Numerical modeling of vertical drains with smear and well resistance installed in soft clay
This study describes the behavior of embankments stabilized with prefabricated vertical drains installed in soft clay foundations, based on several fully instrumented case histories selected from Thailand and Malaysia. A multidrain analysis is conducted based on an equivalent, plane strain model developed by the authors. The deformation of soft clay beneath an embankment (i.e., along and away from the centerline) is predicted and compared with the available field measurements. The effects of both smear and well resistance are incorporated in the analytical formulation, which is used in conjunction with the modified Cam-clay theory. It is demonstrated that the installation of vertical drains significantly increases the rate of settlement, improves the dissipation of pore-water pressure, and decreases the lateral deformation of the soft clay foundation. To obtain better predictions, especially of pore pressures and lateral displacements, the equivalent discharge capacity of the drains needs to be modeled appropriately. The inclusion of the effects of smear and well resistance in the analysis of vertical drains improves the accuracy of predictions significantly, in comparison with the field measurements.Key words: clay, consolidation, embankment, finite element method, settlement, smear zone, vertical drain.