The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 094 [Completed (IDEA)]

Liquefaction Mitigation Using Vertical Composite Drains: Full Scale Testing
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Inam Jawed

In this project, full-scale field tests were performed to investigate the use of vertical composite drains (EQ-Drains) in dissipating pore pressure to prevent liquefaction during an earthquake. The EQ-Drains were evaluated at a test site in Vancouver, British Columbia, using controlled blasting technique to liquefy loose sand. Installing EQ-Drains using high vibration typically increased relative density by about 10% and produced volumetric strains of 2.5%. This effectively reduced the amount of settlement and increased the rate of pore pressure dissipation relative to untreated sites. Controlled blasting also showed the potential to produce significant densification of liquefiable soils. Settlements of 2 to 4% of volume were produced for small charge masses and relative density was typically increased by 7-10%. The presence of EQDrains significantly increased the rate of excess pore water pressure dissipation relative to untreated areas (Figure 1). Even though drains did not prevent liquefaction for the high stress levels imposed by the blast tests, settlements in areas where drains were installed using conventional procedures was reduced to only about 60% of the settlement measured in untreated areas. With minor input parameters modifications, computer analyses were successful in matching measured pore pressure and settlement response during blasting. Results of the computer model analysis indicate that the drains can prevent liquefaction and excessive settlement when drain diameter and spacing are properly designed for the expected earthquake. The committee approved a follow-on project for additional field tests at the Treasure Island site in California.  The final report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS # PB2004-103340).

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