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Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Geotechnics

THE INFLUENCE OF GEOTECHNICAL INVESTIGATIONS MAGNITUDE


ON CHARACTERISTIC VALUES OF SOILS PARAMETERS
Lecturer. Dr. Ernest Olinic
Technical

University of Civil Engineering Bucharest, Romni
A!STRACT
The main purpose of the geotechnical studies is to determine the physical and
mechanical properties of the foundation soil. According to European regulations,
geotechnical design shall be based on design values of geotechnical parameters derived
from the characteristic values hich are directly influenced by the number of
determinations and the coefficient of variation !ratio of standard deviation and the mean
value". The coefficient of variation, through the recommended ma#imum values for
physical characteristics of soil, underlies the delimitation of geological strata. The aim
of this paper is to sho ho the number of measurements and the coefficient of
variation influence the characteristic values hich, if are closer to the average, ill lead
to an effective and economic geotechnical design. $f the difference beteen mean value
and characteristic value is very high, this ill lead to oversi%ed geotechnical structures,
and ill generate much higher e#ecution costs than the economy brought by the
underevaluated geotechnical study.
"e#$or%s& geotechnical study, geotechnical parameters, characteristic values,
geotechnical design
INTRODUCTION
The geotechnical studies are &ey elements for the design of underground structures,
infrastructure of civil, hydrotechnical and industrial constructions, roads and bridges,
evaluation of slope stability, etc' Their ob(ectives are to identify stratification of the
foundation soil and the groundater level, to determine the physical and mechanical
properties of the geological strata, to highlight special foundation conditions and to
recommend foundation solutions.
)epending on the importance of the construction, the nature and the state of the
foundation soil, the groundater level, the influence on neighborhoods and the seismic
%one, is established the geotechnical category !*, + or ," and the geotechnical ris& !lo,
medium, high" for hich European norms recommend minimum field and laboratory
or&s. -*.
$n current practice to geotechnical studies little attention is given and often small
budgets are allocated hich restricts the geotechnical investigations.
The in situ and laboratory tests provide measured values of the geotechnical parameters.
These values can not be directly used in the geotechnical design, but must be
statistically processed in order to determine the characteristic and design values of the
geotechnical parameters.
*/
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$nternational 0ultidisciplinary 1cientific GeoConference 1GE0 +2*/
Belo is presented the order in hich the characteristic and design values of the
geotechnical parameters are determined3
0easured values
n i
X X X X X ... ... , ,
, + *
0ean value
i
m
X
X
n
=

1tandard deviation of the
selected measured values
( )
+ *
*
x i m
s X X
n
=


Coefficient of variation
x
x
m
s
V
X
=
1tatistical coefficient
( )
unknown x known x n
V or V n f k , =
Characteristic values
( )
sup
*
k m n x
X X k V = +
( )
inf
*
k m n x
X X k V =
4ocal characteristic values ( )
loc
* +
k m x
X X V =
5artial coefficient for soil
property
M
= f (type of ultimate limit state, design approach)
)esign value
k
d
M
X
X

