Performance of penetrometers in deepwater soft soil characterisation

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    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    Offshore developments for hydrocarbon resources have now progressed to water depths approaching 2500 m. Due to the difficulties and high cost in recovering high quality samples from deepwater site, there is increasing reliance on in situ tests such as piezocone and full-flow (i.e. T-bar and ball) penetration tests for determining the geotechnical design parameters. This research was undertaken in collaboration with the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI), as part of a joint industry project, to improve the reliability of in situ tests in determining design parameters and to improve offshore site investigation practice in deepwater soft sediments. In this research, a worldwide high quality database was assembled and used to correlate intact and remoulded shear strengths (measured from laboratory and vane shear tests) with penetration resistances measured by piezocone, T-bar and ball penetrometers. The overall statistics showed similar and low levels of variability of resistance factors for intact shear strength (N-factors) for all three types of penetrometer. In the correlation between the remoulded penetration resistance and remoulded shear strength, the resistance factors for remoulded shear strength (Nrem-factors) were found higher than the N-factors. As a result, the resistance sensitivity is less than the strength sensitivity. The correlations between the derived N-factors and specific soil characteristics indicated that the piezocone N-factors are more influenced by rigidity index than those for the T-bar and ball penetrometers. The effect of strength anisotropy is only apparent in respect of N-factors for the T-bar and ball penetrometers correlated to shear strengths measured in triaxial compression. On the other hand, the Nrem-factors showed slight tendency to increase with increasing strength sensitivity but were insensitive to soil index properties. These findings suggest that the full-flow penetrometers may be used to estimate remoulded shear strength and are potentially prove more reliable than the piezocone in estimating average or vane shear strength for intact soil but the reverse is probably true for the estimation of triaxial compression strength.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009

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