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Settlement Due to Consolidation

Shrine of our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City. The part on the left
was built about 1709, that on the right about 1622. A ridge of rock
beneath the junction of the two parts has permitted little settlement,
whereas adjacent portions, located above deposits of highly compressible clay as much as 60 f t thick, have settled more than 7 ft. The
structure on the left was underpinned in 1969.

PLATE3.

58

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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CHAPTER

Consolidation Characteristics of Soils

3.1. Sigidficance of
Stress-Strain
Characteristics of Earth Materials

The stress-strain characteristics of a soil


or rock determine the settlement that a
given structure will experience. I n some instances, they may also serve as an indication of construction difficulties that may
arise during excavation into soil masses.
The settlements of structures above beds
of soft clay, sometimes buried deeply beneath stronger and less compressible materials, may take place slowly and may reach
large magnitudes. Because of the time lag
between the end of construction and the
appearance of cracking, such settlements
were once considered to be of mysterious
origin. The first successful efforts to explain
the phenomena on a scientific basis were
made by Terzaghi in 1919.
Terzaghis studies dealt with the amount
and rate of settlement originating in a
layer of clay prevented from experiencing
lateral displacements and capable of expelling water upward or downward as the
particles tended to squeeze together. I n
many instances these conditions are approached in practice. For this reason, and
because an understanding of the phenomena is basic to the solution of more complex
practical problems, a consideration of the

behavior of various soils when subjected to


stress is preceded by a discussion of the onedimensional consolidation of saturated clays.

3.2. Consolidation Tests on Remolded


Clays

The relations among vertical pressure,


settlement, and time are investigated in
the laboratory by the confined compression,
oedometer, or consolidation test. During such a
test the specimen is completely confined by
a metal ring (Fig. 3.1). The load is transmitted to the upper and lower faces of the
specimen through two porous disks that
permit water to flow into or out of the clay.
The deformation is measured by means of a
dial gage.

FIGURE3.1. Apparatus for consolidation test.


59

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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3/ Consolidation Characteristics of Soils

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The pressure p is increased in steps. After


each increment the load is allowed to remain constant until the deformation practically ceases. This usually requires several
hours, even for a specimen having a thickness as little as f in., because the deformation takes place only as fast as water can
be squeezed out of the clay. When the rate
of deformation under a given pressure has
become very small, a new increment is
applied and the procedure is repeated.
The results are plotted in the form of a
curve representing the final void ratio corresponding to each increment of pressure
as a function of the accumulated pressure.
I t is convenient to plot the pressure to a
logarithmic scale. The diagram is then
known as an e-log p curve.
As an introduction to the characteristics
of e-log p curves for naturally sedimented
clays, we shall first consider the results of a
consolidation test on a sample completely
remolded in the laboratory at a water content near the liquid limit. At high void
ratios the curve is concave downward but,
as shown by segment km (Fig. 3.2), it soon
becomes almost a straight line. The nearly
straight portion of the curve is known as the
virgin consolidation line or virgin branch. If
loading is discontinued at a pressure PO
corresponding to point m and the load is
then decreased in successive increments,
the sample swells as indicated by the rebound curve mm. If loading is resumed, the
initial part of the reloading curve lies slightly
above the rebound curve. The reloading
curve then bends downward rather abruptly
at a pressure close to bo, passes below point
rn, and approaches the extension of the
virgin branch. If at a pressurepo the sample
is again unloaded and reloaded, another
rebound curve (nn) and another reloading
curve are obtained; the slopes of these
curves are roughly the same as those determined previously. If the pressure is increased beyond PO, the e-log p curve again
bends sharply downward and approaches
the virgin branch. As the pressure is further
increased, the virgin curve tends to become
slightly concave in an upward direction.
At the time when the sample is in the

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

Pi Pd
Pressure, p (/09scale)
PS

FIQURE3.2. Typical e-log p curve for clay remolded near liquid limit.

state represented by m it is said to be p e loaded or overconsolidaled because it has previously been consolidated under a pressure
Po greater than the pressure p, under which
it is now in equilibrium. The value PO is
known as the preconsolidation pressure. The
degree of overconsolidation is measured by
the ratio po/p,, known as the overconsolidation ratio. I t is evident that the break in the
curve mn is closely related to the magnitude
of the preconsolidation pressure. A useful
graphical procedure has been devised (A.
Casagrande, 1936) to estimate the value
of p,, if only the curve rnn is available. It is
illustrated in Fig. 3.3.
According to this procedure, the point c
of maximum curvature of the e-log p curve
is selected by eye. From c, a tangent is
drawn to the curve, and a horizontal line is
also constructed. T h e angle between these
two lines is then bisected. T h e point of intersection of this bisector with the upward
extension of a tangent to the straight part
of the curve is denoted by d. The abscissa
of d corresponds to the pressure PO.
The pressures PO and p. are effective
stresses, inasmuch as the corresponding void
ratios are determined after the sample has

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Consolidation Characteristics of Normally Loaded Deposits

61

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terial remolded at a water content near the


liquid limit. The lower, nearly straight
portion of K, has a slope flatter than that
of K,.
The coordinates of point a (Fig. 3.4)
represent the void ratio and effective pressure corresponding to the state of the clay
in the field. When a sample is extracted by
means of the best techniques, the water
content of the clay does not increase significantly. Hence, the void ratio eo at the
start of the test is practically identical with
that of the clay in the ground. When the
pressure on the sample reaches PO, the elog p curve should pass through point a
unless the test conditions differ in :some
manner from those in the field. In reality,
K, always passes below point a, because
even the best sample is at least slightly
disturbed.
The engineer is interested in the e-log p
relationship for the clay in the field, not in
the laboratory. Therefore, he requires some
procedure for extrapolating from the results
of the laboratory tests to those representative of conditions in the field. One procedure for accomplishing this end can be developed on the basis of a comparison between curves K, and K , . It has been observed (Schmertmann, 1955) for many
clays that the extensions of the straight-line
lower portions of curves K, and K, inter-

Pd
Pressure, p (109 scale)

FIGURE3.3 Graphical construction for determining former maximum pressure


from the
c-log p curve (after A. Casagrande, 1936).

come to equilibrium and water no longer


tends to be expelled from or drawn into it.
For simplicity, however, the bars indicating
effective stress, such as PO' and P., are
omitted unless the omission would lead to
confusion.

