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Computers and Geotechnics, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp.

47-70, 1997
0 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
PII: SO266-352X(96)00013-4 0266-352X/97 $17.00+ .OO

Analysis of Behavior of Stone Columns and Lime Columns

H. B. Poorooshasb” & G. G. Meyerhofb

“Facultyof Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8, Canada
‘Department of Civil Engineering, Technical University of Nova Scotia, Halifax, NS, B3J 2X4, Canada

(Received 28 May 1995; revised version received 9 September 1996;

accepted 13 September 1996)


The eficiency of end bearing stone columns and end bearing lime columns in
reducing the settlement of a foundation system is examined in this paper. The
foundation system is assumed to consist of a large number of regularly spaced
stone columns of equal length installed in a weak soil layer and supporting a
rigid mat. The analysis examines the influence of such factors as the column
spacing, the weak soil properties, properties of the granular medium used in
constructing the column, the in situ stresses caused by the installation technique,
the depth of the bedrock relative to the tip of the columns and the magnitude
of the load carried by the supported raft foundation (expressed as a untformly
distributed load, UDL). This paper is concluded by presenting a number of
charts that may be used in the analysis and design of such a foundation
scheme. 0 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.


For low-rise buildings, lightly loaded foundations, earth structures and storage
tanks that can tolerate appreciable movement, stone columns provide an
economical method of support in compressible and cohesive soils [1,2]. The
problem of the settlement of such a foundation system has been tackled before,
notably by Poulos and Davis [3] who used the elastic theory and by Priebe [4].
A stone column is essentially a vertical cylindrical “hole” dug in the soft
soil layer and filled with compacted stone fragments and gravel. The columns,
which have afinished cross sectional diameter in the range of 75-150 cm, are
usually extended to bedrock or a hard layer, but occasionally floating columns
are also installed. This paper deals with end bearing stone columns only. A
48 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

single column is not effective in reducing the settlement. Stone column

foundations consist, usually, of a rather large number of columns installed in
a uniformly and equally spaced pattern. Thus each column acts within a
cylindrical cell with a radius of influence denoted by b (Fig. la). Balaam and
Booker [5] relate the diameter of the cell, 26, to the actual column spacing by
the relation 2b = c&, where S, is the actual spacing (from center to center of
the columns) and c is a constant having values of 1.05 and 1.13 for triangular
and square patterns, respectively. For most practical cases the diameter of
this cell (sometimes referred to as the tributary region) may be assumed to be
equal to the actual column spacing.
Each column derives its load bearing capacity (of the order of
lo&500 kN) from the ambient (lateral) stresses developed at the column/soil
interface, [6,7]. It is obvious, therefore, that for a systematic analysis the
factors that contribute to the development of these lateral stresses must be
recognized and their influence evaluated. These factors are; the radius of the
column a, the radius of influence of each cell b (Fig. lc), the physical
properties of the native weak soil (its modulus of deformation Es and
Poisson’s ratio V) and the deformation characteristics of the compacted
granular column material. This deformation of the granular material is
usually represented by two curves (r,-/~t and I-‘/&icurves) where q is the ratio
of the major principal stress to the minor principal stress, E~ is the axial

rigid raft

oft clay

stone column

bedrock or
hard layer
(a) (b)

t l



Fig. 1. Key figure, 2a = column diameter, 2b = spacing.

Behavior of stone columns 49

strain of the column and V is the volumetric strain of the granular medium
having a negative value for a dilating (expanding) material.
Other factors which influence the performance of the raft-stone column-
soil system include the initial stresses caused by the installation (compaction
of the material in the column) and the distance between the tip of the piles to
the hard layer. Short columns installed in a deep layer of soft soil deposit will
not be effective in reducing the settlement of the foundation system. It is the
objective of this paper to evaluate the influence of the various factors
involved and thus arrive at a practical design procedure.
Lime columns are made by mixing 7-10% of lime in situ with soft clay to
make columns of up to 800 mm diameter with a maximum height of
15 meters. Lime columns are much stiffer than stone columns and are likely
to behave linearly during the loading process: a fact that will facilitate the
analysis considerably as will be seen later.
This paper is written in the following sequence. First the equations gov-
erning the discussions are stated without proof leaving the small amount of
mathematics involved to the two Appendices provided at the end of the
paper. Next the various factors which are likely to influence the performance
of the system are stated and their effects evaluated. Based on these evalua-
tions, a set of design charts are prepared and presented. Finally the results of
some field tests are briefly discussed.


