to creep of the soil.

Darcy’s law Darcy’s law for axisymmetric problems can be expressed

as

[5]

q

q

r

z

_{}

= − K

∂

u

∂

∂

r

u

∂

z

and

K

=

k

r

γ

w

0

0

k

z

γ

w

where u is the excess pore-water pressure, K is the perme- ability constant, k _{r} is the radial coefficient of permeability, k _{z} is the coefficient of permeability in a vertical direction, and γ _{w} is the unit weight of water.

Vertical total stress For simplicity, the vertical total stress is calculated by as- suming that shearing stresses on every cylindrical surface are zero. Equations [1], [2], and [5] are the governing equations for the consolidation problem. Although the governing equa- tions are simplified greatly by assuming ε _{z} = ε _{v} , these equa- tions are still coupled in the solution. Several iterations are required to obtain the related solutions for vertical strains and pore-water pressures (Zhu and Yin 2000a).

Project background

In the 1970s, it was proposed to build a replacement air- port for Hong Kong by levelling the islands of Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau and reclaiming 600 ha of land from the sea. At the site, the seawater was up to 10 m deep and the tidal range was 2 m. Reclamation would involve placing ap- proximately 80 000 000 m ^{3} of fill to a thickness of up to 20 m. Site investigations (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982a; Koutsoftas et al. 1987) for the area revealed that the entire seabed is covered by soft to very soft, dark grey, plastic, marine clay (upper marine clay) with pockets of shells. The thickness of the clay varies considerably over the site, from as little as 1.0 m (or less) to over 15 m, but is generally in the range of 6–8 m. Examination of “undisturbed” samples of the upper

marine clay showed no lamination or layering. The clay is underlain at some locations by loose to medium-dense ma- rine sand up to 3 m thick. Underlying the upper marine clay (and the irregular sand) is an alluvial stratum (upper alluvial crust) consisting of interbedded layers of mottled, oxidized, and discoloured very stiff clay and dense sand. The thick- ness of this deposit varies in an erratic manner over the site

but rarely exceeds 7.5 m. The third stratum is a light grey to

dark grey medium stiff to stiff clay (lower marine clay)

interbedded with medium-dense sand lenses and occasional

layers of very stiff mottled reddish and brown clay. Geo- logically, this is believed to have been deposited during a period of high sea levels. Underlying the lower marine clay is an alluvial deposit (lower alluvium) consisting primarily

of very dense, coarse to fine sands, grading into a layer of

gravel and cobbles. Occasional clay pockets are encountered within this deposit and occasionally below the gravel. The thickness of the lower alluvial deposit ranges from 0 to 10 m. Below the lower alluvial deposit (or the lower marine deposit where the lower alluvium is absent) is a layer of completely decomposed granite. The compressibility of this layer is very small. Experiments that examined the dissipa- tion of excess pore-water pressures demonstrate that it can

be viewed as a free-draining layer.

These soil conditions presented obvious geotechnical dif-

ficulties for the development of the new airport. The option

of removing and replacing the soft marine clay would be

very expensive, involving excavation of approximately

37 000 000 m ^{3} of the material and transporting it for dis- posal about 20 km from the site. The alternative of leaving the soft clay in place would result in settlements of up to

4 m. The settlements could be expected to extend over many

years because of the high compressibility and low perme- ability of the deposits. Settlement tolerance after completion of the airport was limited, because settlements would also cause unacceptable differential settlements. Reclamation by simply placing fill over the soft clay might result in the de- velopment of mud waves and lead to serious construction problems that could jeopardize the project.

To assess the feasibility of using vertical drains with fill placement techniques that would reduce or prevent mud- wave formation, an instrumented test embankment (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982b; Cheung and Ko 1986; Koutsoftas et al. 1987) was constructed between 1981 and 1983 on the west shore of Chek Lap Kok Island (Fig. 2). The main test area was a 100 m × 100 m square in plan and was divided into four quadrants. Alidrains were installed in the northwestern and northeastern quadrants at 1.5 and 3 m triangular spac-

ing, respectively. The Alidrains were prefabricated band-shaped vertical drains with width b = 100 mm and thickness t =

7 mm. The bottoms of the drains were positioned at –21 m

PD (Hong Kong principal datum). Displacement sand drains 500 mm in diameter were installed in the southwestern quadrant at 3 m triangular spacing. The southeastern quad- rant was used as a control area, with no additional drains. The fill and foundation soils were heavily instrumented (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982b; Handfelt et al. 1987) to monitor their performance during and after construction. The instru- mentation consisted of pneumatic and hydraulic piezometers, settlement plates and pipes, subsurface settle- ment anchors, and other probes.

