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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 1, Number 4, December 2009, pages 275-289
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12989/gae.2009.1.4.275
 


Consolidation of marine clay using electrical vertical drains
J.Q. Shang, Q.H. Tang and Y.Q. Xu

 
Abstract
    Electroosmosis (EO) is the movement of water in a porous medium under the influence of a direct current (dc). In past decades, electro-osmosis has been successfully employed in many soil improvement and other geotechnical engineering projects. Metal electrodes, such as steel, copper and aluminum have been used traditionally to conduct current. The shortcoming of these electrodes is that they corrode easily during an EO treatment, which results in reduced effectiveness and environmental concerns. More recently, conductive polymers are developed to replace metal electrodes in EO treatment. Electrical vertical drainages (EVDs) are one of these products under trial. The goal of this study is to assess the performance of EVDs for soil improvement and to further understand the scientific principle of the EO process, including the voltage drop at the soil-EVD interface, electrical current density, polarity reversal, and changes in soil physico-chemical properties generated by electroosmosis. It is found from the study that after 19 days of EO treatment with a constant applied dc electric field intensity of 133 V/m, the soil\'s moisture content decreased by 28%, the shear strength and pre-consolidation pressure increased more than 400%. It is also found that the current density required triggering the water flow in the soil tested, the Korean Yulchon marine clay, is 0.7 A/m2. The project demonstrates that EVDs can serve as both electrodes and drains for soil improvement in short term. However, the EVDs, as tested, are not suitable for polarity reversal in EO treatment and their service life is limited to only 15 days.
 
Key Words
    Soil improvement; land reclamation; electroosmotic consolidation; electrical vertical drains.
 
Address
J.Q. Shang: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1G9, Canada
Q.H. Tang: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1G9, Canada
Y.Q. Xu: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6G 1G9, Canada
 

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