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## ONE-DIMENSIONAL CONSOLIDATION OF SOFT GROUND WITH

IMPEDED BOUNDARIES UNDER DEPTH-DEPENDENT RAMP LOAD

## Jia-cai Liu1 and Qiang Ma2

1
College of Transportation Science Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, 200 Zhongshan
North Road, Nanjing 210009, China; liujchhu@163.com
2
College of Transportation Science Engineering, Nanjing University of Technology, 200 Zhongshan
North Road, Nanjing 210009, China; maqiang86@126.com

## ABSTRACT: In this paper, the one-dimensional consolidation of soft ground is

studied with impeded boundaries under a depth-dependent ramp load. First, an
analytical solution is obtained by using the method of separation of variables and
orthogonal relations of the infinite series. A computational program is then developed
according to the analytical solution. Lastly, examples are analyzed using the developed
computational program. The one-dimensional consolidation can be treated as a
completely drained boundary when the impeded parameter is greater than 100 and is
not affected by the load duration. The effects of impeded boundaries on the average
degree of consolidation depend on the variation of the total stress increments

INTRODUCTION

## Terzaghi conducted pioneering work on the one-dimensional consolidation theory of

saturated soils. Boundary conditions and applied methods of external loads have great
influence on the dissipation of the excess pore water pressures. Many researchers (Gray,
1945; Schiffman, 1970; Xie, 1999; Cai, 2004; Liu, 2011) have recognized that partially
drained boundaries may be more realistic in most practical consolidation problems
because the external load is not applied instantly. Many documents have studied
consolidation under a time-dependent load (Alonso, 1974; Cai, 2004), but the
corresponding stress increment resulted from the external load within the foundation is
always considered to be uniformly distributed along the column depth. In many cases,
the total stress varies not only with time, but also with depth. Zhu (1999) presented a
mathematical solution for the consolidation analysis of a double-layered soil profile
under a depth-dependent ramp loading. Lei (2006) presented a solution for the situation
where the stress increase in the ground is arbitrarily distributed along the depth of the
vertical drain. However, there are few papers on consolidation problems that consider
both impeded boundaries and depth-dependent and time-varying total stress increment.
This paper investigates the one-dimensional consolidation of soft ground with impeded

127

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128 GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8

## boundaries under a depth-dependent ramp load. An analytical solution is obtained for

the consolidation problem and some useful conclusions are presented for engineering

## practice by example analysis.

MATHEMATICAL MODELLING

The analysis scheme of the one dimensional consolidation of soft ground with
impeded boundaries under depth-dependent ramp load is shown in Fig. 1. As shown,
h=the thickness of the soft ground; kv=the vertical coefficient of permeability; mv=the
coefficient of volume compressibility; cv=kv/(mvhJw), the coefficient of consolidation;
Jw =the unit weight of water. There are two impeded layers on and under the soft
ground, respectively. Impeded layers are used to describe partially drained boundaries,
which cannot be compressed but satisfy Darcy’s law. Lt, Lb, kt, and kb are the thickness
and the permeability coefficients of impeded layers on the top and at the bottom,
respectively. The z-axis is perpendicular to the surface of the layers with the coordinate
origin at the top of the soft ground, pointing downwards in the positive direction. The
vertical total stress is depth-dependent and time-varying, and it is assumed to satisfy

§ V1  V 0 ·
V z, t ¨ V 0  z ¸ q t (1)
where q(t) is a function of time. V0 and V1 are the vertical total stress increases when
q(t)=1 at z=0 and z=h respectively. When t is less than tc, q(t)=t/tc; otherwise q(t)=1.

## Figure. 1. Scheme of the consolidation problem.

All of the assumptions in Terzaghi's basic one dimensional consolidation theory are
retained except for the boundaries and vertical total stress. The differential governing
equation for the consolidation of the soft ground can be obtained as follows:

wu w 2u wV
cv  (2)
wt wz 2 wt

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GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8 129

where u is the excess pore water pressure in the soft ground, and t and z are the
variables of time and space, respectively.

The boundary conditions in the top and bottom of the soft ground are as follows:

­wu Rt
° wz u
° z 0 h
® (3)
° wu R
 bu
¯° wz z h h
where Rt= kt hh/( kv hLt), Rb= kb hh/( kv hLb).

