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CPT Theory Manual

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction ............................................................................................................ 3

2 Soil Parameter Interpretation ............................................................................... 5

3 Soil Profiling ......................................................................................................... 11

3.1 Non-Normalized SBT Charts ......................................................................... 11

3.2 Normalized SBTn Charts ................................................................................ 14

3.2.1 Robertson (1990) ...................................................................................... 14

3.2.2 Schneider et al. (2008) ............................................................................. 15

4 Filtering of CPT Data ........................................................................................... 17

5 References ............................................................................................................. 18

1 Introduction

The Cone Penetration Test allows for a continuous soil profile and can collect up to

5 independent readings in a single sounding. These readings, notably the cone tip

resistance (qc), sleeve friction (ft), and penetration pore water pressure (u2) are

interpreted to give the soil parameters used to asses subsurface stratigraphy.

Note that Settle3D assumes that all reading of penetration pore water pressure are

u2.

The empirical correlations in the CPT engine vary in terms of their reliability and

applicability, and it is important to understand the degree to which the derived soil

parameters can be used. The CPT Guide (2015) presents a table which shows

estimates of the perceived applicability of the CPTu to estimate soil parameters.

Table 1: Perceived applicability of CPTu for deriving soil parameters (from CPT Guide 6th Ed. (2015))

Soil Dr K0 OCR St su E, M G0 * K ch

Type G*

Coarse- 2-3 2-3 5 5 2-3 2-3 2-3 2-3 3-4 3-4

grained

(sand)

Fine- 2 1 2 1-2 4 2-4 2-3 2-4 2-3 2-3

grained

(clay)

1 = high; 2 = high to moderate; 3 = moderate; 4 = moderate to low; 5 = low

reliability; Blank = no applicability; *improved with SCPT

Where:

Dr relative density

state parameter

E, G Youngs and shear moduli

OCR overconsolidation ratio

su undrained shear strength

ch coefficient of consolidation

peak friction angle

K0 in-situ stress ratio

G0 small strain shear modulus

M 1D compressibility

St sensitivity

K permeability

In terms of units, CPT data can be input into Settle3D in either Metric or Imperial

units. The conventions for each are summarized in the table below.

SI m MPa kPa kPa

Imperial ft tsf tsf psi

2 Soil Parameter Interpretation

correlations. Be sure to refer to the table of reliability and applicability.

= + 1

where

Friction Ratio, Rf

The friction ratio is defined as the percentage of sleeve friction, fs, to cone

resistance, qc, at the same depth.

= / 100%

The following relationship from Robertson expresses the soil unit weight in terms of

the friction ratio and cone resistance (Robertson, 2010).

where

= friction ratio

= unit weight of water

%& = atmospheric pressure

The total and effective overburden stresses are calculated using the calculated soil

unit weight for each depth.

()* = ,- -

()* = ()*

where

,- = depth of the ith layer from the ground surface

. = ()* /()*

The pore pressure ratio, Bq, is the difference in measured and equilibrium pore

pressures, normalized with respect to the net cone resistance.

01 = / 3

where

= *

3 = ()*

The soil behavior type index can be thought of as a representative value that

combines Qt and Fr to produce concentric circles delineating Robertsons 1990 SBT

chart zones. Ic expresses the radius of those concentric circles.

There are two ways to correlate shear wave velocity with CPT cone resistance.

Robertson (2009) calculates shear wave velocity using soil type and SBT Ic.

where

:) = 10*.88=>?@.AB

Mayne (2006) proposed the correlation below, where Vs is a function of the

logarithm of fs.

9 = 51.6 ln + 18.5

F* = /g 9

Before the CPT came into popularity, the Standard Penetration Test was the

standard soil test. The SPT, while used less frequently, is still used today. There

have been many attempts by researchers to relate the SPT N value to the CPT cone

penetration resistance qc.

Jefferies and Davies (1993) suggested the following relationship, which correlates

/%& /GA* to Ic.

/%& 6

= 8.5 H1 I

GA* 4.6

Hydraulic Conductivity, k

estimated using the following equations:

J = 10LN.8 L@.MR=> otherwise

The cone resistance can be expressed in a non-dimensional form, normalized for the

in-situ vertical stress with the stress exponent, n, varying with soil type and stress

level. When n=1, Qtn = Qt.

3

()* %&

.3=H IY Z

%& ()*

Friction Angle,

Robertson and Campanella (1983) suggested the correlation below for estimating

the peak friction angle for sands, where is in radians.

1

tan = ]log Y Z + 0.29_

2.68 ()*

Kulhawy and Mayne (1990) suggested an alternate relationship for clean sands.

= 17.6 + 11 log . 3

Finally, for fine-grained soils, Mayne (2006) recommends the following correlation:

The overconsolidation ratio is defined as the ratio of the highest stress the soil has

experienced to the current stress in the soil. Robertson (2009) proposed the

following equation:

cd = 0.25.@. 8

Kulhawy and Mayne (1990) proposed the following equation for K0, in terms of both

the horizontal stress index KD and the normalized cone tip resistance.

