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Effective-Stress Finite Element Analysis of Spudcan Penetration

[+] Author Affiliations
Jiang Tao Yi, Fook Hou Lee, Siang Huat Goh, Yu Ping Li

National University of Singapore, Singapore

Xi Ying Zhang

Singapore Offshore Technology Center, ABS Pacific, Singapore

Paper No. OMAE2012-83138, pp. 87-94; 8 pages
  • ASME 2012 31st International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering
  • Volume 4: Offshore Geotechnics; Ronald W. Yeung Honoring Symposium on Offshore and Ship Hydrodynamics
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 1–6, 2012
  • Conference Sponsors: Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4491-5
  • Copyright © 2012 by ASME


The numerical modeling of spudcan penetration involves technical challenges posed by large soil deformation coupled with significant material non-linearity. The Lagrangian approach commonly used for solid stress analysis often does not work well with large deformations, resulting in premature termination of the analysis. Recently, the Arbitrary Langrangian Eulerian (ALE) and the Eulerian methods have been used in spudcan analysis to overcome problems caused by the soil flow and large deformation. However, most of the reported studies are based on total stress analysis and therefore shed no light on the excess pore pressures generated during spudcan installation. As a result, much remains unknown about the long-term behaviour of spudcans in the ground, which is affected by the dissipation of excess pore pressures. This paper reports an effective-stress finite element analysis of spudcan installation in an over-consolidated (OC) soft clay. The Eulerian analysis was conducted using ABAQUS/ Explicit, with the effective stress constitutive models coded via the material subroutine VUMAT. The results demonstrated the feasibility of conducting effective-stress finite element analysis for undrained spudcan penetration in OC clays. The paper discusses the flow mechanism, stable cavity depths and bearing capacity factors when spudcan installation occurs in various OC soils. It was found that the pore pressure build-up concentrates in a bulb-shaped zone surrounding the spudcan. The size of the pore pressure bulb increases with increasing penetration. The maximum excess pore pressure, which is generated near the spudcan tip, is predominantly controlled by the undrained shear strength at the tip level.

Copyright © 2012 by ASME



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