An Analysis of Consolidation Theories

by Robert L. Schiffman,
Albert T-F Chen,
Jane C. Jordan,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1969, Vol. 95, Issue 1, Pg. 285-312

Document Type: Journal Paper


This paper analyzes the one-, pseudo three- and three-dimensional theories of consolidation. The particular problem of a strip load on a half-plane is solved for the complete stress field. The Mandel-Cryer effect is noted and analyzed in terms of its physical motivation and influence on failure conditions. Attention is drawn to the lateral distribution of excess pore pressure and maximum shear stress. The effect of pore pressure spreading is noted. Three-dimensional pseudo and three-dimensional theories are compared. The pseudo theory is not a good approximation to three-dimensional consolidation. An analysis of thick clay layers is made using London clay an an example. Predictions of the progress of consolidation by three-dimensional theory are approximately one order of magnitude faster than by conventional theory. It is concluded that three-dimensional theory models the consolidation process better than other comparable theories. It is recommended that field experience by developed to enable appropriate interpretation of this theory.

Subject Headings: Shear stress | Soil analysis | Failure analysis | Pore pressure | Clays | Three-dimensional models | Three-dimensional analysis | Load factors | London | United Kingdom | Europe

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