Challenges and solutions towards natural prefabricated vertical drains

Thang Trung Nguyen, Buddhima Indraratna and Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn

In recent years, natural fibres such as jute and coir are emerging as a reasonable alternative to synthetic materials because they do not only have favourable engineering characteristics but also degrade biologically over time. Of promising applications of those environmentally friendly materials, natural prefabricated vertical drains (NPVDs) have received considerable attention, however their application is still limited. This paper summarises existing issues which are hampering these novel drains from a wider application, followed by studies carried out by the authors to overcome those limitations. Particularly this includes: (1) hydraulic properties of NPVDs considering macro and micro features; (2) modelling NPVDS including analytical method and a novel numerical approach to capture micro-hydraulic behavior of fibre drains considering fluid-fibre interaction; (3) bioderadable characteristics of NPVDs exposed to saturated soft soils; (4) analytical and numerical solutions to incorporate biodegradation of NPVDs into consolidation of soil.