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Concept for an integrated geotechnical approach

to site investigations

The Objectives of Soil


Investigations


Identify & describe pertinent surface conditions

Determine location and thickness of soil and


rock strata (subsurface soil profile)

Determine location of groundwater table

Recover samples for laboratory testing

Conduct lab and/or field testing

Identify special problems and concerns

Preliminary Design Data




Soil exploration and preliminary design should be


started about the same time

For buildings
 Type, Size and height, depth of basement
 Approximate arrangement of columns and bearing
walls
 Approximate range of column and wall loads
For bridges
 Type and length of bridge span
 Approximate loads on piers and abutments

Steps in Soil Exploration


Boring
 Sampling
 Testing


Common Types of Boring


Test (Trial) Pits
 Auger
 Percussion Drill
 Rotary Drill


SOIL BORING

Test Pits





For shallow visual investigations and to take sample


from top few meters of soil
Economical and rapid
Excavation with hand tools, backhoe etc.
1 to 3 m deep, can be extended to 6m

Stratigraphy and Finds


Layer

Soil

Soil Colour

Finds

L1

Sandy soil

Gray 7.5YR 5/1

Modern Rubbish (filled soil)

L2

Sandy soil

Pinkish white 7.5YR 8/2

Modern rubbish (filled soil)

L3

Sandy soil

Reddish yellow 7.5YR 7/6

Modern rubbish (filled soil)

L4

Sandy soil

Gray 7.5YR 6/1

Modern rubbish (filled soil)

L5

Loamy soil

Reddish yellow 5YR 6/6

Nil (original decomposed soil)

L6

Loamy soil

Reddish yellow 5YR 6/8

Nil (original decomposed soil)

L7

Loamy soil, with


some
decomposed bed
rock texture

Light red 2.5YR 6/8

Nil (original decomposed soil)

Test Pit Wall Photograph


Western Wall Section

Test Pit Wall Drawing


Western Wall Section Drawing

Methods of Boring


Auger Borings:
 Simplest method of exploration and sampling.
 Power driven or hand operated.
 Max. depth 10 m

 Up to 200 mm dia hole

Hand operated
augers

Power driven augers

Boring tools
Auger boring

Power drills

Rotary drilling
- Rapidly rotating drilling bits
- used in sand, clay and rocks

Percussion drilling
- a heavy drilling bit
is raised and lowered
to chop the hard soil

Rotary Drilling







To drill holes in almost all ground conditions for


sampling and installation of instruments
75 mm to 150mm dia boreholes can be drilled (most
common depth 1 to 30 m)
Hole is advanced either by rotating bit or downhole
hammer
Cutting is removed by the flushing medium(drilling
fluid)which is pumped down to the drill bit with a pump
Casing is usually required in unstable soils and deep
holes
Common drilling fluid; bentonite in water

Rotary Drilling
The most common method subsurface exploration
used in Hong Kong and Macau
Two types drilling
 Open drilling
 Drill bit cuts all the material within the diameter of
the borehole
 Only disturbed samples can be obtained
 Rapid advancement
 Not recommended for most situations

Rotary Drilling
 Core drilling
 Cutting bit fixed to the outer rotating tube of a corebarrel, so the inner stationary tube of the core-barrel
can retain the undisturbed sample
 Undisturbed samples can be obtained
 Slow advancement
 Recommended for most situations

Flushing Medium required

Percussion Drill







Common method for advancing test holes in all soils


and weak rocks for shallow and deep exploration
Holes advanced by jack hammer and chopping bits
150 to 300 mm dia holes can be drilled (most common
depth is up to 30 m)
Shells, bailers, clay cutters and chisels are boring
tools
Hole is advanced by repeatedly raising and dropping
the boring tool
Casing may be required in unstable soils and deep
holes

bailer

Soil

Clay Cutter

Boring tools for


Wash Boring

Flushing Medium






Purpose is to remove particles and to cool the drill bits


Air flush (operates at 1000 m3/min)
Water flush (operates at 24-50 m3/min)
Mud flush include bentonite and polymer based muds
Mist and foam flushes (mixture of air, water and mud)

Methods of Boring


Core drilling
 Used for obtaining rock cores.
 A core barrel is fitted with a drill bit is attached to

hollow drill rods.

Why Sampling ?





To obtain specimens for determining the physical,


chemical and mechanical characteristics of the soil in
laboratory
Samples can be either jar, bag, tube, continuous, core
or block
Ideal sampler must be thin walled (less area ratio),
have smaller taper angle and smooth walls

Piston Sampler

Procedure for Sampling Soil


Two types of soil samples: disturbed and undisturbed
Disturbed soil samples for
(a) Grain size analysis
(b) Determination of liquid and plastic limits
(c) Specific gravity of soil solids
(d) Determination of organic content
(e) Classification of soils

Undisturbed soil samples for


(a) Consolidation behaviour and parameters
(b) Hydraulic parameters
(c) Shear strength
(d) Stiffness parameters: Youngs modulus and Poissons ratio
(e) General behaviour and properties close to the field conditions

Disturbed Sample

Boring
tools

Thin Wall sampler and Piston sampler for undisturbed


soil samples:

Disturbed vs Undisturbed
Good quality samples necessary.

