1 When to Use Immediate Settlement in Settle 3D Most engineers agree that settlement is made up of three components: immediate, primary consolidation and secondary consolidation (or creep). Most engineers also agree that for specific scenarios, one or two of these components may be missing or negligible. In Settle 3D, you have the ability to turn on or off each of these types of settlement. Users generally know whether or not their material is creeping, but the question remains, when should you turn on immediate settlement, when should you turn on primary consolidation and when should you turn on both? This article attempts to answer this question through consultation of common texts (see Bibliography) along with userʹs comments and some of our own insights. We hope that this article will help to ʹsettleʹ this matter.
2 Components of Settlement Virtually all references agree that the total settlement of a foundation is composed of three components: ST = Si + Sc + Ss where: ST is the total settlement Si is the immediate settlement Sc is the consolidation or primary settlement Ss is the secondary settlement or creep Some of these components may not be present, or the effects may be negligible depending on the soil type. Hence, the ability to turn each component on and off in Settle 3D. But the question remains, when do I use each type of settlement? Letʹs make two assumptions: The soil grains are incompressible Water is incompressible Neither of these is true of course but the stiffness of the soil grains and the water is generally so large that we can ignore the effects of their compressibility. With these two assumptions in mind, the only way that settlement can occur is through re arrangement of the soil grains and/or collapse of pore space. The basic mechanism for settlement is therefore essentially the same for all three types of settlement, and the division into three components is based on other factors. Secondary Consolidation Letʹs first consider secondary consolidation. The secondary settlement, Ss represents time dependent settlement, or creep, that occurs under a constant effective stress. This component of settlement is important in organic soils such as peat, but can often be omitted for other soil types. It is fairly easy to separate this component of settlement from the other two since it occurs when effective stress does not change 1. Therefore we will not discuss this component further. 1 There is research that suggests that creep occurs simultaneously with consolidation settlement, but traditionally, engineers adopt the definition of creep occurring after consolidation settlement. This is the approach adopted by Settle 3D.
3 Immediate Settlement The immediate settlement is also sometimes called volume distortion settlement. Essentially, this is the rearrangement of grains due to changing stress, resulting in a reduction in void ratio and instant settlement. In most texts, immediate settlement is considered to be an elastic process. Therefore the settlement can be calculated from elastic theory (see for example, Day 2005, equation 8.9). Settle 3D also uses elastic theory to calculate immediate settlement. So, by turning on immediate settlement in Settle 3D, you are essentially calculating the volume distortion due to stress changes. One important consideration is that there may be inelastic processes at work (plastic flow), meaning that this immediate settlement calculation will underestimate the actual settlement. Holtz and Kovaks (1981) state, ʺThe immediate, or distortion, settlement, although not actually elastic is usually estimated by using elastic theoryʺ. It is recommended that a lower value of E be used to account for the plastic flow. There are many other methods that try to simplify the elastic calculation, especially in the estimation of E from laboratory or field tests. Some of these methods take into account the plastic flow, load rigidity and load shape. All are based on empirical settlement data and are therefore grouped under empirical methods in Settle 3D (e.g. Schmertmann method). These can also be used to calculate immediate settlement. Note however that these methods are generally not as robust in that they can only consider simple loading geometries. Also, when plotting total settlement, the empirical settlements are not included. You must add them manually. OR So when do you need to consider immediate settlement? Immediate settlement is generally assumed to be the settlement that occurs quickly after the construction of your foundation or embankment. How quickly? Bowles (1996) suggests that immediate settlements are those that take place within 7 days of
4 loading. Adopting this definition allows us to consider many possible scenarios that could lead to immediate settlement. These will be discussed in the next section. Primary Consolidation The primary consolidation settlement, Sc is the gradual re arrangement of grains as water is expelled. This component of settlement is usually dominant in finegrained saturated clays. But consolidation also occurs in other soil types. Hence, there is some gray area as to when to use immediate settlement, when to use primary consolidation settlement and when to use both. The following section outlines different possible scenarios and how to simulate them in Settle 3D. Settlement Scenarios In this section, we consider different settlement scenarios and how to deal with them in Settle 3D. First we will describe a simple test model used to illustrate each situation. Test Model Consider a flexible circular load of magnitude q = 10 kpa and radius a = 1 m on top of a soil layer with thickness h = 10 m. We will use this model to examine different scenarios. Looking at the screen capture below, a query point is placed at the centre of the circle for calculation of settlements.
