Method for Predicting Initial Settlement

by David J. D'Appolonia, (A.M.ASCE), Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; MIT, Cambridge, MA,
T. William Lambe, (F.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; MIT, Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 2, Pg. 523-544

Document Type: Journal Paper


A method of analysis is developed for predicting initial settlement, i.e., settlement due to strains which occur within soil that remains at constant volume. The method employs finite element analysis and includes the following effects: (1) Stress and displacement boundary conditions; (2) soil nonlinearity, nonhomogeneity, and anisotropy; and (3) initial gravity stress in the soil. An example problem is used as a vehicle for qualitatively indicating the importance of initial anisotropic gravity stresses and undrained strength anisotropy with rotation of principal planes to settlement prediction and actual settlement behavior. Also considered is the sensitivity of load-deformation predictions to uncertainties in soil modulus and shear strength. The load-settlement behavior of a footing on clay strongly depends on the stress-strain modulus and the initial state of stress in the soil. The soil modulus in laboratory tests is subject to major uncertainties.

Subject Headings: Soil modulus | Soil stress | Soil analysis | Soil settlement | Finite element method | Stress analysis | Anisotropy | Stress strain relations

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