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Load Deformation Behaviour of Floating Stone


Columns in Soft Clay

Conference Paper · December 2010


DOI: 10.13140/2.1.2965.4407

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Mukul Bora Sujit Kumar Dash


Dibrugarh University Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
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Load Deformation Behaviour of Floating Stone Columns in Soft Clay

Mukul C.Bora
Doctoral Research Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering/IITGuwahati, Amingoan –781039, Email: m.bora@iig.ac.in
Sujit Kumar Dash
Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, IITGuwahati, Amingoan -781039, Email: sujit@iitg.ac.in

ABSTRACT: A series of model footing load tests were carried out on floating stone columns reinforced clay bed to
understand the load deformation behavior. All the experiments were carried out on stone columns in groups to
understand the group effects and interactions. The parameters varied in this experimental investigation were length and
spacing of the stone column without changing the undrained shear strength of the clay. The undrained strength of clay
bed was kept constant as 5kPa in all the tests. In this paper the results obtained from experimental investigations were
analysed in terms of load carrying capacity, deformation behaviour of stone column and the interaction amongst the
stone columns. It was observed that the bearing capacity of the stone column reinforced clay bed can withstand a load
more than 4 times that of the soft clay bed alone. The optimum length and spacing of the stone column were obtained
from experimental results and strong interaction has been observed for too small spacing of stone column.

INTRODUCTION soil is found to be 2.63. The liquid limit, plastic limit and
Stone columns or a Granular pile (as it sometimes called as) is plasticity index of the soil are found to be 40%, 21% and 19%
one of the most versatile method of improvement of clay and respectively. As per the Unified Soil Classification System
silty clay where there is a requirement for moderate increase in (USCS), the soil can be classified as clay with low plasticity
bearing capacity. Earlier stone columns were used for supporting (CL).
flexible structures like tank foundations but nowadays stone The stone columns formed are of 100mm diameter and
columns are increasingly being used in small groups to support constructed by crushed stone aggregate with particle size varying
isolated footings in soft soils when conventional foundations are in the range of 2mm to 10mm. The average particle size of the
considered uneconomical. The load carrying capacity of the material (D50) is 4.9mm. The crushed stone aggregate used has
stone column is a function of the rate of application of the load Coefficient of uniformity (Cu) of 2.32 and Coefficient of
and as well as the confinement provided by the surrounding soil. curvature (Cc) of 0.88 and is classified as poorly graded gravel
The use of floating stone column may be one of the best options (GP) as per Unified Soil Classification System (USCS). The
for improvement of soft clay where the depth of supporting hard specific gravity, maximum dry density (γdmax) and minimum dry
stratum is at large depth. Numerous reporting have been found in density (γdmin) of the aggregate are found to be 2.69, 16.83
the literature regarding the load deformation behaviour of end kN/m3 and 14.17 kN/m3 respectively. The peak friction angle of
bearing stone column but very few are there in the area of the aggregate is found to be 48°. The grain size distribution of
floating stone column. clay and the stone aggregate used in this experimental
The research work on the load deformation behavior of end investigation is depicted in Fig.1.
bearing stone column on clay bed was studied by various Experimental setup
researchers in triaxial testing apparatus and with model plate The model tests were conducted in a test bed-cum-loading frame
load test. The few of the reported work are of Juran and assembly in the laboratory. The soil beds were prepared in a
Guermazi (1988), Alamgir et. al. (1996) Poorooshasb and steel tank with inside dimensions of 1000 mm × 1000 mm ×
Meyerhof (1997), Rao et al. (2000), Wood et. al. (2000) used 1300 mm (depth). The four sides of the tank are made of thick
theoretical and model tests to determine the mechanism and mild steel sheet and are braced laterally on the outer surface with
response of beds of clay reinforced with stone columns. Bae et. steel channels to avoid yielding during the tests. The model
al (2002) studied the failure mechanism and influence of various foundation used is made of a steel plate of 150mm in diameter
parameters responsible for the behaviour of end-bearing column and 30 mm in thickness. It is rigidly attached to the load cell
groups through loading tests and unit cell consolidation tests. assembly system. A rough-base condition was achieved by
McKelvey et. al. (2004), Ambily and Gandhi (2007) , Black et. cementing a thin layer of sand on to the base of the model
al. (2007) reported the results of experimental investigation on foundation with epoxy glue. In all tests the footing was placed at
sand columns carried out in model stone columns and loaded the centre of the tank. The footing was loaded with a computer
under triaxial conditions. controlled motorised hydraulic system supported against the
The above literature reveals that the research work on stone upper cross head of the reaction frame.
column is only limited to the case of end bearing columns and The depth of the test tank is 8.6 times the diameter of the footing
hence a comprehensive experimental investigation was carried and the minimum distance from the centre of the footing to the
out to know the load deformation behaviour of floating stone side walls of the tank is 3.3 times the footing diameter and it
columns in soft clay bed. found to be free from boundary effect provided by the tank wall.
Experimental investigation Details of test series
Materials used Three series of model tests were carried out on unreinforced and
A locally available natural silty clay soil was used to prepare the on stone columns reinforced soft clay bed. The test series 1 was
clay subgrade in the present study. The specific gravity of this conducted on soft clay bed alone. The details of the test series
and the in-situ properties of the test clay bed are summarised in and r0 is the radius of the original undeformed stone column. A
table 1 and 2. typical plot of the radial strain in the stone column at different
depth of stone column (L/dsc) is shown in Fig. 3.
100 Effect of length of stone column
Clay
90 Fig 2 depicts the bearing pressure versus footing settlement
Stone aggregate
responses for different lengths of stone column, expressed in non
80 dimensional form with respect to its diameter (L/d sc). It could be
70 observed that even with stone column of length as small as its
diameter (L/dsc = 1), in the clay bed, the performance of the
Percent finer

