Volume 34, N. 4

December 2011

Soft Soils Improved by Prefabricated Vertical Drains: Performance and Prediction


Volume 34, N. 4, December 2011 | DOWNLOAD PDF (15 downloads)


The use of prefabricated vertical drains with vacuum preloading and surcharge preloading is now common practice and is proving to be one of the most effective ground improvement techniques known. The factors affecting its performance, such as the smear zone, the drain influence zone, and drain unsaturation, are discussed in this paper. In order to evaluate these effects a large scale consolidation test was conducted and it was found that the proposed Cavity Expansion Moreover, the procedure for converting an equivalent 2-D plane strain multi-drain analysis that considers the smear zone and vacuum pressure are also described. The conversion procedure was incorporated into finite element codes using a modified Cam-clay theory. Numerical analysis was conducted to predict excess pore pressure and lateral and vertical displacement. Three case histories are analyzed and discussed, including the sites of Muar clay (Malaysia), the Second Bangkok International Airport (Thailand), and the Sandgate railway line (Australia). The predictions were then compared with the available field data, which include settlement, excess pore pressure, and lateral displacement. Further findings verified that smear, drain unsaturation, and vacuum distribution can significantly influence consolidation so they must be modeled appropriately in any numerical analysis to obtain reliable predictions.

Keywords: Analytical model, Cyclic loading, Numerical model, Soft soils, Vacuum preloading, Vertical drains,

Submitted on November 01, 2010.
Final Acceptance on December 15, 2011.
Discussion open until July 31, 2012.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.344379