Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!
  • Students Click Here

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here


Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Hello fellow members. This is my first post on the Eng-Tips forums so I would just like to say it's a pleasure.

I am verifying the stability of a subsea gravity foundation using API-RP-2A and was wondering if it is even applicable to use a Drained analysis.
As I understand we use a Drained analysis for coarse grain soils (sand/gravel) that have high permeability which allow the water to drain out when loaded. We use an Un-Drained analysis for fine grained soils (clay/silt) which don't allow (at least in the short term) water to drain out.

My question is if considering a soil that is hundreds of meters bellow the mean sea level, is it appropriate to consider a drained analysis. Since we now have massive water column above the foundation level, can water still drain out of the soil under the foundation ?

Much appreciated.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

I suggest you look up how to run a tri-axial compression test. Similar boundary to your example.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?


RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

My "yes" answer was to your question, not the title of the post. If the foundation load is sufficient, water can be "squeezed" from below the foundation.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Hi SM89, the answer is yes.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Thank you very much for your help. Much appreciated!!bigsmile

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

SM89 - may I suggest that you do some research on past geotechnical analyses for foundations in the seabed - including deep piles. In general, as others have posed, undrained analyses are typically used for foundation design. You might wish to see the papers by Robert G Bea and the OTC papers. Drained analysis could be done if one could model the developed pore pressures - but this is not easy nor accurate which is why undrained is normally used.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

I dont think the answer is Drained . You see the soil is in permanant contact with water so shear resistance is reduced to undrained situation for me , also the soil is saturated all the time where the water may dissipate ?

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

@killswitchengage - saturated soil will dissipate pore pressures due to loadings - even under water. Undrained analyses are typically used because it is difficult to determine exactly (or model) the porewater pressure responses to loadings - especially pile loadings. Effective stress (ultimately it becomes drained) response is the "proper" way to analyse soil analyses but, as indicated, may be difficult to do.

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Good point BigH
I just find it hard to use Drained situation at all in this case

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

My understanding was that drained is used for coarse grain soils where the drainage rate is high (porewater pressure dissipates quickly) whereas undrained is used for fine grain soils such as clay where immediately following loading the pore pressure cannot dissipate (quickly!!! over time it will!).

So to put it layman's (thats me :)) terms drained for sand, undrained for clay.

Is this the case or am I mistaken ?

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

With time, SM89, all fine grained soils will drain. Please read my post (up two from yours) . . . undrained is used for fine grained soils because effective stress analysis is difficult to model IF you don't have the porewater pressure response for loadings. Pick up a good geo book showing porewater pressure response to loading . . . (Lambe and Whitman come to mind).

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

Thanks for the recommendation BigH. I guess I have some reading to do !!!

RE: Is subsea soil ONLY undrained ?

To follow up on BigH's comments, sometimes the classic geotechnical texts give a better explanation than the newer texts of the concepts that you need to review . I agree that Lambe and Whitman would be a good one for this subject. They "wrote the book" on lab testing, so their explanations are clearer and more relevant.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


White Paper – Choosing the Right Spring Loaded Connector
In today’s cost-sensitive world, designers are often driven to specify the lowest cost solution for every aspect of their designs to ensure that their solution is competitively priced and their company remains profitable. However, specifying a low-cost, low-quality connector solution can result in premature failure, considerable re-work costs and damage to reputations. Download Now
eBook – Own the Lifecycle: Sustainable Business Transformation
Increasingly, product and services companies are seeking more information and control in the operational lifecycle of their products, including service and use. Better information about the operational lifecycle, and the ability to use that information, requires more than just unstructured data flowing back from products in the field. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close