Throughout this paper geometric linearity will be assumed. Thus the small
strain theory is applicable. The weak soil is assumed to possess material
linearity with a Young’s modulus Es and a Poisson’s ratio v. The stress
deformation characteristics of a stone column are represented by the two

v = Ei + 2&3= V(&i) (2)

where o1 is the maximum principal stress (the load intensity carried by the
column), a3 is the minor principal stress, ~1 is the axial strain (the vertical
strain experienced by the column and the surrounding soils), .s3 is the lateral
strain and V is the volumetric strain of the stone column respectively. A
formal derivation of Eqns (1) and (2) may be found in the Appendix.
50 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhoj

The minor principal stress a3 appearing in Eqn (1) is the sum of two
components. First, a component which is developed at the column-soil
interface due to the action of the surface loads and the tendency of the stone
column to expand laterally plus a residual stress component due to the self
weight of the soil and those caused by the installation activities (in particular
compaction of the gravel in the hole). Thus;

a, = a3 + ores (3)

Under undisturbed conditions ores = 0.5 &y’L, where K. is the at rest

earth pressure coefficient, y ’ is the effective unit weight of the soil and L is
the length of the column, Fig. 1b. Note that in this analysis the value of ~7~is
assumed to remain constant with depth.
Let the load intensity carried by the weak soil be denoted by p, Fig. lc. At
this stage p is assumed to be constant; that it is indeed so will be demon-
strated later on. It can be shown (see the Appendix) that the following two
relations hold:

(1 -

2v a2

1 (4)
(1 + v)a* + (1 - v)b2
o3 = &p - EsE3 (1 _ V2)(b2 _ a2) (5)

where c3 is defined in Eqn (3).

Finally, let the intensity of the uniformly distributed load carried by the
rigid mat plus the self weight of the mat be denoted by UDL. Then, equili-
brium of the mat in the vertical direction, as in Fig. lc, requires that;

uDL = a*,,+ (b*- a2)p


The above set of six equations may be solved simultaneously to obtain the
value of the six unknowns E], Ed, cl, 03, a3 and p in terms of the given value
of UDL. Of these six unknowns, cl is of prime interest since the settlement of
the foundation system, 6, is equal to LEE.
Since Eqns (1) and (2) are non-linear a process of trial and error must be
used to solve for the unknowns. This approach is usually a lengthy process
which may require many iterations and which may not converge to a solu-
tion at all. A more intelligent approach is to assume values for the unknowns
appearing in the non-linear equations (thus removing them from the set) and
Behavior of stone columns 51

then solving for the other set of unknowns which are encountered in the
linear equations. The process is somewhat similar to what is generally called
the inverse process and is immensely easier to deal with. Thus, assuming a
value of Ed, Eqn (2) may be used to evaluate c3. Equation (4) can now be
solved to obtain the value of p. With the value of p just calculated cr3 from
Eqn (5) can be obtained and then, with the aid of Eqn (3) and o1 of Eqn (I),
substitution for the values of p and cl in Eqn (6) renders the solution. That
is, the relationship between UDL, the load carried by the column/soil system
and the settlement that this UDL produces is established. Obviously the
above formulations apply only to the cases where the stone columns are end
In the case of lime columns the material in the columns acts as a linear
material having a Young’s modulus EC and a Poisson’s ratio of v,. Thus it
may be shown, as in the Appendix, that;

UDL b2 - a2
-=,4{1+B~,}~ + {Ec + 2v,[AC(l + Bv,) + Dvc]}; (7)

where 6 is the settlement of the system, L is the height of the column and the
constants A,B,C and D have the values;

A= cl-‘) E.

1 - 29 -v S’

1 -v’

D = (1 + v>a2
+ (1 - VP2 Es

(1 - v2)(b2 - a2)

Note that if v= 0 and v, = 0 then A = Es and B = 0. Equation (7) now

reduces to;

n = (UDWG)
52 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

This last equation, in which n is the settlement ratio, A, is known as the area
ratio since it represents the area of the cross section of the column to the area
of the cross section of the influence cell (i.e. A, = a2/b2), is due to Priebe [4].


