Abstract

The objectives of this paper are to provide an update on work done and the development of knowledge on Irish compressible soils since Eamon Hanrahan's book on the topic. Eamon subdivided these soils into three categories; namely, alluvial, estuarine and lake-bed deposits, and he termed them ‘troublesome soils’. A brief background geology will initially be presented. The complexity of the deposits both on a macro- and micro-scale will be highlighted. Sites that have been well studied will be summarized and the engineering solutions used to construct on these sites will be reviewed. Although work on these sites presents a significant engineering achievement, some important lessons were learned. The remainder of the paper deals with how these lessons might be addressed in the future; for example, how to use modern ground investigation techniques to best characterize these complex deposits and what are the best techniques for examining important detailed aspects of 1D consolidation behaviour such as the identification of the apparent preconsolidation stress, the sometimes rapid rate of consolidation and creep, and also how to characterize the undrained shear strength of the soils. The work will be benchmarked against experience of the behaviour of Scandinavian soft soils.

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