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Frontiers of Structural and Civil Engineering

Front. Struct. Civ. Eng.    2018, Vol. 12 Issue (1) : 67-80     https://doi.org/10.1007/s11709-017-0399-5
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Assessment of an alternative to deep foundations in compressible clays: the structural cell foundation
Sergio A. MARTÍNEZ-GALVÁN(), Miguel P. ROMO
Institute of Engineering, National University of Mexico, Mexico City 04510, Mexico
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Abstract

The new type of deep foundation for buildings on saturated, compressible-low strength clayey soil deposits, branded structural cell essentially consists of a rigid concrete top slab, structurally connected to reinforced concrete peripheral walls (diaphragms) that enclose the natural soil. Accordingly, as the initial volume of the confined soft clays within the lateral stiff diaphragms will remain constant upon loading, the hollowed structural cell will be “transformed” into a very large cross-section pillar of unit weight slightly higher than that of the natural soft clayey soil. This type of foundation seems to be a highly competitive alternative to the friction pile-box foundations (widely used in Mexico City clays), due to its economic and environmental advantages. Economies result, for example, from the absence of huge excavations hence sparing the need of earth retaining structures. Further savings result from appreciably smaller concrete volumes required for building the structural cell than the friction pile-box foundation; moreover, the construction time of the former is much shorter than that of the latter. Regarding the impact to the environment, less air contamination follows from the fact that both traffic jams and soil excavation lessen appreciably. Considering these facts and others regarding scheduling, it was decided to replace 48-friction pile-box foundations specified in the master plan project by this new type of foundation. The overall behavior of these cell foundations over a five-year period is fared from close visual observations and their leveling during the first three years after their construction.