SOLUTIONS

Using the method of separation of variables, the solution of equation (2) becomes

f
u ¦ T t Z z
m 1
m m (4)

## Z m z sin Om z  Am cos Om z (5)

where Am and Om are the coefficients to be found out. Substituting Eq. (5) into Eq. (4),
then substituting the result into Eq. (3), Am and Om can be obtained

­ Om h
° Am Rt
°
® (6)
° ªO h  Rt Rb º sin O h Rt  Rb cos Om h
° «¬ m Om h »¼ m
¯

Eq. (2) can be assumed as follows by introducing a Fourier series and substituting
Eq. (1) and Eq. (4) into Eq. (2)

## where [m(t) is the coefficient obtained by the orthogonal relation of Zm(z)

­ Dm 1
° t  tc
[ m t ® Qm tc (8)
°0 t t tc
¯

where, ,

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130 GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8

h ª V V0 º
Dm ³ Z m z «V 0  1 z » dz
h

0
¬ ¼
V 0 V1  V 0 1 ª hV V  V 0 1 º ªV  V 0 1 V1 º
  sin Om h « 1  1 2 »
 cos Om h « 1  »
Om Rt Om ¬ tR h Om ¼ ¬ Rt Om Om ¼
2
h h ª § Om h · 1º 1 ª§ O h · 2 º h
Qm ³ Z m2 z dz «1  ¨ ¸  » «¨ m ¸  1» sin 2Om h  cos 2Om h
0 2 « © Rt ¹ Rt » 4Om «¬© Rt ¹ »¼ 2 Rt
¬ ¼

Tm(t) can be obtained by solving the ordinary differential equation Eq. (7)

­ Dm 1 2
ª1  e  cv Omt º
°Q t c O2 t  tc
° m c v m ¬ ¼
Tm t ® (9)
° Dm 1 2
ªe  cv Om t tc  e  cv Om2 t º t t tc
°̄ Qm tc cv Om2 ¬ ¼

Thus, the solution of excess pore water pressure of the consolidation problem is
obtained and can be represented as follows:

­ f Dm 1 2
ª1  e  cv Omt º
°¦ ª¬sin Om z  Am cos Om z º¼ Q t c O 2 ¬ ¼
t  tc
°m 1 m c v m
u ® f (10)
° ªsin O z  A cos O z º Dm 1 2
ªe  cv Om t tc  e  cv Om2 t º
°¯¦ ¬ m m m ¼ Q t c O2 t t tc
m 1 m c v m
¬ ¼

## The average degree of consolidation defined according to increment of effective

stress can be derived

­ t f Em Dm 1 ª  cv Om2 t º
h
° t  ¦ Q t c O 2 ¬1  e t  tc
U t
³0 ª¬V z, t  u z, t º¼ dz °c m1 m c v m
® f
¼
(11)
h§ V V · °1  Em Dm 1 ªe  cv Om2 t tc  e  cv Om2 t º
³0 ¨© V 0  1 h 0 z ¸¹ dz °¯ ¦ m 1 Qm tc cv Om2 ¬ ¼
t t tc

2 ª 1 sin Om h cos Om h º
where, Em «   »
V 1  V 0 ¬ Om h Rt Om h ¼

## A computational program has been developed based on the analytical solution. To

analyze the consolidation characteristics of the soft ground with impeded boundaries
under depth-dependent ramp load, a case is studied. Parameters of the consolidation
problem are as follows: kv=2h10-9m/s, h =10m, mv1=2/3MPa-1, tc=100days.
The boundary conditions become pervious top and impervious bottom (PTIB) when

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GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8 131

Rt=f and Rb=0. The boundary conditions become pervious top and pervious bottom
(PTPB) when Rt=f and Rb=f. These two cases are the special cases studied by Zhu

(1999). The comparisons of the average consolidation degree under V0=100kPa and
V1=50kPa by the present analytical solution and Zhu's solution are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 shows that there is no difference between the results calculated by the present
analytical solution and Zhu's solution.