Before the influence of various factors on the performance of the foundation

system is evaluated, some typical results are presented in Fig. (2) which
shows the behavior of a set of columns 100 cm in diameter and 10 meters
long each installed in a soft clay layer with a modulus Es = 1000 kPa and a
Poisson’s ratio v of 0.2. In this example the piles were at an effective distance
2b equal to 2 meters.
Figure 2a and b represents the behavior of the three types of materials
used in filling the columns, that is, the stones. The most compact material

foundation settlement h. cm

foundation settlement h, cm

I I I I I 1 1
0 IO 20 3c
foundation settlement b, cm

Fig. 2. Typical results for very compact, compact and less compact stone fills, E, = 1000 kPa.
v = 0.2, spacing = 2 diameters.
Behavior of stone columns 53

has an angle of friction 4 of 44” and shows a high degree of dilatation as

indicated by the lowest curve in Fig. 2b. The loosest material has a friction
angle of 38” and shows very little tendency to dilate (the top curve in Fig. 2b).
Figure 2c-e indicates the performance of the raft-stone column-soil
system as the magnitude of the settlement 6 is increased from zero to its
maximum value of 30 cm. Note that as 6 increases so does the stress ratio in
the column, as the 6 values indicated in the upper left hand side of Fig. 2a
show. At a settlement value of 30 cm the column has nearly exhausted all its
strength. That is, for a larger magnitude settlement the stone column would, in
all likelihood, develop shear bands and fail.
Figure 2c shows the relationship between the uniformly distributed load
carried by the system and the resulting settlements. As expected the more
compact column carries a higher load for the same settlement value.
The stiffness ratio A4 is defined as the ratio of axial stress experienced by
the column, ol to the vertical stress component sustained by the soil, p, for
the same settlement. This definition of the stiffness ratio is perhaps more
appropriate than the parameter currently in use (called the modular ratio)
which is defined as M= EC/ES where EC and ES are the deformation moduli of
the column and the soil, respectively. However, EC is not a constant in the
case of granular columns, as its value changes as the loading proceeds. In the
linear case (e.g. lime columns) the two definitions are equivalent however,
since for equal settlement of the soil and the column the relation (al)/
(EC) = (p)/(E,) must hold.
From Fig. 2d it is obvious that a well compacted gravel has a significantly
higher value of M compared to that of a less compacted fill (9.5 compared to
Finally, Fig. 2e shows the variation of the performance ratio (PR) with 6.
The performance ratio is defined as the ratio of the settlement of the treated
ground (ground with stone column inclusions) to that of the untreated
ground under identical surcharges. In the current literature another para-
meter, called the settlement ratio and denoted by n is employed which is the
ratio of the settlement of the untreated ground to that of treated ground. It is
obvious that the relation between the performance ratio and the settlement
ratio is;

performance ratio = (settlement ratio)-’ or PR = l/n (9)

For a well compacted stone fill (@= 44”) the performance ratio is 0.31.
Thus if the settlement of a foundation system without stone columns is, say,
20 cm, inclusion of the columns would reduce its settlement to 0.31 x20, or
about 6 cm. For a less compact stone fill ($= 38”) the settlement ratio is
about 0.5. Under the circumstances just stated the settlement would be
54 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

0.5x20, or 10 cm. This clearly demonstrates the benefits of compaction of

the stones used in the columns.
A point of interest is that both the stiffness ratio and the performance ratio
are fairly independent of 6. This makes the preparation of certain design
charts possible, which will be presented in the next section. The remainder of
this section is devoted to a systematic evaluation of the different factors
which are likely to influence the performance of the raft-stone column-soil
foundations. The main objective is to isolate those factors which are likely to
have a profound effect on the performance of the system, by evaluating their
effect on the value of PR, thereby arriving at appropriate design concepts.

Physical dimensions

In this subsection the influence of the various physical dimensions of the

columns and their proximity to one another will be examined.

