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IGS Mumbai Chapter & IIT Bombay

Modulus of Layered Soil

Technical Director Professor

e-mail:fargoconsultants@gmail.com e-mail: sibapmukh@yahoo.co.in

1

Department of Civil Engineering, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

ABSTRACT

For estimation of immediate settlement of layered soil deposits the current practice uses thickness weighted

average of Youngs Modulus. This method appears to be acceptable if the soils of different layers have strength of

similar order. However, this method tends to conceal the influence of weaker soils in presence of a stronger layer

as has been shown with typical examples in this paper. A method has also been outlined in this paper to estimate

an equivalent modulus of elasticity for layered soil using weighted harmonic mean in respect of thickness.

1. INTRODUCTION The method has been proved reasonable with the help of

Immediate settlement is caused by lateral strain due to application of stress-strain relationship for composite

applied load. The formula for immediate settlement is based bodies. The paper highlights the usefulness of weighted

on lateral strain and is meant for homogeneous soil. But in harmonic mean method for estimation of equivalent

Nature homogeneous soil deposit is very rare. Therefore, Youngs Modulus in case of layered soil deposit.

the geotechnical engineers often encounter the problem of 2. ELASTIC SETTLEMENT ESTIMATION

determining immediate settlement in layered soil

Estimation of foundation settlement for structures is of

particularly for a large size foundation when the pressure

major importance to limit the settlement of structures within

bulb goes far deep into the soil. Immediate settlement

tolerance levels, which affects the allowable bearing

calculations for layered soils are not clearly addressed in

capacity. Settlement comprises of two components i.e.

the available literature compared to homogeneous layers.

immediate (elastic) settlement and long-term

Correlations for estimation of modulus of elasticity for

(consolidation) settlement. The calculation for immediate

cohesive soils with respect to undrained shear strength

settlement for homogeneous soil layer is carried out using

values (Bowles 1997) and for non-cohesive soils with

the following formula (Terzaghi 1943):

respect to N (SPT) values is well documented (Som and

Das 2003) Current practice uses thickness weighted Si = (12) / (1)

average for estimation of equivalent modulus of elasticity where,

(Som and Das 2003). This method appears to be acceptable Si = Immediate settlement

if the soils of different layers having strength of similar = Poissons ratio

order. However, this method tends to mask the influence = Influence factor

of weaker soils in presence of a stronger layer as has been

= Width of foundation

shown with typical examples in this paper. A method has

also been outlined in this paper to estimate an equivalent = Applied pressure

modulus of elasticity for layered soil using thickness = Modulus of elasticity

weighted harmonic mean. It is shown with typical examples Correlation for estimation of modulus of elasticity/Youngs

that the weighted harmonic mean yields better results than Modulus (E) for cohesive soils and non-cohesive soils is

the direct weighted average method particularly when the available in existing literature Youngs Modulus may be

strength of successive soil layers vary in a very wide range. obtained from the following correlations (Bowles 1997)

306 P. Brahma and S.P. Mukherjee

where, cu in the undrained cohesion. the following equation,

And for non-cohesive soils modulus of elasticity can E = / (5)

be estimated from the correlation provided below:

being the stress developed in each of the metal rods = W/

E = 750 + 80 N t/m2 (3) A where, W is the weight and A is the cross-sectional area

where, N is the SPT value and is the strain.

Elongation (L) is given by

3. CURRENT PRACTICE FOR EVALUATION OF

EQUIVALENT MODULUS OF ELASTICITY L = L = L /E (6)

For large foundations the pressure bulb extends deep into Hence, elongation of each rod section can be

the sub-soil hence the estimation of equivalent E for the represented by

various soil layers into which the pressure bulb extends Li = Li / Ei (7)

into is needed. The normal practice is to use a weighted Where Li = Elongation of ith rod, Li = Length of ith

average of the modulus of elasticity of the various layers rod, = Stress in the rod

encountered within the depth of influence

Total elongation (L) for the all the rods is calculated

Eeq = Hi Ei / Hi (4) as Li.

where, Eeq= Equivalent modulus of elasticity, Therefore, total elongation = (Li/Ei) (8)

Hi = Thickness of layer, Ei = Modulus of elasticity of layer Let Eeq be the equivalent E for the composite rod.

This method of obtaining equivalent modulus of elasticity Hence elongation for the composite rod can be expressed

is acceptable as long as the variation of individual layers is as L = ?Li/Eeq.

comparable. However, if there is wide variation in the Since the total elongation is constant,

values, the evaluated modulus of elasticity is not

appropriate, since the soils with higher modulus of elasticity Li/Eeq = (Li/Ei) (9)

tend to mask the effect of the weaker soil layer. This can Therefore,

lead to under estimation of immediate settlement values. Eeq = Li/ (Li/Ei) (10)

4. BASIC CONCEPTS OF EQUIVALENT Thus, the equivalent modulus of elasticity is the

MODULUS OF ELASTICITY weighted harmonic mean of the individual rods modulus

of elasticity. This concept may be equally considered

An attempt has been made to determine equivalent modulus rational in case where the lateral strain is causing the

of elasticity for a series of welded circular rods of different deformation.

materials. Although the method takes care of only

longitudinal strain but for lateral strain also variation of E 5. COMPARISON OF THE TWO METHODS OF

appears to be of similar trend since the term comes in CALCULATION

denominator. This method has been based on the theory of In the first example it will be demonstrated that if the

elasticity. In Fig.1 a few metal circular rods are welded underlying layers are of comparable strength then the

end to end and a weight is hung from the last piece of rod. estimated immediate settlement using the current practice

The top of the system is fixed. of calculating equivalent modulus of elasticity and the

proposed method of calculating modulus of elasticity will

L e n g th = L : M o d u lu s = E

1 1

yield approximately results of similar order. Whereas in

the second example the strength of the underlying layers

L e n g th = L 2 : M o d u lu s = E 2

are not comparable and the immediate settlement calculated

L e n g th = L : M o d u lu s = E

from the two methods vary widely.

