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Sensitivity study of the hardening soil model parameters

based on idealized excavation

B. Gebreselassie, H.-G. Kempfert


lnstitute of Geotechnics and Geohydraulics, UniversihJ of Kassel, Germany

Keywords: excavation, constitutive soil model, drained, undrained, finite element method

ABSTRACT: The paper presents a study of the sensitivity of the hardening soil model (HSM)
parameters to a change of values in an idealised excavation in normally consolidated soft clay soil.
The HSM is a constitutive elasto-plastic-cap model which is presently impiemented in the PLAXIS
finite element program. By varying one parameier and keeping the other parameters constant, the
influence of each parameter on the performance of the excavation can be studied. ln this way, ii
can be proven whether the model parameters did pedorm exactly as they may theoretically be
expected to pedorrn

1 lntroduciion
The influence of the hardening soil model parameters under drained conditions on the stress-strain
and volume change behaviour has been discussed in the forgoing arlicle in this proceeding
(Gebreselassie & Kempferl, 2005) for a triaxial and one dimensionai compression loading
condition. The influence of these parameters on the per-formance of an idealised excavation are
investigated in this paper. By varying one parameter and keeping the other parameters constant,
the influence of each parameter on the pedormance of the excavation can be studied.
This study restrict itself to normaliy consolidated soft clays only, however, the result of the study
may also apply to other type of soils. The outcome of the sensitivity study may help the user to
have a clear picture of the influence of each parameter of a hardening soil model on the
pedormance of an excavation. lt helps to judge the confidence interval of the variation of the soil
parameters

2 The idealised excavation problem


ln order to perform the sensitivity study of the model parameiers, an ideaiised excavation shown in
Figure 1a has been chosen. The ground is assumed to be a deposit of a homogeneous lacustrine
soft soil with the ground water table located at 1.5 m below the ground surface. The excavation 6.0
m deep is supporled by a sheet pile wall of the type Hoech 134 which has a total length of 12.0 m
and an embedment depth of 6 m. The wall is suppofied by two level of struts of the type IPB 360 St
37. A buiiding load o{ 50 kN/m2 ai a distance of 3 m behind the wall and a traific load of 10 kN/m2
are assumed at the ground sudace.

327
.l
a)L,
t l<__',, A__+? o*-g.o
=0-q-l ro
*;sr ;:- -- ---
X
E
: "' Excav.
'1

-l1l I
-*----=-----
GWI
_______.1
r tiYli7.li
I

3 txcav.
^flO - I

-4Q r I

I
=- Lacustrine soft soil
5 txcav.
- all dimensions are in m
- dimensions are not to scale

-12.0
-=]

F--36 No. of elements = 2009, No. of Nodes = 16499


No. of stress points - 241A8

Figure 1. a) tdealized excavation, b) the finite element model and its mesh

3 The constitutive soil model


The constitutive model to which the soil parameters are being calibrated in this paper is an elasto-
plastic-cap soil model known as the hardening soil model (HSM). The HSM is implemented in the
finite element code for soils and rocks "PLAXIS" (Brinkgreve,2002).lt is originally developed based
on the so called the Duncan-Chang hyperbo{ic model. lt, however, supersedes the hyperboiic
model, because it uses the plasticity theory instead of the elasticity theory, it includes ihe dialatancy
soil behaviour and it introduces the yield cap. The HSM also considers the stress dependant
stiffness of the soil according to the power law. For detail lnformation on the constitutive model and
the program PLAXIS refer to Brinkgreve (2002) (see also Gebreselassie & Kempferl, 2005).
As mentioned above, the HSM is used to simulate the soil behaviour, whereas a Mohr-Coulomb
Model (t\4CM) is used for the intefface elements. A drained type of analysis is chosen, because it is
believed that this condition is most unfavourable condition for excavations in soft deposits. The
reference soil parameters required for the HSM are given in Table 1 and the soil parameteas for the
interJace elements according to the MCM are given in Table 2. The siiffness of the soil is adopted
as it is for the intedace element, whereas the shear strength parameter are reduced by a factor of
1/3. The wall and the struts are assumed to behave linear elastic with the following material
propediesat:
EA= 3.5g1 x 106 kN/m, El = 5.355 x 104 kN-m2/m, w.= 1.34 kN-m/ffi. v = 0.30
Strut: EA = 3.801 x 106 kN, Lsp"cins = 2.0 m

