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Stone Columns are applied to improve cohesive soils. Although the equipment and procedure are the same as for the vibro compaction of non-cohesive soils, the inherent principles with regard to the improvement are completely different. The fact that the effects of both techniques overlap each other must not lead to wrong design criteria and/or wrong interpretations of the results.
Stone Columns are not independent structural members like piles. Theoretical approaches for the design are facilitated if the improvement is related to the conditions of the surrounding soil. However, approximations are indispensable, especially with regard to the interpretation of load tests which are the only reliable method of in-situ testing.
Ground improvement, vibro compaction, stone columns, foundation design, load test
Senior Soils Engineer, Keller Grundbau GmbH, Offenbach,