Column spacing
Column spacing is the factor which is likely to influence the behavior of the
system most strongly. To demonstrate this consider the data presented in
Fig. 3. The gravel in this case was assumed to be well compacted (@=44”)
and all other quantities are kept the same as shown in Fig. 2 except that here,
the spacing (= 2b) was increased to 6 times the diameter of a column. The
following conclusions may be drawn. The system is very inefficient, note that
the maximum UDL that can be sustained is only 40 kPa. At higher loads the
columns develop shear bands and fail. Also note that the value of the per-
formance ratio is very high, being equal to 0.85. Thus, in the example given

foundation settlement h, cm

foundation settlement b, cm
z --5
B _ (b) E = loo0 kPa, v=.2, +=44.2
G- spacing= 6 diameter
z _
0 IO 20 30
foundation settlement h. cm

Fig. 3. Performance of the system when stone columns are installed at 6 diameter spacing.
Behavior of stone columns 55

above where the settlement of the untreated ground was assumed to be

20 cm the ground with stone columns installed at 6 diameter spacing would
settle 0.85 x20, or 17 cm. This order of improvement can hardly justify the
extra expense involved in installation of the stone columns.
Table 1 below shows the performance ratios for various column spacings
(which it will be recalled are equal to 2b) expressed as a multiple of the
column diameter (2a) and denoted by s (= b/a).
On the basis of the above finding a conclusion may be drawn, viz.: a
column spacing of larger than 4 diameters makes the system inefficient even
under the most favorable conditions (see the second column in Table 1). A
second conclusion is that, as expected, column spacing does indeed play a
major role in the performance of the system.

Performance ratio (PR) for various spacings and compaction, Es = 1000 kPa, v = 0.2

Angle of internal friction

Spacing, s #=&I” #=41” #= 38”

1.5 0.15 0.2 0.27

2 0.31 0.39 0.48
3 0.56 0.64 0.72
4 0.71 0.78 0.83
6 0.85 0.89 0.92
10 0.94 0.96 0.97

6,cm 0 L=5m,2a=l m
I 6
0 L=10 m, 2a=I m
3 + L=15 m, 2a=1 m
(b) i
< I I I I I I
kl I
10 20 30
foundation settlement 6, cm

of shear band
.6 00 L=S
m, 2a=.S
2a=1 mm

foundation settlement 6, cm

Fig. 4. Effect of column length on the performance ratio.

56 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

Length and diameter of the stone columns

In Fig. 4b the PR/6 (performance ratio vs settlement of the foundation)
curves for three different column lengths (5, 10 and 15 m) are shown. The
three curves almost coincide, indicating that this dimension, the length of the
stone column, has negligible effect on the performance of the system. A point
worthy of note is that in the case of the shortest column (length 5 m) the
column is likely to “fail” at higher settlements (6 in excess of 15 cm) by
forming, possibly, shear bands. This is evident from Fig. 4a.
The effect of column diameter on the behavior of the foundation is similar
to that of its length. It is very mild and thus can be neglected, see Fig. 4c.
In view of the foregoing evaluations it is concluded that the only physical
dimension that effects system performance is the column spacing, defined by;

Behavior of stone columns 57

Poisson’s ratio v
Like ES, the influence of v on the performance ratio is quite small. For
example, assuming a column spacing of 2 and a very compact gravel
(4 = 449, the variation in this ratio (i.e. the PR value) is from 0.32 to 0.31 for
a Poisson’s ratio ranging from 0 to 0.5. The corresponding values for less
compact stones (4=41”) are 0.414.38 and for the uncompacted column
(4= 38”) 0.524.45., as in Fig. 5. In the range of recommended values for soft
clays, 0.15-0.25 [8], the variation is quite small and negligible even for an
uncompact column. It is concluded, therefore, that based on the assumptions
made in this paper, a soft soil’s mechanical properties do not appear to play
a major role in the overall performance of the foundation system. Recall that
performance is measured by the PR value only.

Mechanical properties of the stones in columns

The two relevant mechanical properties of the stone fills are the maximum
angle of friction $J and a measure of the stiffness of the stone fragments after
placement and compaction in the holes. It is customary to specify the stiff-
ness of any granular material by its so called “initial tangent modulus”
which is the slope of a tangent to the stress-strain curve drawn at the origin
of the plot (i.e. where &1= 0). A more objective measure is the failure strain,
defined as the strain ,sl required to reach the peak stress (failure) point in the
stress-strain curve. In the present paper the failure strain, which will be
denoted by Er, is used. Note that in the stress-strain curves shown in Fig. 2a
the failure strains are 4% for @=44”, 5% for $=41” and 7% for $= 38”.
These curves (shown in Fig. 2a) will be referred to, in this paper, as the
standard curves and the columns filled with these as the standard columns.

I I I 1 I
.I .2 .3 .4 .5
Poisson’s ratio. v

Fig. 5. Effect of Poisson’s ratio on the performance ratio.

