Zhu, W.; Zhang, M.; Yu, G.; Petukhov, V.; Mymrin, V., and Gidarakos, E., 2020. Flow resistance in dredged soil under a vacuum preloading system with vertical drainage boards. Journal of Coastal Research, 36(2), 327–338. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Vacuum preloading combined with prefabricated vertical drains is one of the most widely applied methods to improve soft-ground loading capacity in coastal engineering projects. The resistance of solid particles to the pore-water flow in vacuum-preloaded soil plays an important role in the soil consolidation and pore-water dissipation. However, the flow resistance is still not clearly known during the vacuum drainage process. It is not clear whether the formulae for calculating the flow resistance factor for flow in uniform non-deformational porous media are applicable for flow in vacuum-preloaded soils or not. Because of a lack of knowledge on flow resistance in the vacuum-preloaded soil, coastal engineers only rely on their experience to select vacuum pumps. In this paper, the hydraulic resistance to flow in vacuum-preloaded soils was investigated. Energy conservation in the vacuum preloading system during the drainage process was analyzed. Sixteen laboratory tests were conducted, in which the vacuum pressure, flow rate, seepage velocity, and particle Reynolds number were observed or calculated. Results showed that particle size, uniformity coefficient, and porosity of the soil have important effects on resistance in dredged soils under vacuum preloading condition. The flow resistance in the vacuum-preloaded soil behaved quite differently from that in uniform porous medium. The formulae for calculating the flow resistance factor for flow in uniform packed beds were not applicable for flow in vacuum-preloaded soils. A new formula was proposed to calculate the flow resistance factor in vacuum-preloaded soils with acceptable accuracy. Because the vacuum preloading system with fixed pump power consumes much energy, new vacuum preloading systems with low energy consumption are necessarily developed in future work.