3.3. Consolidation Characteristics of


Normally Loaded Deposits

The compressibility of a clay in the field


may be investigated by making consolidation tests on samples recovered in a state as
nearly undisturbed as possible. Two different conditions of practical importance must
be recognized, namely, whether the stratum
from which the sample was taken is normally loaded or preloaded. A stratum is
said to be normally loaded if it has never been
acted on by vertical pressures greater than
those existing at present. O n the other hand
a preloaded or overconsolidated stratum was at
one time in its history subjected to greater
vertical pressures than are now active.
A typical e-log p curve for an undisturbed sample of a normally loaded clay
of low sensitivity is shown in Fig. 3.4. I t is
designated by K,. Like the portion m'n of
the e-log p curve in Fig. 3.2, it characteristically consists of two branches, a fairly
flat initial portion and a nearly straight inclined portion. For comparison, K, represents the results of a test on the same ma-

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

Po

Pressure, p (jog scde)

FIGURE3.4. Typical e-log p curves for undisturbed ( K Y ) and remolded (K,) samples of
normally loaded clay of low sensitivity.

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3 / ~ o n s o ~ i d a t i oCharacteristics
n
of Soils

C, is closely related to the liquid limit of


normally loaded sedimented clays. The relationship between the two quantities is
approximately
c, = 0.009(WL - 10)
3.2
where W L is expressed as a percentage.
Equation 3.2 is of great practical importance
because it permits one to compute the approximate settlement of a structure above a
deposit of fairly insensitive normally loaded
sedimented clay if only the liquid limit is
known, and even if no consolidation tests
have been performed.

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sect at a point f corresponding to a void ratio


roughly equal to 0.4eo. The extensions of
e-log p curves for samples with intermediate
degrees of disturbance also pass through
or close to point f. Hence, it is reasonable
to assume that the field e-log p relation may
be approximated by a straight line K extending from a to f.
If a clay deposit is known to be normally
loaded, the value of po can be computed
from a knowledge of the water content,
the unit weight of the solid constituents,
and the degree of saturation of the overlying
strata, provided the position of the water
table is known. The initial void ratio of the
clay can also be computed readily. Hence,
the coordinates of point a can be determined. The procedures for computing PO
and eo have been discussed in Arts. 1.6 and
2.4.
Point f can be determined by performing
a consolidation test on an undisturbed
sample or even on a partly disturbed or
remolded sample. Points a and f can then
be connected by a straight line to establish
the field relationship K upon which a
computation of settlement can be based.
The slope of K on the semilogarithmic
diagram is designated as the compression
index C,, defined by the equation

c,

eo

log10 p1

- el

- log10 Po

eo

- e1

log10 (PI /Po)

3.1

The numerical value of C, can be determined readily from the diagram. If e1 corresponds to any arbitrary pressure pl and
e2 to the pressure p~ = lop,, then C, =
el

e2.

I t has been found (Skempton, 1944) that

3.4. Computation of Settlement

A cross section through a layer of clay


with a thickness H and with its midheight
located at a depth D below the original
.
ground surface is shown in Fig. 3 . 5 ~ The
original effective pressure at a point A is
equal to PO, and the increase in pressure is
Ap. The void ratio of the clay before construction is equal to eo.
Figure 3.56 shows a prismatic element
containing point A . The element can be
assumed to consist of solid matter with a
height equal to unity and a void space with
an additional height equivalent to eo. The
total height of the element is, therefore,
1
eo. If the void ratio decreases an
amount Ae on account of consolidation,
eo).
the unit strain of the element is Ae/(l
On the assumption that this strain is constant from top to bottom of the clay layer,
the decrease in thickness of the layer, or
the settlement S above point A , is given by
the equation
Ae
S=H3.3
1 eo

fa)

FIGURE3.5. (a) Section through compressible clay layer. ( b ) Compression of


element of layer.

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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Consolidation Characteristics of Preloaded Deposits

This equation is general and can be used


to calculate the settlement whenever the
original void ratio and change in void ratio
are known. If the clay is normally loaded,
according to eq. 3.1,
Ae = eo

- el

C, loglo P-I
PO

+ AP
c, log10 Po
-

consolidation device in the presence of


water, it is likely, under low applied pressures, to tend to swell. I t is customary to
prevent such swelling by the prompt addition of load. Thus, the first part of the elog p curve is usually quite flat; it is likely
to pass slightly below point a, whereas the
field curve must pass through it.
Point a corresponds to the void ratio e
and pressure po of the clay in the field when
the stratum was under its maximum load.
By some process such as erosion the pressure was reduced and the void ratio increased slightly by swelling until the present
state, represented by a, was reached. (The
slight swelling is neglected in the figure.)
The field curve should pass close to a, because before the erosion the field relationship should have been represented by af.
We cannot construct this curve precisely,
because the pressure PO corresponding to
point a is no longer known; the present
overburden pressure is only PO. However,
we note that the curve K, at pressures
greater than Po often consists of two quite
distinct segments resembling the segments
of curve mn in Fig. 3.2. By analogy to the
behavior of the rebounded and reloaded
sample of remolded material, we may conclude that the first segment of K , (Fig. 3.6),
at a pressure greater than PO,is a reloading
curve whereas the second has the slope of
the virgin curve. The break between the
two segments should, therefore, correspond
to the preconsolidation pressure Po and
could be estimated by the procedure of A.
Casagrande. Moreover, the slope of the reloading portion of the curve should approximate that of the reloading segment
ng (Fig. 3.6).
These considerations suggest the following
procedure for approximating the e-log p
curve that corresponds to field conditions
for a precompressed material. The consolidation test should be conducted on the
best obtainable sample. After the pressure
has been increased sufficiently to define the
virgin branch of the e-log p curve, a rebound-reloading loop should be determined.
The preconsolidation pressure should be
approximated by A. Casagrandes proce-

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=

PO

By substituting this quantity into eq. 3.3,


we find the following expression for the
settlement of the ground surface above point
A due to consolidation of a normally
loaded layer with thickness H:

3.5. Consolidation Characteristics of


Preloaded Deposits

The e-log p diagram for a typical preloaded clay is shown in Fig. 3.6. It is assumed
that the sample has been taken with a minimum of disturbance; moreover, at an advanced stage of the test the sample has been
permitted to rebound and has been reloaded.
Point a represents the void ratio of the
sample and the effective pressure that
acted on it before its removal from the
ground. When the sample is placed in the

Appror.

Po

Po

Pressure, p (log scale)

-*

FIGURE
3.6. Typical e-log p curve (K,) for undisturbed sample of preloaded clay and recon-

structed field relation ( K ) .