58 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

Failure strain ef
Table 3 shows the effect of the failure strain on the computed PR values. In
this table the middle column in each category represents the PR associated
with the standard column. The numbers to the left of the middle columns are
those associated with a stiffer column (the failure strain, Er, for the material
used in their construction is chosen to be equal to one half of the standard
failure strain) while those to the right belong to a “less stiff column” for
which &r= 2&r (standard). The column stiffness does have an influence on the
PR value (see Fig. 6) although the influence does not appear to be as pro-
found as expected. Nevertheless its influence must be taken into account
when preparing the design charts.
Before leaving this section it must be pointed out that in the preparation of
Table 3 the total volumetric strain experienced by the “non-standard” sam-
ples has been assumed to remain the same as those of the standard samples.
Thus, for example, for the standard sample with a $=44” (Er=4%) the total
volumetric strain is, from Fig. 2b, about 10%. This value has been retained
in both the case of Er= 2% and Er= 8%.

Angle of friction q!~

From Fig. 2e it is obvious that this parameter is likely to play an important
role and therefore must be included in the final solution; i.e. the function PR
must contain 4 as an independent variable.

Initial ambient stresses

Before the columns are installed the horizontal component of stress in the
ground is given by the equation Kay ‘z where z is the depth below grade and
K0 is the coefficient of the at rest earth pressure for the soft clay. Installation
of the columns increases this pressure to a higher value. If the soft soil were a
non-yielding material then the value of the initial ambient stress would be
Key’z where K0 would now be equal to the at rest earth pressure coefficient

Effect of failure strain on the performance ratio

Spacing, s Angle of internal friction

$=44” f#l=41” _ (b=38”

&f=2a &f=4 Ef”5 &f= 2.5 &f=s &f= 10 &f= 3.5 &f=l &f= 14

1.5 0.1 0.15 0.21 0.15 0.20 0.27 0.24 0.27 0.34
2 0.23 0.31 0.41 0.31 0.39 0.51 0.45 0.48 0.59
3 0.46 0.56 0.67 0.56 0.64 0.75 0.70 0.72 0.81
4 0.62 0.71 0.80 0.71 0.78 0.85 0.81 0.83 0.90

“Value of .q in %.
Behavior of stone columns 59

I c

Figure 6, a- Performance
I Ratio vs.
Spacing for Stone Columns, Standard I

= 38’, q=14%
,=41° , q=lO%
= 44‘-‘, Ed=8%

Figure 6,b- Performance Ratio vs. Spacing

for Stone Colnmns Less Stiff than Standard

9 = 38O, ~,=3.5%

$I=410 , q=2.5%

0 = ‘MO, Er=2%

Figure 6, c- Performance Ratio vs. Spacing

Ifor Floating Stone Coh~mns Stiffer than Standard I

Fig. 6. Performance ratio vs spacing for (a) standard stone columns; (b) stone columns less
stiff than standard; (c) floating stone columns stiffer than standard.
60 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

of the stones. However, the soft soil would yield and during the act of com-
paction the lateral stress would certainly rise above this level. Once the
compaction is stopped relaxation causes the stresses to reduce to a lower
level, the magnitude of which cannot be decided with any accuracy. In spite
of this, and since the aim of the study at this stage is a sensitivity test, it was
decided to run an additional test by assuming a K0 value 25% in excess of the
K0 of the stone fillings. That is, Ke = 1.25( 1-sin@). The results are shown in
Table 4. A comparison of the PR values from this table and those presented
in the second column of Table 1 shows that the initial stresses are not likely
to be an issue. In this context it must be emphasized that the present analysis
is unable to account for the initial shear stresses produced at the column-soft
soil interface. The magnitudes of the inter-boundary shear stresses are prob-
ably small however and may be ignored.
This completes the study of the performance of end bearing stone columns.
The main conclusion to be drawn is a simple one and may be represented by
the equation;

PR = PR(s,4, q) (11)


The design charts produced here are based on derived in the last section. For
a proposed s, 4 and ar they provide the value of PR which is, in turn, given
by the equation;

E’ (12)

In Eqn 12 6 is the settlement of the foundation system, His the height of the
soft soil layer, UDL is the magnitude of the uniformly distributed load sup-
ported by the mat plus the self weight of the mat per unit area and E’ is the
modified Young’s modulus for the soft soil corrected for the Poisson’s ratio effect.
Three charts (see Fig. 6) are produced here assuming a value of v= 0 as
this provides the most conservative estimate of PR. The case where s = 1
represents a situation where the soft soil is completely dug out and replaced
by stones! Spacings larger than 4 diameters are not considered efficient.