5 Scenario 1: Unsaturated Material In this case, there is no consolidation and all of the settlement is immediate. However, this doesnʹt necessarily mean that you should turn on immediate settlement and turn off consolidation settlement. If you turn on consolidation settlement for an unsaturated material, then the settlement will occur ʹimmediatelyʹ since there is no time dependent dissipation of pore pressures. This technique would be useful in two possible scenarios: Your material layer is partially below the water table. In this case, you can turn on consolidation settlement and turn off immediate settlement. The soil that is above the water table will compact immediately and the soil below the water table will compact gradually. Your material is non linear and you wish to use the non linear parameters Cc and Cr. In this case, you must use consolidation settlement and not immediate settlement. For the unsaturated material, it doesnʹt really matter if you choose immediate or consolidation settlement, as long as you donʹt choose both. In fact, if you choose consolidation settlement with a linear material, mv is just the inverse of E that is used for immediate settlement. So a model with mv = m 2 /kn will give exactly the same settlement as a model with E = 1000 kpa.
6 Scenario 2: Partially Saturated Material In this case there will be some immediate settlement as air is quickly pushed out of the pore spaces. However, as with the unsaturated case, it is not necessary to turn on immediate settlement. In Settle 3D, you can account for this effect by setting the B bar less than 1 (B bar ranges from 0 for an unsaturated material to 1 for a saturated material see the Theory manual for more details). When you do this, a proportion of the applied stress is transferred immediately to the soil so that you see some immediate deformation. Scenario 3: Fully Saturated Sand If you are dealing with sand, or some other coarse grained material that has a high permeability, then pore pressures dissipate quickly and settlement is essentially immediate. In Settle 3D, you can simulate this in several ways: Turn on Immediate Settlement and turn off Primary Consolidation Turn off Immediate Settlement, turn on Primary Consolidation and set a large value for cv or k. Turn off both Immediate Settlement and Primary Consolidation and use one of the Empirical Methods. The figure on the following page shows a comparison of results for the first method and the second method.
7 Time (d) Total Settlement (mm) Primary Consolidation: m v = m 2 /kn k = 0.1 m/day Immediate Settlement: E = 1000 kn/m 2 Comparison of settlement results for the circular load model using different methods to account for rapid pore pressure dissipation. Scenario 4: Fully Saturated Clay This is probably the only situation in which you may want to use both Immediate Settlement and Primary Consolidation. Settle 3D uses one dimensional consolidation theory to calculate the Primary Consolidation settlement. However, most loading scenarios are actually three dimensional. Therefore even with an incompressible fluid, some volume distortion settlement will occur immediately in a saturated clay. Elastic theory can be used to estimate this settlement with one important consideration: you should use the undrained Youngʹs modulus and Poissonʹs ratio. The undrained Poissonʹs ratio is 0.5 (a lower number can be used if not 100% saturated). The undrained Youngʹs modulus can be calculated by : E undrained 3E 2 1 drained drained so, for a material with a Poissonʹs ratio of 0.2, Eundrained = 1.25Edrained. However, Lambe and Whitman (1979) state that ʺWith actual soils, the ratio of Eundrained/Edrained is typically much larger than this theoretical value. Values of 3 or 4 are not uncommon for normally consolidated clays.ʺ It is also important to note that this is a three dimensional effect, so the amount of immediate settlement depends on the geometry of the situation and the drained Poissonʹs ratio. For a load with very large areal extent, or low drained the situation is close to a one dimensional loading scenario, so the immediate settlement will be negligible. Poulos (2000) presents graphs showing the importance of these parameters in calculation of immediate settlement.
8 Theoretical ability of one dimensional (Primary Consolidation) analysis to predict total final settlement. From Poulos (2000). For soft, normally consolidated materials, Immediate Settlement should be added to the Primary Consolidation settlement. Therefore, the following equation applies: ST = Si + SC Soft, normally consolidated clays However Poulos (and others) suggest that for normally consolidated clays, the immediate settlement as a proportion of the total settlement is often negligible. This is illustrated on the following page.
