Settlement of embankments on soft clays

Gholamreza Mesri, Dominic O. Kwan Lo, Tao Wei Feng

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


It is now possible to make reliable predictions of settlement of embankments on soft clays. In most situations, where the embankment is designed to resist undrained instability during construction, one-dimensional settlement analysis is applicable and is the most appropriate approach. Equipment and procedures for high-quality soil sampling for laboratory tests, as well as reliable in situ tests are available for detailed profiling of compressible ground. With the help of the computer, it is no longer necessary to idealize the compressible profile into one or two homogeneous layers. The most important information required for settlement analysis is for each layer, end-of-primary e-log σv′ curve, including reliable estimate of σp′, and e-log kv, as well as e-log kh relations when vertical drains are used. The proposed approach and procedures are illustrated by predictions and field observations of surface and subsurface settlement for ten large-scale embankment construction projects. Analysis of field observations suggest that prefabricated vertical drains in typical field situations mobilize discharge capacities significantly less than those measured in laboratory longitudinal flow tests. However, in most soft clay applications the mobilized discharge capacity of high-quality prefabricated drains is comparable to the minimum discharge capacity required for negligible well resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeotechnical Special Publication
EditorsAlbert T. Yeung, Guy Y. Felio
PublisherPubl by ASCE
Number of pages49
ISBN (Print)078440027X
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994
EventProceedings of the Conference on Vertical and Horizontal Deformations of Foundations and Embankments. Part 2 (of 2) - College Station, TX, USA
Duration: Jun 16 1994Jun 18 1994


OtherProceedings of the Conference on Vertical and Horizontal Deformations of Foundations and Embankments. Part 2 (of 2)
CityCollege Station, TX, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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