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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h cons did at ion Characteristics of Soils

64

loading of a soft sedimented clay will be


discussed in Art. 4.8.
Preloaded clays are widespread. Many
deposits were at one time subjected to the
weight of overlying soils subsequently removed by erosion. In some instances glacial
ice overrode and consolidated the underlying soils; when the ice melted, the deposits were then overconsolidated with
respect to the remaining overburden pressure. The surface of many deposits, especially in flood plains, was exposed from
time to time during deposition, whereupon
evaporation and desiccation occurred (Art
2.5). The shrinkage stresses may have been
large compared to the present effective
overburden pressures and such deposits are
likely to contain layers or lenses of overconsolidated clays. Long-term lowering of
groundwater levels by pumping or construction activities may also have induced consolidation and preloaded the clay with
respect to the conditions existing after
restoration of the groundwater levels. In
assessing the possibility or the degree of
preloading at a site, geological and historical considerations may provide valuable
insight.

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dure. The field curve from which the settlements can be estimated should then be
sketched by starting at point a and continuing parallel to the reloading curve n'g
to a point about halfway to Po'. The curve
should then be directed toward point f in
such a manner as to follow the shape of K , .
This procedure does not eliminate the
judgment of the interpreter, but it leads to
reasonable results. The settlement corresponding to a pressure between the present
overburden pressure and the preconsolidation pressure can be computed by means
of eq. 3.3, but the value of Ac must be determined from the sketched field e-log p
curve K (Fig. 3.6).
If we fail to recognize that the clay is
preloaded and base a settlement computation on a j , the computed settlement will be
far too great. The change Ae,, in void ratio
computed for an increase Ap in pressure is
likely to be 4 to 10 times as great as the
real change Atp, provided Ab is not greater
than about half of PO' - PO. AS Ab approachespo' PO,the error becomes smaller.
In connection with practical problems,
the most important consideration is to be
able to recognize whether or not a clay is
preloaded. It almost certainly is if the water
content is closer to the plastic limit than to
the liquid limit. Moreover, by performing a
consolidation test on a very carefully taken
sample, one can often obtain the data required to make the decision. I n Fig. 3.4 it
may be noticed that the upward projection
of the straight part of K, intersects the line
e = eo at point b, which is located on the
left of point a. This is always true of a normally loaded clay of ordinary sensitivity.
On the other hand, in Fig. 3.6, which refers
to a preloaded clay of ordinary sensitivity,
b is located on the right side of a. Unfortunately, the influence of disturbance tends,
by displacing b to the left, to destroy the
evidence of preloading. Hence, if it is probable that a clay deposit may be preloaded
and samples are to be obtained for consolidation tests, the best possible techniques
for sampling should be used. An additional
procedure for investigating the state of pre-

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

3.6. Consolidation Characteristics of


Sensitive Clays

The results of a consolidation test on a


carefully taken sample of a clay of high
sensitivity (St greater than about 8) resemble curve K , (Fig. 3.7). T h e flat initial
branch of the e-log p curve merges rather
abruptly into a steep segment that appears
to represent a structural breakdown of the
clay such that a slight increase of pressure
leads to a large decrease in void ratio. The
curve then passes through a point of inflection and its slope decreases. If the statistical relationship, eq. 3.2, is used to
determine the compressibility of such a
material, the computed settlement is too
small. As the error is on the unsafe side,
settlement calculations must be bazsd on
tests of undisturbed samples.
If a tangent is drawn to the steep part of
the curve at its point of inflection t, it intersects the line G O at b. The pressure corre-

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Consolidation Characteristics of Collapsible Soils

65

for highly sensitive clays are, if based on the


results of remolded tests, on the unsafe side.
Therefore, good undisturbed samples are
mandatory.

3.7. Consolidation Characteristics of


Residual Soils

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The foregoing comments refer to the behavior of samples from deposits of sedimented clay. Cohesive residual soils, although products of markedly different geological processes, are often characterized
by e-log p curves similar to those of transported clays of moderate to high sensitivity.
They may appear to be preloaded, but the
apparent preconsolidation pressure is a
consequence of residual cohesive bonds between the particles rather than of effective
pressures produced by a previous overburden or by desiccation.
A zone of soft, highly compressible material with a natural water content near the
liquid limit is sometimes encountered in
the lower parts of residual deposits, especially if the underlying less weathered bedrock is impermeable enough to cause the
groundwater to flow laterally through the
weathered material above. Within this zone
the destruction of the cohesive bonds by
chemical alteration may advance to the
stage that the bonds are exactly in equilibrium with the weight of the overlying materials. Consequently, the soil may have
the compressibility characteristics of a normally loaded clay, sometimes of high
sensitivity.

i
- --

Approw 0.4e0

_-__- L f

Po

Pressure, p (log scale)

FIGURE3.7. Tyoical d o g p curves for undisturbed (KJ and remolded (K?) samples of clay
of high sensitivity.

sponding to b is approximately equal to


that at which the structural breakdown
takes place. In most extrasensitive clays, b
lies at least slightly to the right of point a,
which represents the effective overburden
pressure PO. The increment of pressure
b - a may represent the extent to which
the soil has been preloaded, or it may represent a bond strength originating in physicochemical processes subsequent to deposition. I n either event, the increment represents the maximum pressure that may be
added to the soil without triggering the
large and often spectacular settlements
associated with the steep branch of the
curve. I n areas underlain by soft highly
sensitive clays, such as Mexico City or
parts of Scandinavia, experience has indicated the necessity for limiting the pressure
added by a new building to only a fraction
of the bond strength.
Disturbance during sampling and handling may completely mask the significant
characteristics of the soil; the e-log p curves
for completely remolded specimens of highly
sensitive clays are in no respect different
from those of clays of ordinary sensitivity.
Even the completely remolded clays are
not so compressible as the undisturbed soil
at pressures somewhat above the breakdown
pressure. Hence, unlike estimates of settlement for clays of ordinary sensitivity, those

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

3.8. Consolidation Characteristics of


Collapsible Soils

Partially saturated soils may possess


bonds that endow them with cohesion and
considerable rigidity. If the bonds consist
of soluble compounds, such as the chemical
precipitates that accumulate under semiarid conditions, they may be destroyed upon
prolonged submergence. If the bonds consist of clay minerals or various amorphous
claylike substances, they may adsorb water
and become weakened when submerged;
true loess belongs in this category, as do

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66

3/Consolidation Characteristics of Soils

of collapsible soils with respect to foundations are discussed in Art. 20.2.

/.4

3.9. Consolidation Characteristics of


Sands

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~ ~1

T h e e-log p curves for a laterally confined


sand (Fig. 3.90) resemble those for preloaded clays. T h e corresponding c-p curves
(Fig. 3.96) are concave upward; rebound
and reloading curves are very flat. Figure
3.96 indicates that the compressibility of a
given sand depends strongly on the density
index. Loose sands are far more compressible than dense sands; moreover, even
very large pressures cannot decrease the
void ratio of a loose sand to that of the same
sand in a dense condition. Under large
pressures the grains are likely to crush. On
the other hand, the void ratio of the same
loose sand can readily be decreased to that
of a dense sand by vibration alone.
Well-graded sands are less compressible
than uniform or gap-graded sands of the
same grain shape and density index. Sands
consisting of rounded particles are usually
less compressible than those of otherwise
comparable angular particles. The addition
of even small percentages of plate-shaped
particles, such as mica flakes, may greatly
increase the compressibility.

