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Why Use Stone Column

High speed installation that allows production of up to 10,000 linear meter per rig a month. It is more economical than piling. Percentage of savings per meter square ranges from 20% to 70% depending on the pile spacing, length and capacity.

Significantly simplifies substructure design and construction compared to piling. Eliminate the needs of providing continuous pilecap / individual pilecap, cutting / lengthening of pile reinforcement for pilecap.

A layer of sand blanket is more than adequate to load and start the stone column installation onto the treatment area. Significantly reduces consolidation settlement of subsoil up to 2 to 5 times lesser compare to untreated subsoil.

Immediately increases the shear strength and friction angle of treated soil and thus increases both short term and long term stability. Eliminate the need of counterweight berm.

No waiting period required after installation of stone column as compared to PVD. Full Height Embankment construction can proceed immediately after installation of the stone column. Back to top

Background of Stone Column

Stone Column, also known as Vibro Replacement, is a technique used for improving weak fills such as ex-mining slime and natural soils (soft Clay and soft Slit). Stone Column is considerably cheaper and quieter than the traditional method, piling - which is more costly and noisy during installation.

This technique has been used with great confidence in the European and American Market since the early 70s. Since the introduction of Vibro Replacement (Stone Column) system to Malaysia in 1996, the system has been accepted and adopted successfully for most highway and railway projects.

Vibro Replacement / Stone Column is found to be the most effective method in improving soft Marine Clay, that exists extensively along the coastal line of peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. This method can also treat loose/ soft reclamation land, as well as exmining slime that are found in Major townships like Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh. Back to top

Vibro Probe Technology This technology was originally developed with a research programme with Leeds University. The invented probe, which utilizes hydraulic technology, has been proven in providing a better service life over conventional Vibro probes. The design of the probe also ensures quick exchanges of critical components in the event of a failure on site. Back to top

Vibro Probe Specifications Power : 117 to 306 kW Frequency : 30 to 60 Hz Tip amplitude : Up to 22 mm (1 inch) Diameters : 200 to 400 mm, not including side wing (8 to 16 inches)

Length : Variable Type : Water Jet Top and Bottom feed Back to top

Workmanship / Quality Control

All stages of the processes are controlled and supervised by experienced and Conscientious personnel.

Rapid information transfer across the world 100 % quality control assured Client confidence Able to record numerous variables to suit contract needs:-

Depth Compaction and hydraulic pressures Stone consumption

The Installation process of every single column is recorded by using the computer logger. Both hard and soft copies of the installation records are made available for the consultant to monitor on the quality of stone column formed.

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Techniques for Forming Stone Columns

The probe penetrates into soft cohesive soils to reach the predetermined depth under its own weight, vibration of eccentric motor and high pressure water jetting. The high pressured jet flushes away subsoils while at the same time, serve as temporary casing in keeping the penetrated hole open. The probe is lifted and re-insert a couple of times to create an enlarged bored hole. Once the hole is created, successive charges of crushed stone or gravel are introduced and inserted into the hole in increments of 500mm. The Vibro probe is then lowered back into the hole to compact the imported stone to form a dense column interlocking with the surrounding ground. This process is being repeated in every 500mm lift to form a compacted stone column. Back to top

Stone Column Installation Methodology


The Vibro Probe penetrates by means of vibration and water jetting to the desired level. Stones are placed around the annulus of the Vibro Probe where it descents and compacted at the tip of the Vibro

The process is continued and repeated till the tip of the probe reaches the surface. Compaction and pressures are being monitored at all times.

What are Stone Columns?

Soils with appreciable silt or clay content do not respond to deep vibratory compaction. To improve these cohesive soil types to allow building and other heavy construction, it is necessary to create stiff reinforcing elements in the soil mass. The stone column technique, also known as vibro-replacement or vibro-displacement, is a ground improvement process where vertical columns of compacted aggregate are formed through the soils to be improved. These columns result in considerable vertical load carrying capacity and improved shear resistance in the soil mass. Stone columns are installed with specialized vibratory probes, generally having a horizontal mode of vibration. Column diameters of 2 to 5 feet can be achieved, depending upon soil conditions and design requirements. The vibrator first penetrates to the required depth by vibration and air or water jetting or by vibration alone. Gravel is then added at the tip of the vibrator and progressive raising and repenetration of the vibrator results in the gravel being pushed into the surrounding soil. The soil-column matrix results in an overall mass having a high shear strength and a low compressibilty.

What Soils are Suitable?

Any soil type that does not respond to vibration alone is a candidate for stone columns. These soils include silty and clayey sands, silts, clays, and some layered soils where damping of vibrations occurs. Often very fine sands will not respond well to vibration, because of their low permeability, but can be improved with stone columns.

The largest worldwide application of stone columns, however, is for improvement of old fill soils, including rubble fills.

What Sites are Suitable?

Stone columns have been used in nearly every type of civil construction. Projects in the U.S. have included residential, commercial, and industrial buildings, dams, storage tanks, power plants, highways, landslide corrections, liquefaction mitigation, stabilization of cofferdams, and other applications. Stone columns can be used adjacent to existing buildings without causing damage from vibrations.

How Much Improvement is Possible?

The degree of improvement is dependent on the soil characteristics and the spacing of the columns. The stone columns can be arranged to fit varying soil conditions and design requirements, but generally vary from 5 to 10 feet on center. Although the soil-column system must be considered as a unit in terms of both compressibility and shear strength, the individual columns often have axial load-carrying capacities of 40 tons or more. Generally, for building construction, stone columns are used only beneath the building foundations.