Loading
version 3.0
Settle^{3D} allows you to apply vertically oriented distributed loads to a ground surface in order to model soil settlement due to foundation loads, embankments, fills, etc. The loads can be of any shape, uniform or variable magnitude, flexible or rigid, applied at any depth and can be staged (i.e. applied at different times, sequences or load increments).

Loading: Circular Loads
A circular load can be applied with the Add Circular Load option. Simply enter the circle radius and load magnitude in the Define Load dialog, enter the coordinates of the circle center in the Plan View, and the load will be added to the model.
Circular load and settlement contours in 3D view
Load properties for circular load
Loading: Rectangular Loads
A rectangular load can be applied with the Add Rectangular Load option. Enter the length, width and load magnitude in the Define Load dialog, enter the coordinates of the rectangle center in the Plan View, and the load will be added to the model.
Rectangular load and settlement contours in 3D view
Load properties for rectangular load
For a rectangular load, the magnitude can be uniform or variable over the area of the load. To define a variable load magnitude, select the variable checkbox in the Define Load dialog, and you will see the following dialog, which allows you to define the load magnitude at each vertex of the rectangle.
Defining variable load magnitude for a rectangular load
For example, using variable loading you could easily model a rectangular ramp as shown in the following figure.
Rectangular load with variable magnitude
Loading: Polygonal Loads
Loads of any twodimensional shape can be defined with the Add Polygonal Load option. Use the mouse or keyboard to enter the polygon coordinates in the Plan View, enter the load properties in the Define Load dialog, and the load will be added to the model.
Polygonal loads in 3D View
Load properties for polygonal load
For a polygonal load, the magnitude can be uniform or variable over the area of the load. To define a variable load magnitude, select the variable checkbox in the Define Load dialog, and you will be able to define the load magnitude at each vertex of the polygon, in the following dialog.
Defining variable load magnitude for a polygonal load
Loading: Embankment Loads
Settle^{3D} provides a specialized embankment designer, which lets you easily define an embankment load. Embankments are defined by a 2dimensional crosssection, but represent 3dimensional loads, because the embankments have a finite length, with userdefined end angles, and can be placed at any orientation with respect to other loads.
Embankment load in 3D view
Embankments can have multiple layers with userdefined staging sequence. Embankment properties are defined in the Embankment Designer dialog shown below.
Definition of embankment crosssection parameters
Embankment designer dialog
For more complex embankment staging, you can increase or decrease the width of embankment layers or remove layers, by selecting the Advanced button and entering information in the following dialog.
Advanced embankment staging dialog
Loading: Conical Loads
A conical load can be applied with the Add Conical Load option. The cone geometry is defined by entering the height and base radius or side angle. The cone can be truncated at any height, and geometry can be staged (e.g. increase or decrease the height, radius or side angle at different stages).
Conical load in 3D view
Conical load input parameters
Truncated conical load
Loading: PreLoads
The PreLoad option uses a backanalysis computation to determine the fill height required to achieve a specified settlement at a given stage. You can define installation and removal stages for the preload, and the measurement stage and reference stage for the required settlement.
Preload properties dialog
A preload can be a general polygonal load. A point query is automatically created at the center of the preload, and results of the back analysis are displayed in the Plan View as shown below.
Results of preload fill height back analysis
The preload fill height can be directly defined without using the back analysis option, by turning off the Calculate Height from Settlement checkbox.
Userdefined preload fill height
Loading: Excavation
Excavations can be defined with the Add Excavation option. An excavation is defined as a polygon in the Plan View, and represents the removal of material to a specified depth. Loading can be applied within excavations, and both loading and excavation (depth) can be staged.
It is important to note that excavations in Settle^{3D} are only intended to model the unloading effect of the removed material. The true 3dimensional stress, displacement and groundwater distribution due to excavation is NOT computed.
Rectangular excavation in 3D view
Load applied within excavation
The main purpose of defining an excavation in Settle^{3D} is to accurately model the net loading at some depth below ground surface within an excavated area.
Excavation properties
Loading: Flexible or Rigid
For circular, rectangular or polygonal loads, you can specify the Load Type as either flexible or rigid.

Flexible Load Type
Flexible and rigid load magnitudes can be defined as a pressure. Rigid loading can also be defined by a vertical force and two moments, as shown below.
Rigid Load Type
For computational reasons, rigid loading cannot be used in conjunction with timedependent consolidation. Rigid loads can only be used to compute immediate elastic settlement, or longterm (infinite time) consolidation.
The difference in settlement between flexible and rigid loading is illustrated below, for a uniform rectangular load.
Settlement under uniform flexible load
Settlement under uniform rigid load
Note: embankment loads, conical loads and preloads are always assumed to be flexible; they cannot be defined as rigid.
Loading: Load Staging
A Settle^{3D} analysis can be performed using multiple stages. Staging represents the sequence in which you would like to define and analyze your model. For example:

In the simplest case, you can select the installation stage of a load, as shown below.
Choosing the installation stage of a load
For more advanced staging requirements, select the advanced staging checkbox, and you will be able to define a load factor and depth for each stage, as shown below. The load factor is applied to the load magnitude, and allows you to increase or decrease the load magnitude at any stage.
Advanced load staging options
Loading: Load Editing
After adding a load to a model, you can easily edit the load properties (magnitude, staging information, depth) or coordinates (location, size, orientation). This allows you to quickly perform parametric analysis of different loading scenarios. Editing options are available through the menu, toolbar or convenient rightclick shortcuts as shown in the following figures.
Rightclick editing options for polygonal load
Rightclick editing options for vertices of polygonal load
Rightclick load editing options in 3D view
Loading: Display Properties
Load display properties can be customized. For example, you can customize the colours used to display each load, and you can define the apparent load height in the 3D view.
Load display properties can be customized