0.5

LO
2.0
5.0 IO
20
Pressure p, tons/sq ft

50

FIGURE3.8.Decrease in void ratio upon addition


of water to sample of loess while under vertical
pressure at natural moisture content in consolidation test apparatus. Results may be compared with those of sample saturated before test
(after Holtz and Gibbs, 1951).
certain loose slightly clayey sands. Even
fills compacted at water contents below the
optimum moisture content are likely to display an apparent cohesion due to capillary
moisture and to possess a rigidity that,can
readily be destroyed by flooding.
The e-log p curves of such materials
tested without permitting water to gain
access to the samples through the porous
stones display no unusual features, but if
water is admitted at any stage of a test a
spectacular decrease in void ratio at constant external vertical pressure may occur,
as illustrated in Fig. 3.8. Soils exhibiting
such behavior are said to be collapsible.
The magnitude of the settlement of a deposit of collapsible soil may be estimated
by subjecting samples at their field moisture
content to the vertical stresses anticipated
in the ground and by observing the change
in void ratio due to submergence while the
vertical stresses are maintained.
Collapsible natural soils are widespread
in many parts of the world where there is a
long dry season and where the groundwater table is at great depth. Even the irrigation of lawns around newly constructed
houses in such localities may cause serious
settlements. T h e engineering implications

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

3.10. Evaluation of Compressibility in


Practice

If a deposit of clay is known to be normally loaded and not extrasensitive, the


compressibility can be evaluated with reasonable accuracy by any one of three procedures. Undisturbed samples may be
subjected to consolidation tests and the
field curve K determined by the construction illustrated in Fig. 3.4.Disturbed or remolded samples may be subjected to consolidation tests and the field curve K similarly determined as shown in Fig. 3.4. Or,
without the performance of consolidation
tests, the compression index may be evaluated on the basis of the liquid limit and the
statistical relationship, eq. 3.2.
If the clay is extrasensitive, the real compressibility is likely to exceed greatly that

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Swelling Clays and Clay-Shales

0.7 I
0.O/

0./

LO

Pressurep in tons/sq ft

67

I
/0

(lo9 sco/e)

Pressure p in tons/s9 ft

FIGURE
3.9. Typical e-log p and e-p curves for initially loose ( K i ) and initially
dense (Ks)laterally confined sand.

determin d by any of the foregoing procedures unless consolidation tests are performed on the best of undisturbed samples.
If the clay is preloaded, the compressibility at pressures smaller than the preconsolidation pressurePo is likely to be much
less than that of normally loaded clays of
otherwise similar characteristics. Even with
the best undisturbed samples, the settlements estimated on the basis of consolidation tests are likely to be too great.
A sample of clay subjected to a consolidation test in the laboratory is for practical
reasons subjected to changes in applied
stress far more rapidly than is the deposit
during, for example, the excavation for and
the construction of a building. Moreover,
in laboratory tests the time during which
the clay sustains a single load increment is
at most a few days, whereas the lifetime of a
structure located above the clay deposit
may be several years. Because of these and
other differences, predicted and actual
settlements may differ appreciably, but
experience has demonstrated that forecasts
of ultimate settlement, particularly above
soft deposits, are essential steps in design

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

and, when made with judgment, can be


relied on.
The ultimate settlement of a clay deposit
subjected to a change in load does not, however, occur immediately; often it develops
only gradually, over many months or years.
Hence, in practice an estimate of the rate of
settlement may also be needed. The lag of
settlement with respect to increase of load
is largely a consequence of the resistance to
the flow of water from the pores of the clay.

3.11. Swelling Clays and Clay-Shales

I n Art. 3.2 it, was pointed out that, if


loading is discontinued in a consolidation
test on a clay and the load is then decreased,
the sample swells as indicated by the rebound curve mm (Fig. 3.2). The swelling,
of course, requires the presence of enough
water to permit the increase in void ratio.
I n some clays and shales the swelling caused
by reduction of stress is so great that it
disrupts roadways or structures. Moreover,
if the moisture content of these materials is
normally kept low because, for instance, of
the aridity of the locale, a decrease in the
rate of evaporation, possibly caused by the

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68

J/Consolidation Characteristics of Soils

The pressure in the pore water cannot


remain equal to Ap at the upper and lower
boundaries of the sample, z = 0 and
z = 2H,because the excess pressure in the
water in the porous disks is zero. On account of the difference in pressure there is a
large hydraulic gradient toward each porous disk; the gradient causes water to flow
from the sample into each disk, whereupon
the pressure decreases in the pores of the
clay near the disks. After the lapse of a time
t l , the height of water in the standpipes
near the middle ( 2 = H)of the sample may
have dropped only slightly, whereas the
heights corresponding to points closer to
the boundaries may have dropped substantially. The isochrone corresponding to
this time is designated as curve 11 in Fig.
3.10~.
Point A1 on this isochrone corresponds to
the excess porewater pressure u at depth zl
in the sample, at time tl. The excess pressure
is represented by the vertical distance A1B.
The original excess pressure at time t o is
represented by AoB. Hence, of the original
excess pressure Ap, only the fraction
AIB/AoB remains in the pore water. Since
the total stress to be carried by the sample
at depth ZI remains Ap, the principle of
effective stress leads to the conclusion that
the fraction A J 1 / A o B must now be an
effective stress carried by the soil skeleton.
The ratio AoA1/AoB is known as the degree
of consolidation U , at depth 21 and at time t l .
At time tz the standpipe level corresponding to depth 21 has dropped still further to
A2 and the degree of consolidation at 21 has
increased to U , = AoA2/AoB. The corresponding isochrone is designated as tz (Fig.
3.10~).Finally, after a very long time, no
excess pressures remain in the sample, the
corresponding isochrone 'is indicated by t,,
and U , at all depths is 100 per cent.
The slope of the tangent to an isochrone
at a point such a A1 represents the hydraulic
gradient in the pore water at the corresponding values of z and t . When tha slope
is downward and to the left, the flow of
water is upward; when it is downward and
to the right, the flow is downward. At midheight of the sample where z = H,the slope

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presence of the floor slab of a building, may


lead to an accumulation of moisture and to
energetic swelling. If the swelling is restricted by the construction, extremely large
forces may develop. Soils that behave in
this manner are said to be swelling. They
lead to serious foundation difficulties in
many parts of the world. The characteristics of these materials to be evaluated for
foundation design are discussed in Chap. 20.

