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Introduction to Geotechnical

Engineering

ground

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Typical Geotechnical Project

Geo-Laboratory Design Office


soil properties
~ for testing ~ for design & analysis

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Shallow Foundations
~ for transferring building loads to underlying ground
~ mostly for firm soils or light loads

firm
ground

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bed rock 4
Shallow Foundations

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Deep Foundations
~ for transferring building loads to underlying ground
~ mostly for weak soils or heavy loads

P
I
L
E
weak soil

bed rock 6
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Deep Foundations

Driven timber piles, Pacific Highway 7


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Retaining Walls
~ for retaining soils from spreading laterally

retaining
wall

Road
Train

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Earth Dams
~ for impounding water

reservoir
clay
core shell

soil

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Concrete Dams

reservoir
concrete dam

soil

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Concrete Dams

Three Gorges Dam, Hong Kong


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Concrete Dams

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Earthworks
~ preparing the ground prior to construction

Roadwork, Pacific Highway 13


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Construction hazard
~ an unwelcome visitor at an earthwork site.

What does it have


to do with Geo?#!

A dead Anaconda python (courtesy: J. Brunskill) 14


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Geofabrics
~ used for reinforcement, separation, filtration and
drainage in roads, retaining walls, embankments…

Geofabrics used on Pacific Highway 15


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Reinforced Earth Walls
~ using geofabrics to strengthen the soil

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Soil Nailing
~ steel rods placed into holes drilled into the walls
and grouted

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Sheet Piles
~ sheets of interlockingsteel or timber driven into
the ground, forming a continuous sheet

warehouse

ship

sheet pile

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Sheet Piles
~ resist lateral earth pressures
~ used in excavations, waterfront structures, ..

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Sheet Piles
~ used in temporary works

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Sheet Piles
~ interlocking sections

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Cofferdam
~ sheet pile walls enclosing an area, to
prevent water seeping in

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Landslides

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Shoring
propping and supporting the exposed walls to
resist lateral earth pressures

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Tunneling

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Blasting

For ore recovery in mines

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Ground Improvement

Impact Roller to Compact the Ground


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Ground Improvement

Sheepsfoot Roller to Compact Clay Soils


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Ground Improvement

Smooth-wheeled Roller
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Ground Improvement
Big weights dropped
from 25 m, compacting
the ground.

Craters formed in compaction 30


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Environmental Geomechanics

Waste Disposal in Landfills

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Instrumentation
~ to monitor the performances of earth and
earth supported structures

~ to measure loads, pressures, deformations,


strains,…

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Soil Testing

Cone Penetration Test Truck – Lavarach Barracks, Townsville


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Soil Testing

Vane Shear Test Standard Penetration Test


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Soil Testing

Triaxial Test on Soil Sample in Laboratory 35


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Soil Testing

Variety of Field Testing Devices 36


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Typical Safety Factors
Type of Design Safety Probability of
Factor Failure

Earthworks 1.3-1.5 1/500

Retaining 1.5-2.0 1/1500


structures
Foundations 2.0-3.0 1/5000

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Some unsung heroes of Civil Engineering…

foundations soil
exploration

tunneling

… buried right under your feet. 38


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Geotechnical Engineering Landmarks
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Our blunders become monuments!

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Hoover Dam, USA

Tallest (221 m) concrete dam 41


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Dams: forces applied

 Vertical static forces


 Lateral force applied by water body
 Dynamic forces
 wave action
 overflow of water (controlled by
spillway channels)
 earthquakes and tremors

 ice/freezing

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Dam failure: earthquake

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Dam failure: bombs

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Dam sites: geology

Poor geological characterisation of dam foundation


responsible for 40% of dam failures

Need proper site investigation

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Geology Terminology
 Bedding planes - The planes marking the termination of one sedimentary deposit and the
beginning of another; they usually constitute a weakness along which the rock tends to break.
 Foliation - In rocks that have been subjected to heat and deforming pressures during regional
metamorphism, some new materials such as muscovite and biotite mica, talc and chlorite may be
formed by recrystallisation. These new minerals are arranged in parallel layers of flat or
elongated crystals - the property of foliation.
 Joints - These are fractures along which no movement has occured. All rocks are jointed to
some extent and weathering occurs in these joints. They offer pathways for water, any clay
infilling offering little resistance to sliding.
 Faults - These are fractures along which movement has occured. They may range from rather
inconspicious zones hundreds of metres wide and many kilometres long. The movement may
have formed a zone that is so crushed and chemically altered as to be unable to support any
weight. The presence of faults may be recognised from such physical features as;
 Offset of beds, dykes or veins;

 Slickensides;

 Gouge;

 Brecciation or crushing;

 Topographic features like escarpments, linear trenches or sag valleys.

 Weathering

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Wheathering
Fresh Rock No visible signs of weathering
Penetrative weathering developed in open
Slightly Weathered discontinuity surfaces but only slight
weathering of rock material.

