Finite element analysis of an embankment on a soft estuarine deposit using an elastic–viscoplastic soil model

Curtis Kelln, Jitendra Sharma, David Hughes, James Graham

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    A new elastic–viscoplastic (EVP) soil model has been used to simulate the measured deformation response of a soft estuarine soil loaded by a stage-constructed embankment. The simulation incorporates prefabricated vertical drains installed in the foundation soils and reinforcement installed at the base of the embankment. The numerical simulations closely matched the temporal changes in surface settlement beneath the centerline and shoulder of the embankment. More importantly, the elastic–viscoplastic model simulated the pattern and magnitudes of the lateral deformations beneath the toe of the embankment — a notoriously difficult aspect of modelling the deformation response of soft soils. Simulation of the excess pore-water pressure proved more difficult because of the heterogeneous nature of the estuarine deposit. Excess pore-water pressures were, however, mapped reasonably well at three of the six monitoring locations. The simulations were achieved using a small set of material constants that can easily be obtained from standard laboratory tests. This study validates the use of the EVP model for problems involving soft soil deposits beneath loading from a geotechnical structure.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)357-368
    Number of pages12
    JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


    • elastic–viscoplastic
    • finite element analysis
    • stage-constructed embankment
    • prefabricated vertical drains
    • geotextile

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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