Table 1. Reference soil parameters for the HSM

7"", a -)u
tr-rci
^-. -.2t
-ur P mRl K;" V,,

IkNim3] ['] lkNim,l IkNim2] IkNim2] lkNlm2l [kN/rn2] It t-l it t-l


25.3 13.2 3253 z3+ 1 9170 1 00 0.63 0.83 0.573 A.20

)'a
Table 2. Reference soil parameters for ihe iniedace elements according to the MCM

a=1 tr tr U. v
Tsat a tncreamenl J tei ret

IkN/m3] LJ [kN/m,] lkNim2l [kNim2] [kNim2] ikNim2l I-l


lq 5 a^a AA etAe

4 The finite element model and the ealculation stages


An imporlant parl of the finite element model is shown in Figure 1b, The model is extended to a
depth oI 42m where afixed boundary is imposed. At a distance of 36 m behindthe wall and atthe
symmetry axis, a zero horizontal displacement is imposed. The size of the model as a whole is 48
m wide and 42 m high. Triangular elements with '15 nodes are used in generating the mesh. This
element provides a fourlh order interpolation for displacements and it involves twelve numerical
integration stress points (Gauss points).The model consists of 2009 elements, 16499 nodes and
24108 stress points.
For the drained analysis of the idealised excavation problem, the HSM parameters in Table 1 are
adopted as a reference parameiers for the soil body. ln order to study the sensitivity of the soil
parameters, their values are varied above and below the reference values. The contact between
the wall and the soil body is simulated by mean of interJace elements whose material properties are
given in Table 2.
The following construction stages has been followed in the computation:
Stage 0: generation of the initial stresses (K6 - method)
Stage 1: application of the surcharge and traffic loads
Stage 2: installation of the wall
Stage 3: first excavation
Stage 4: installation of the 1st strut and 2nd excavation
Stage 5; installation of the 2nd strut and 3rd excavation

5 Analysis of ihe computation results


5.1 The effect of the variation of the Poisson's ralio vur
As it can be seen from Figure 2, the parameter yur seems to be a pure deformation parameter. ln other
words, vur may affect the deformation of the wall and soil movements but not the eafth pressure and
bending moment of the wall. A change in v* trom its reference value of 0.2 to a smaller
0r 10
I
-1
L- 0
L
_f -1C
130i
'- () I trF
---
x 'cn
E cL
"f
Reference
*o
0.)
120 :
-c -6 t- 6 -so
_l ---*- v,. = o.so E
I E
o
o :/f o
110 c)
=c) -AA
-8r
-o!
"f e 100 CD
-50
- lLi -
I -b( l
-11 --
,^|
- tl -
7C -50 -30 -10 10-150 -50 50 -225 -150 -75 0 75 0 3 6 I 12 i2 18 24 3A 36 42 4l
wall
horizontal earlh pressure Bending moment distance from ihe disiance behind
deformation [mm] [kN/m1 [kN-m/m] symmetry axis the wall [m]
towards the wall [m]

Figure 2. The effect of the variation of y,. on a) deformation of the wall, b) earlh pressure, c)
bending moment of the wail, d) heave of the bottom of excavation, and e) settlement at the sudace

323
value of 0.05 and a larger t'alue of 0.3 has resulted in a uniform change of the wall deflection by
about -7 and 4% respectively. Simiiarly, a change of the heave by about i5 and -i}"k, and a
change of the suijace settlement by about -21 and 15% respectively are calculared.

5.2 The effect of the variation of the coefficient of the eafth pressure at resi ,ri"

The HSM treats Ki' and K6separately. Whereas Ki" is a model parameter which is ciosely reiated
to the stiffness parameters Esl, Er,, Eoea a,od v*, Ko is purely used to define the initial state of the
stresses. For normally consolidated soft soils, however, these values are more or iess the same.
The value of Ki" as a model parameter can not be varied indefinitely. For example, for the given
reference parameters, the minimum and maximum possible values of Ki" are 0.437 and 0.71
respectively. Here Ko is assumed to vary with Ki". As it can be seen from Figure 3, the parameter
Kj" would affect the deformation of the wall, the soil movements, the eafth pressure and bending
moment of the wall, although the magnitude of its influence is moderate as compare to the triaxial
case of loading (Gebreselassie & Kempferl, 2005). Varying the value of Ki" from the reference
value of 0.573 to those extreme values has resulted in a change of the maximum wall deformation
of about -21 and 3% respectively. Similarly, a change of the heave by about 2 and -9"/", a change
of the sudace settlement by about -5 and 7", a change of the earth pressure by about -21 and
B"k, and a change of the bending moment by about -18 and 2% respectively are calculated. From
the above percentage difference presentation and the Figure 3, it appears that varying lhe Ki"
value towards the lowest limit is more sensitive than varying its value towards the upper iimit,
although the difference between the reference vaiue and the extreme values is almost the same.