Weathering extends throughout the rock


Moderately Weathered
mass, but the rock is not friable.
Weathering extends throughout the rock
Highly Weathered mass, but the rock material is partly
friable.
Rock is wholly decomposed, and in a
Completely Weathered friable condition but rock texture and
structure are preserved.

A soil material with the original texture,


Soil structure and mineralogy of the rock
completely destroyed.
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Dams: ground improvement
Poor geological conditions can be improved in 2 ways
• improving load bearing properties
• controlling seepage

>10 2 0.07 0.002 <0.0001 mm grain size


ground strengthening

gravel sand silt clay


Rolling, bolting and pre-loading
gravity drainage
well-points with drainage
electro-osmosis
vibro flotation
explosives
grouts
chemical treatments
thermal treatment

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Table - Unconfined compressive strength of rocks

Rock type Strength (MPa)


Siltstone 24-120
Greywacke 20-30
Shale 35-110
Sandstone 40-200
Limestone 50-240
Dolomite 50-150
Granite 90-230
Basalt 200-350
Dolerite 240-320
Gneiss 80-330

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Classification of rocks
 Uniaxial Compressive Strength
 Weak - less than 35MPa

 Strong 35-115MPa

 Very Strong - greater than 115MPa

 Prefailure Deformation
 Elastic

 Viscous

 Failure Characteristics
 Brittle

 Plastic

 Gross Homogeneity
 Massive

 Layered

 Continuity in Formation
 Solid - joint spacing greater than 2m

 Blocky - joint spacing 1-2m

 Broken - fragmented

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Dams: ground improvement
 Rock bolts
 Rolling and preloading
 compresses ground in prep for structure
 improves post dam compaction
 Gravity drainage and well points:
 sand and gravel channels and shallow wells (for pumping) Electro-osmosis: insert
conduction rods into fine grained clay-rich bedrock and have an electric field - de-
waters ground via the flow of electric current
 Vibroflotation
 mechanical vibrating plate with load compresses low density gravels and sands
 Explosives
 useful in water-saturated gravel and scree – increases bulk density
 Grouts
 material injected into the ground
 Chemical treatments
 react solutions injected into ground. React with material to alter properties. NaCl
solution injected into smectite-rich mud, shale etc. to alter expansivity of smectite –
stabilizes ground pre-construction
 Thermal treatment
 Freezing with injected liquid N2 to consolidate loose ground during excavation.
Heating by burning petroleum under pressure in subsurface – causes thermal
metamorphism - hardens ground and cuts porosity

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Hard face to dam Core and rear of dam

Reservoir
Apron drains (to
Pre-stressed
individual aquifers)
Injected anchors
grout curtain
Drain
Regolith
Aquiclude layers

Aquifer layers

Excavation
to rock
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ENGINEERING GEOLOGICAL STUDIES for
DAM CONSTRUCTION

SIVA
1. RECONNAISSANCE STUDY

1. Evaluation of the data having at archives of MTA, DSI, EIE,


Universities,......etc
2. Field investigation for limited time (Reconnaissance Study)
3. Some maps in small scale, for example 1/25.000 or 1/50.000
4. Some hydraulic data about
a. Basin
b. Precipitation area
c. Runoff, maximum discharge {Q=R/t (m3/s)}
d. Modulus of Runoff (R/t/m2 ~ R/t/km2)
5. Some approach to the reservoir area, dam site and type of dam
and height of dam...etc
6. Photogeological studies
7. A preliminary report

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2. PRELIMINARY STUDIES at the
RESERVOIR AREA and DAM SITE

1. Dam site investigations


1. Location of dam axis
2. Location of diversion tunnel
3. Location of spillway
4. Location of powerhouse...etc
2. Geological studies
3. Geophysical surveying
4. Underground investigations
1. Boreholes
2. Investigation galleries
3. Pitholes
5. Surveying for materials
1. Field surveying
2. Laboratory tests

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6. Slope stability investigations
7. Earthquake hazard & risk analysis
8. Environmental studies
9. Leakage possibilities from reservoir area
10. Leakage possibilities from dam site
11. Erosion, sedimentation & siltation

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DETAILED INVESTIGATION at DAM SITE

1. Topographic surveyings

2. Geological mappings
1/5000 – 1/1000 or 1/500

3. Underground explorations
Boreholes, adits....etc

4. Hydrogeological studies

5. Slope stability analysis


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FACTORS AFFECTING to the DAM
TYPE SELECTION

 Topography
 Geology
 Bearing capacity of the underlying soil
 Foundation settlements
 Permeability of the foundation soil

 Material availability
 Spillway position
 Earthquakes
 Safety
 Height
 Aesthetic view
 Qualified labour
 Cost

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FACTORS AFFECTING to the PLACE
of the DAM AXIS

 Topography
 Geology
 Materials
 Spillway location availability
 Derivation
 Sediments in the flowing water
 Water quality
 Expropriation costs
 Earthquake possibility
 Downstream water rights

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