=
The statistical coefficient k
n
depends on the number of test results and on the &noledge
about the coefficient of variation !case V
x known
or V
x unknown
". -+.
6hen only the values determined directly by testing are ta&en into account, the
coefficient of variation for the soil in 7uestion is not &non in advance and k
n
values are
ta&en from column V
x unknown
.
Because in many practical cases, for a geological stratum fe values are selected,
leading to high values for V
x
and k
n
, can be used the 8e#isting &noledge8 method,
hich ta&es the value of the coefficient of variation V
x
from relevant documentations. $n
these situations, the statistical coefficient values k
n
are ta&en from column V
x known
. -,.
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE DETERMINATION OF CHARACTERISTIC
VALUES OF SOILS PARAMETERS
$n accordance ith the methodology described above, based on laboratory tests and
measured values, the characteristic values are determined and therefore, minimum and
ma#imum design values, respectively, minimum and ma#imum local design values.
9igure *. E#amples of the use of characteristic values -,.
Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
As is shon in 9igure * the minimum settlement is calculated ith the ma#imum elastic
modulus hile the ma#imum settlement is calculated ith the minimum elastic
modulus. $f the difference beteen inferior and superior characteristic value of
oedometric modulus is very high, than the difference beteen minimum and ma#imum
settlement ill be high and can lead to a relative settlement higher than the admissible
value.
$n 9igure + it can be seen that, especially for a small number of tests, it is important to
collect information from previous geotechnical studies from site or from its vicinity, to
confirm the stratification and characteristics, similar to those of the study in 7uestion, in
order to ta&e the coefficient of variation V
x
, hich usually is much smaller than the one
determined on a small number of tests. A smaller coefficient of variation ill reduce the
difference beteen inferior and superior characteristic values and ill be closer to the
mean value.
9igure +. :ariation of statistical coefficient k
n
depending on the number of tests n
CASE STUD'
$n a site ith an area of *.; ha on hich ill be built a supermar&et ith ground floor
and outdoor par&ing, a geotechnical study as prepared based on *; geotechnical
boreholes, ; boreholes of *2 m depth !located on site of the supermar&et" and *2
boreholes ith a depth of < m !located on site of outdoor par&ing area".
Based on field research and laboratory tests, it resulted that ithin the site, the
foundation soil consists, until a depth of appro#. 2.= ... +./ m, of a layer of soil fill
composed of heterogeneous fragments of aste ballast and construction materials in the
clay mass.
Beneath the soil fill layer, to a depth of appro#. = m in boreholes 9+, 9,, 9> and 9;,
respectively, to the final depth of the rest of the boreholes, it as intercepted a pac&age
of clay ? silty clay ith stiff consistency.
*/
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$nternational 0ultidisciplinary 1cientific GeoConference 1GE0 +2*/
At the base of boreholes 9+, 9,, 9> @i 9; it as intercepted a layer of gravel ith sand
in dense state.
Ground ater table as not intercepted in any of the e#ecuted boreholes.
To confirm that the main part of the natural soil consists of the same material, ere
determined the coefficients of variation for geotechnical parameters hich are
representative for the delimitation of the geological strata.
Tabel *. Geotechnical parameters and the values for coefficient of variation for the
delimitation of geological strata
Geotechnical
parameter
Aumber
of tests
0inimum B
ma#imum value
:# V
x ma#
Unit eight !) ,; *C.< B +*.2 2.2+ 2.2>
0oisture content !w) /< */.C B *C./ 2.2; 2.*>
Consistency inde# !I
C
) /< 2.=2 B 2.C+ 2.2, 2.*>
:oid ratio !e" ,; 2.>* B 2.<+ 2.2> 2.*>
Delative density !
!
" nEa ? ? 2.*>
5lasticity inde# !I
"
) /< +;.* B ,C.+ 2.2C 2.,2
$n Table * can be seen that for the determination of moisture content, plasticity inde#
and consistency inde# a number of /< tests ere performed and in all the cases the
obtained coefficient of variation V
x
is much smaller than the ma#imum recommended
value for the delimitation of geological strata V
x max
. The unit eight and the void ratio
ere determined on ,; samples and due to V
x
obtained hich is smaller than V
x max
confirms again that all the samples are from the same geological stratum.
9or this application, the main geotechnical parameter for design of infrastructure
elements is the elastic modulus # derived from the oedometric modulus #
oed $%%&'%%
determined for the loads of +22 and ,22 &5a. Fn +2 undisturbed samples ta&en from the
boreholes, ere made compression tests resulting oedometric moduli ith values
beteen *2/*; and +*+;; &5a, and characteristic values
k"a #
k oed
*/2C>
inf
=
and
