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PROJECT Container Yard at Jawaharlal Nehru Port

LOCATION Nhava-Sheva, Navi Mumbai

CLIENT Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay




Report on Construction of Paved Area for Container Yard
with Geocells

DATE December 02 2016

For Preliminary


Sabnam House Ground Floor, A 15/16, Central Cross Road B, MIDC, Andheri (East), Mumbai 400093, India
T: +91 22 4063 5100IF: +91 22 4063 5199 IE: IW:

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CIN No: U17299MH2004PTC148625


1. This Report addresses the proposed container yard at Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNP) at
Navi Mumbai. Containers are proposed to be stacked seven-high. The container yard,
about 80 acres (about 32.5 hectares), is within the battery limits of JNP and is essentially
land reclaimed from the Thane Creek.

2. Reclamation has been carried out about fifteen years ago by dumping soil into the
mudflats. The fill material includes cobbles and boulder sized particles, soil and
construction debris. In view of the heterogeneous nature of the fill, it was difficult to
conduct any geotechnical investigations through boreholes. Considering that the
original soil is marine clay, the fill comprises cobbles and boulder sized particles, and the
reclamation has been carried out about fifteen years ago, the marine clay will have
consolidated due to the surcharge of the fill. Besides, the heavy particles will have
penetrated the marine clay.

3. Stratification on the basis of past knowledge is as follows:

a) 0m to 12-15m: Heterogeneous fill including soil, cobble, boulders debris etc.
b) Beyond 15m: Normally consolidated marine clay. Thickness of this layer
could be anywhere between 4m to 8m. The top layer of this
stratum would have particles of the above stratum
c) Below marine clay: Weathered rock (basaltic)

4. The fill may be well consolidated after proposed treatment which may include drop
weights over the entire area. The bearing capacity that could thus be obtained may be
of the order of 10T/m2. However one cannot discount voids within the heterogeneous
fill and infilling of voids with surrounding soil due to ingressed subsurface water cannot
be ruled out. This can manifest as local settlements at ground level and holistically,
there would be a problem of differential settlements.

5. The issues are therefore:

a) Further consolidation of the clay due to additional load of the containers;
b) Safe bearing capacity / allowable bearing pressures of the heterogeneous fill and its
consistent characteristics over the 80 acres;
c) Differential settlements due to heterogeneous nature of the fill.
None of these aspects can be measures in an objective manner and judicious
assumptions need to be made.

6. A solution is required which caters to the three aspects, albeit with judicious

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7. Containers are provided with pedestals of size 162mm x 178mm. A typical assembly of
container corners is shown in Fig. 1. Considering an aggregate dimension of 624mm x
656mm, increase in vertical stresses due to the container stacks at the marine clay level
would not be significant. Fig. 1 also shows similar clusters at 2.5m and 6.0m. Overlap of
incremental stresses due to these clusters would also be negligible at the marine clay
level. Furthermore, what was originally soft / very soft marine clay (with a high value of
coefficient of volume compressibility, mv) has been normally consolidated by the fill
surcharge since the past 15 years. Hence the clay may be moderately stiff and mv may
have reduced. Hence the first issue relating to consolidation of the marine clay due to
incremental stresses due to the containers would be of no consequence.

Fig. 1(a): Layout of container

Fig. 1(b): Layout of container stacks
stack pedestals

8. The second aspect addresses safe bearing capacity / allowable bearing pressure. The
12m to 15m thick fill is heterogeneous in nature and one cannot assign a consistent safe
bearing capacity or allowable bearing pressures to the material. Even if plate load tests
are conducted on a 600mm x 600mm plate after dropping weights on the fill, the results
will not be representative at all. Before any solution to the issue of bearing capacity /
pressures is determined, the current exercise has been carried out considering safe /
allowable bearing capacities / pressures of 5T/m2, 8T/m2 and 10T/m2 and considering
seven-high container stacks.

9. Likewise, there is no means by which differential settlements due to the heterogeneous

fill can be computed. This needs to be considered.

10. Considering the above issues, STRATA proposes geocells over the entire area on which it
is proposed to locate the containers. The characteristics of the geocells must adhere to
the minimum requirements specified, to cater to the stresses that the seams of the
geocells and the geocell perforated straps would be subjected to. Geocells
manufactured by STRATA, StrataWeb® fulfil the requirements.

11. It is presumed that a blanket of geocell systems designed for the various bearing
capacity / pressure cases (relating to the second aspect) would cater to differential
settlements (relating to the third issue).

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12. Geocells within the paved area for the container yard will essentially reduce the bearing
pressures onto the subgrade, and even out the differential settlements at the top of the
concrete paver blocks.

13. Geocells are essentially three-dimensional cellular confinement systems. These have
been successfully used for load bearing systems. Fig. 2 highlights the typical usage at the
container yard at Kandla, where StrataWeb® geocells have been laid out and infilled
with granular nonplastic material.

Fig. 2: Geocells laid and infilled with granular material at Kandla Port container yard

14. Geocell confinement greatly reduces lateral movement of confined soil particles. While
the appropriate mechanism of load transfer by geocells is currently being researched,
STRATA follows the method proposed by José Avesani Neto.

Reduction in Bearing Pressures Using Geocells

15. When a point load is applied to the surface of a geocell mat, bending moments develop
within the system [Fig. 3(a)]. There is resistance to bending [Fig. 3(b)] by:
a) Vertical walls of the HDPE geocells,
b) Non-plastic infill.
which contribute to the section modulus of the composite geocell system. Resistance by
surrounding cells contributes to the ability of the holistic geocell system to distribute the
imposed load over a larger area. Hence geocells filled with non-plastic material form
semi-rigid mats capable of distributing imposed loads over larger area.

