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Geotechnical Construction Issues

Allen Minks, P.E.


SCI Engineering, Inc.
2000 IBC Section 1802.3.2 Expansive Soils
Soils meeting all four of the following provisions shall be considered
expansive except that tests to showcompliance with Items 1, 2, and 3
shall not be required if the test prescribed in Item4 is conducted:
1. Plasticity Index (PI) of 15 or greater, determined in accordance
with ASTMD4318.
2.More than 10 percent of the soil particles pass a No. 200 sieve
(75micrometers), determined in accordance with ASTMD422.
3. More than 10 percent of the soil particles are less than 5
micrometers in size, determined in accordance with ASTMD422.
4. Expansion Index greater than 20, determined in accordance with
UBC Standard 18-2 or SBCCI SSTD 7.
Factors Affecting Volume Change
Water conditions; groundwater level and
fluctuation, surface drainage, and climate.
Initial dry density and initial moisture content.
These are the single most important factors
affecting swelling characteristics.
Surcharge pressure.
Time allowed to swell.
Soil Profile; size and thickness of layer that is
swelling.
High Plasticity Clays (shrink/swell):
Atterberg Limits:
liquid limit greater than 45 to 50
plasticity index (LL-PL) greater than 20 to 25
Swell Tests:
percent swell
swell pressure
Effect:
floor slabs
foundations
potentially walls (lateral pressure)
Treatment:
remove and replace with low plasticity soil, crushed stone (clean or minus)
lime treatment (5-8 % Code L)
Repair of Existing Construction:
removal and replacement of high plasticity subgrade
lime injection and repair of damaged portions of structure
Plasticity Index vs. Swell Potential
Swell Potential
Low
Medium
High
Very High
Plasticity Index
0-15
10-35
20-55
35 and Above
Plasticity Index vs. Swell Potential
Initial Dry Density vs. Percent Swell
Initial Dry Density vs. Percent Swell
Percent Swell
Initial Moisture Content vs. Percent Swell
Initial Moisture Content vs. Percent Swell
Percent Swell
Water Content vs. Liquid Limit vs. Swell
Final Degree of Saturation vs. Percent Swell
Effect of varying degree of saturation on volume change for constant density and moisture
content sample.
Surcharge Pressure vs. Percent Swell
Swell Pressure
Swell Pressure is independent of
surcharge pressure, initial moisture
content, degree of saturation, and
thickness of stratum.
Swell pressure increases with initial dry
density.
Swell pressure reflects only the swelling
characteristics of the soil.
Initial Dry Density vs. Swelling Pressure
Initial Dry Density vs. Swell Pressure
Swell Pressure (psf)
Initial Moisture Content vs. Swell Pressure
Swell Pressure (psf)
Ribbed Slab Detail
Floor Heave
Floor Heave
Repair of Floor Heave
Repair of Floor Heave
Uplift Resistance: Uplift Resistance: Uplift Resistance: Uplift Resistance:
Additional weight of structure:
Skin friction along exterior of embedded
walls/foundations:
Extend foundations laterally for uplift resistance
from soils over extended portion:
Soil or rock anchors:
Slope Instability
Loads from new fill or structure:
Oversteepening of slopes during site grading:
Cutting of toe support:
Water:
90+ % of time is triggering mechanism:
poor surficial drainage
poor internal drainage
excessive precipitation
Shale:
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Slope Failure
Repair of Slope Failure
Repair of Slope
Failure
Repair of Slope Failure
Rock
Expensive removal:
rippers
rock buckets
hydraulic chippers
blasting
Differential foundation support:
foundations on either, but not both
High Groundwater Table
Wet basements:
proper perimeter and underdrain
systems
Poor foundation support:
remove and replace nominal depth
below foundations
Sinkholes
Karst Topography:
limestone bedrock typical
means for discharge of subsurface water
Active:
typically some type of surface expression
Inactive:
often no surface expression discovered
during construction
Sinkhole
Sinkhole
Early Stage of Sinkhole Collapse
Latter Stage of Sinkhole Collapse
Collapsible Soils
Typically Loess:
low density (dry density less than
85 to 80 pcf)
dry soils
Other Factors
Wall Backfill
Unengineered Fill
Erosion/Piping
Wall Backfill
Wall Backfill
Wall Backfill
Wall Backfill
Unengineered Fill
Unengineered Fill
Unengineered Fill
Unengineered Fill
Underpinning
Underpinning
Detention Basin
Detention Basin
Detention Basin