O
-t- ---:-;--ffffi -rE l5U 10
tlD): r'i\
tt/t I
.i i2\i
-rT I , tltfr+l
\-/. : &1-T
I

^l : , //M', &1 tII I l' I 7O tqo 0

'lcL ; .i 464tr
:

///',1 1ll'
// '/i/i
I
.f : 'ddb:/rtt! ,i - TI I i:,
I
i
l,I i, tI
,
ir i

i
cg
>
(n rcn
O 'uu E
-tu
-al // /
:L
- I //6 v/'(---+:-
'.4 x Fon
E -5i l+ Reference i l :I c)
*t
I A l-__ I

l--e-K=0.4371 iiI
irl rt o 20
-
t -b - b, -i o -30
o
4>'
I ll i ;l-----a-- Ko 0.71 I EtI-_T i
c) zlfl f L-r+'J9 l---a-- = -9 1 10 E

8it tr : : ,ri+l'Tt-r{1 | ila .&


I f t' AJ
D b :I -o
o E
o
-40

^t 4:Qi
"i
toiI flS{ t , lrl ltrld)
i
i & i
-i
.#
iri
iI ; c)1 (f)

.,-i
i
rrltT c0
,t il9: ,:.i I

o9C
: iit -f-
1]i &O: 1 II i&l -60
t:l
\\ ij
12 [t] . t j'- ji+
I f\ ; (d
c)
I
-74
i0 -10
-70 -50 -30 -10 10-150 -50 50 0 3 6 9 12 121821 30364248
horizontal wall
:al wall eafth1 press U re Bending moment disiance from ihe disiance behind
deforrnation fmm lkN/ml [kN-m/m] symmetry axis the wall [m]
iowards the wall [m]

Figure 3. The effect of the variation of Ki" on a) deformaiion of the wail, b) eafth pressure, c)
bending moment of the wall, d) heave of the bottom of excavation, and e) settlement at the surface

5.3 The effect of ihe variation of the failure factor R;


ln triaxial and oedometer loading condiiions, ii has been proved thai the failure factor Rl plays an
imporlant role in enhancing or retarding the failure of the soil body (Gebreselassie & Kempferl,
2005). lts influence on ihe iciealised excavation, however. seems to be minimum, wiih excepiion of
the settlement behind ihe wall (Figure a)). Varying the value of ,Qrfi'om ihe reference vaiue of 0.83
tc 0.67 and 0.97 has resulted in a change of the surface settlement by about -8 and 69," respec-
tively. For all the other cases, the difference remains below +5%.

l5u
E
-r -i',i(a)l E
a' t- c 14A
:::
^i:l
|

.o
- IU
i:j '130
-ql) i
(g
O
X
F
tr ar.
tr ii--e- Reference
:D-_n07
q)
120
.C v ilI- v,J, c^-
O -JU
c)
---*- Rr = 0.67
E
o 110 E
o o
:t o
_o
G) 100
=0)
a
_tA

-si 5 -an
(6
c) -60

o
-a -74
-50 -30 -10 10-150 -50 50 -225 -150 -75 0 75 036912 12 18 24 30 36 42 48
horizontal wall eadh pressure Bending moment distance from the distance behind
deformation [mm] IkNim] IkN-m/m1 symmetry axis the wall [m]
towards the wall [m]

Figure 4. The effect of the variation of Eron a) deformation of the wall, b) earth pressure, c)
bending moment of the wall, d) heave of the bottom of excavation, and e) settlement at the surface