© 2001 NRC Canada

352

Fig. 2. Plan of the test embankment at the new Chek Lap Kok International Airport.

The test fill provided nearly 1D loading conditions. This

permits the formulations presented by Zhu and Yin (2000a)

to

the consolidation behaviour of foundation soils in the north- western quadrant of the test fill. The analysis uses soil pa-

rameters that were selected from data provided by the original program of site investigation and laboratory testing. Results

of the analysis are then compared with measured values.

be used for this application. The following sections analyze

Index and consolidation test results

RMP ENCON Ltd. (1982a) and Koutsoftas et al. (1987) reported an extensive program to determine physical and en- gineering properties of the major strata within the limits of the site. The laboratory program included oedometer tests, K _{0} -consolidated undrained triaxial compression tests, K _{0} - consolidated undrained direct simple shear tests, unconsoli- dated undrained triaxial compression tests, isotropically con- solidated undrained triaxial compression tests, and index tests. Only the oedometer and index test results are used in the following analysis of consolidation and settlement. The oedometer tests were performed using conventional incremental loading procedures. Generally, small load incre- ments were used in the recompression region and until the soil had been stressed above its maximum past (precon- solidation) pressure. Most of the tests included unload–re- load cycles in the “normal” (first-time) compression range.

A load increment ratio of 1.0 was generally used, with each

increment being applied for approximately the time required

to achieve 90% consolidation plus 1 h. For some tests, the

loads were left on for 24 h to obtain sufficient data to define the coefficient of secondary compression more clearly.

A number of special consolidation tests were also per-

formed to evaluate the effects of surcharge on the coefficient of secondary compression in the upper and lower marine

clays (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982a; Koutsoftas et al. 1987).

These special tests required four identical test specimens to

be prepared from the same sample tube. The four specimens

Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 38, 2001

Fig. 3. Definition of compressibility parameters.

were loaded using conventional incremental loading proce- dures to the same value of maximum vertical stress, selected to be well into the normally consolidated region. At the end of primary consolidation under the final load increment, three of the four specimens were unloaded to simulate the effect of removing various amounts of surcharge. The fourth specimen served as the control test and was allowed to con- solidate further at the applied stress level. The test speci- mens were monitored for a period of 3 days to collect secondary compression data. The results allowed evaluation of the effects of surcharge on material behaviour. The following section reproduces test results of the seabed strata identified by the site investigation (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982a; Koutsoftas et al. 1987). Figure 3 defines the various compressibility parameters obtained from the consolidation tests, and Fig. 4 plots results of Atterberg limit tests on a Casagrande plasticity chart. Essentially all the data fall into groups parallel to and slightly above the A line of the plas- ticity chart. This is typical of inorganic marine clays. Figures 5–7 show index data and maximum past pressures versus depth below the mudline for the three cohesive strata at the site. Natural moisture contents for the upper marine clay (Fig. 5) are typically at or above the liquid limit, indi- cating a very soft and (or) sensitive material. The overconsolidation ratios of the upper marine clay are in the range 1.5–2.0. The very stiff upper alluvial crust is over- consolidated (Fig. 6), with maximum past pressures ranging from 200 to 600 kPa, and usually above 300 kPa. Maximum past pressures for the lower marine clay (Fig. 7) typically range from 200 to 400 kPa. Figure 8 summarizes compression indices (abbreviated to CI) versus natural water content w _{n} . There is a general trend in Fig. 8 for the value of CI to increase to about w _{n} = 70% with increasing water content for all soil types. The soft up- per marine clay has the highest values of CI, ranging from 0.3 to 0.5. Figure 9 presents the recompression index (RI) versus the compression index for the upper and lower marine clays. The recompression indices for the upper marine clay are on average 0.07 times the compression indices, and for

© 2001 NRC Canada

Zhu et al.