O.D.2 I .D.2
AR =
100(%)
2
I .D.

AR<10%
soil

area ratio
sampling tube

Thicker the wall, greater the disturbance.

The degree of disturbance for a soil sample is:


D02 Di2
AR (%) =
(100)
2
Di
where AR = area ratio (disturbed area over total area of soil)
D0 = outside diameter of the damping tube
Di = inside diameter of the damping tube

For standard split-spoon sampler:


AR (%) =

(50.8) 2 (34.93) 2
(34.93)

(100) = 111.5%

AR<10%: generally considered undisturbed.

Disturbed vs Undisturbed

Penetration Test (SPT) Sampler

Area ratio about 100%

Split-Spoon Sampling:
(
)

Using a standard split-spoon sampler (see figure) in the


period of Standard Penetration Test (SPT)

Soil
retaine
d here
Soil
retaine
d here

Sample Disturbance
Should be minimum so that the parameters obtained
should be representative
Caused during drilling due to stress relief, swelling,
compaction, piping, collapse of the borehole
Caused during sampling by stress relief,
compaction,extension, segregation, fracture, friction
Caused during transport and storage
Casused during extrusion and triming the sample

Minimizing the Sample Disturbance


 Swelling
By minimizing the time of sampling
 Compaction
By keeping the casing above the base of borehole
 Water loss
By maintaining a water content
 Collapse
By using casing or mud or by keeping the hole dry
 Distortion
By using smooth clean tubes and thin walled sampler

Sample Quality Classification


Sample Quality

Application

Class 1

Class 3

Index tests, moisture content, density,


strength, deformation and
consolidation characteristics
Index tests, moisture content and
density
Index tests and moisture content

Class 4

Index tests

Class 5

Strata identification only

Class 2

Classification of Samples
Class

Properties

Symbols

Technique

Classification

w, , Gs, PI,
PSD

Some core barrels


Some thick wall samplers

Strength
Deformation
Permeability

C, , Cu
E, G, mv
K, Cv

Pushed thin wall sampler


Pushed thin wall sampler

Classification

w, , SG, PI,
PSD

Thin and thick wall


samplers and core
barrels

Classification

W, PI, PSD

Clay cutter or auger (dry)

Classification

PSD, PI

Clay cutter or auger (wet)

None

Cutting and flushing

Sample Application
Type

Size

Installation

Class

Ground

Jar

Small

Cuttings

All

Bag

Large

Shell, Core

3,4,5

Soil

U100

100 mm dia
0.5 m long

Pushed
jacked

1,2

Clay

Piston

75 200 mm dia Jacked


0.5 1 m long

1,2

Clay

Tube

75 100 mm dia Jacked


0.5 1 m long

1,2

Clay

Core

NX SX

Drilled

All

Block

Up to 1 m

Cut

All

Common Sampling Methods

Planning boring program


How Many Borings & How Deep?
No hard-and-fast rule exists for determining
the number of borings or the depth to which
borings are to be advanced.
But guidelines exist in
Textbooks
Design manuals

How Many Borings?




Conventional Wisdom
 The number (density) of borings will increase:
As soil variability increases
As the loads increase
For more critical/significant structures

Rules of Thumb:
 Soft soils, critical structures 15 m
 Soft Soils - Space 30m to 60m
 As soils become harder, spacing may be

increased up to 150m

No. Of Borings (continued)


Project

1 or 2 story building
Multi-story buildings

Distance Between Borings (m)


Min. No. of
Horizontal stratification of
Borings
soil

60

30

15

45

30

15

30

12

150

30

Bridge,Pier,Abutment
Highways
Borrow pits

300
300-150

150-60

30-15

No. Of Borings
Project

Spacing (m)

One story house

25 30

Multistory buildings

15 25

Highways/Railways

250 500

Earth Dams

25 50

Residential sub-division

60 - 100

Depth of Boring


Highway and airfield


 Min. depth 5 ft
 Should extend below organic soil, muck, fill, or
compressible layers
Retaining walls
 Deeper than possible surface of sliding
 Deeper than width of base of wall
Embankment and cuts
 Deeper than possible surface of sliding
 Equal to the width at bottom of cuts

How Deep (Bridges)?




Boring depth is governed by various factors, including:


 Foundation type
 Foundation load
 Channel relocation, widening, dredging?
 Scour?
Rules of Thumb
 Generally speaking, 50- 80 is reasonable
 Local experience is helpful
 Look at nearby structures if available
 If no experience or other info available, plan for long
first hole, then adjust.

How Deep (Retaining Walls)?




