DFI Journal - The Journal of the Deep Foundations Institute

Volume 3, Issue 1, January 2009
DOI: 10.1179/dfi.2009.004

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Soil Inclusions in Jet Grout Columns
Article Type: Research Paper

Stark, T. D., Axtell, P. J., Lewis, J., Dillon, J., Empson, W., Topi, J. & Walberg, F.


Jet grouting has increasingly become one of the ground improvement technologies used to address seepage concerns and to provide strength improvement of soils. The technique of jet grouting uses high pressure/velocity jet fluids to erode the existing soil and then to mix the cuttings with cement slurry to form soilcrete. Excess slurry or spoil is ejected to the surface. If the native soil is not completely mixed with slurry, the resulting columns will have soil inclusions which can reduce the strength of the column and/or increase the permeability of the column. A jet grout test program at Tuttle Creek Dam shows that the completed large diameter columns contain perhaps 40 to 50% or more of native soil that was not broken up and mixed during the jet grout process. The test program included excavation of full-scale columns to a depth of 35 ft (10.7 m) for visual inspection and testing. Additionally, six of the columns were cut or sectioned to investigate the interior of the columns. The observed inclusions include significant amounts of both fine grained (silts and clays) and coarse grained (fine sands and sands) soils. Evidence suggests at least two explanations: (1) fine grained soils can be difficult to erode and break up into small enough particles that can be ejected to the surface, especially if at low natural water content, and (2) when large diameter columns are being excavated, the excavated roof of the cylindrical cavity may be unstable and may collapse. With this roof instability large slabs of material can break off, fall into the slurry and escape the cutting and mixing action of the rotating jets. This paper describes the Tuttle Creek Dam test program, inclusions observed in the completed columns, and suggests potential causes of the inclusions.

jet grout cutoff walls soil inclusions integrity