Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Indraratna, B, Rujikiatkamjorn, C and Chu, J, Critical Review of Analyses in Soft Clay Stabilisation with Geosynthetic Vertical Drains beneath Road and Railway Embankments, in Proceedings of Olsen, HW (ed), GeoDenver, Colorado ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) Special Publication, 173, 2007. Original conference information here.


In the wide array of existing ground improvement schemes, the use of vertical drains with vacuum preloading is considered as the most effective and economical method for improving soft clays (normally consolidated to lightly over-consolidated) prior to construction of infrastructure. Vertical drains installed to significant depths promote radial flow inducing consolidation rapidly enhancing the shear strength of the compressed ground. In this paper, the analytical solutions based on lateral soil permeability (parabolic variation) are discussed considering the variation of vacuum pressure with depth along the prefabricated vertical drains (PVD). Using the Cavity Expansion Theory (CET), the smear zone caused by the installation of PVD by steal mandrel was predicted and compared with laboratory measurements obtained from large-scale radial consolidation tests. The effects of drain unsaturation and vacuum pressure along the drain length are also discussed. The numerical analyses incorporating equivalent plane strain solutions were performed to predict the soil responses based on two selected case histories in Thailand. The research findings provided insight as to which of the above aspects needed to be simulated accurately in numerical modelling. The application of cyclic loading on PVD stabilized ground was also examined using a finite element approach under railway embankment. It is demonstrated that short drains less than 8 m installed beneath tracks are still useful for effective dissipation of cyclic pore pressures and curtailing unacceptable lateral movement immediately below the track level, at the same time avoiding excessive settlement of the track in the short-term.

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