Keywords deep foundations      bearing capacity      resistant moment      structural cell      3D numerical modeling     
Corresponding Author(s): Sergio A. MARTÍNEZ-GALVÁN   
Online First Date: 16 June 2017    Issue Date: 08 March 2018
 Cite this article:   
Sergio A. MARTÍNEZ-GALVÁN,Miguel P. ROMO. Assessment of an alternative to deep foundations in compressible clays: the structural cell foundation[J]. Front. Struct. Civ. Eng., 2018, 12(1): 67-80.
 URL:  
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fsce/EN/10.1007/s11709-017-0399-5
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fsce/EN/Y2018/V12/I1/67
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Sergio A. MARTÍNEZ-GALVÁN
Miguel P. ROMO
Fig.1  Structural cell foundation diagram
Fig.2  Half of the numerical model
Depth/mUSCSdensity ρ/(kN m-3)elastic modulus E/(kPa)Poisson ratio νcohesion c/(kPa)internal friction angle f/(°)
0.0–6.0SM15.34076.20.3045.030.0
6.0–8.0CH11.73105.20.4920.00.0
8.0–9.0SC14.04215.30.3057.725.0
9.0–10.0CH12.82239.40.4920.00.0
10.0–11.0SC14.04171.90.3057.724.0
11.0–16.0CH13.22181.40.4937.00.0
16.0–17.5CH13.02687.80.4957.70.0
17.5–20.5CH13.22992.10.4975.00.0
20.5–23.0CH13.03041.90.4951.50.0
23.0–24.0CH13.04319.30.4976.90.0
24.0–25.0CH13.03024.70.4956.20.0
25.0–27.0SM15.07681.00.3093.039.8
27.0–29.0SM15.09655.20.3075.231.8
29.0–32.5SM15.010608.60.3090.134.4
32.5–34.0SM15.012412.90.30113.137.2
Tab.1  Short-term soil mechanical parameters
depth/mUSCSshear modulus G/(kPa)
0.0–6.0SM9678.0
6.0–8.0CH6605.0
8.0–9.0SC8520.0
9.0–10.0CH6159.0
10.0–11.0SC8507.0
11.0–16.0CH7320.0
16.0–17.5CH7019.0
17.5–20.5CH6685.0
20.5–23.0CH6852.0
23.0–24.0CH6206.0
24.0–25.0CH6794.0
25.0–27.0SM10312.0
27.0–29.0SM13712.0
29.0–32.5SM16187.0
32.5–34.0SM19280.0
Tab.2  Soil mechanical parameters for pseudo-static analysis
depth/mUSCScohesion ć/kPainternal friction angle f´/(°)Poisson ratio νvirgin coefficient of volume change mvv/m2N-1recompression coefficient of volume change mvr/ m2N-1OCR
0.0–6.0SM45.030.00.30---------
6.0–8.0CH20.019.50.301.6200.54000.98
8.0–9.0SC57.725.00.30---------
9.0–10.0CH10.020.00.301.0500.35001.02
10.0–11.0SC57.724.00.30---------
11.0–16.0CH21.034.40.300.4900.16331.35
16.0–17.5CH10.020.00.300.4760.15871.38
17.5–20.5CH40.046.40.300.5900.19671.45
20.5–23.0CH10.020.00.300.5450.18171.52
23.0–24.0CH10.020.00.300.4320.14401.42
24.0–25.0CH12.038.60.300.4760.15871.46
25.0–27.0SM35.039.80.30---------
27.0–29.0SM42.031.80.30---------
29.0–32.5SM45.034.40.30---------
32.5–34.0SM55.037.20.30---------
Tab.3  Long-term soil mechanical parameters
typeelastic modulus E/kPaPoisson ratio ν
fill2.50E+040.30
cover slab2.62E+070.20
walls2.21E+070.20
Tab.4  Elastic parameters of concrete elements and compacted fill
analysis directionvertical load V/kNacross load direction along load direction
horizontal load H/kNoverturning moment M/kN·mhorizontal load H/kNoverturning moment M/kN·m
across9,141.62,958.737,198.43,494.622,905.1
along9,141.62,958.718,664.23,494.639,489.8
Tab.5  Load magnitudes applied to the structural cell
Fig.3  Loading scheme for the structural cell foundation numerical analysis
Fig.4  Settlements contours generated by vertical load V
Fig.5  Vertical loading: (a) Failure mechanism (half model) and (b) undrained vertical ultimate bearing capacity
Fig.6  Cell displacements caused by overturning moment
Fig.7  (a) section across of structural cell and loading system, (b) collapse curve for structural cell rotations and c) velocity movement contours for four loading stages: A, B, C and D
Fig.8  Conceptual model to consider hardening compressibility clays
Fig.9  Pore-water pressure profiles used to calculate regional consolidation settlements
Fig.10  Consolidation settlements, across the viaduct
Fig.11  Consolidation settlements, two continuous supports, along the viaduct
Fig.12  Topographic monitoring of three structural cell foundations
date/GMTtime/GMTmagnitude/Mwlatitude/(o)Nlongitude/(o)Wdepth/kmdistance to Mexico city/km
July 29, 201410:46:146.417.63-95.66131.0418.76
July 7, 201411:23:586.914.75-92.6360.0865.89
May 10, 201407:36:016.117.16-100.9512.0321.05
May 8, 201417:00:166.417.11-100.8717.0320.28
Apr. 18, 201414:27:237.217.18-101.1910.0335.78
Aug. 21,201312:38:306.016.79-99.567.0296.87
Nov. 15, 201209:20:226.118.17-100.5240.0201.56
Nov. 7, 201216:35:517.314.08-92.3216.0930.92
Apr. 11, 201222:55:106.417.90-103.0616.0454.84
Apr. 2, 201217:36:426.016.27-98.4710.0355.15
March 20, 201218:02:477.416.25-98.5216.0356.45
Dec. 11, 201101:47:256.517.84-99.9858.0200.98
Apr. 7, 201113:11:226.717.20-94.34167.0556.49
June 6, 201107:22:276.016.22-98.038.0371.52
Tab.6  Earthquakes with magnitude greater than 6.0 between 2011 and 2015, source Centro de Instrumentación y Registro Sísmico, A.C, Mexico City
Fig.13  Current state conditions of a structural cell foundation support and adjacent support on a friction pile-box foundation, June 2016
Fig.14  Traffic lanes obstructed by supports of elevated Metro line-12. Background: friction pile-box foundations. Foreground: structural cell foundations
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