0.9

0.8

0.7
Average consolidation degree

0.6

0.5
Present solution (PTIB)
Zhu's solution (PTIB)
0.4 Present solution (PTPB)
Zhu's solution (PTPB)

0.3

0.2

0.1

0
-2 -1 0 1
10 10 10 10
Tv

## Figure 2. Comparisons of average degree

Fig. 3 shows the curves of the average consolidation degree of U(t) vs. time factor Tv=
cv t/h2 corresponding to different values of Rt and Rb when V0=V1=100kPa. It can be
seen that the values of Rt and Rb have great influence on the average consolidation
degree. When either Rt or Rb remains unchanged, the greater the changed value is, the
greater the average consolidation degree will be. The curve of average consolidation
degree obtained when Rt=100 almost coincides with the curve obtained when Rt=f. It
corresponds to the completely permeable boundary when Rt=f. Therefore, this case
has similar conclusions with the ones under instantly applied load (Xie, 1999).

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132 GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8

Rb=0 Rb=5
0 0

10 10

20 20 Rt=
Average consolidation degree (%)

## Average consolidation degree (%)

30 30
Rt= Rt=100
40 40
Rt=100
50 50 Rt=20

60 60
Rt=20 Rt=10
70 70
Rt=10
Rt=5
80 Rt=5 80
Rt=2
Rt=2
90 90 Rt=1
Rt=1

100 100
-2 -1 0 -2 -1 0
10 10 10 10 10 10
Tc Tc

## Figure 3. Average consolidation degree vs. Tv curves at different Rt and Rb.

Three types of distribution patterns of total stress increment along depth are often
encountered in engineering: 1) rectangular pattern; 2) trapezoidal pattern (V0<V1); and
3) inverse trapezoidal pattern (V0>V1). Fig. 4 shows the influence of impeded
boundaries on average consolidation degree under different types of distribution
patterns of total stress increment along depth. The stress distribution is shown in Table
1. It can be seen that the average degree of consolidation of inverse trapezoidal stress
pattern is the maximum and that the average degree of consolidation of trapezoidal
stress pattern is the minimum. The differences of the average consolidation degree
among the three patterns of total stress increment are more obvious with the increase of
impeded parameters Rt at the initial stage of consolidation.

## Stress Increment Rectangular Trapezoidal Inverse Trapezoidal

V0 (kPa) 100 100 100
V1(kPa) 100 500 20

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0

10
Rectangular
Rt=2,Rb=0
20 Inverse Trapezoidal
Average consolidation degree (%)

Trapezoidal
30 Rectangular
Inverse Trapezoidal
40
Trapezoidal

50

60

70 Rt=100,Rb=0

80

90

100
-2 -1 0
10 10 10
Tc

## Figure 4. Average consolidation degree of different stress pattern.

CONCLUSIONS

This paper presents the analysis for the consolidation of soft ground with impeded
boundaries under a depth-dependent ramp vertical total stress and a variety of solutions
are obtained for one dimensional soil consolidation under different boundary
conditions. A computational program has been developed based on the analytical
solutions. Both the drainage boundary conditions and total stress increment pattern
have a great influence on the consolidation process. The differences become more
obvious with the increase of impeded parameters Rt at the initial stage of consolidation.

REFERENCES

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load." Journal of the Engineering Mechanics Division, ASCE, Vol. 100 (6): 1211 -
1226.
Cai, Y.Q., Liang, X. and Wu, S.M. (2004). "One-dimensional consolidation of layered
Mathematics and Mechanics, Vol. 25 (8): 937-944.
Gray H. (1945). "Simultaneous consolidation of contiguous layers of unlike
compressible soils." Transactions, ASCE, 110: 1327 - 1356.
Lei, G.H., Jiang, C.X. and Shi, J.Y. (2006). "Equal strain solutions of radial and
vertical coupled consolidation by vertical drains under arbitrarily distributed ground
soil stress increase." Rock and Soil Mechanics, Vol. 27 (2): 173 - 178. (in Chinese)
Liu, J.C., Lei, G.G. and Wang, Y.X. (2011). "One-dimensional consolidation of soft
ground considering non-Darcy flows." Chinese Journal of Geotechnical
Engineering, Vol. 33 (7): 1117-1122. (in Chinese)
Schiffman, R.L., Stein, J.R. (1970). "One-dimensional consolidation of layered

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134 GEOTECHNICAL PRACTICE PUBLICATION NO. 8

systems." Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundation Division, ASCE, Vol. 96
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