Alaa A. Atta, Tarek N. Salem, Essam F. Badrawi


The soil of Tina Plain in Sinai is classified as very soft to soft clay. Buildings on this type of soil experience excessive settlements. Thus, deep foundations are considered as the most suitable type to support building loads. Another option is to use a light-weight material as a partial replacement under footings to decrease the stress on soil and consequently reduce the expected settlements. Expanded polystyrene (EPS) Geofoam blocks have been used as a light-weight-fill material under lightly loaded footings on soft clay soil to reduce settlements. An experimental study has been performed to assess the behavior of footings resting on soft clay, improved with EPS geofoam partial replacement. The experimental study of this research is divided into two parts; the first part is a laboratory program to investigate the mechanical properties of Geofoam. The second part is a field load testing program on small-scale model isolated footings founded on soft clay partially replaced by Geofoam blocks. Square and rectangular footings of dimensions 20 x 20 cm, and 20 x 30 cm respectively are loaded with an equivalent pressure of 50 kPa. The loading is performed stepwise with each step forming one fifth of the total applied load. The Geofoam thickness is varied from 50 mm to 300 mm and the width is varied from 200 mm to 500 mm. The software ABAQUS is used to model and verify the experimental results. Results showed that the geotechnical properties of Geofoam are similar to that of stiff or very stiff soil. Results also showed that replacement of Tina Plain soft clay by Geofoam could be used efficiently to limit foundation settlements of lightly loaded footings within tolerable values


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