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Application of Consolidation and Shear Stress Ratio Concepts in

Foundation Design and Construction


Application of Consolidation and Shear Stress Ratio Concepts in Foundation Design
and Construction

John MUKABI
Katahira & Engineers International, Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract: Laboratory tests are primarily carried out for purposes of obtaining engineering
parameters which can be directly applied to conditions in the field. Such an exercise would not
only provide parameters for design and construction quality control but also an insight into the
fundamental processes which affect the field behaviour. In developing countries, both affordability
and accessibility to high quality testing equipment are major curtailing factors to realizing this aim.
This situation therefore necessitates the development of empirical methods that can aid in
providing estimated parameters that are reasonable enough for the design and modelling of
foundations bearing civil engineering structures. In this paper, unique methods derived as
Consolidation and Shear Stress Ratio (CSSR) Functions that were recently developed, providing
solutions on how to circumvent these problems, are presented.

1. Introduction

1.1 Brief Background

Laboratory tests can for example, be employed to investigate how strength and stiffness develop
during large strain consolidation and how this behaviour is dependent on various factors such as
loading rate and direction, principal stress rotation in relation to location within the foundation etc.
However, the precision of adopting these results involves an analytical approach that would be
appropriate in simulating as accurately as possible, the actual field conditions. Furthermore,
precise determination of such parameters for natural clays usually requires high quality sampling
and testing techniques for a reliable laboratory investigation. This translates to high costs and long
time durations for performing the tests. The method that is described in this paper is based on that
proposed by Mukabi and Tatsuoka (1999b) which modified some aspects of the Critical State Soil
Mechanics (CSSM) theories. This was prompted by their (Mukabi and Tatsuoka 1992)
investigation into the effects of consolidation stress ratio and strain rate on the peak stress ratio of
clay which concluded that the shear stress ratio (q/p’)max, increases as the consolidation stress
ratio K c = σ ' σ a' decreases based on high-precision automated CD/CU triaxial compression and
extension tests performed on high-quality undisturbed samples of various natural soft to very stiff
clays, related to prediction of ground displacement in actual construction projects. For control
purposes, a commercially produced Kaolin which contains appreciable quantities of mica and
quartz was also used. Their study also confirmed that the shearing stress ratio at failure Kf is a
function of the initial consolidation stress ratio and that it decreased proportionally with decreasing
Kc parameters. Furthermore, having characterized the effects of loading rate into a generalized
state, a method of unifying the behaviour of anisotropically consolidated clay into a coherent form
was considered. A κ-function which relates the φ’ determined from various tests performed by
applying different CSRs was defined as κ=φ’/ ηqm. This relationship was found to be virtually
constant and related closely to a reference line considered to be analoguos to a modified CSL
(i.e.,φ’ constant when Kc = 1). In order to compute φ’, a relation between the invariant stress ratio
(∆SR) and the angle of internal friction was derived from linear regressional analysis of experimental
data on various clays. Based on the foregoing fundamental theories, versatile functions and
parameters related to the concepts of loading rate, SHANSEP consolidation, ageing and
reconstitution that can be applied effectively during multi-stage construction of geostructures such
as deep excavations, tunnels, embankments and foundations, precise determination of bearing
capacity factors, numerical modelling and prediction of ground and foundation behaviour, as well
as the overall enhancement of engineering parameters.