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Indian Geotechnical Conference 2010, GEOtrendz

December 1618, 2010


IGS Mumbai Chapter & IIT Bombay

A Realistic Way to Obtain Equivalent Youngs


Modulus of Layered Soil

Brahma, P. Mukherjee, S.P.1


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

Fargo Consultants Pvt. Ltd., Kolkata


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

E = 600 cu (2) The elongation of each metal rod is estimated using


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

Example 1: The degree of compactness of sand layers Layer 1:


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

Fig. 4: Variation of (Eproposed method/E current practice) vs. (H2/H 1) for


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.