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Volume :36 Issue : 2 2009      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Influence of weak cementation on behavior of laterally loaded concrete piles

Auther : F. M. WEGIAN* AND M. A. ISMAIL**

*Civil Engineering Department, College of Technological Studies (PAAET), Kuwait, fmwm@yahoo.com

**Australasia Numerical Lead, Arup Geotechnics, Perth, WA 6005, Australia, mostafa.ismail@arup.com.au

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

Diagenesis of soils can lead to the precipitation of various types of cements, which tend to increase the soil density, strength and stiffness. The presence of cement can modify the engineering behavior of sands, both at small and large strain levels, and affect the performance of supported structures. Weak cementation may exhibit strength response similar to that induced by suction and over consolidation, particularly in clayey and silty sands. This study investigates the behavior of weakly cemented carbonate sand under small and large-strain conditions in an attempt to establish the criteria required to detect low cementation. A laboratory testing program was carried out using triaxial testing and shear wave velocity, Vs. Several symptoms of low cementations have been defined: it increases Vs, reduces the dependency of Vs on stress, and reduces the coefficient of earth pressure at rest (K0). A combination of these symptoms along with brittle stress ratio-strain behaviour during (K0) consolidation provides strong evidence of the presence of weak cementation. The importance of detecting low levels of cementations is demonstrated by investigating the response of a concrete pile under lateral loading using the FE program PLAXIS 3D Foundation and the Small-Strain Hardening Soil Model. The numerical analyses show that the pile response can change dramatically due to effective cohesion as small as 5 kPa. Failure to capture the evolution of the small-strain stiffness with weak cementation can lead to an over conservative design of pile foundations under serviceability limit state conditions. However, the ultimate limit state does not appear to be sensitive to small-strain stiffness.

 

Keywords: cementation; small-strain shear modulus; shear wave velocity; triaxial test; concrete pile; lateral loading.

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