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FU HUA CHEN (Eds.) Foundations on Expansive Soils 1975

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  • Further titles in this series:

    1. G. S ANGLER AT THE PENETROMETER AND SOIL EXPLORATION

    2. Q. ZARUBA AND V. MENCL LANDSLIDES AND THEIR CONTROL

    3. E.E. WAHLSTROM TUNNELING IN ROCK

    4A.R. SILVESTER COASTAL ENGINEERING, I Generation, Propagation and Influence of Waves

    4B. R. SILVESTER COASTAL ENGINEERING, II Sedimentation, Estuaries, Tides, Effluents and Modelling

    5. R.N. YOUNG AND B.P. WARKENTIN SOIL PROPERTIES AND BEHAVIOUR

    6. E.E. WAHLSTROM DAMS, DAM FOUNDATIONS, AND RESERVOIR SITES

    7. W.F. CHEN LIMIT ANALYSIS AND SOIL PLASTICITY

    8. L.N. PERSEN ROCK DYNAMICS AND GEOPHYSICAL EXPLORATION Introduction to Stress Waves in Rocks

    9. M.D. GIDIGASU LATERITE SOIL ENGINEERING

    10. Q. ZARUBA AND V. MENCL ENGINEERING GEOLOGY

    11. H.K. GUPTA AND B.K. RASTOGI DAMS AND EARTHQUAKES

  • Developments in Geotechnical Engineering 12

    FOUNDATIONS ON EXPANSIVE SOILS

    by

    FU HUA CHEN President, Chen and Associates, Inc., Consulting Soil Engineers, Denver, Colo., U.S.A.

    ELSEVIER SCIENTIFIC PUBLISHING COMPANY Amsterdam Oxford New York 1975

  • E L S E V I E R S C I E N T I F I C P U B L I S H I N G C O M P A N Y

    3 3 5 J a n v a n G a l e n s t r a a t

    P . O . B o x 2 1 1 , A m s t e r d a m , T h e N e t h e r l a n d s

    A M E R I C A N E L S E V I E R P U B L I S H I N G C O M P A N Y , I N C .

    5 2 V a n d e r b i l t A v e n u e

    N e w Y o r k , N e w Y o r k 1 0 0 1 7

    I S B N 0 - 4 4 4 - 4 1 3 9 3 - 6

    C o p y r i g h t 1 9 7 5 b y E l sev i e r S c i e n t i f i c P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , A m s t e r d a m

    All r i g h t s r e s e r v e d . N o p a r t o f t h i s p u b l i c a t i o n m a y b e r e p r o d u c e d , s t o r e d

    in a r e t r i e v a l s y s t e m , o r t r a n s m i t t e d in a n y f o r m o r b y a n y m e a n s , e l e c t r o n i c ,

    m e c h a n i c a l p h o t o c o p y i n g , r e c o r d i n g , o r o t h e r w i s e , w i t h o u t t h e p r i o r w r i t t e n

    p e r m i s s i o n o f t h e p u b l i s h e r .

    E l s ev i e r S c i e n t i f i c P u b l i s h i n g C o m p a n y , J a n v a n G a l e n s t r a a t 3 3 5 , A m s t e r d a m

    P r i n t e d in T h e N e t h e r l a n d s

  • To my wife Edna with love and appreciation.

  • vi

    P R E F A C E

    The problems associated wi th expansive soils are no t widely appreciated outs ide areas of

    their occurrence . The a m o u n t of damage caused by expansive soils is alarming. It has been

    es t imated tha t the damage t o buildings, roads , and o the r s t ruc tures founded on expansive soils

    exceeds t w o billion dollars annual ly.

    In the past 20 years, considerable progress has been m a d e in unders tanding the na ture of

    expansive soils. This new knowledge can be separated in to two categories. The first emphasizes

    the theoret ical approach and is the result of studies mos t ly by academic ins t i tu t ions . Ins t i tu t ional

    research involves soil mineralogy, s t ruc ture , and modif icat ion. Academicians have also advanced

    new theories such as effective stress, soil suct ion, and osmot ic pressure which reveal proper t ies of

    swelling soils previously little k n o w n to engineers. The second category is concerned wi th the

    field performance of expansive soils wi th emphasis on design criteria and cons t ruc t ion

    precaut ions for s t ructures founded on expansive soil. Practical approaches of combat ing the

    swelling soils problem are mos t ly under t aken by soils engineers; therefore , they mus t offer

    practical and economical solut ions to their clients, so tha t the s t ruc ture will be free from

    damaging foundat ion movemen t .

    Unfor tuna te ly , present day knowledge of expansive soils has n o t reached a stage where

    rat ional solut ions can be assigned to the p rob lem. It is difficult for the public to unders tand why

    the soils engineer is n o t capable of offering easy solut ions. When the first crack appears in a

    s t ruc ture , a lawsuit is th rea tened .