k"a #
k oed
*</,;
sup
=
.
9or research purposes it as considered that the number of tests as smaller, simulating
the elaboration of a lo budged geotechnical study. 9or each simulation ere selected
values uniformly distributed beteen the minimum and the ma#imum oedometric
moduli.
Table +. characteristic oedometric moduli for different number of compression tests
Aumber of tests, n / > < = ** */ *< +2
0ean value *>,<; *><>2 *><=/ *>=22 *>/=; *>,/> *>+<C *>+<<
Coefficient of variation, :# 2.,2 2.+; 2.+/ 2.+, 2.++ 2.+* 2.+* 2.+2
&n for :# un&non *.*C 2.C< 2.=+ 2.<< 2.>/ 2./; 2.// 2.,C
() su* + (m,-.)n V/ un)no$n0 12324 -3556 -7438 -7187 -4614 -575- -5542 -5864
() in9 + (m,-:)n V/ un)no$n0 3714 --565 -1;48 -66;- -6585 -6713 -6757 -823;
Hydrogeology, Engineering Geology and Geotechnics
$n Table + and 9igure , is indicated the variation of characteristic oedometric moduli
depending on the number of compression tests. $t can be observed that hile minimum,
ma#imum and mean values of the measured oedometric moduli are constant, the
characteristic values are significantly influenced by the number of the compression
tests. 9or e#ample, considering that only / compression tests ere performed resulted
#
oed k inf
= ()$* k"a and #
oed k sup
= $%(%* k"a. $t can be also observed that the
characteristic values of oedometric moduli varies in a small range for a number of tests
higher than *2.
9igure ,. The variation of characteristic oedometric modulus depending on the number
of compression tests
9or this pro(ect, the foundation system is composed of shallo foundations ith base
dimensions of ,.2 # ,.2 m, founded at + m depth. The minimum and ma#imum
settlement as calculated under the average pressure of ,22 &5a, for different pairs of
inferior and superior values of oedometric moduli corresponding to the considered
number of tests. 9or +2 tests performed, the minimum settlement resulted of *=.> mm,
the ma#imum settlement is +*.< mm and the relative settlement !the distance beteen
foundations is < m" is 2.222>. 9or / tests performed, the minimum settlement resulted
of */.< mm, the ma#imum settlement is ,*.2 mm and the relative settlement !the
distance beteen foundations is < m" is 2.22+;, higher than the admissible value of
2.22*. $n this case, much higher foundations should be designed in order to reduce the
pressure on the foundation foot hich ill lead to smaller settlements and admissible
values for relative settlement.
The calculation e#ample presented above indicates the importance of the number of
measured values of oedometric modului on shallo foundation design.
*/
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$nternational 0ultidisciplinary 1cientific GeoConference 1GE0 +2*/
To highlight the importance of the number of laboratory tests on the characteristic
parameters of soils, another scenario is proposed3 the present geotechnical study is a
relevant documentation for another geotechnical study and the laboratory tests are very
similar. $n this case, it is recommended to retrieve the coefficient of variation from the
relevant documentation and technical norms !for oedometric moduli :
#
G 2.,2" and the
statistical coefficient k
n
for V
x known
.
Table ,. characteristic oedometric moduli for different number of compression tests in
H&non conditionsI
Aumber of tests, n +2 *< */ ** = < > /
0ean value *>+<< *>+<C *>,/> *>/=; *>=22 *><=/ *><>2 *>,<;
Coefficient of variation, :# 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2 2.,2
&n for :# &non 2.,; 2./* 2.// 2.>2 2.>= 2.<; 2.;/ 2.=+
() su* + (m,-.)n V/ )no$n0 -53;1 -4-;8 -4642 -4431 -7;;4 -7788 -3-26 -3-;7
() in9 + (m,-:)n V/ )no$n0 -6;72 -6678 -6612 -6-71 -6281 -1;18 -1-35 --;45
$t can be observed that for a small number of tests the difference beteen inferior and
superior characteristic value of oedometric moduli is still very high !Table ,".
CONCLUSIONS
Geotechnical design is based on design values of geotechnical parameters derived from
the characteristic values, respectively measured values. The presented case study,
through settlement calculations, reveals that as the number of measurements is larger,
the characteristic values are closer to the average, leading to an effective and economic
geotechnical design. 9or a smaller number of measurements ? if a geotechnical study is
underestimated ? ill result reduced geotechnical parameters hich ill lead to
oversi%ed geotechnical structures, generating much higher e#ecution costs than the
economy brought by the underevaluated geotechnical study.
REFERENCES
-*. 1D EA *CC;?*3+22/. Eurocode ;3 Geotechnical design ? 5art *3 General rules.
Domania. +22/.
-+. 9ran& D, Bauduin C, )riscoll D, Javvadas 0, Jrebs Fvesen A, Frr T K
1chuppener B. )esignersLguide to EA *CC;?*. Eurocod, ;3 Geotechnical design M
General rules. England. +22/.
-,. A5 *++3+2*2. Technical norm on the determination of the characteristic and design
values of the geotechnical parameters. Domania. +2*2.