3 3

A square footing with dimension of 4.0m is placed at

a depth of 1.5m below ground level. Bearing pressure on

L e n g th = L 4 : M o d u lu s = E 4

the footing is 15t/m2. The Poissons ratio = 0.3 and Influence

factor for centre of square footing has been taken as 1.12

L e n g th = L 5 : M o d u lu s = E 5

(Som and Das, 2003). The following examples demonstrate

typical cases for non-cohesive soil. Non-cohesive soils have

been chosen for the study since immediate settlement is

W e ig h t = W

Fig. 1: Illustration for Formulation of Equivalent predominant for such type of soils.

Modulus of Elasticity

A Realistic Way to Obtain Equivalent Youngs Modulus of Layered Soil 307

increases with depth. Fig. 2 presents corrected N value and Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 2.5m

thickness of the sand layers. E = 750 + 80 x 10 = 1550 t/m2

Layer 2:

Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 2.0m

E = 750 + 80 x 40 = 3950 t/m2

Layer 3:

Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 3.5m

E = 750 + 80 x 50 = 4750 t/m2

As per current practice:

Fig. 2: Illustration of Example 1. Equivalent E= (2.5 x 1550 + 2.0 x 3950 + 3.5 x 4750) /

(2.5 + 2.0 + 3.5) = 3550 t/m2

Layer 1: After substituting values into eqn (1) immediate settlement

Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 2.5m is calculated to be 17.2mm

E = 750 + 80 x 35 = 3550 t/m2 As per suggested method:

Layer 2: Equivalent E= (2.5+2.0+3.5)/[ (2.5/1550) + (2.0/3950) +

Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 2.0m (3.5/4750)] = 2801 t/m2

E = 750 + 80 x 40 = 3950 t/m2 After substituting values into eqn (1) immediate settlement

is calculated to be 21.8mm. Thus the settlement calculated

Layer 3:

using current practice is lower than the suggested method

Thickness of layer within zone of influence = 3.5m by almost 26.7%.

E = 750 + 80 x 50 = 4750 t/m2

As per current practice: 6. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Equivalent E = (2.5 x 3550 + 2.0 x 3950 + 3.5 x 4750) / Comparison of the equivalent modulus of elasticity using

(2.5 + 2.0 + 3.5) = 4175 t/m2 the two methods were carried out for various ratios of

After substituting values into equation (1) immediate modulus of elasticity and various ratio of thickness for a

settlement is calculated to be 14.6mm two layered system. The ratio of E obtained by proposed

As per suggested method: method to that obtained by current practice (Eproposed method/

Equivalent E = (2.5+2.0+3.5)/[ (2.5/3550) + (2.0/3950) + E current practice) has been plotted against ratio of thickness (H2/

(3.5/4750)] = 4108 t/m2 H1) for different values of E2/E1 The results are plotted in

Fig 4. Here E 1 =Modulus of elasticity of Layer 1,

After substituting values into eqn (1) immediate settlement

H1=Thickness of Layer 1, E2= Modulus of elasticity of Layer

is calculated to be 14.9mm.

2 and H2= Thickness of Layer 2.

Thus the settlements calculated are almost identical.

Example 2: The properties for Layer-1 of Example 1 have

Eproposed method /Ecurrent practice

1.00

been changed from a dense to loose sand.(Fig 3). Properties

of Layer 2 and Layer 3 are same as in Example 1. The size

of footing and depth of foundation has not been altered in 0.75

order have the same depth of influence for both the

examples. Properties of Layer 1 have been altered to

demonstrate that influence of a weaker layer is masked by

0.50

the presence of strong layers within the zone of influence. 0.0 1.0 2.0 3.0 4.0 5.0

H2/H1

E2/E1=0.2 E2/E1=0.25

E2/E1=0.3333 E2/E1=0.5

E2/E1=1

Various (E 2/E 1) Ratios

It may be observed from Fig. 4 that the ratio of modulus

of elasticity calculated from the two methods is at its lowest

Fig. 3: Illustration of Example 2.

308 P. Brahma and S.P. Mukherjee

when the thickness of the two layers is same. The value of 2. Thickness weighted arithmetic mean of modulus

Eproposed method/E current practice decreases when the H2/H1 ratio of elasticity always underestimates the immediate

approaches the value of 1 and increases when the H2/H1 settlement in comparison to settlement obtained

ratio increased beyond the value of 1. The Fig. 4 also from thickness weighted harmonic mean of

suggests that for a given value of H2/H1 the ratio Eproposed modulus of elasticity. Underestimation of

method

/Ecurrent practice increases with increase of E2/E1 ratio. The settlement may lead to overestimation of bearing

graph also illustrates that the current method of estimation capacity of foundations.

of equivalent E, always overestimates the equivalent

REFERENCES

modulus of elasticity for layered soil deposits, which will

in turn lead to underestimation of immediate settlement of Bowles, J. (1997). Foundation Analysis and Design. 5th

foundations. This may overestimate the bearing capacity Ed., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., New York, 308.

of the foundation. Som, N.N., and S. C. Das (2003). Theory and Practice of

Foundation Design. PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi,

7. CONCLUSIONS 43.

1. Determination of Equivalent Modulus of Elasticity Terzaghi, K. (1943). Theoretical Soil Mechanics. John

of layered soil deposits appears to be rational if Wiley & Sons Ltd., 510.

thickness weighted harmonic mean of individual

modulus of elasticity is obtained instead of

arithmetic mean.

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