Fig. 4. Summary of Atterberg limits data for upper marine clay, upper alluvial crust, and lower marine clay.

the lower marine clay the recompression indices are on aver- age 0.14 times the compression indices. Coefficients of sec- ondary consolidation C _{α} _{} are plotted in Fig. 10. The values of C _{α} _{} increase with increasing natural water content.

Construction of the main test area

To construct the main test embankment,a2m thick layer of hydraulic sand fill was first pumped over the main test area. Second, the centre of the embankment was filled to ele- vations above sea level. Third, the vertical drains and instru- mentation were installed from the newly formed ground. Fourth, the central portion was raised to elevation 6.4 m PD during the period 13 June to 2 July 1982. This completed the initial construction of the test fill. After approximately 8 months of settlement, the northwestern quadrant was fi- nally raised to 10.8 m PD from 28 December 1982 to 21 January 1983 in the second stage of testing (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982b; Cheung and Ko 1986; Koutsoftas et al. 1987). The 10.8 m PD elevation approximated the highest antici- pated loading from the reclamation. The density ρ _{t} of the fill is very important for accurately assessing the incremental vertical stress. After careful exam- ination of the test data and other relevant material, Cheung and Ko (1986) suggested that the saturated unit weight of the hydraulic fill material and the bulk density of the decom-

353

posed granite placed above +2 m PD up to +10.8 m PD could be chosen as 1.9 Mg/m ^{3} . Figure 11 shows a simplified version of the incremental vertical loading (total stress at the top of the soft marine clay) calculated using these values. The figure is for the loading of the northwestern quadrant and has been used for the consolidation analysis in the fol- lowing sections.

Soil profile and soil parameters

The general geology and sequences of stratification were described in RMP ENCON Ltd. (1982a) and Koutsoftas el al. (1987). As indicated earlier (Figs. 5–7), the subsoils at the site can generally be classified as consisting of four lay- ers, namely upper marine clay, upper alluvial crust, lower marine clay, and lower alluvium (Fig. 12). A number of ris- ing- and falling-head permeability tests were performed in the field during the original site investigation to measure hy- draulic conductivity coefficients in the upper and lower ma- rine clay. For design of the reclamation works for the airport, RMP ENCON Ltd. (1982a) suggested the soil parameters outlined in the following paragraphs (see also Table 1). All the pa- rameters (k _{v} , k _{r} , λ/V, κ/V, ψ/V, unit weights, and maximum past pressure) were suggested in the site investigation report except the coefficients of hydraulic conductivity for the up- per alluvial crust. These have been estimated by the authors from data given in the original site investigation report.

Upper marine clay For the upper marine clay (with plasticity index

ranging

from 40 to 65%; Fig. 5), a density value of 1.45 Mg/m ^{3} ap- pears suitable. The soil has low compressibility in the overconsolidated range, but is highly compressible when the maximum past pressure (yield stress) is exceeded. Recompression indices (Fig. 3) range from 0.02 to 0.03. In the normal consolidation range, the soil is highly compress- ible, with CI ranging from 0.30 to 0.50. Representative val- ues of 0.025 for RI and 0.40 for CI are considered appropriate for this soil for design purposes. The upper ma- rine clay exhibits very low secondary compression at stresses below the maximum past pressure. However, in the normal consolidation range coefficients of secondary consol- idation are typically above C _{α} _{} = 1.5% per logarithm cycle of time. A value of 1.75% per logarithm cycle of time has been recommended for design. Coefficients of vertical hy- draulic conductivity calculated from the consolidation tests are in the range of 2 × 10 ^{–}^{9} to 5 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s, with a mean value of 2.2 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s. The horizontal coefficients of hy- draulic conductivity from variable head field permeability tests range from 3 × 10 ^{–}^{9} to 5 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s. A value of 4 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s appears to be a suitable average.

