Multi-layered soil conditions often exist in offshore practice. In some sites a thin layer of medium dense sand lays between firm to stiff clay layers. In these cases the ultimate bearing capacity of foundations can be increased due to the strong sand layer by comparing with foundations in uniform clay. However, there is also a potential of reduction in foundation capacity when the foundation punches through the sand layer. The punch-through failure can occur during either pre-loading or storm loading. In this study, the continuous penetration of spudcan foundations on clay-sand-clay soils was investigated by large deformation finite element analysis. The numerical simulation was carried out using Remeshing and Interpolation Technique with Small Strain (RITSS) model. The clays obey Tresca failure criterion for undrained analysis and the sands obey Mohr-Coulomb yield criterion for drained analysis. The friction angle of the sand was taken as φ = 32° and 40° with its dilation angle ψ = 2° and 10° respectively. The effects of the relative height of the top soft clay and the relative thickness of the middle sand layer on the load-displacement responses were investigated. The soil flow mechanisms at various penetration depths were also discussed.

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