David J. Kerkes, Ph.D., P.E.

Consulting Geotechnical (Civil) Engineer


Analysis of Problems in Settlement and Consolidation

Last Presented in Houston, TX - June 2000
Previously presented through ASCE Continuing Education
Boston, MA, June 96 - Denver, CO, Sept. 96 - Atlanta, GA, Oct. 96
Seattle, WA, Nov. 96 - San Jose, CA, July 97 - Raleigh, NC, Sept. 97

Course Content And Presentation

The short course is intended for engineers who are looking for design tools and methods that can be routinely used to solve practical, real-world problems dealing with stress distribution, settlement, pore pressure development, and consolidation. Participants need to have completed at least one course in soil mechanics and have a basic knowledge of spreadsheets; however, advanced spreadsheet functions will be discussed during the course. The intent is for the participants to gain a better understanding of the technical concepts governing the various problems, along with practical, cost effective methods of analysis.

The course provides a review of basic concepts before moving on to advanced topics, and illustrates how to use spreadsheets to model a variety of problems involving stress distribution, settlement, pore pressure generation, and consolidation. The calculations associated with settlement and consolidation lend themselves well to execution using spreadsheets, as do the basic algorithms for stress distribution. Using solutions to example problems, the course demonstrates how to combine spreadsheet functions, operators, and macros with numerical methods to build models for the analysis of practical problems routinely encountered.

The course is presented as a series of lecture and hands-on computer sessions, and the breakdown is about half and half. During the computer sessions the participants examine and work with spreadsheets that perform the tasks and operations discussed in the lecture session. Two individuals are typically assigned to each computer, which has been found to facilitate the learning process, although participants are welcome to bring their own laptop computers. Microsoft EXCEL is the spreadsheet used for the course, but solutions are also available in Quattro-Pro. The course materials consist of a set of course notes, with copies of select technical papers, example problems, and a computer diskette with copies of numerous spreadsheets discussed during the course, including solutions to the example problems. An outline of the topics and example problems covered in the course is presented below.


Problem Applications

The methods and techniques covered in the course can be applied to numerous problems, including the analysis of:


Course Topics


Example Problems

The purpose of the example problems is to illustrate (a) how to develop the parameters necessary for the analyses, and (b) how to apply the parameters to solutions developed using spreadsheet software. Fourteen spreadsheets are provided to the participants for their subsequent examination and use, including the solutions to six of the example problems. The example problems begin with the simple one-dimensional case, subsequently illustrating how to model the same problem as the load varies with time as in the case of actual construction. The one-dimensional case is then examined further to illustrate how to consider the way that soil properties vary during the consolidation process. The examples continue with the two-dimensional loading condition of an embankment on a compressible foundation, as the applied load varies with time, under two-dimensional drainage conditions. Finally, the solution is presented for the large strain, self-weight consolidation problem associated with a dredge fill.


In-House Presentation

If there are several individuals in your company who are interested in the course, it may be cost effective to have the short course presented in-house. This may also be of interest if there are specific technical areas of importance to your firm, which allows the course to be tailored to your specific needs. Please feel free to contact Dr. Kerkes to discuss this alternative.



David J. Kerkes, Ph.D., P.E.
Consulting Geotechnical Engineer
1311 Mustang Trail
Kingwood, Texas 77339   U.S.A.

281-358-5155             dkerkes@earthlink.net