3.12. Rate of Consolidation

Theory of Consolidation. Clays are so impervious that the water is almost trapped in the
pores. When an increment of load is applied, the pore water cannot escape immediately. Since the clay particles tend to
squeeze together, pressure develops in the
pore water as it does in the oil filling a hydraulic jack when a weight is placed on
the ram. This pressure tends to make the
fluid flow out. The flow'is rapid at first but,
as it continues, the pressure drops and the
rate of flow decreases. As the water is
forced out of a clay sample, the particles
can move closer together. Therefore, the
surface of the specimen settles. The rate of
settlement, rapid at first, decreases to a
small value.
The progress of consolidation can be observed by measuring the decrease of porewater pressure in different parts of the
sample. If the consolidation apparatus
(Fig. 3.1) were equipped with a number of
very small standpipes (Fig. 3.10a), it would
be noticed that at the instant t o of application of an increment of pressure Ap the
water would rise in every standpipe to a
height h = A p / y , above the level of the
free surface of the water surrounding the
sample. The horizontal line representing
the locus of all the standpipe levels at time
t o is known as the initial isochrone. The pressure in the water in any pore of the sample
at this time is equal to Ap in excess of the
hydrostatic pressure of the water in the container at the elevation of the pore. Hence,
the water pressure Ap is known as an excess
pressure. It is also known as the initial consolidation pressure because it initiates the
process of consolidation.

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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free w a t e r

AP

Degree o f conso/icjation, U, (%)

FIGURE3.10. Process of consolidation in sample of clay drained top and


bottom. ( u ) Section through sample and confining ring showing imaginary
standpipes for observation of porewater pressures and isochrones at time tl and
t 2 . ( b ) Simplified representation of ( u ) indicating basis for differential equation
of consolidation. ( c ) Solution of differential equation in terms of dimensionless
coefficients.

69

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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3/Consolidation Characteristics of Soils

70

At any time t , at depth 2, the upward


hydraulic gradient i across an element with
thickness d z (Fig. 3.10b) is the slope of the
isochrone for the appropriate values of t
and 2. Thus
i = - - =a h- - -

1 au

az

Yw

at

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of all the isochrones is zero. As a consequence there is never any flow of water
across a horizontal plane at
= H. The
midplane could as well be regarded as an
impervious boundary. Hence, the isochrones
for a sample with thickness H but drained
only at the top are identical to those for a
sample with thickness 2 H but drained top
and bottom.
The process of consolidation may be described by the successive positions of the
isochrones that define the relative amounts
of the initial consolidation pressure that are
carried by effective and neutral stresses at a
given time. O n the assumptions that the
laws of hydraulics govern the decrease of
Porewater Pressure, and that the decrease
in volume of the soil is proportional to the
increase in effective stress and is equal to
the quantity Of water squeezed Out, a
theory has been developed (Terzaghi>1923,
1943) for computing the degree of consolidation at any, depth
. and time. It is known
as the theory of consolidation.
The differential equation governing the
process of consolidation for flow in one
direction can be derived by a consideration
of Fig. 3.106, which is a simplified representation of Fig. 3.10~.I t is assumed that:
1. Flow takes place only along vertical
lines.
2. The coefficient of permeability k of
the material is constant throughout
the mass and does not change with
time during any one load increment.
3. A constant ratio exists during any one
load increment between the change in
volume per unit of volume and the
change in effective pressure. That is,

dV
- = m,d@
V

m, = d@

--

k du
v = ki = Yw

3.5

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

at

The quantity of water traversing a unit


area of a horizontal section through the
soil per unit of time is also numerically
equal to u , Hence, the difference in the
quantity of water flowing into and Out of
an element with thickness d z in a given
time dt is

During the same time dt, the change in


volume of the element with unit area and
thickness dz is

an dtdz = m,- dtdz


at
at

However, the change in volume is precisely


equal to the difference between the inflow
and outflow of water. Hence,

k d2u - m , 9 - -Yw

at2

at

-m,-

au
at

or

bu-- kb2u - a 211


- c o y
at

where m , (cm2/g) is known as the


coeficicnt of volume compressibility. Since
the volume change takes place only
in the pore space, d V / V = dn, where
n is the porosity, and
dn

where u is the excess porewater pressure.


The negative sign indicates that i causes an
upward flow whereas
increases in the
downward direction. The velocity of flow is

mvywat2

at

3.6

Equation 3.6 is known as the differential


equation of consolidation for one-dimensional flow, and
k

cv = -

maw

3.7

is the coefiient of consolidation.


Equation 3.6 can be solved for u as a
function of z and t ; that is, the isochrones

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Kate of Consolidation
(Figs. 3.10a and 3.10b) can be determined.
The solution must satisfy the hydraulic
boundary conditions of the problem. For
the particular case represented by Fig.
3. 100, these conditions are:

CDEF. T h e average degree of consolidation


is designated simply as the degree of consolidution U at time 1. T h e shaded area is a measure of the fraction of the initial consolidation
pressure throughout the sample that has, at
time t l , become an effective stress. If it is
assumed that the settlement of the upper
surface of the sample is roughly proportional to the increase in effective stress, then
U may be regarded as approximately the
amount of settlement that has occurred at a
given time compared with the total amount
that will take place as a consequence of the
increment of pressure Ap.
T h e theory of consolidation may be extended to provide the means for computing
the value of U. I t is found that

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The excess porewater pressure u is


equal to Ap a t any depth .z for t = 0.
T h e excess porewater pressure u is
zero at any time t at the drainage surfaces = 0 and .z = 2H.
At any time t the hydraulic gradient i
is zero at depth = H .
After a very long time, u = 0 at all
depths.
The solution for the preceding boundary
conditions may be expressed by the following relationships:

71

U% = f (Tu)

where

6..

