Trial Embankment Analysis to Predict Smear Zone Characteristics Induced by Prefabricated Vertical Drain Installation

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Journal Article
Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, 2014, 32 (5), pp. 1187 - 1210
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© 2014, Springer International Publishing Switzerland. In this study, FLAC finite difference software has been adopted to simulate the performance of the ground improved using prefabricated vertical drains assisted preloading, considering smear zone characteristics. The numerical code has been applied to predict smear zone properties employing a back calculation procedure using the results of several case studies. The construction of a trial embankment is proposed as a reliable method to predict the smear zone characteristics. The proposed back calculation method is applied to estimate the minimum required degree of consolidation and consequently the minimum required preloading time, resulting in a reliable estimation of the smear zone permeability and extent. Three preloading case studies considering both conventional preloading and vacuum assisted preloading have been simulated to verify the numerical code and to conduct the parametric study using the back calculation procedure. According to the results, the properties of the smear zone can be back-calculated reliably, when at least 33 % degree of consolidation due to trial embankment construction is achieved.
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