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Why are observed settlements in reclamation normally larger than calculated?

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Settlement in reclamation area occurs as a result of primary consolidation (i.e. by dissipation of excess pore water pressure) and secondary compression which involves creep of soils. Creep of soils occurs by viscous squeezing out of absorbed water in double layers of clay particles and rearrangement of clay particles under loading.

In the calculation of settlement in reclamation, there are generally two methods available. The first method assumes that creep occurs during the process of primary consolidation, which appears to be logically correct. On the other hand, the second method assumes that creep of soils occurs after primary consolidation and hence at the end of consolidation period the calculation settlement is equal to primary consolidation only without any consideration of creep effects. This method of settlement calculation is well adopted by most consulting firms and hence leads to underestimation of total settlement.

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This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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