T --- -H2
t

3.9

In this expression, T u is a dimensionless


number called the time factor; c v is a property of the soil known as the coefficient of
consolidation; H is the half-thickness of the
sample; and t is the time corresponding to
the degree of consolidation U,. From this
expression it may be observed that the time
required to reach a given degree of consolidation varies as the square of H .
The theoretical relationship stated symbolically in eq. 3.8 is shown graphically in
Fig. 3 . 1 0 ~(Taylor, 1948). This figure conveys exactly the same information as the
family of isochrones shown in Fig. 3.10a,
except that the data are plotted in terms
of the dimensionless coefficients z / H , U,,
and Tu.
Therefore, the theory permits us to
predict the isochrones, provided the coefficient of consolidation c v is known.
I t has been pointed out that the degree
of consolidation corresponding to 21 and
t l (Fig. 3.100) is represented by the ratio
AoAIIAoB.The average degree of consolidation of the entire sample a t time t1 is, therefore, represented by the shaded area in this
figure divided by the area of the rectangle

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

3.10

This relationship is shown graphically in


Fig. 3.1 1, plotted to a semilogarithmic scale.
If the values of c. and H are known for a
given layer of clay, the theoretical curve can
be replotted on the basis of eq. 3.9 to show
the per cent consolidation as a function of
time. Moreover, if the ultimate settlement
due to the consolidation of the clay layer
has been computed, the curve can be
further modified into a settlement-time
curve.
The factor H in eq. 3.9 is defined as the
half-thickness of a layer drained on both
sides as in a consolidation test. Thus, the
time required to reach a given degree of
consolidation is four times as great for a
layer of given thickness drained on one
side only as it is for one drained on both
sides.
T h e coefficient of consolidation can be
evaluated on the basis of information obtained in the consolidation test. Under each
increment of pressure Ap applied to the
sample, the height of the sample decreases
with increasing time. T h e experimental
curves, such as that shown in Fig. 3.12, if
time is plotted to a logarithmic scale, resemble the theoretical relationship between
U and T u (Fig. 3.1 I ) , except that they approach an inclined rather than a horizontal
asymptote. U p to a degree of consolidation
of about 60 per cent the divergence is in-

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3 /Consdidation Characteristics of Soils

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72

FIGURE3.1 1. Theoretical relationship between degree of consolidation U and


time factor T,.

significant and the shape of the experimental curve is governed by eq. 3.10. The
value of c, is determined by fitting the experimental curve to the theoretical curve
for values of U less than 60 per cent. The
first step in the procedure is to determine
the deformations corresponding to U = 0
per cent and U = 100 per cent. This can
most readily be done by a method proposed
by A. Casagrande. First, the deformation
(dial reading) is plotted against the logarithm of time for the appropriate load increment in the consolidation test. The
curve has the shape shown in Fig. 3.12.
T o determine the line U = 0 per cent,

we select any time t 1 at which less than half


the consolidation for the entire load increment has taken place. We locate the corresponding point c on the curve and then establish point d corresponding to a time
t1/4. The vertical distance between c and d
is a. We then lay off a horizontal line at a
distance a above d. The ordinate of this line
is U = 0 per cent.
T o obtain the line U = 100 per cent, we
select the point of inflection e of the experimental curve and draw a tangent downward
from this point. We then draw to the left a
tangent to the lower, straight-line part of
the experimental curve. The two tangents
intersect atf, at a dial reading corresponding to U = 100 per cent.
To fit the curves we commonly select
the values of t for U = 50 per cent. The
corresponding value of T, = 0.197. Hence,
by eq. 3.9, we can evaluate c. as

-s H 2
1

3.1 1

t / f

Time (log scole)

FIGURE3.12. Graphical construction for determining deformations corresponding to U = 0


per cent and U = 100 per cent in consolidation
test (after Casagrande and Fadum, 1940).

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

where H is the half-thickness of the test


specimen.
Once cr for the clay is known, eq. 3.9
and Fig. 3.1 1 can be used to plot the theoretical time-settlement relation or the primary consolidation for any structure located
above a stratum of the clay.

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73

Rate of Consolidation

On the basis of the consolidation test data


the coefficient of permeability k of the
sample during any given load increment
may be computed by means of the equation

3.12

k = cvywmo

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In eq. 3.12 the coefficient of volume compressibility m , may be evaluated as


An
eo - el
mu = - - -*
Ap
1
eo

--.-1
-

+ eo

eo

pl

- 61 =

- PO

t,

____
p l - PO
au

+ eo

tz

=/or,

Pme, (/oq s c d e )

FIGURE
3.13. Typical log time-void ratio curve

3.13

for single load increment in consolidation test or


in field. Slope of straight-line portion represents

secondary compression index.

in which

the coejicient of compressibilify, is defined as


the ratio between the change in void ratio
and the change in effective stress for the
given increment.
According to eq. 3.11, the rate of consolidation depends on the square of the
half-distance between drainage layers. In a
clay deposit containing thin layers or lenses
of sand or silt, the actual rate of consolidation is therefore governed by the spacing
and degree of continuity of the more pervious inclusions. These factors often cannot
be assessed reliably by sampling and testing
(Chap. 6). Hence they introduce practical
limitations to the. accuracy of predictions of
rate of settlement.

Secondary Consolidofion. The time-consolidation curve obtained for a given load increment in a consolidation test differs from
the theoretical relation (Fig. 3.11) in advance stages of consolidation. Whereas the
theoretical curve approaches a horizontal
asymptote corresponding to 100 per cent
consolidation, an actual curve approaches
an inclined tangent with a nearly constant
slope if time is plotted to a logarithmik
scale (Fig. 3.12). The portion of the total
settlement that takes place in accordance
with eq. 3.6 and the assumptions on which
it is based is called the primary consolidation.
The additional settlement is designated as
secondary consolidation.
Secondary consolidation also occurs in

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

the field. In highly compressible deposits it


may account for a substantial portion of
the long-term settlement. The rate of secondary consolidation may be expressed by
the coefiient of secondary consolidation:

c,

=1

Ae

+ eo loglo ( t z / t l )

- -- I
1

+ e~

3.15

where C,, the slope of the straight-line portion of the e-log t curve, is known as the
secondary compression index. Numerically,
C, is equal to the value of Ae for a single
cycle of time on the curve (Fig. 3.13).
The value of C, for normally loaded compressible soils increases in a general way
with the compressibility and, hence, with
the natural water content, in the manner
shown in Fig. 3.14 (Mesri, 1972). Although
the range in values for a given water content
is extremely large, the relation gives a conception of the upper limit of the rate of
secondary settlement that may be anticipated if the deposit is normally loaded or
if the stress added by the proposed construction will appreciably exceed the preconsolidation load. The rate is likely to be
much less if the clay is strongly preloaded
or if the stress after addition of the load is
small compared to the existing overburden
pressure. T h e rate is also influenced by the
length of time the preload may have acted,
by the existence of shearing stresses, and by
the degree of disturbance of the samples.
The effects of these various factors have not
yet been adequately evaluated.

