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The University of Nottingham




Time allowed TWO Hours

Candidates may complete the front cover of their answer book and sign their desk card but
must NOT write anything else until the start of the examination period is announced.

Answer ALL Questions.

Questions and parts of questions carry the marks as indicated in brackets.

Only silent, self-contained calculators with a Single-line Display or Dual-line Display

are permitted in this examination.

Dictionaries are not allowed with one exception. Those whose first language is not
English may use a standard translation dictionary to translate between that language and
English provided that neither language is the subject of this examination. Subject specific
translation dictionaries are not permitted.
No electronic devices capable of storing and retrieving text, including electronic
dictionaries, may be used.

DO NOT turn examination paper over until instructed to do so.

ADDITIONAL MATERIAL: An MCQ answer sheet is provided for Section A.

A separate answer booklet is provided for Section B.
Graph paper.
Formula & Supplementary Information Sheet.
Copy of Figure Q13.


Question papers should be collected in at the end of the exam - do not allow candidates to take
copies from the exam room.
MCQ answer sheets and answer booklets should be collected separately.

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Answers MUST be written on the MCQ answer sheet provided.

1 If the total stress on a saturated soil element increases, what happens to the pore pressures if
there is no drainage? [2]
(A) It remains constant.
(B) It increases depending on the void ratio.
(C) It increases by the same amount.
(D) It decreases by the same amount.

2 A layer of uniform coarse soil has a saturated unit weight of 20 kN/m3 . A water table is located
1 m above the soil surface. What is the vertical effective stress at a depth of 3 m below the soil
surface? (Assumed the unit weight of water, γw = 10 kN/m3 ). [2]
(A) 100 kPa.
(B) 30 kPa.
(C) 60 kPa.
(D) 20 kPa.

3 A layer of clay of thickness 3 m is to be subjected to an increase in vertical effective stress of 120

kPa. If the coefficient of volume compressibility, mv , is 0.22 m2 /MN, what will be the probable
change in thickness of the layer? [2]
(A) 0.792 m.
(B) 7.92 mm.
(C) 79.2 mm.
(D) None of the above.

4 Approximately what is the pore pressure 10 m below the water table in a clay layer before,
immediately after and a long time after a surcharge of 200 kPa is applied to the surface. [2]
(A) Before: 0 kPa; Immediately after: 200 kPa; After a long time: 0 kPa.
(B) Before: 100 kPa; Immediately after: 300 kPa; After a long time: 0 kPa.
(C) Before: 100 kPa; Immediately after: 300 kPa; After a long time: 300 kPa.
(D) None of the above.

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5 Under a flexible foundation, which of these statements is generally true? [2]

(A) The settlement will be uniform across the entire footprint of the foundation.
(B) The bearing pressure will be uniform across the entire footprint of the foundation.
(C) The foundation cannot undergo differential settlement.
(D) All of the above.

6 The water table is at a depth of 1 m below the ground surface. Taking the datum at the ground
surface, what is the pressure head at a depth of 2.5 m? [2]
(A) -1.5 m.
(B) +1.5 m.
(C) -2.5 m.
(D) +3.5 m.

7 For horizontal flow in a typical layered soil, each layer has the same: [2]
(A) Hydraulic gradient.
(B) Flow rate.
(C) Flow velocity.
(D) Pore pressure.

8 The coefficient of consolidation, cv , for Clay A is higher than that for Clay B. Which of the
following is likely to be true? [2]
(A) Clay A will settle faster than Clay B under a given load.
(B) Clay B will settle faster than Clay A under a given load.
(C) Clay A will settle more than Clay B under a given load.
(D) Clay B will settle more than Clay A under a given load.

9 What should the vertical deformation be plotted against to determine the time required to achieve
an average degree of consolidation of 50%? [2]
(A) Time.
(B) Time2 .
(C) log(Time).
(D) (Time).

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10 Which of the following must not be true in order to utilise one dimensional consolidation theory?

(A) The soil must be free to displace horizontally.

(B) The soil particles are considered incompressible.
(C) The soil must be fully saturated.
(D) The excess pore fluid must be free to drain in a vertical direction only.

11 Which of the following is fundamental to more sustainable geotechnical designs? [2]

(A) Utilising deep foundations in preference to shallow foundations.
(B) Using alternative materials.
(C) Performing ground improvement works.
(D) Reducing conservatism.