Fig. 3(a): Point load and bending

Fig. 3(b): Resistance to bending by geocell walls and infilling
moments developed
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16. Walls of StrataWeb™ geocells in particular are specially textured on both sides for better
soil-cell wall interaction. Stress reduction within a geocell layer is essentially due to
friction between the in-fill material and the geocell wall [Fig. 4].


Fig. 4: The mechanics of stress reduction in a geocell as considered by STRATA

17. Weld spacing of the StrataWeb® geocells is appropriately designed to suit the grading of
infill material. Geocells filled with non-plastic material such as gravel / sand form semi-
rigid mats capable of distributing imposed loads over larger area. Considering Fig. 3:

( )⁄
is the horizontal stress on the geocell wall within the cell
is the lateral earth pressure coefficient under “at rest” condition
is the vertical pressure imposed on the geocell panel
is the vertical reaction from the soil at the base of the geocell panel.
For simplicity, the equation is approximated to

18. With a marginal downward deformation of the geocell, friction would be mobilized
between the in-filled soil and the cell wall. Hence the frictional resistance would be:

is the coefficient of friction between infill and wall,
is the angle of friction between the in-fill and the cell wall, considered as ⁄
is the angle of internal friction for the in-fill material.

19. It is therefore expected that the stress at the bottom of the geocell panel reduced by the
magnitude of stress taken up as friction.

20. Also, as a reaction to the lateral stress in a cell at the periphery of the vertical stress,
lateral stresses and correspondingly friction stress are also generated in congruent cells.
This increases shear strength of the confined soil in the adjoining cells.

21. Considering the above and Fig. 5, the pressure at the base of the geocell due to loading
above is as follows:

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CIN No: U17299MH2004PTC148625

{ [ ]} [3]
( ) ( )

P is the pressure on the geocell
are the dimensions of the loading area on the geocell
is the depth of the geocell
is average size of a cell wall, √( )
and are dimensions of a single cell (Fig. 6)



Fig. 5: Load transfer through geocells Fig. 6: Cell dimensions

22. The geocell considered here has a height h = 150mm and weld spacing of 356mm.
Hence d1 = 259mm and d2 = 224mm.

23. The geocell panel thus generates into a semi-rigid mat which contributes to distributing
the load over a larger area. The spread of load by virtue of the semi-rigid mat have been
determined through field tests where reaction is measured at points away from the
centre-line of the loading.

24. In this case, considering equilibrium of forces in the vertical direction, assuming that the
imposed load is spread over an area of ( ),

( ) ( ) [4]

25. Thus the effective spread of the reduced stress below the geocell layer is evaluated. The
dimensions of and are proportional to and respectively.


26. With analysis as above, the following sections have been worked out as per Fig. 7(a), Fig.
7(b) and Table 1. These have been initially worked out for seven-high stacks of
containers. Stresses below the paver block and below each layer of geocells are shown
in Fig. 8. It may be noted that the same sections would be required for six-high
container stacks and there would be no saving incurred by reducing the height of the
stacks to six.

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27. The geocells may be infilled with any nonplastic granular material such as sand, medium
to fine gravel, or even debris concrete crushed to particle size 10mm down.

Fig. 7(a): Section A with two layers of geocells

Fig. 7(b): Section B with three layers of geocells

Table 1: Applicable Sections for Safe Bearing Capacities / Allowable Bearing Pressures
Safe Bearing Capacities / Allowable Bearing
5 8 10
Pressures (T/m2):
Geocell Reinforced Section from Fig. 7: Section B Section A Section A

28. Drainage is essential below the section. If found necessary, a nonwoven geotextile of
minimum 500GSM grammage may be laid above the dressed subgrade. In extreme
cases, an appropriate geonet may be laid. However, to be effective, the geonet must
have adequate strength perpendicular to its plane to withstand the stresses being
transferred from the base of the lowest layer of the geocell as shown in Fig. 8, and
function effectively.

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Fig. 8: Stresses below paver blocks and each geocell layer

Specifications for Geocells

29. The geocells layers, particularly the uppermost layer, are subject to high level of
stresses, as seen in Fig. 8. It is therefore essential that the geocells conform to the
following requirements.

Description Requirements
Material Properties
1. Polymer density (ASTM D 1505) High density polyethylene (virgin
polymer) HDPE with a density of 0.935-
0.965 g/cc

2. Environmental Stress Cracking >5,000 hours

Resistance (ESCR) (ASTM D 1693)

3. Carbon black content (ASTM D 1603) Minimum 2.0%

4. Colour Black

5. Nominal sheet thickness (post Minimum 1.52mm

texturing) (ASTM D 5199)

6. Cell wall treatment:

a) Material Compound of various Polyethylenes and

b) Texture Surface texturing to consist of multiple

patterned indentations over the entire
strip area on both sides of the strip.
Indentations to have a surface density of
22 to 32 per cm2.

c) Perforations Polyethylene strip shall be perforated

with horizontal rows of maximum 10mm
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Description Requirements
diameter holes. Cell perforation area
shall not exceed 12% of cell surface area.

Cell / Section Properties

7. Cell weld spacing (± 3%) 356 mm

8. Cell depth (±3%) 150 mm

9. Geocell weight Minimum 1.85 kg/m2 for 150 mm cell

depth (calculated as section weight
without packaging divided by the
expanded section area as per suppliers’

10. Expanded cell dimensions (±3%) 259mm width x 224mm length

11. Expanded cell area (±3%) 289cm2

12. Nominal expanded panel size (±3%) 2.59m width x 6.5m length

13. Nominal expanded panel area (±3%) 16.8m2

Seam Properties
14. Seam peel strength (EN ISO 13426-1, Minimum 2,250 N per 150 mm joint
Method B: Peeling Test)

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