Performance ratio for & 25% in excess of K0

Spacing, s 1.5 2 3 4 6 10

PR value 0.14 0.29 0.54 0.69 0.84 0.94

Observed settlement of foundations on stone columns

Testfoundation Soil Stone column Observed settlement Reference

ratio, n
No. Type Cohesion Modulus Friction Diameter Depth Spacing Area UDL
c, (@a) J% (kpa) 9 (“) (mm) (m) (m) ratio (kpa)
1 E 15 - 1500 -50 1100 18 2.1 25 1200 3.4 Castelli et al. [9]
Munkfakh et al. [13] 2
2 B 25 - 2500 -40 1000 10.5 2 22 220 2.5 Watt et al. [ 121
3 ST 15 - 1500 -40 1000 6.5 2.1 20 150 2.6 Watt et al. [ 121 R
4a ST 20 - 2000 -40 1000 6 2.1 20 150 2.8 Watt et al. [ 121 s
4b ST 20 - 2000 -40 1000 6 1.9 33 150 3.4 Watt et al. [ 121 3
4c ST 20 - 2000 -40 lob0 6 1.9 33 150 4.2 Watt et al. [12] 1
4d ST 20 - 2000 -40 1000 6 1.9 33 150 3.0 Watt et al. [ 121
4e ST 20 - 2000 -40 1000 6 1.9 33 150 3.1 Watt et al. [ 121
4f ST 20 - 2000 -40 1000 6 1.9 33 150 3.6 Watt et al. [ 121

Notes: B = building foundation, E = embankment foundation, ST = storage tank foundation.

Observed settlement of foundations on lime columns

Test foundation Soil Lime column Observed settle- Reference

ment ratio, n
No. Type Cohesion Modulus Cohesion Diameter Depth Spacing Area Modulus UDL
c, (kpa) E, (kpa) c, (kpa) (mm) (ml (m) ratio (kpa)
(%) (k?a)

Sa B 10 650 N 200 500 4 1.3 11 15000 20 4.0 Bredenberg &

Broms [15]
5b E 10 650 - 200 500 5 1.4 10 15000 IO 3.4 Bredenberg &
Broms [15]
6 E 12 600 -150 500 6 1.4 9 9500 50 1.7 Broms &
Bowman [l]
Notes: B = building foundation, E = embankment foundation.
Behavior of stone columns 63


Several results of field records of stone columns of different densities in wide

foundations on cohesive soils of various strengths have been published [4,9-
13]. Meyerhof [ 141 made a comparison of these results with the predictions
made using the simple Eqn (8) due to Priebe. The difficulty is, of course, a
correct estimation of the stiffness ratio EC/Es, since as demonstrated above EC
is not a constant but a variable which is heavily dependent on the magnitude
of the ambient stress as well as the physical properties of the stones in the
columns (such factors as their strength and degree of compaction.)
Tables 5 and 6 present some field data from tests carried out on both stone
columns and lime columns. These data are plotted in Fig. 7 and compared
with the results of computations using the above analysis, curves (ak(c) of
the figure. The coordinates used in Fig. 7 are the settlement ratio, n, and area
ratio A,. Given the uncertainties involved in estimation of the various factors
the agreement obtained between the analysis and the field observations is
judged to be satisfactory.




10 20 30 40
Area ratio Ar(=A,/A), %

Fig. 7. Settlement ratio vs area ratio for stone columns and lime columns. Comparison of
analytical results with field data.
64 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

Also shown in the figure are certain field results from tests conducted on
lime columns. Here, the Priebe equation, which as pointed out earlier, is a
special case of the more general equation derived in this study, Eqn (7), agrees
well with the field test results. The Priebe equation is represented by the line
marked (d) for which the following data has been used; E, = 15000 kPa,
E, = 650 kPa. Using the same data and upper bound values for the Poisson’s
ratio of the soil (v,=O.25) and the lime column (v,=O.5), Eqn (7) is repre-
sented by the line marked (e) in the figure. Note that two of the test results
fall within the zone bordered by the Priebe equation and Eqn (7) which may
be viewed as the lower and the upper bounds for the settlement ratio,


Based on the studies presented in this paper it may be concluded that the
factors that most severely effect the performance of a stone column founda-
tion scheme are the spacing (or the area ratio) and the degree of compaction
of the material in the columns which, in turn, control their strength, stiffness
and dilatation properties.