60
footing (both in terms of increase in bearing capacity and
50 reduction in settlement) can be increased substantially. The
40
performance improvement continues to increase with increase in
length of stone column. It is of interest to note that the stone
30 column length varying from 3dsc to 5dsc there is substantial
20 improvement in terms of increase in bearing capacity and
reduction in settlement of the foundation bed beyond which
10
further improvement is marginal. It could be observed that with
0 provision of stone column the bearing capacity can be increased
0.00 0.01 0.10 1.00 10.00 100.00 by 3.5 times that of the clay alone.
Particle size (mm) Bearing pressure (kPa)
0 20 40 60 80 100
Fig. 1: Grain size distribution of materials used in this
investigation 0
Clay
Clay+SC(L/dsc=1)
Table 1: Details of test series 4
Clay+SC(L/dsc=3)
Footing settlement, s/D(%)

8 Clay+SC(L/dsc=5)
Test Type of Details of parameters investigated
Clay+SC(L/dsc=7)
Series reinforcement
12

1 Clay Bed Constant parameter: cu = 5kPa 16


2 Clay+SC Constant parameter :cu = 5kPa, S/dsc
20
= 2.5
Variable parameter: L/dsc =1,3,5,7 24
3 Clay+SC Constant parameter: cu=5kPa , L/dsc
=5 28
Variable parameter: S/dsc= 1.5, 2.5,
3.5 Fig.2: Pressure settlement response of stone column reinforced
Note: SC: Stone column, L and dsc are the length and clay bed for different length of stone column
For all cases, initially the value of increase in bearing pressure is
diameter of the stone column high but it reduces with increased footing settlement. However
Table 2: Properties of clay in test bed for settlement (s/D) beyond 3% it again continues to increase
with increase in settlement. The initially high value of bearing
Property Range Average Value pressure is due to stiffening effect of the stone column under the
Moisture Content 35.8-36.5 % 36 % footing. This effect reduces as the stone column deforms under
Bulk Unit weight (γb) 18-18.1 kN/m3 18.05 footing penetration. After a threshold limit of deformation, the
kN/m3 shear resistance of the soil starts getting mobilized leading to
increased load carrying capacity.
Vane shear strength (cu) 4.8-5.2 kPa 5 kPa
With increased length of stone column, its punching reduces
therefore it bulges more leading to increased mobilization of soil
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION passive resistance and hence increased load carrying capacity.
Tests under series 2 and 3 were carried out to study the However, beyond certain length (i.e. L = 5d sc) though the
behaviour of the stone column reinforced foundation system for resistance against punching continues to increase but the stone
different length and spacing of stone columns. In each series column reaches its maximum bulging capacity and hence further
only one parameter was varied while others were kept constant. improvement in bearing pressure is marginal (Fig. 2). Hence
The bearing pressure and settlement responses of the footing, length of stone column (L) giving maximum performance
with and without stone columns in the clay beds are depicted in improvement is 5 times its diameter (dsc).
Fig.2 and 3. The maximum deformed shape of the stone columns depicted in
The post test deformed shape of the stone column mapped Fig.3 indicates that bulging dies down to a practically negligible
through plaster of paris is used to study the bulge characteristics value for length of stone column greater than 4dsc. Similar
of stone column. From the bulge profile (Fig. 3) the radial strain observations have been reported by Rao et.al (1997) and Sharma
in the stone column due to deformation was obtained as [(rd- et. al (2004).
r0)/r0]×100, where rd is the radius of the deformed stone column
Radial strain in stone column [(rd-ro)/ro] (%) 2. The length of stone column providing maximum
-50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 performance improvement is equal to 5 times its
0 diameter.
3. Maximum increase in bearing pressure is observed for
L/dsc= 1
the reduction in spacing of stone column from 3.5 - 2.5
1 L/dsc= 3 times the diameter of the stone column. The radial
Length of stone column (L/dsc)

L/dsc= 5 strain on the stone column dies down to zero beyond


2 the length of stone column equal to 4times its
L/dsc= 7 diameter.
3 4. Bulging of the stone column under the application of
original
load is essential for mobilization of the load carrying
deformed capacity of the stone column in groups. But excess
4
buldging leads to decrease in load carrying capacity.
5 5. Stone columns of length less than 3times its diameter
shows negligible or no bulging and hence it simply
punches to the soft clay under the application of load.
6
6. As the stone column in this present investigation were
tested in undrained conditions and the load carrying
7 capacity could be further more in case of field
Fig. 3: Variation of radial strain on central stone column with application where drainage will be allowed to occur.
length 7. Radial strain on the stone column is maximum at a
Effect of spacing of stone column depth dsc from the top of the stone column due to the
lateral restrained offered by the rough footing base.
Fig.4 shows the bearing pressure-footing settlement responses
for different spacing of stone columns (S/dsc). It could be REFERENCES
observed that as the spacing of the stone column decreases the
bearing pressure of the foundation bed increases. The increase in
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