Strengthening Soil Foundation using Stone Columns
Stone columns is a ground improvement technique that reinforces the soil with a network of stone compacted columns.
Like most ground improvement techniques, stone columns are used to reduce settlement and increase load-bearing capacity. They also accelerate soil consolidation as a result of the drainage capacity of the granular materials within the columns which act as pore or water pressure evacuation points. Stone columns are particularly effective in improving slope stability and preventing liquefaction by increasing shear strength within a soil.
The technique uses a vibrating probe to penetrate to the necessary depth and to compact the material incorporated. There are a wide variety of construction methods (dry and wet, vibrating probes in the top or bottom of the tool, pendulum or mast-guided system) and methods for incorporating the materials (bottom feed / top feed) that can be used in combination to meet the project requirements and specifications.
Stone Columns FAQ
As a rule they cannot be installed to address geotechnical issues related to load-bearing capacity and settlement, due to lack of lateral confinement and the risk of creep. But they can be considered when the project is designed to provide drainage or slope stability.