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(a) Describe the 2:1 method of determining vertical stress variation with depth below a foun-
dation. [2]
(b) A rectangular foundation with dimensions 3 metres by 2 metres, applies a pressure of 200
kPa to a layer of soil. Utilising the Boussinesq Method answer the following:
(i) State two assumptions that have to be made in order to use the Boussinesq method. [2]
(ii) Calculate the increase in vertical stress, caused by placement of the foundation, 2
metres below the centre of the foundation. [5]
(c) (i) If a circular foundation, with a bearing pressure of 200 kPa, is placed adjacent to the
rectangular foundation described in Part (b), as shown in Figure Q12, calculate the
increase in vertical stress at a depth of 2 metres below point ‘R’. [8]
(ii) State and describe the relevance of one assumption that was made in performing the
calculation for Parts (b)(ii) & (c)(i). [2]
(d) Describe the different components of settlement. [3]
(e) If the foundation described in Part (b) is assumed to have no bending stiffness, calculate
the immediate settlement under the centre of the foundation adopting the following soil
parameters: Poisson ratio (µs ) = 0.35, Soil stiffness (Es ) = 15 MPa. [4]

Figure Q12 - Foundation layout for Part (c).

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13 A contractor wishes to construct a large foundation which will apply 20 kPa of vertical stress
on average across the ground surface. In order to prevent excessive settlement during and after
construction, it is decided to pre-load the soil using a locally available rock-fill material.
The soil below the foundation is a 15 m layer of normally consolidated soft clay underlain by a
sand layer. No subdivision of the clay layer is required in the following settlement calculations
and the water table can be assumed to remain at the top of the clay surface throughout. The
sand layer can be considered very stiff and therefore compression of the sand does not need to
be considered in the following calculations. The following properties can be used for the clay and
fill material.
γclay = 16 kN/m3
γfill = 19 kN/m3
γwater = 10 kN/m3

(a) An Oedometer test is performed on an undisturbed sample (20 mm thick) of the clay taken
from mid-depth in the layer. The results are plotted in Figure Q13. Use these results to
determine the coefficient of consolidation (cv ) for the clay using Taylor’s root-time method,
compression index (Cc ), recompression index (Cr ) and initial voids ratio (e0 ). Show any
graphical workings on the copy of Figure Q13 which is provided on a separate page and
which should be submitted along with the answer booklet. [6]
(b) Calculate the ultimate settlement of the 15 m thick layer due to the 20 kPa of applied
stress. [4]
(c) What height of fill would be required in order to achieve 50% of the expected settlements
in 12 months? [6]
(d) Briefly comment on the answer obtained to Part (c) and suggest alternative/additional
methods the contractor may wish to consider. [2]
(e) The contractor performs pre-loading as specified by the calculation performed in Part (c).
The fill is removed after 12 months, however a long time passes before the foundation is
constructed. What will the height of the clay layer be when the foundation is eventually
constructed? The following considerations may help when answering this question:
(i) What is the excess pore pressure when the fill is removed?
(ii) What is the effective stress when the fill is removed?
(iii) What is the voids ratio when the fill is removed?
(iv) What change in voids will occur after a long time when the fill is removed?
(v) What is the voids ratio a long time after the fill is removed?
(vi) What is the resultant settlement of the layer? [8]

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Figure Q13 - Oedometer test data for Part (a).

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(a) A three-layered subsoil is shown in Figure Q14a. Estimate the ratio of equivalent perme-
ability, kH(eq) /kV (eq) . [5]
(b) The flow net shown in Figure Q14b is drawn on a transformed section for water flow around
a line sheet pile wall in an anisotropic silty sand stratum. The following properties are known
for the silty sand stratum:

Horizontal permeability: kx = 4 × kz
Vertical permeability: kz = 5×10-6 m/s
Saturated unit weight: γbulk = 20 kN/m3
Unit weight of water: γwater = 10 kN/m3

(i) Explain briefly four concepts usually used in constructing a flow net in an isotropic
porous media. [4]
(ii) Determine the overall seepage flow rate (in m3 /s per unit length) under the sheet pile
wall. [5]
(iii) Determine the pore water pressure at Point A. [2]
(iv) Subsequently, determine the total and effective vertical stresses of soil at Point A. [2]
(v) Estimate the hydraulic gradient in Flow Field B by transforming it into the natural
section, if b = 1.0 m in Figure Q14b. [3]
(vi) Calculate the factor of safety (FS) against downstream heave, given that the average
hydraulic gradient (in the potential area of heave) does not exceed 0.8. [2]
(vii) Explain the functions of the impervious blanket. [3]

Figure Q14a - Soil profile for Part (a).

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Figure Q14b - Flownet for Part (b).

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