I p

Upper alluvial crust The upper alluvial crust is a medium-plasticity clay with plasticity index in the range 20–35%. A bulk unit density value of 1.95 Mg/m ^{3} was recommended for design. Recompression indices RI range from 0.015 to 0.035. In the normal consolidation region, the compressibility is compara- tively small, with CI ranging from 0.10 to 0.20. Representa- tive design values of RI = 0.025 and CI = 0.15 were

© 2001 NRC Canada

354

Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 38, 2001

Fig. 5. Index results and maximum past pressure profile of upper marine clay. w _{n} , natural water content; w _{l} , liquid limit; w _{p} , plastic limit.

Fig. 6. Index results and maximum past pressure profile of upper alluvial crust and stiff lenses within lower marine clay.

selected. Coefficients of secondary compression C α in the

normal consolidation range are about 0.8%, and this value

appears to be a suitable average. No permeability data were

available for this stratum. The vertical coefficient of hydrau- lic conductivity was estimated as 6 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s from the site investigation report (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982a), and

© 2001 NRC Canada

Zhu et al.

355

Fig. 7. Index results and maximum past pressure profile of lower marine clay.

Fig. 8. Compression index versus natural water content for upper marine clay, upper alluvial crust, and lower marine clay.

this value was used in the analysis. We selected a value of 12 × 10 ^{–}^{9} m/s for the horizontal hydraulic conductivity.

Lower marine clay The lower marine clay is of medium plasticity (25 ≤

40%). A saturated unit density of 1.85 Mg/m ^{3} was recom-

≤

I p

mended for design. In the recompression stress range, com- pressibility is low, with RI ranging from 0.02 to 0.05. In the normally consolidated range, the soil is quite compressible, with CI ranging from 0.20 to 0.35. Representative values of

RI = 0.035 and CI = 0.25 were selected. Coefficients of sec- ondary compression C _{α} _{} in the normal consolidation range

© 2001 NRC Canada

356

Can. Geotech. J. Vol. 38, 2001

Fig. 9. Recompression index versus compression index for upper and lower marine clay.

Fig. 10. Coefficient of secondary consolidation versus natural water content for upper marine clay, upper alluvial crust, and lower ma- rine clay (normal consolidation region).

vary from about 1.7 to 3.0%, and 1.7% has been selected for the analysis. Coefficients of vertical hydraulic conductivity from laboratory consolidation tests are typically 2 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} to 3 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} m/s, with a mean value of 2.5 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} m/s. The in situ horizontal hydraulic conductivities from variable-head permeability tests are 4 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} to 8 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} m/s. A value of 6.2 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} m/s was selected as a suitable average.

Lower alluvium In this is very dense layer, the bulk density was chosen as 2.01 Mg/m ^{2} . The preconsolidation (yield) pressure of this layer was larger than the final stresses imposed by the fill. Therefore, a small recompression index of 0.01 was adopted

for the analysis. The vertical hydraulic conductivity was chosen as 1 × 10 ^{–}^{8} m/s, and the horizontal hydraulic conduc- tivity was 2 × 10 ^{–}^{8} m/s.

Location of instrumentation Figure 12 shows the elevations of pneumatic piezometers (PP) and Sondex anchors in the northwestern quadrant. These instruments were placed at the centre of a triangular grid (in plan) of the vertical drains (RMP ENCON Ltd. 1982b; Handfelt et al. 1987). The construction drawings generally gave only approximate locations for the Sondex rings.

© 2001 NRC Canada

Zhu et al.

Fig. 11. Simplified fill loading.

Table 1. Modelling parameters.

357

Fig. 12. Soil profile and instrumentation setup.