1. Broms, B. B. and Bowman, P., Stabilization of Soil with Lime Columns. Design
handbook, Department of Soil and Rock Mechanics. Royal Institute of Tech-
nology, Stockholm, 1977.
2. Mitchell, J. K., Fundamentals of Soil Behavior. J. Wiley and Sons, Inc., New
York, NY, 1991.
3. Poulos, H. G. and Davis, E. H., Pile Foundation Analysis and Design. J. Wiley
and Sons, Inc., New York, NY, 1980.
4. Priebe, H., Abschatzung des setzungsverhaltens eines durch stopfverdichtung ver-
besserten baugrundees Die Bautechnik, 1976,54, 16&162.
5. Balaam, N. P. and Booker, J. R., Analysis of rigid rafts supported by granular
piles. Int. J. for Num. and Anal. Methods in Geomech., 1981, 5, 379403.
6. Poorooshasb, H. B. and Madhav, M. R., Application of rigid plastic dilatancy
model for prediction of granular pile settlement. Proceedings of the 5th ICON-
MIG, Nagoya, Japan, 1985, pp. 1805-1808.
7. Schweiger, H. F. and Pande, G. N., Numerical analysis of stone column sup-
ported foundations . Computers and Geotechnics, 1986, 2(6), 347-372.
8. Das, B. M., Principles of Geotechnical Engineering. PWS-KENT Publishing
Company, Boston, USA, 1990.
9. Castelli, R. J., Sarkar, S. K. and Munkfakh, G. A., Ground treatment in the
design and construction of a wharf structure. Proceedings of the International
Conference on Advances in Piling and Ground Treatment for Foundations.
Institution of Civil Engineers, London, 1983, pp. 275-28 1.
Behavior of stone columns 65

10. Greenwood, D. A. and Kirsch, K., Special ground treatment by vibratory and
dynamic methods. Proceedings of the International Conference on Advances in
Piling and Ground Treatment for Foundations. Institution of Civil Engineers,
London, 1983, pp. 1745.
11. Hughes, J. M. 0. and Withers, A. J., Reinforcing of soft cohesive soils with
stone columns. Ground Engineering, 1974, 7, 4249.
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founded on soft cohesive soils strengthened by compacted granular columns.
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Treatment for Foundations. Institute of Civil Engineers, London, 1983, pp.


Derivation of Eqns (1) and (2)

The increment of the principal major strain d&i has two components; the
elastic and the plastic component. The elastic component is usually small and
may be ignored. The plastic component is derived from a potential function
CJJand with a magnitude depending on the amount of yielding, represented by
the function5 Thus


where h is a proportionality factor, and in terms of the stress parameter used

in this paper, n=al/a+
The functions ~0 and f are given by co= cr3&q) and f= r]. Thus
&p/&r, = d(n); df = dq, which upon substitution in Eqi Al. 1 results in;

d&l = ~(~)g-+)d~ (Al .2)

66 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

Equation (A1.2) may now be integrated to show .sl =E~(v). The inverse of
this relation, viz.;

rl= +I) (Al .3)

establishes Eqn (1)

Similarly it may be shown that;

d&s = WV(~) - rl&rl)dn (A1.4)

or &3= am. And since V= &t(q) + 2~~(n) = V(q) = V [I] = V(E~) in view of
Eqn (A1.3). Thus Eqn (2) is established.

Derivation of Eqns (4) and (5)

For convenience the solution will be obtained by superposition of the results

from the two cases shown in Fig. A.l. The situation shown in (i) shows
a thick cylinder which is constrained from movement at its base and its



Fig. A.1. Thick cylinder under internal pressure p and constrained from movement at its
outer radius.
Behavior of stone columns 67

exterior wall. A rigid frictionless piston forces the upper surface of the
cylinder downwards and in doing so causes the hole to reduce its diameter.
This is analogous to the action of the rigid mat supported by the stone
columns. The case shown in (ii) represents the column-soil interaction. It is
the well known thick cylinder problem. The stone column, because of its
tendency to deform laterally, exerts certain stresses on the interior wall of the
cylinder and causes the hole to expand. The solution to the problem (i.e.
Eqns (4) and (5) of the main text) are obtained by making the displacement
of the two cases compatible.
Case (i) will be treated first. In view of the axisymmetry of the problem and
with reference to the coordinate system shown in the figure the only non-zero
components of the stress tensor are err, O@ and oZZ= p. It will be assumed
that p is constant, a fact that will be demonstrated later on. The corre-
sponding strain components are Ebb,&06and E,, =E]. The use of p and &1
are in conformity with the notation employed in the main text. To ensure
equilibrium and compatibility of strains the following relations must hold;

