Influence of stone column installation on settlement reduction
Journal article, 2014
The paper presents numerical simulations investigating the settlement reduction caused by stone columns in a natural soft clay. The focus is on the influence of the soft soil alteration caused by column installation. A uniform mesh of end-bearing columns under a distributed load was considered. Therefore, the columns were modelled using the "unit cell" concept, i.e. only one column and the corresponding surrounding soil in axial symmetry. The properties of the soft clay correspond to Bothkennar clay, which is modelled using S-CLAY1 and S-CLAY1S, which are Cam clay type models that account for anisotropy and destructuration. The Modified Cam clay model is also used for comparison. Column installation was modelled independently to avoid mesh distortions, and soft soil alteration was directly considered in the initial input values. The results show that the changes in the stress field, such as the increase of radial stresses and mean stresses and the loss of overconsolidation, are beneficial for high loads and closely spaced columns but, on the contrary, may be negative for low loads, widely spaced columns and overconsolidated soils. Moreover, whilst the rotation of the soil fabric reduces the settlement, in contrast the soil destructuration during column installation reduces the improvement.