Boring depth is governed by various factors,


including:
 Wall type (Fill vs. Cut)

Rules of Thumb :
 Fill Walls:
 Soil Nailed Walls:
 Drilled Shaft Walls:

Soil Nailed Walls

Depth = Wall Height +/Depth = Through Nailed Area,


plus 10
Depth = Exposed Wall Height plus
150% of Wall Height

Drilled Shaft Walls

Depth of Boring (

Shallow foundation)

Soil Condition

Minimum Depth of Boring (m)

Poor

6 x S0.7 + Df

Average
Good

5 x S0.7 + Df
3 x S0.7 + Df

S = No. of stories
Df = Tentative depth of footing (m)

Depth of Boring (continued)




For embankments
 1.5 to 2.0 times the height of embankment
 Should be sufficient to check possible shear failure
and probable settlement
For dams
 Should be such to explore all starta through which
piping and seepage may occur
 Some borings up to rock bed with minimum 3 m into
the rock

Depth of Boring (continued)




For roads and airfields


 Up to depth of 2 3 m
 For embankment roads up to depth = 1.5 2.0 x
height of embankment + 2 3 ft.
For Pipelines
 1 2 m below

GROUND WATER TABLE LEVEL


Groundwater conditions and groundwater seepage are
fundamental factors in all geotechnical analyses and
design.
- It is a basic element of almost all geotechnical
investigation programs. Includes:
Determination of groundwater levels and pressures.
Measurement of the permeability of the subsurface
materials.

Ground Water Measurement


In sand or gravels
- Clean the hole
- Use steel tape coated with chalk
In silt or silty sand
- Can be measured in several days
In clays
- Piezometer is used

Piezometers and Monitor well

Observation of Water Tables


(a) Standard pipe
(b) Casagrande type piezometer
(c) Electric (resistance
vibrating wire) type
(transducer)

Electric pore water


pressure transducer

(a)

Casagrande type piezometer

Typical applications for piezometers are:


-Monitoring pore water pressures to determine safe rates of fill or
excavation.
-Monitoring pore water pressures to evaluate slope stability.
-Monitoring dewatering systems used for excavations.
-Monitoring ground improvement systems, such as vertical drains and
sand drains.
-Monitoring pore pressures to check the performance of earthfill dams
and embankments.
-Monitoring pore pressures to check containment systems at landfills
and tailings dams.
Standpipe Piezometers
Advantages: Simple, reliable, not electrical, no
calibrated components.
Limitations: Accuracy depends on skill of operator;
reading requires a man on site; remote reading not
possible; slower to show changes in pore-water
pressure.

Advantages of Vibrating Wire Piezometers:


High Resolution: VW piezometers provide a resolution of 0.025% of full scale.
High Accuracy: Slope Indicator's automated, precision calibration system ensures
that all VW piezometers meet or exceed their accuracy specifications.
Groutable: The VW piezometer can be directly grouted-in with a bentonite-cement
grout.
Rapid Response: VW piezometers offer rapid response to changes in pore water
pressure, whether they are grouted in, pushed into cohesive soils, or embedded in a
sand filter zone.
Reliable Signal Transmission: With properly shielded cable, signals from the VW
piezometer can be transmitted long distances.

Wells and Piezometers

Wells are

Piezometers

tubes that
contain
many holes
to let water
in.

contain few
holes, and let water
in mainly at their
bottom.

Wells show
the depth
to the water
table

Piezometers show
if soil around
holes is saturated

Well

Sand

Piezometers

Perched
Water
Table

Clay

Sand

Water drains
down well,
Saturation undetected

Shallow piezometer
contains water, but lower
piezometer does not. Perched
water table detected.

Basic Well
Installation Method

Loose Cap: use


Pop (soda) can
Drill air hole
In tube if cap
Is tight

Surface Cone
Soil or bentonite + soil
(2:1) mix for sandy soils.
Carefully packed. Check
every visit.

Backfill with
soil, packed
well

Bentonite Seal
3 to 6 inches

Sand Pack

Well Screen or slots


over depth of interest
3+

Basic Piezometer
Installation Method

Loose Cap: use


Pop (soda) can
Drill air hole
In tube if cap
Is tight
Backfill with
soil, packed
well

Surface Cone
Soil or bentonite + soil
(2:1) mix for sandy soils.
Carefully packed. Check
every visit.

Bentonite Seal
3 to 6 inches

Sand Pack
~ 3 above
slots

6 of Well
Screen or slots
3+

Fabric Covers or Socks for Wells


and Piezometers

Cover holes
With porous
fabric.
Sand and
Soil may fall
into holes in
Wells and
Piezometers.

Tape

Can use
Geotextile,
Drain Sock,
Womens
nylons
Knot at
bottom

For Flooded Sites Use a Surface Marker


Along with wells and piezometers

Gauge showing
water height
above surface

Finding the Water Table


Wells should be used to identify water tables.
Piezometers measure pressure, and not the free
water surface.
Wells work best when they dont penetrate a
layer that is perching water or intersect large
cracks

How often do you make


measurements?
Measure at least weekly
Daily measurements are needed for some
modeling work
If you use automated systems, set for daily
measurements, and visit monthly.

Finding the Water Table with Piezometers

Where is the water table in this soil?

2 ft.

6 ft.

Piezometers

If you must use a piezometer to identify a water table,then use


the water level in the shallowest piezometer for your estimate

Water table

2 ft.

6 ft.