-==l(q(j-orr) (A2.1)
dr r



& rr = $[Gr - +ee+P)] (A2.3)


%9 = ; [%x3
- V(Gr+ P)] (A2.4)

Using the last two equations it may be shown that;

E v(1 + v)
CT --
rr - 1 - Err + VEee + (A2.5)
E ’



68 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

Substituting the values of err and 0 88-~,, from Eqns (A2.5) and (A2.6a) in
Eqn (A2.1) and noting that E~Q= -u/r, F,,.= -du/dr (note the geomechanics
sign convention) results in;


In Eqn (A2.7) u is the component of the displacement vector along the r

axis. The other non-zero component of this vector is denoted by w and is the
displacement along the z axis. The solution to Eqn (A2.7) is;

u=Ar+- (A2.8)

which must be solved subject to the condition that at r =b, u=O and that at
r = a, B,, = 0. The first condition immediately yields;


Substituting for A in Eqn (A2.8) noting that Ed@=-u/r, F,,= -du/dr,

using Eqn (A2.5) and finally invoking the boundary condition at r = a results
in the value of B, viz.;

B= _‘(l +‘> a2b2

E ’ (b2 + a=) - v(b2 - a=)

Substituting for the values of A and B in Eqn (A2.8) results in the equation;

U v(l + v) b2 - a2
- r=a = - (A2.11)
r E ’ (b2 + a=) - v(b2 - a=)

Substituting for see + E,, in Eqn (A2.6b) and using the results in conjunc-
tion with the constitutive law F,, = ,sl = l/E Ip-v (CT,,+ am)] yields;

‘1 = E(lp_ v) [(I - ’ - 2v2) + 2v2(1 + ‘) (b2 + a2) :=,,@2 _ a2)] (A2.12)

Note that for constant Ed, p is a constant (and does not depend on r). This
justifies the claims regarding the constancy of p made earlier. Also note that
if a=0 then;
Behavior of stone columns 69

Et + E’=
1 -v-2$

The results expressed by Eqns (A2.11) and (A2.12) are for case (i) of
Fig. A. 1. To complete the solution of the problem the results from case (ii) in
Fig. A.l, must be obtained and superimposed on these results. Thus the final
results obtained are;

_U 1 (b2 - a2)(1 + v)
(b2 + a2) - v(b2 - a2)
r !.=*= -E*

2v 1 -v-2v2 (1 + v)u2
&zz = El = l_v 2v (A2.14)
+ (b2 + a2) - v(b2 - a2) h

where A= [vp-(I-~)a~]. Noting that, ~3= --u/$=~, eliminating h between

the last two equations and with some rearrangement of terms, Eqn (4) of
the main text is obtained. Finally, substituting for h in Eqn (A2.13) yields
Eqn (5) after some rearrangement of the terms.

Derivation of Eqn (7)

For reasons of convenience Eqns (4) and (5) of the main text may be written

p = A(&* - B&3) (A3.1)

a3 = Cp - DEB

where A,B,C and D are as defined in the main text (following Eqn (7)). Also,
the axial strain is given by the equation;

81 = i(q
- 2v,q) (A3.2)

Finally the equilibrium of the raft in the vertical direction requires that;

b2 - a2
UDL=pi--to,; (A3.3)

Noting that &3= -VIES, the first equation of the set (A3.1) reduces to;
70 H. B. Poorooshasb and G. G. Meyerhof

p = A(1 + B&)&I (A3.4)

Substituting for this value of p in the second equation, the same set
provides the value of cr3;

CT3 = AC( 1 + BV,)E, + DV,EI

which when inserted in Eqn (A3.2) yields;

(T] = {E, + 2v,[AC( 1 + Bv,) + Dv,]}E, (A3.5)

Substituting for p and CT] from Eqns (A3.4) and (A3.5) in Eqn (A3.3)
results in Eqn (7) of the main text.