Centrifuge modelling and analytical solutions for the cone penetration test in layered soils

Mo, Pin-Qiang (2014) Centrifuge modelling and analytical solutions for the cone penetration test in layered soils. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The interpretation of measurements from the cone penetration test is still predominately based on empirical correlations, which can be attributed to the lack of understanding of penetration mechanisms, that involve severe stress-strain and shear dilatancy close to the probe. Even so, it remains one of the most widely used in-situ tools for site characterisation, and several methods for displacement pile design have been developed using CPT data. This research investigates the response of penetrometers and the behaviour of layered soils during installation of probes using geotechnical centrifuge modelling and cavity expansion analysis.

Two series of centrifuge tests were performed in stratum configurations of silica sand in a half-cylindrical axisymmetric model, allowing the observation of the induced soil deformation through a Perspex window. The variations of penetration resistance and soil deformation with penetration depth, soil density, stress level and soil layering are examined from the results of the centrifuge tests. The quantified soil displacements and the resulting strains in the axisymmetric model have provided an effective approach for investigation of penetration mechanisms with soil element trajectories, strain paths and rotations of principal strain rate. The effects of layering on both resistance and soil deformation are shown with dependence of the relative soil properties and profiles. The results presented also serve as a base for applications of cavity expansion solutions, back analyses and further studies.

Analytical solutions for cavity expansion in two concentrically arranged regions of soil are developed using a non-associated Mohr-Coulomb yield criterion for large strain analysis of both spherical and cylindrical cavities. The solutions are validated against finite element simulations and a detailed parametric study of the layered effects on the pressure-expansion curves is performed. To apply the proposed solutions to penetration problems, a simplified combination approach is suggested to eliminate the discrepancy between concentric layering and horizontal layering. The analytical study of penetration in two-layered and multi-layered soils is therefore achieved, with comparisons to elastic solutions and numerical simulations provided.

The back analyses based on the resistance and soil deformation emphasise the influences of small-strain stiffness, soil-probe interface friction angle, and relative density/state parameter. The correlation between the cone tip resistance and the pile bearing capacity is also discussed, and the scale effects are examined through the ground surface effect and the layering effect by the developed cavity expansion solutions. The penetration mechanisms are summarised from the aspects of soil stress-strain history, particle breakage, soil patterns, and penetration in layered soils. The layered effects emphasised in this research indicate that the penetration resistance is strongly dependent on the soil properties within the influence zones above and below the probe tip, and also related to the in-situ stress gradient along the penetration path. It is also suggested that correlations from calibration chamber tests using uniform soil and a constant stress field may not be suitable for direct interpretation of CPT data. Finally, the averaging technique for pile design is suggested based on the transition curve of tip resistance in layered soils with consideration of the scale effects.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Marshall, A.
Yu, H-S.
Keywords: Centrifuge Modelling; Cone Penetration Test; Cavity Expansion Methods; Layered Soils
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General) > TA 703 Engineering geology. Rock and soil mechanics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Department of Civil Engineering
Item ID: 14319
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2014 14:37
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 05:57
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/14319

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