5.4 The effect of the variation of the consirained modulus Eo"6

As shown in Figure 5, a variation of the constrained modulus Eo,a by about +50% its reference
value, has resulted in a change of the maximum wall deflection by about -30 and 5% respectively.
Similarly, a change of the heave by about -'17 and -4"/", a change of the sudace settlement by
about -24 and 2"/", a change of the maximum eafth pressure above the bottom of excavation by
about -17 and 2o/", and a change of the bending moment by about -23 and 3% respectively has
been observed (Figures 5). Hence, the following conclusion may be drawn with regard to the
response of the excavation to the change of Eoea.
a) ln all cases Eoea is more sensible to a change of value below the reference value than to
value greater than the reference. lt can be seen from Figure 6 that a reduction of the
reference .;alue of Eoea by 50% has caused a reduction of the wall and soil movements,
the active earth pressure and the bending moment by about 17 1o 307o, whereas
increasing the reference value by same amount (50%) show no significant influence (2 to
5%), lt seems that the ratio of EsdEo"a is more impoftant than the absolute value of the
Eo"6.For the reference case, this ratio becomes 1.1. lf lhe Eo"a is increased or decreased
by about 50%, the ratio becomes 0.73 and 2.20 respectively. The ratio in the case of
increasing Eo"a is more closer to the reference ratio than the other way round. This might
be the reason why the change oI Eoea is more sensible to a value below ihe reference than
above the reference value.
b) Contrary to expectation, a reduced value of Eo"6 has resulted in a reduction of wall and soil
movements.
c) Figure 6b shows a reduced active pressure and an increased passive pressure for the
case of Eoea smaller than the reference value. This again contradicts with the reduced wall
movement that is discussed in (b). A reduced wall movement would have resulted a higher
active pressure and lower passive pressure.
d) A reduced active pressure on one side and an increased passive pressure on the other
side has resulted in a reduced bending moment, which seems logical in respect to the
given loading condition but not in a general sense.

325
-
- IJU 10m
T E
1
-a'- I co
140
-L |
, I -=
^l: --- Reference
T
1
(d
> r2n
-4 ^ n<vFref
v.!
^
Loed I O
'E -zv
I
X tr
:_30
T
-+- 1.s x EJd
"L
*o 120
-o
I E 6 -qo
I 110 F
_1
T
I
o -cn
-8 I
O
-o
to
1 a) 100 (D -60
,9 !
+
I cd -7n
10 I
o9o
11 _T -80
1 o
12
-100 -75 -50 0 -150 -50 50
-25 -250 -150-50 50 0 3 6 9 12 12 .,8 24 30 36 42 48
horizontalwall eafth pressure moment
Bending cjistance from the distance behind
deformation [mm] [kN/m] [kN-m/m] symmetry axis the wall [m]
towards the wall [m]

Figure 5. The effect of the variation at Ess6 on a) deformation of the wall, b) eanh pressure, c)
bending moment of the wall, d) heave of the bottom of excavation, and e) settlement at the surface

5.5 The effect of the variation of the un/reloading modulus of elasticity Eu,
The reference value of Eur was directly taken from triaxial test result and it is equal to s.s.rjir
(Gebreselasie,2003). Lowering the reference value Io z.tllr, which is usually recommended in
praciice with the absence of a test result, and further lowering the reference value to z.flij have
resulted in an increase of the displacement of the toe of the wall by about 27 and 637" respectively.
Similarly, a change of the heave of the bottom of excavation by about 75 and 15A7", a change of
the suface settlement by aboui -15 and 3Ok, a change of the active pressure above the bottom of
excavation by about -16 and 22"/" respectively, and an insignificant change of the maximum
bending moment (below 2.5 %) are calculated (Figure 6). The earth pressure below the excavation
level on both active and passive side also shows no significant change relative to the reference
value. Contrary to the expectation, the settlement at ihe surface for the reduced values of Eur is less

0 10
-l E 0
S zeo -i0
-3
F-2n
r*'
-4
tr
E -
5-30
t
o_
_A E -oo
c) E
-7 0)Fn
o
-8 t
u) -60 i
-9
-10
-t I

-c 80
-100-80 -60 -40 0 -150 -50 5C -250 -'150 ,50 50
-20 0 3 6 I 12 i2 18 24 30 36 42 48
horizontal wall earih pressure Bending moment distance from the distance behind
deformation [mm] ikNiml [kN-m/m] symmetry axis the vuall [m]
towards the wall lml

Figure 6. The effect of ihe variation of Euron a) deformaiion of the wall, b) earlh pressure, c)
bending moment of the wall, d) heave of ihe boitom of excavation, and e) seitlement at ihe sudace

326
than iha'i fi'om the reference rvalue. This is mainly due io the upward displacement of ihe wall. The
whole soil body seems to heave upwards due to lower values of Eu,

