Publication Details

This book chapter was originally published as Indraratna, B, Rujikiatkamjorn C, Balasubramaniam, AS and Wijeyakulasuriya, V, Predictions and observations of soft clay foundations stabilized with geosynthetic drains and vacuum surcharge, in Ground Improvement: Case Histories, Elsevier, 2005, 199-230. Original book available here.


This chapter starts with an introduction of a revised analytical model of radial drainage with vacuum preloading in both axisymmetric and plane strain conditions. Observed from large-scale radial drainage consolidation tests, the influence of vacuum pressure distribution along the drain length is examined through the dissipation of average excess pore pressure and associated settlement. The details of an appropriate conversion procedure by transforming permeability and vacuum pressure between axisymmetric and equivalent plane strain conditions are described through analytical and numerical schemes. The effects of the magnitude and distribution of vacuum pressure on soft clay consolidation are investigated on the basis of average excess pore pressure, consolidation settlement, and time analyses. The writers describe a multi-drain plane strain finite element method analysis based on permeability conversion, which is employed to study the behavior of embankments stabilized at the site of the Second Bangkok International Airport with vacuum-assisted prefabricated vertical drains. In the field, a constant suction head is not always stable because of the occurrence of air leaks; therefore the magnitude of applied vacuum pressure was adjusted accordingly. The theoretical (numerical) predictions are compared with measured field data such as settlements, excess pore pressures, and lateral movements. The case history analysis employing the writers’ model indicates improved accuracy of the predictions in relation to the field observations. The data indicate that the efficiency of the prefabricated vertical drains depends on the magnitude and distribution of vacuum pressure as well as on the extent of air leak protection provided in practice.

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