The proposed research training network aims to develop advanced numerical modelling techniques for analysing the coupled hydro-mechanical behaviour of ground improvement systems on soft soils. This will entail advanced constitutive modelling, laboratory testing, centrifuge modelling, numerical implementation and numerical modelling, moving increasingly towards three-dimensional numerical tools. The scientific objectives of the network are:
1. To develop and implement 2D and 3D numerical modelling techniques for preloading, vertical drain and vacuum consolidation systems on soft soils accounting for the influence of non-linear time-dependent stress-strain behaviour, non-linear permeability and the smear zone.
2. To develop and implement 2D and 3D numerical modelling techniques for deep-stabilized columns, stone columns and creep piles on soft soils, accounting for the non-linear and time-dependent behaviour of the constituent materials.
3. To develop and implement special 2D modelling techniques by using a volume averaging technique for modelling periodic ground improvement systems, such as columns.
4. To apply probabilistic modelling techniques for ground improvement systems on soft soils.
5. To perform centrifuge model tests on ground improvement systems on soft soils, considering e.g. preloading, vertical drains and sand piles.
6. To apply the advanced modelling techniques developed for modelling ground improvement systems on soft soils to real field problems and to compare the results with field monitoring results and model tests.
7. To propose improvements to current design methods for ground improvement on soft soils and to make suggestions for improved arrangement of ground improvement systems for various geotechnical problems.
8. To disseminate the results openly and transparently in such a way that practitioners, not just fellow scientists, are able to understand and use them.