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loo -

:7
1

3
4
5

I 1

Ill

I I l l )

./

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Sensitive marine clay, New Zeolond


Mexico City c/ay
Calcareous orgonic silt
Ledo cloy
Norwegian plastic c/oy
Amorphous ond fibrous p e d
Canodion muskeg
Organic morlne deposits

lo

*r

--

cyn

--

//

(1"

---

I-

-*

0.1
IO

I I I I I

100

ILLUSTRATIVE PROBLEMS
1. A normally loaded soft clay of low
sensitivity has a liquid limit of 57 per cent.
Estimate the compression index.
Solution. Since the clay is soft and normally loaded, its water content is likely to
be close to the liquid limit, and eq. 3.2 is
applicable. Therefore,

c,

= 0.009(Wr,
=

0.009 X (57

10)

- 10)

0.42

2. The accompanying time-dial reading


curve was obtained during a consolidation
test on a soft glacial clay ( W L = 4370,
w p = 210J4, w = 3993 when the pressure
was increased from 1.66 kg/sq cm to 3.33

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

l 1 1 1 1 1 l

3000

1000

kg/sq cm. The void ratio after 100 per cent


consolidation under 1.66 kg/sq cm was
0.945 and that under 3.33 kg/sq cm was
0.812. The dial was set at zero at the beginning of the test, and the initial height
of the sample was 0.75 in. Drainage was
permitted at both faces of the sample. Compute the coefficient of permeability corresponding to the stated increment of pressure.
Solution. To determine dial reading R d
at 0 per cent consolidation, choose t l = 1.0
min
R d = 645
For tl = 1.0,
For 11/4 = 0.25,

Rd

= 602
43; 2a = 86
(see Fig. 3.12)

a =

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Rate of Consolidation

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75

For U = Oyo,

Rd

= 645

- 86

= 559

u=

loo%, R d = 936 (from


graphical construction, Fig. 3.12)
For u = .%yo, Rd = 559
(936
559)/2 = 748
t = 4.5 min
For U = 5Oy0,
= 270 sec (from
accompanying plot)
T, = 0.197 (from
For U = 50%,
Fig. 3.11)
For U = 50y0,
2H = 0.7500 - 0.0748 = 0.6752 in.;
H = 0.3376 in.

For

= 2.20 X

3. In a laboratory consolidation test a


sample of clay with a thickness of 1 in.
reached 50 per cent consolidation in 8 min.
The sample was drained top and bottom.
The clay layer from which the sample was
taken is 26 ft thick. It is covered by a layer
of sand through which water can escape
and is underlain by a practically impervious
bed of intact shale. How long will the clay
layer require to reach 50 per cent consolidation?
Solution. According to eq. 3.9

_t t -- _H i.2

Hence,

ti

T,H2 0.197
X (0.3376 X 2.54)2
t
270
= 5.37 X lO-'sq cm/sec
GO - GI
a,=-- 0.945 - 0.812
bo
3330 - 1660
cr=---

---

1670

7.96 X 10-5sqcm/g

0,
m, = 1 80

= 4.09 X

7.96 x 10-5
1.945
sq cm/g

k = c r ~ r r n v = 5.37 X lo-' X 1.0


x 4.09 x 10-5

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

cm/sec

Ha2'

H
Z
tr = t f - y

H'

where 1 refers to the test and I to the layer.


For the test, Ht = 0.5 in.; for the layer,
H I = 26 ft. Then
ti =

8X

(26 X 12)*
-

0.52
= 5.93 years

1
60 X 24 X 365

4. For the load increment in Pcrob. 2


compute the secondary compression index
Ct. Assume y, = 2.80 g/cu cm.
Solution. Compute the void ratio at the
start of the test, corresponding to the original height of the sample of 0.75 in.
GO

= WG = 0.39 X 2.80 = 1.092

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76

3/&nso&hfion Characteristics of Soils

By means of the sketch, compute the reduced height of solids H, to facilitate conversion from dial readings to void ratio

H,
--=
1

-0.75'
.
2.092

t = -

H2 T,=

102

Tu(min)

6X
= 3.17 T,(years)
6.

Points on the primary portion of the curve


can then be determined from the following
table constructed with the aid of Fig. 3.1 1.

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H, = 0.359 in,

1.092 = e

If H d is expressed in inches, Ae = A R d / H ,
At t = 100 min, the dial reading Rd is
0.0963 in., and at t = lo00 min, the dial
reading is 0.1020 in. Hence,

cc = 0.1020 - 0.0963 =-0.0057


0.359
= 0.0159 = 1.59%

s=-

eo

2.000 0.289
- 20 X 0.36
2.000
1
0.40 X 2.8 loglo
= 0.199 ft = 2.39 in.

(7%)

Tu

(year)

(in.)

0.1
0.2
0.3
0.4
0.5
0.6
0.7
0.8
0.9
0.95

0.008
0.031
0.071
0.I26
0.197
0.287
0.403
0.567
0.848
I .20

0.025
0.098
0.23
0.40
0.62
0.91
1.28
I .80
2.69
3.80

0.24
0.48
0.72
0.96
I .20
1.43
I .67
1.91
2.15
2.27

The coefficient of secondary consolidation C, is estimated from Fig. 3.14 to be


0.004.
T o get the slope of the secondary part of
the settlement-log time curve, we note
that primary consolidation is nearly complete at about three years. At 30 years (one
cycle), the void ratio will decrease by Ct
and the corresponding increase in settlement will be

A S = 2H-

Ct

1 $- eo

= 2HC,

= 20 X 12 X 0.004
= 0.96 in.

+ AP
c, log10 Po
PO

S = U X 2.39 in.

0.359

5. The coefficient of consolidation of a


normally loaded clay has been judged, on
the basis of consolidation tests on undisturbed samples, to be 6 X IO-* sq ft/min.
The average natural water content of the deposit is 40 per cent, the unit weight of the
solid matter is 2.8 g/cu cm, and the compression index C, is 0.36. If the clay deposit is 20 f t thick and is drained top and
bottom (2H = 20 ft), sketch an approximate settlement-log time curve. The existing
effective overburden pressure at the center
of the clay layer is 2.000 tons/sq ft, and the
increment of pressure causing the expected
settlement is 0.289 ton/sq ft.
Solution. The settlement at the end of
primary consolidation will be

2H

The time for various degrees of consolidation can be determined from

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

The dashed line in the figure is drawn


with a value of AS equal to 0.96 in. for one
cycle on the time scale. The continuation
of the settlement-log time curve is drawn
by constructing the full line parallel to the
dash line and tangent to the primary portion of the curve. The assumption that a

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Problems

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77

0.03

0.01

0.3

0.I

1.0
3.0
T me, years

straight line in the e-log t curve is also


straight in the settlement-log t curve is an
approximation.