()*

e* = 0.1

()*

where

@

ef = 2 cd &3g @.8A

@

0.192 /%& *. hij kl L*. R

cd &3g =] _

1 sin ()* /%& *.M@

Relative Density, Dr

Jamiolkowski et al. (2001) proposed the following equation for relative density of

sands.

where

1p /qr

@ = l u.v and bx = 0.675.

stu /qr !

direction of loading, soil anisotropy, strain rate, and stress history. A number of

theoretical solutions have been developed, and are all of the form shown below.

()

wx =

Gy

Soil Sensitivity, st

The sensitivity of clay is defined as the ratio of the undisturbed peak undrained

shear strength to the remolded undrained shear strength. The remolded undrained

shear strength can be assumed to be equal to the sleeve resistance, fs.

wx

w =

Fines Content, FC

Davies (1999) suggested the following linear relationship for determining fines

content:

4d % = 42.41796 54.8574

Youngs Modulus, E

The Youngs modulus is calculated as:

:z = 0.015$10*.88=>?@.AB '

{ = :z ()*

Constrained Modulus, M

The constrained modulus can be estimated from CPT results using the following

relationship:

| = :} ()*

:} = . when . < 14

:} = 14 when . > 14

:} = 0.0188$10*.88=>?@.AB'

3 Soil Profiling

One of the greatest advantages of the CPT is its ability to provide a continuous soil

profile with minimum error. Conclusions about soil type can be drawn from the CPT

data. The following options are available in Settle3D.

o Robertson et al. (1986)

o Robertson (2010)

- Normalized CPT Soil Behaviour Type (SBTn) Chart

o Robertson (1990)

o Robertson (2010)

o Schneider et al. (2008)

The Robertson et al. (1986) SBT chart, updated in Robertson (2010), is the most

commonly used soil behavior type chart. The Robertson et al. (1986) chart uses the

corrected cone resistance, qt, and the friction ratio, Rf, and has 12 soil types.

and Rf on log scales. It also reduces the number of soil behavior types to 9, matching

the Robertson (1990) chart. The table below summarizes the unification of the 12

soil types to the 9 Robertson (1990) soil types.

Robertson et al. (1986) Robertson (1990) description

1 1 Sensitive fine-grained

2 2 Clay organic soil

3 3 Clays clay to silty clay

4&5 4 Silt mixtures clayey silt

& silty clay

6&7 5 Sand mixtures silty

sand to sandy silt

8 6 Sands clean sands to

silty sands

9 & 10 7 Dense sand to gravelly

sand

12 8 Stiff sand to clayey sand*

11 9 Stiff fine-grained*

* overconsolidated or cemented

Figure 1: SBT chart by Robertson et al. (1986) based on qt and Rf

Figure 2: Updated non-normalized SBT chart based on qc/Pa and Rf (Robertson, 2010)

3.2 Normalized SBTn Charts

Using normalized parameters is beneficial since both the penetration and sleeve

resistances increase with depth due to the increase in effective overburden stress.

Normalization is often required for very shallow and very deep soundings.

The figure below compares the non-normalized SBT and normalized SBTn charts.

Figure 4: Comparison of updated SBT (Robertson, 2010) and SBTn (Robertson, 1990) for the same CPTu profile

Schneider et al. (2008) plot classification charts using . and /()* . The following

five soil classifications are considered:

Zone 1b clays (undrained)

Zone 1c sensitive clays (undrained)

Zone 2 sands or sand mixtures (essentially drained)

Zone 3 transitional soils (drained, undrained, or partially consolidated)

Schneider et al. (2008) plot the classification charts in three different formats, each

suited for particular cases:

1. log-log . /()* space clays, clayey silts, silts, sandy silts, and sands

with no negative penetration pore pressures

2. semi-log . /()* space sands and transitional soils with small negative

excess penetration pore pressures

3. semi-log . 01 space clay soils with large negative excess penetration pore

pressures

Figure 5: Schneider et al. (2008) soil classification charts in three plotting formats

4 Filtering of CPT Data

In Settle3D you can filter CPT to remove data spikes. The filter will discard data

outside of a defined bandwidth.

window size in Settle3D is 0.25m. For each section of the boring the mean and

standard deviation, (- , are calculated.

@

(&- = (-L@ + (-

and

@

(- = (-?@ + (-

For top section, only (- is calculated. For the bottom section, only (&- is calculated.

- = r

+ 0 (&- if (&- < (-

- = r

+ 0 (- if (&- > (-

default value in Settle3D is 1. Values that are outside of the bandwidth are filtered

out.

5 References

Mine Tailings. PhD Thesis. 1999.

Mayne, PW (2006). In situ test calibrations for evaluating soil parameters. Proc.,

Characterization and Engineering Properties of Natural Soils II, Singapore.

Canadian Geotech. J., 46(11):13371355.

Jefferies, M.G., and Davies, M.P., 1993. Use of CPTU to estimate equivalent

SPT N60. Geotechnical Testing Journal, ASTM, 16(4): 458-468.

penetration tests Part I (sand). Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 20(4):

718-733.

penetration tests Part II (clay). Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 20(4):

734-745.

Kulhawy, F.H., and Mayne, P.H., 1990. Manual on estimating soil properties

for foundation design, Report EL-6800 Electric Power Research Institute,

EPRI, August 1990.

Normalized Piezocone Tip Resistance and Pore Pressure Parameters. Journal of

Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 134(11):1569-1586.

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