AbstractTo investigate the liquefaction mitigation capability of rammed aggregate piers (RAP) in silty sand, blast liquefaction testing was performed at a soil profile treated with a full-scale RAP group relative to an untreated soil profile. The RAP group consisted of 16 piers in a 4×4 arrangement at 2  m center-to-center spacing extending to a depth of 9.5  m. Blasting around the untreated area induced liquefaction (ru≈1.0) from a 3 to 11  m depth, producing several large sand boils and causing a settlement of 10  cm. In contrast, the installation of the RAP group reduced excess pore water pressure (ru≈0.75), eliminated sand ejecta, and reduced the average settlement to between 2 and 5  cm when subjected to the same blast charges. Although the liquefaction-induced settlement in the untreated area could be accurately estimated using an integrated cone penetration test (CPT)-based settlement approach, settlement in the RAP treated area was significantly overestimated with the same approach, even after considering RAP treatment-induced densification. Analyses indicate that settlement after RAP treatment could be successfully estimated from liquefaction-induced compression of the sand and RAP acting as a composite material. This test program identifies a mechanism that explains how the settlement was reduced for the RAP group despite the elevated ru values in the silty sands that are often difficult to improve with vibratory methods.

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