5.6 The effect of the variation of the secant modulus of elasticity Eso

Figure 7 shows the effect of the variation of


by t50% from its reference value. These varia-
Esc
tions of Eso have resulted in a change of the maximum wall deflection by about 45 and -24"/"
respectiveiy. Similar change of ihe heave by about 21 and 11"h, the sudace seirlement by about 71
and -37"/o, the maximum earth pressure above the botiom of excavation by about'.l9 and -15%,
and the maximum bending moment by about 27 and 1B% respectively has been observed.
At first glance, it seems that an increased wall movement shouid result in higher passive resis-
tance, because the soil is more close to the passive limit state. However, as the numerical study of
the mobilisation of the passive resistance (Gebreselassie, 2003; Gebreselassie & Kempfed, 2005)
also shows, the passive resistance is lower for lower values of the modulus for a given displace-
ment of the wall and keeping the shear parameter constant. This is exactly what one can observe
in Figure 7. Lower value of Esa leads to higher wall movement but a lower passive resistance and
vice versa.
'l 50 '10
E
E 0
c 1 40
10
----r--- =( '1
30
---A- cd
o
xq)
c--
tr
E i-30
1 20
o
5o- -uIi
o
o "7 1:
t
-l-

l_
E
o
o
1 10
F
E
O.^
F
-+o

s[-. I -o c)
I
c) 1
u) -60
-c.
T I cd
-70
i
0)
T -80
i cd
o)
-C -90
-iso -50 50 -2sa -150 -50 50 036912 1 2182430364248
horizontal wall earth pressure Bending moment distance {rom the distance behind
deformation [mm] [kN/m] [kN-m/m] symmetry axis the wall [m]
towards the wall [m]

Figure 7, The effect of the variation of Eso on a) deformation of the wall, b) eadh pressure, c)
bending moment of the wall, d) heave of the bottom of excavation, and e) settlement at the sudace

6 Sunrmary
A sensitivity study of the soil parameters for HSM has been conducted based on an idealised ex-
cavation in normally consolidated cohesive soils in order to study ihe influence of these parameters
on the pedormance of an excavation. The result of the study may be summarised as follows:
E56 Seerns to lead the role of influencing the wall displacement, the earth pressure, the
bending moment and the settlement behind the wall. Due to the non-linearity, however,
increasing its value does not necessarily produce the same effect as the other way round .
Its influence on bottom heave is limited only to the heave near the wall and its influence
ceases towards the middle of the excavation. E ,' plays a dominant role on the heave of
the excavation and the displacement of the wall toe, but it has insignificant inf{uence on
the bending moment. vu, has oniy an etfect on the botiom heave and settlement at the
sudace. Fr shows a negligible etfect on all the cases.
Ki" value may affect the deformations, bending moment and the eafth pressure. although

)/
aa1
/
the magnitude of its influence is moderate as compare to the triaxial state of stress. Kf"
value towards the lowest limit is more sensitive than varying its value towards the upper
Iimit, although the diiference between the reference value and the extreme values is
almost the same.
. The sensitivity study of the Eoea shows that the ralio EsdEo"a is more impoftant than the
absolute value of Eo"a.

7 List of Symbols and Abbreviations


Elit = .""unt modulus ai 50% of the failure & = ratio of the stress at failure and the
stress and at effeciive reference pressure of p'ef ultimate stress
Ef,'o=constrainedmodulus at p'4 K;" =coefficientof theearthpressureat
Eff' = unlreloading modulus p'{ rest for normally consolidated soils
^t
E = modulus of elasticity u,
v = Poisson's ratio for un/reloading
7",, = saturated unit weight of soil v = Poisson's ratio
E = effective angle of intemal friction m = exponent in the power law
= wallfriction HSM = Hardening Soil Model
c' = effective cohesion MCM = Mohr-Coulomb Model

I References
Brinkgreve R.B.J. 2002. Hand book of the finite element code for soil and rock analysis "PLAXIS". Balkema Publisher,
Rotterdam.

Gebreselassie B. 2003. Experimental, analytical and numerical investigations of excavations in normally consolidated soft soils.
Dissertation, University of Kassel,.Schriftenreihe Geotechnik, Heft 1 4.

Gebreselassie B., Kempfert H.-G. 2005. Mobilisation of the erth resistance of a normally consolidated cohesive soils. The Pro-
ceedings of the 16tn lnternational conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Osaka, Japan (in press).

Gebreselassie 8., Kempfert H.-G. 2005. Calibration of soil parameters for an elasto-plastic cap model under drained condiiion.
The Proceedings of the 1 1s lnternational conference of IACMAG, Turin, ltaty (in this volume).

328
Proceedings of the Eleventh lnternational Conference
on Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics
TORINO / ITALY I 19.24 JUNE 2OO5

Prediction, analysis and design ln


geomechanical applications

Edited by:

Giovanni Barla and Marco Barla


Department of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering,
Politecnico di Torino, ltaly

VOLUME 1

PATRON EDITORE
BOLOGNA 2OO5