9 Normally consolidated clay: E undrained ~ 3 E drained S i is small For stiff overconsolidated material, Poulos warns that the immediate settlement should not necessarily be added to the Primary Consolidation settlement. Instead the immediate settlement accounts for part of the Primary Consolidation Settlement and that if you add them together, you will be ʹdouble countingʹ. In Settle 3D therefore, you would have to somehow reduce the calculated consolidation settlement to balance the immediate settlement. In Settle 3D, these three dimensional effects can be more easily accounted for in another way. Go to Project Settings, choose the Advanced tab and select Use Mean 3D Stress as shown on the next page:
10 Settle 3D will now set the initial excess pore pressure to be equal to the undrained mean stress rather than the vertical stress, where the undrained mean stress is: undrained M See the Theory Manual, section 4.2 and Das (2007) for details. Using the mean stress instead of the vertical stress means that when a load is applied, part of the load is instantly carried by the grain skeleton. This results in some immediate settlement. Since the calculated mean stress is a function of the load geometry, there is no need to apply a fudge factor to account for the size of the load. The plot below shows how immediate settlement is significant for a small load on a thick layer, yet insignificant for a large load on a thin layer. The subsequent plot also shows how a model that does not have mean stress turned on produces the same long term settlement as the model with mean stress turned on. This shows how the immediate settlement is not being ʹdoublecountedʹ when mean stress is turned on.
11 Time (d) Load radius = 10 m Soil layer thickness = 1m Total Settlement (mm) Load radius = 1 m Soil layer thickness = 10m 45 Settlement calculated for overconsolidated clay with mean stress option turned on. Time (days) Vertical stress on Settlement (mm) Mean stress on Settlement calculated for the 10 m load with mean stress turned on compared to the settlement calculated with vertical stress only.
12 Summary The table below summarizes how to model different scenarios in Settle 3D. This is only a guideline and specific sites, loading scenarios and acquired data may demand a different approach for your settlement problem. As always, you should use your engineering judgment when creating and analyzing these numerical models. Material Unsaturated Possible Methods 1. Immediate on*, primary off or 2. Immediate off, primary on Partially saturated 1. Immediate off, primary on with B-bar < 1 Sand Saturated normally consolidated clay Saturated overconsolidated clay 1. Immediate on*, primary off or 2. Immediate off, primary on, c v or k is large or 3. Immediate and primary off, use empirical method 1. Primary on + (optional) immediate on* with undrained parameters** 1. Primary on, immediate off, mean stress on or 2. Immediate on* with undrained parameters** + primary on + correction to account for double-counting * Elastic solutions do not account for plastic flow and may therefore underestimate the actual settlement ** Undrained stiffness parameters calculated from theory may be too soft, therefore the immediate settlement may be overestimated
13 Bibliography Bowles, J.E. (1996). Foundation Analysis and Design 5th ed., McGraw Hill, 1175 pp. Canadian Geotechnical Society (2007). Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual 4th ed., Canadian Geotechnical Society, 488 pp. Das, B.M. (2007). Principles of Foundation Engineering 6th ed., Thomson, 750 pp. Day, R.W. (2005). Foundation Engineering Handbook: Design and Construction with the 2006 International Building Code, McGraw Hill. Department of the Navy (1982). Soil Mechanics NAVFAC Design Manual 7.1, Department of the Navy, Alexandria, VA., 378 pp. Holtz, R.D. and W.D. Kovacs (1981). An Introduction to Geotechnical Engineering, Prentice Hall Inc., 733 pp. Lambe, T.W. and Whitman, R.V. (1979). Soil Mechanics, SI Version, John Wiley & Sons, 553 pp. McCarthy, D.F. (2007). Essentials of Soil Mechanics and Foundations 7th ed., Prentice Hall, 850 pp. Peck, R.B., Hanson, W.E. and T.H. Thornburn (1974). Foundation Engineering 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 514 pp. Poulos, H.G. (2000). Foundation Settlement Analysis Practice Versus Research, The Eighth Spencer J. Buchanan Lecture, https://ceprofs.civil.tamu.edu/briaud/buchanan%20web/lecture_series.htm
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