Parameter |
Upper marine clay |
Upper alluvium |
Lower marine clay |
Lower alluvium |

Soil model |
Yin and Graham (1994) 1D EVP model |
Yin and Graham (1994) 1D EVP model |
Yin and Graham (1994) 1D EVP model |
Nonlinear |

elastic |

Vertical coefficient of permeability, k _{z} (m/s) Radial coefficient of permeability, k _{r} (m/s) Elastic compression constant, κ /V Reference time line constant, λ /V Creep constant, ψ/V Creep constant, t _{0} (days) Bulk density, ρ _{t} (Mg/m ^{3} )

2.2×10

4.0×10

1.086×10 ^{–}^{2}

0.174

7.6×10 ^{–}^{3}

1

1.45

^{–}^{9}

^{–}^{9}

6.0×10

1.2×10

1.086×10 ^{–}^{2}

0.065

3.47×10 ^{–}^{3}

1

1.95

^{–}^{9}

^{–}^{8}

2.5×10

6.2×10

1.52×10 ^{–}^{2}

1.086×10 ^{–}^{1}

7.38×10 ^{–}^{3}

1

1.85

^{–}^{1}^{0}

^{–}^{1}^{0}

1.0×10

2.0×10

—

4.343×10 ^{–}^{3}

—

—

2.01

^{–}^{8}

^{–}^{8}

Soil model and parameters Analysis of the settlements used the 1D EVP soil model in eq. [4] (Yin and Graham 1989, 1994) for the top three layers. The simpler nonlinear elastic model in eq. [3] was adopted for the lower alluvium. The parameters for these models are the values originally suggested for the design of the reclamation site and outlined in preceding paragraphs. These are listed in Table 1. The parameters k _{r} and k _{z} in Ta- ble 1 are the horizontal and vertical hydraulic conductivities, respectively, and are taken as constants in the analysis. The parameter ρ _{t} is the bulk density. Although these values are typical for the whole site, no borehole was located in the im- mediate location of the test embankment.

Initial and boundary conditions As boundary conditions, the top surface of the upper ma- rine clay and the bottom surface of the lower alluvium were treated as free drainage boundaries. The initial stresses and the modelling of the maximum past pressures used in the calculations are plotted in Fig. 13. Initial strains were calcu- lated using the methods suggested by Zhu and Yin (2000b).

Vertical drain characteristics and smear zone

As mentioned earlier, the Alidrains (width b = 100 mm and thickness t = 7 mm) were arranged in a triangular pat-

tern with drain spacing of 1.5 m and their tips at 21 m PD. The equivalent radius of vertical drains, r _{d} , can be deter- mined in several ways (for example, Hansbo 1979; Atkinson and Elered 1981; Long and Alvaro 1994). It seems that the formula r _{d} = (b + t)/4 + t/10 suggested by Long and Alvaro (1994) agrees well with experimental values most closely and has been adopted in this analysis. On this basis, r _{d} is 27.45 mm. For triangular installation patterns, the equivalent radius r _{e} of influence of the vertical drain is 0.525 times the drain spacing (Fig. 14). That is, r _{e} = 0.525 × drain spacing = 0.7875 m (Barron 1948). Installation of vertical drains creates a region of disturbed soil, called the smear zone, with outer radius r _{s} around the drain. Installation procedures that use a mandrel of radius r _{m} cause the most severe disturbance. Outward displacement of the soil distorts the adjacent ground. The zone of soil near the drain is remolded and dragged first downwards and then upwards as the mandrel is pushed into and then pulled from the ground. In soft soils where the technique is most useful, the overall effect is to produce a disturbed soil zone of re- duced permeability, reduced preconsolidation pressure, and increased compressibility (Johnson 1970). The analysis as- sumed r _{s} to be five times the equivalent radius of the vertical drain, that is, 137 mm. A diamond-shaped mandrel with external dimensions of 75 mm and 166 mm was used to install the Alidrains. The equivalent radius of the mandrel is r _{m} = 63 mm. These

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Fig. 13. In situ vertical effective stress and maximum past pressure.

