Soft ground improvement by vacuum assisted preloading

Cholachat Rujikiatkamjorn and Buddhima Indraratna

This paper describes the behaviour of soft soil foundation stabilized with vacuum-assisted preloading at the New Bangkok International Airport, Thailand. An analytical solution considering the variation of soil permeability and compressibility and a finite element analysis based on an equivalent plane strain model developed by the authors are employed to investigate the performance of the test embankment. The converted equivalent plane strain parameters are incorporated in the finite element code ABAQUS. The associated settlement, excess pore pressure and lateral movement are predicted and compared with the available field measurements. The data indicate that the efficiency of the prefabricated vertical drains depends on the magnitude and distribution of vacuum pressure as well as on the extent of air leak protection provided in practice. The height of sand surcharge and consolidation time are significantly reduced in comparison with the conventional method of surcharge alone. The effectiveness of this method, its economies and its merit potential are also discussed.