Stone Columns – GEO CIV

Stone Columns (Vibro Replacement)

Vibro replacement is the construction of dense aggregate columns (stone columns) with a down-hole vibrator suspended from a crane or specially built rig.

Common Uses

  • Increase bearing capacity
  • Decrease settlement
  • Mitigate liquefaction

Technical Details

This process densifies granular soils and reinforces all soils. Vibro replacement stone columns are constructed with either the wet top-feed process, or the dry bottom-feed process.

In the wet top-feed process, the vibrator penetrates to the design depth using the vibrator’s weight and vibrations, as well as water jets located in the tip. The stone (crushed stone or recycled concrete) is then added at the ground surface to the annular space around the vibrator created by the jetting water. The stone falls through the space to the vibrator tip, and fills the void created as the vibrator is lifted several feet. The vibrator is lowered, densifying and displacing the underlying stone. The vibro replacement process is repeated in lifts until a dense stone column is constructed to the ground surface.

The dry bottom-feed process is similar, except that no water jets are used and the stone is fed to the vibrator tip through an attached feed pipe. Pre-drilling of dense strata at the column location may be required for the vibrator to penetrate to the design depth. Both methods of construction create a high modulus stone column that reinforces the treatment zone and densifies surrounding granular soils.

Vibro replacement rigs can be fully instrumented with an on-board Data Acquisition (DAQ) system to monitor specific parameters. Data from the system, such as amperage and lift rate, are recorded and displayed in real-time alongside specified target values on an in-cab monitor. Monitoring allows the operator to correct any deviations in real-time during the construction process to keep the stone column within project specifications.