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Fig. 14. Geometry of the simplified model for consolidation of soils with a vertical drain. r _{s} , outer radius of the smear zone.

values of r _{s} and r _{m} correspond to a value of r _{s} /r _{m} = 2.2, within the range proposed by Mesri and Lo (1991). Results of fully coupled finite element analysis by Zhu and Yin (2000a) show that vertical effective stresses within five times the equivalent radius of the vertical drain are much higher than in other parts of the domain. These higher stresses will reduce the permeability of the soil near vertical drains regardless of the installation method. In addition, re- molding due to drain installation may reduce the permeabil- ity in the smear zone. However, the reduction and size of the smear zone are still not exactly known. In the following

analysis, the horizontal and vertical hydraulic conductivities in the smear zone are assumed equal to the vertical hydrau- lic conductivity of undisturbed soil (Broms 1987). Since the equivalent cross section of the Alidrain is small and the drain length is up to 17.1 m, the effect of internal resistance to water flow in the drain needs to be considered. In the analysis, the hydraulic conductivity coefficient of the verti- cal drain is assumed equal to 1.2 m/day (this is essentially the hydraulic conductivity of clean sand, and since it is much larger than the hydraulic conductivity of the various clay layers, the solution is not sensitive to this assumption).

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Fig. 15. Comparison between measured settlement (points) and computed settlement (lines) using design values.

The deformation behaviour of the Alidrain material allows it to adopt the recompression stress–strain relationships of the surrounding soil.

Finite element analysis results and discussions

The computed settlements at the elevations of the Sondex settlement gauge anchors are plotted in Fig. 15. Measured values were reported earlier by Cheung and Ko (1986) and are also shown in the figure. In the early stages of loading, the measured values are larger than the computed results. This may have been caused by shear straining and lateral movement of the soils from under the fill, particularly in the very soft upper marine clay. After the final loading stage, the computed settlements are larger than the measured results.

Taking into consideration the effort here to produce true pre- dictions in the sense defined earlier, and the conservatism in the design parameters, the results are quite good. A subse- quent laboratory program of oedometer tests (Cheung and Ko 1986) on 17 undisturbed samples of the upper marine clay close to the location of the test embankment showed a maximum compression index of 0.333. This is smaller than the value of 0.40 suggested by RMP ENCON Ltd. (1982a) from the overall investigation and used in the analysis. Using a lower value of 0.32 instead of 0.40 for the upper marine clay in the finite element analysis produced better agreement (Fig. 16) between computed settlements and mea- sured results. The predicted settlements in the upper layer are still larger than the measured settlements. Computed and measured pore-water pressures are shown in Fig. 17. The computed values were again obtained using

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Fig. 16. Comparison between measured settlement (points) and computed settlement (lines) using test embankment site experiment data.

the soil parameters in Table 1 that came from the original testing for design of the reclamation works. Figure 17 shows that, although the trends have been modelled well, the com- puted pore-water pressures (shown as lines) during the ini- tial loading stages are higher than measured results (shown as symbols). After the final loading stage, however, the computed pore-water pressures are lower than measured val- ues. In other words, the rates and durations of the pore-water pressure dissipation and the settlements have not been well modelled. Using vertical total stress changes determined from Boussinesq elastic stress distributions produces results that are almost the same as those from the new modelling. The simulation is from the start of construction (contract day 136), whereas field measurements only began after the ini-

tial loading stage (after contract day 201). Therefore, there are no records available for the initial loading as simplified in the loading curve. When plotted in the figures, there are only two large increases in measured pore-water pressure, whereas the predictions suggest there will be three in- creases. One reason for the lack of agreement may be nonlinear changes of hydraulic conductivity with increasing effective stress and the resulting decreases in void ratio. Hydraulic conductivities are larger at the beginning of loading and be- come smaller as consolidation proceeds. The soils in this study undergo relatively large deformations, and the effects of nonlinear hydraulic conductivity may be significant. Al- though the program used for the analysis can take some

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Fig. 17. Comparison between measured pore pressure (points) and computed pore pressure (lines) using design values.

