Gravel impact compaction piers as a method of soil improvement
Keywords:Liquefaction, gravel impact compaction piers, soil improvement, soil compaction, multi-layer soil.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of gravel impact compaction piers system (GICPs) in improving a 3.5m thick loose silty sand in a multilayer coastal soil system located in Bushehr, Iran. The liquefiable sandy soil layer was layered on clay layers with moderate to very stiff consistency and below the engineering embankment layer with a thickness of 1.8 m. Implementation of gravel impact compaction piers is a new generation of aggregate piers. Gravel impact compaction piers were used to improve the liquefiable soil layers and to increase the bearing capacity and reduce subgrade settlement to withstand surface infrastructures. The process of making gravel impact compaction piers in a triangular or square-patterned grid was created using three types of special mandrels and feeding and compacting the gravels in the cavity in several stages without removing the soil from the cavities. The experience gained in this case study showed that artificial liquefiable was created immediately after the construction of these piers in a limited area and the soil became unstable. After about 11-14 days, the soil stabilized rapidly. The results of the standard penetration test in the matrix soil around the piers showed that the amount of (N1)60 in compacted soils was in the range of 21-30 and on average 15 times the amount of (1-3) in the initial soil. Also, the relative density of the initial soil was increased from 25% to 75% after soil improvement. Accordingly, by relying merely on the compaction properties of the piers and without relying on other primary soil remediation factors, such as piers drainage and soil texture change, the safety factor of the improved soil is 1.7-1.95 times the minimum required according to the two risk levels in the design.
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