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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 7, Number 1, July 2014, pages 105-131
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12989/gae.2014.7.1.105
 


Analyzing consolidation data to predict smear zone characteristics induced by vertical drain installation for soft soil improvement
Ali Parsa-Pajouh, Behzad Fatahi, Philippe Vincent and Hadi Khabbaz

 
Abstract
    In this paper, the effects of variability of smear zone characteristics induced by installation of prefabricated vertical drains on the preloading design are investigated employing analytical and numerical approaches. Conventional radial consolidation theory has been adopted to conduct analytical parametric studies considering variations of smear zone permeability and extent. FLAC 2D finite difference software has been employed to conduct the numerical simulations. The finite difference analyses have been verified using three case studies including two embankments and a large-scale laboratory consolidometer with a central geosynthetic vertical drain. A comprehensive numerical parametric study is conducted to investigate the influence of smear zone permeability and extent on the model predictions. Furthermore, the construction of the trial embankment is recommended as a reliable solution to estimate accurate smear zone properties and minimise the post construction settlement. A back-calculation procedure is employed to determine the minimum required waiting time after construction of the trial embankment to predict the smear zone characteristics precisely. Results of this study indicate that the accurate smear zone permeability and extent can be back-calculated when 30% degree of consolidation is obtained after construction of the trial embankment.
 
Key Words
    prefabricated vertical drain; smear zone; trial embankment; numerical analysis; FLAC
 
Address
(1) Ali Parsa-Pajouh, Behzad Fatahi, Hadi Khabbaz:
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, Australia;
(2) Philippe Vincent:
Menard Bachy Pty Ltd., Sydney, Australia.
 

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