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account of nonlinear hydraulic conductivity, suitable infor- mation was not available from the laboratory program. The measured pore-water pressures at PP60 near the top of the upper marine clay during early loading dissipate more slowly than the predicted values. This suggests that the up- per boundary (the mudline) may not be a free drainage boundary or that some destructuring was taking place. Com- puted pore-water pressures at PP43 agree well with mea- sured values. Relatively large differences were noted, however, between computed and measured pore-water pres- sures at PP42, PP41, PP40, PP35, and PP38. The hydraulic conductivity at PP35 (located in the lower marine clay) is examined in more detail in the following paragraph. The measured pore-water pressure increased from 15.0 kPa at contract day 213 to 63.4 kPa at contract day 232. This corresponds to a vertical total stress increment of 99.8 kPa in the second loading step. The measured pore- water pressure increased again from 28.4 kPa at contract day 411 to 107.14 kPa at contract day 437, corresponding to a vertical total stress increment of 104.5 kPa in the third load- ing step. From the test arrangement, deformations can be considered as 1D. To estimate a lower limit of hydraulic conductivity of the lower marine clay using the measured value at PP35, it is assumed that the vertical drain is com- pletely free draining. In the second loading step, 51.5% of the increased excess pore-water pressure dissipated; and in the third loading step, 24.7% of the increased excess pore- water pressure dissipated. The analytical solution developed recently by Zhu and Yin (2001) suggests that this corre- sponds to time factors of T = 1.93 for the second loading step and T = 0.77 for the third loading step. The respective coefficients of radial consolidation are 0.0815 and 0.0213 m/day for the two loading steps. Substituting the recompression index RI = 0.035 and the initial effective stress (105.5 kPa), the radial coefficient of permeability will be 1.33 × 10 ^{–}^{9} (m/s) for the second loading step and 3.48 × 10 ^{–}^{1}^{0} (m/s) for the third loading step. The coefficient of per- meability in the second loading step is much larger than that used in the calculations. It can also be seen that the coeffi- cient of permeability in the third loading step is about 30% of the value in the second loading step. Examination of the borehole log obtained during the 1984 testing program described by Cheung and Ko (1986) in the northwestern quadrant of the test fill indicates a layer of me- dium-dense, dark grey, fine to medium sand from –21.4 to –21.8 m PD. These elevations place it in the range of the lower marine clay in the soil profile (Fig. 12) used for the calculations. Also, a borehole log for the southwestern quad- rant exposes a medium-dense, greyish brown, fine to me- dium sand layer from –11.0 to –11.9 m PD. These elevations are in the upper alluvium crust. It is likely therefore that the hydraulic conductivities and drainage boundaries at the site may be rather different from those determined from the orig- inal investigation and used in the modelling. Although it appears that settlement magnitudes can be predicted with some success, attempts to compare predicted and measured excess pore-water pressures under embank- ment projects have generally been less successful. Excess pore-water pressures vary rapidly in the horizontal direction around sand drains and wicks and can produce changes in hydraulic conductivity. As a result, relatively small variation

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in the positions of the wicks or piezometers can lead to large potential errors (Olson 1998). The compression of the lower three layers in Fig. 12 is relatively small compared with that of the upper marine clay. Thus, the relatively large discrepancies in the modelling of pore-water pressure in the lower three layers are of little im- portance for the prediction of total settlements of the re- claimed land. Validation of the simplified finite element procedure through modelling of a case study has proved very helpful in developing confidence in the ability of the model. Case his- tory projects of this nature are invaluable in providing fac- tual results for developing models, validating the assumptions, and learning how to use them successfully in practical applications.

Conclusions

This paper presents a simulation of settlements of a test embankment at the new Chek Lap Kok International Airport in Hong Kong. The modelling was done using the finite ele- ment method suggested in Zhu and Yin (2000a). The predic- tions were done using, for the most part, results from the original laboratory testing and site investigation report. Good results were obtained for predictions of settlement magni- tudes. However, relatively large discrepancies were encoun- tered in modelling pore-water pressures. This has been related to nonlinear characteristics of hydraulic conductivity that should be taken into account when the soil experiences large compression. Localized coarser layers in the geological sequence are also key factors that influence the possibility of successful modelling of consolidation behaviour.

Acknowledgements

Financial support (Grant No. H-ZJ73) from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, a research grant (Grant No. PolyU 63/96E) from the Research Grants Council of UGC of the Hong Kong SAR Government of China, and support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada are gratefully acknowledged. We also ap- preciate permission from the Civil Engineering Office, Civil Engineering Service Department of the of Hong Kong SAR Government, to use information about materials and perfor- mance at the test embankment site at the Chek Lap Kok In- ternational Airport. The authors acknowledge thoughtful and helpful comments from the reviewers.

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