Continuous profiles from in-situ penetrometer tests are now identified as essential for site specific soil investigation as part of designing offshore structures in deep and ultradeep waters and in highly layered seabed conditions. This paper describes the results from large deformation FE (LDFE) analysis undertaken to provide insight into the behavior of cone penetrometer penetrating through single layer non-homogeneous clays and three-layer uniform soft-stiff-soft clays. For the smooth cone penetration in non-homogeneous clays, the soil strength non-homogeneity factor was shown to have insignificant effect on the cone bearing capacity factor. However, for the rough cone, the bearing capacity factor in non-homogeneous clay was about 10∼12% lower than that in uniform clay. Bearing capacity factors for smooth and rough cones were also similar for non-homogeneous clay. For cone penetration in stratified soft-stiff-soft clays, a minimum layer thickness of 20 diameters was required to mobilise the full resistance of the stiff layer. The corresponding soil flow mechanisms are also discussed linking directly to the profile of penetration resistance.

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