    This book provides the practicing engineer wi th a summary of the state-of-the-art of

    expansive soils and practical solut ions based u p o n the au thor ' s exper ience. Part I discusses theory

    and pract ice, and summarizes some of the theoret ical physical proper t ies of expansive soils. It

    also discusses various techniques employed to found s t ructures on expansive soils such as drilled

    pier foundat ion , mat foundat ion , mois ture cont ro l , soil replacement , and chemical stabil ization.

    Part II presents typical case studies. The au tho r has found tha t few records are available on the

    cause of s tructural distress, their remedial measures , and more impor t an t , the degree of success

    after those measures have been comple ted .

    In . the last 15 years , the au tho r has investigated m a n y thousands of building sites*in

    expansive soil areas in the R o c k y Mounta in region. He has also investigated over 1,000 cracked

    buildings and has suggested remedial measures . It is the au thor ' s hope tha t by sharing his

    knowledge and the knowledge of o the r practicing engineers, a be t t e r unders tanding of expansive

    soil p rob lems can be achieved.

    The au tho r wishes to thank the ent i re staff of Chen and Associates for sharing the work load

    while the au thor was devoting his t ime to writ ing this book and also the assistance given by them

    in the prepara t ion of the manuscr ip t . Many thanks to the various consult ing firms, especially

    Woodward-Clyde and Associates, Jorgensen and Hendr ickson, Ketchum-Konkel-Barret t -Nickel-

    Aust in, and . H. Tippets Company for allowing the publ icat ion of their valuable findings. Mr.

    Byron Eskesen has conduc ted mos t of the field investigation and labora tory test ing presented in

    this book .

    Denver, Colorado

    August , 1975

  • Chapter 1

    NATURE OF EXPANSIVE SOILS

    INTRODUCTION

    The prob lem of expansive soils was no t recognized by soil engineers unti l the lat ter par t of

    1930. Prior to 1920, most of the lightly loaded buildings in the United States consisted of frame

    dwellings. Such s t ructures could wi ths tand considerable m o v e m e n t wi thou t exhibi t ing not iceable

    cracks. By 1930, brick veneer residences became widely used. It was then tha t the owner found

    cracks developing in the brick course. The damages were a t t r ibu ted to shoddy cons t ruc t ion and

    se t t lement of the foundat ion at one corner , w i thou t recognit ion of the role of expansive soils.

    The U.S. Bureau of Reclamat ion [1] * first recognized the swelling soil problem in 1938 in

    connect ion wi th a founda t ion for a steel s iphon at their Owyhee Project in Oregon. Since tha t

    t ime, engineers realized the cause of damage was somet imes o the r than se t t lement . The

    increasingly extensive use of concrete slab-on-ground cons t ruc t ion , after 1940, has further

    increased the damage to s t ructures caused by expansive soils.

    Today , there is a world-wide interest in expansive clays and shales. Engineers from Canada,

    Australia, Sou th Africa, Israel, and the United States have cont r ibu ted immensely to the

    knowledge and the proper design for s t ructures on expansive soils. The first significant na t ional

    conference on expansive clay probably was one held at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden,

    Colorado in 1959. The Internat ional Research and Engineering Conference on Expansive Soils

    held their first and second conferences at Texas A & M University in 1965 and 1969, and their

    third conference in Haifa, Israel, in 1973 .

    ORIGIN O F EXPANSIVE SOILS

    G. W. Donaldson [2] classified the parent materials tha t can be associated wi th expansive

    soil in to two groups.

    The first group comprises the basic igneous rocks , such as the basalts of the Deccan Plateau

    in India, the doleri te sills and dykes in the central region of South Africa and the gabbros and

    norit ies west of Pretoria Nor th , Transvaal. In these soils, the feldspar and pyroxene minerals of

    the parent rocks have decomposed to form montmor i l lon i t e and o ther secondary minerals .

    The second group comprises the sedimentary rocks that conta in montmor i l lon i t e as a

    cons t i tuent which breaks d o w n physically to form expansive soils. In Nor th America, bedrock

    shale found in the Pierre Fo rma t ion and the more recent Laramie and Denver Format ions are

    examples of this type of rock. In Israel, there are the marls and l imestones and in South Africa,

    the shale of the Ecca Series.

    *Numbers in brackets refer to items in the references at the end of each chapter.

  • 2 FOUNDATIONS ON EXPANSIVE SOILS

    / V / )

    i i

    r . .

    I. Highland source of. sediments S volcan*: ; materials I V

    m Marine mud j and clay in I ocean basin

    or

    Figure 1. Geographic setting of deposition of Pierre and Bearpaw Shales and related rocks in Late Cretaceous time in Rocky Mountain and Great Plains region. (After Tourtelot, 1973)

    Tour te lo t [3 ] recons t ruc ted the paleogeographic condi t ion in the Rocky Mounta in and

    Great Plains regions as shown on figure 1.

    In the Late Cretaceous t ime, to the west of the Rocky Mounta ins were high-to-moderate

    uplands, and to the east the Great Plains regions were once ocean basins where the Pierre a

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