PROBLEMS

1. T he water content of a soft clay is 54.2


per cent and the liquid limit 57.3 per
cent. Estimate the compression index.
Ans. 0.43.
2. A consolidation test was made on a
sample of saturated glacial clay in a
circular ring with a height of 1.5 in.
and an area of 90.18sq cm. The sample
weighed 645.0 g a t the start of the test
and 477.8 g in the oven-dry state after
the test. An independent test indicated
a specific gravity of 2.74 for the solid
matter. Primary consolidation under
each addition of load was complete at
1000 min. The dial readings corresponding to this time are recorded in
the following table:
~~

~~

Pressure
(tons/sq ft)

O.oo00

0.0665
0.133
0.266
0.5325
I .064
2.13
4.26
8.52

Dial Reading
(in. X IO-')

70

110

216
386
734
1333
1995
2630

Compute the void ratio at the start


of the test and after each increment of
load. Plot the e-log p curve.

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

IO

30

100

Ans. 0.959; 0.950; 0.945; 0.931;0.909;


0.863;0.785;0.699;0.616.
3. Using the graphical construction proposed by A. Casagrande, estimate the
maximum overburden pressure that
has ever acted upon the soil represented
by the sample in Prob. 2. Determine
the compression index C,.
Ans. 0.9 to I . 1 tons/sq ft; 0.285.
4. From the data in Prob. 2, compute a ,
and m, for the increment of pressure
from 0.5325 to 1.064 tons/sq ft.
Ans. 8.8 X
sq cm/g; 4.6 X
sq cm/g*
5. The dial readings observed during the
consolidation of the sample (Prob. 2)
under the pressure of 1.064 tons/sq ft
are tabulated below.
Time
(min)

0.00
0.10

0.25
0.50
1 .O
2.0
4.0
8.0

Dial Reading Time


(min)
(in X

396.0
427.0
436.0
443.8
453.5

466.0
485.0
511.8

15
30

60
I35

240
1180
1600
2625

Dial Reading
(in. X

549.0
594.7
636.8
670.7
689.9
729.0
737.0
749.2

Plot the dial reading-time curve, and


determine the readings correspdnding
to 0 and 100 per cent consolidation:
Compute the value of the coefficient of
consolidation c y and the coefficient of
permeability k.
Ans. 418.5 X
in.; 671.0 X 10-4 in.;
7.9 x 10-4 sq crn/sec; 3.7 X 10-8 crn/sec.

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78

3/~onsolidationCharacteristics of Soils

consolidation tests is A. Casagrande (1936),


The Determination of the Pre-Consolidation Load and its Practical Significance,
Proc. 7 Znt. Conf. Soil Mech., Cambridge,
Mass., 3, 60-64. The reconstruction of the
field e-log p curve from laboratory tests has
been considered most thoroughly by J. H.
Schmertmann (1955), The Undisturbed
Consolidation Behavior of Clay, Trans.
ASCE, 720, 1201-1227.
Familiarity with the consolidation characteristics of various deposits is an asset of
great value to the foundation engineer.
Examples may be found in the following:
A. Casagrande (19326). The Structure
of Clay and Its Importance in Foundation
Engineering, J. Boston SOC.Ciu. Eng., 79,4,
168-22 1. Reprinted in Contributions to Soil
Mechanics, 7947-7953,Boston SOC.Civ. Eng.
(1940), pp. 72-125. First paper in which
the difference between e-log p curves for
undisturbed and remolded samples was appreciated; the data pertain to sensitive clays
from Boston and extrasensitive clays from
the valley of the St. Lawrence River. The
concepts of the structure of clay and the
conclusions concerning the practical effects
of remolding pointed the way to further
investigation and have subsequently been
modified.
L. Bjerrum (1967), Engineering Geology
of Norwegian Normally-Consolidated Marine Clays as Related to Settlements of
Buildings, Giotechnique, 77,2, 81-1 18. The
Seventh Rankine Lecture of the British
Geotechnical Society, and a model for papers
regarding the in-situ behavior of clays.
J. I. Adams (1965), The Engineering
Behavior of a Canadian Muskeg. Proc.
6th Znt. Conf. Soil Mech., Montreal, 7, 3-7.
Highly organic soils.
E. T. Hanrahan (1954), An Investigation of Some Physical Properties of Peat,
Giotechnique, 4, 3, 108-123.
G. G. Meyerhof and G. Y. Sebastyan
(1970), Settlement Studies on Air Terminal Building and Apron, Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia.
Canadian G o t . Jour. 7,4,433- 456. Normally
consolidated clays of low sensitivity in delta
of Fraser River.

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6. The sample (Prob. 2) was taken from a


layer of clay 12 f t thick, drained top
and bottom. After how many days
would this layer reach 30 per cent consolidation under a suddenly applied
load of about 1 ton /sq ft?
Ans. 35 days.
7. If the layer of clay (Prob. 6) contained a
thin freely draining parting of sand at a
depth of 3 f t below its upper surface,
how many days would be required for
it to reach an average degree of consolidation equal to 30 per cent?
Ans. 9 days.
8. The time to reach 60 per cent consolidation is 32.5 sec for a sample 0.5 in.
thick tested in the laboratory under
conditions of double drainage. How
long will the corresponding layer in
nature require to reach the same degree
of consolidation if it is 15 f t thick and
drained on one side only?
Ans. 195 days.
9. A layer of clay beneath a building has
consolidated and caused a settlement
of 9.2 in. in 200 days since the weight
of the building was added. According
to the results of laboratory consolidation tests this corresponds to 30 per
cent consolidation of the layer. Plot the
time-settlement curve for the structure
for the first five years of its existence.
Ans. Settlement at the end of each year
in inches: (1) 12.3; (2) 17.0; (3) 20.9; (4)
23.3; (5) 25.4.
10. For the dial reading-time curve plotted
in Prob. 5, determine the coefficient of
secondary compression C
.,
Ans. 0.38010.

SUGGESTED READING
The theoretical aspects of the consolidation of saturated soils are considered in an
enormous number of technical papers and
many books. The basic treatise, however,
remains K. Terzaghi (1 943), Theoretical
Soil Mechanics, New York, Wiley, 510 pp.
The theory of consolidation is considered in
pp. 265-296.
The original work on determination of
the preconsolidation pressure by means of

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

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Suggested Reading

Trans. ASCE, 709, 1155-1183. Effect of remolding on e-log p curves for various organic soils, glacial clays from Chicago, and
Mexico City clays. Discussion by R. F.
Dawson concerning expansive clays from
Texas.

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C. B. Crawford (1964), Some Characteristics of Winnipeg Clay, Canadian


Geot. Jour., 1, 4, 227-235. Precompressed
highly plastic lacustrine clay.
P. C. Rutledge (1944), Relation of Undisturbed Sampling to Laboratory Testing,

Copyright 1974 John Wiley & Sons

79

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