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Settle3 Overview

Settle3 is a 3-dimensional program for the analysis of vertical settlement and consolidation under surface loads such as foundations, embankments and surface excavations. Settle3 combines the simplicity of one-dimensional analysis with the power and visualization capabilities of more sophisticated three-dimensional programs.

You can quickly create complex (non-horizontal) soil profiles and loading conditions, and view results in 3-dimensions. Modelling can be staged, and time-dependent consolidation analysis can be performed including primary and secondary consolidation (creep) at user-defined time intervals. Groundwater levels can be specified with piezo lines or a water grid, and can also be staged.

Circular, rectangular or polygonal load shapes can be defined with uniform or variable vertical and horizontal load magnitudes. Loading can be staged and applied at any depth (e.g. to simulate piles or raft foundations). Excavations can be defined and loads applied within excavated areas. A special embankment designer allows you to easily define multi-stage layered embankments. The 3-dimensional stress distribution due to loading can be computed using any of the five stress computation methods implemented: Boussinesq, Westergaard, Multiple Layer, Vertical Ratio (2:1), Vertical Ratio (angle).

Liquefaction analyses can be done alongside a settlement analysis or as a standalone analysis. Liquefaction results can be calculated based on Standard Penetration Test (SPT), Cone Penetration Test (CPT), or Shear Wave Velocity (VST) data. A number of analysis methods are available, and result graphs are easy to interpret.

Settlement, stress and pore pressure are computed throughout the 3-dimensional volume, and results can be contoured along any horizontal or vertical plane, or plotted along any line. Settlement deformation can be viewed in 3-dimensions, magnified by a user-defined scale factor. Data presentation is highly interactive, and contours and graphs are updated in real-time as you change the data type, depth or location. Results can be exported to Excel with a single mouse click.

Program Assumptions

There are several important assumptions and limitations that must be considered when using Settle3:

  • Settle3 calculates three-dimensional stresses due to surface loads. However, displacements (settlement) and pore pressures are computed in one-dimension, assuming only vertical displacements can occur. This is in keeping with general geotechnical engineering practice and material parameters are specified to reflect the one-dimensional nature of the analysis.
  • Loads may be either flexible or rigid. For a uniform flexible load, the stress at the surface directly below the load is constant, but the displacement is not. For a uniform rigid load, the displacement directly below the load is constant, but the stress is not. See FAQ #2 for more information.
  • The ground surface is at depth = 0 (by default), depth is positive downwards, and compressive stress is positive.
  • Settle3 does not consider the interaction between rigid loads or between rigid and flexible loads. Only the interaction between flexible and flexible loads is considered. Excavations and embankments are considered to be flexible loads.
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