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22 - Section Creator

In Settle3, there are three ways in which you can define soil profile layout - horizontal, non-horizontal, and extruded section layer. For the extruded section layer, you can use section creator which allows you to create a 2D soil profile with boreholes, which is then extruded in the perpendicular direction of the section defined in 2D plan view. In this tutorial, we will show how to use this feature, along with what you get after you have completed creating your soil profile in Section creator.

Topics Covered in this Tutorial:

  • Extruded section layer
  • Section creator
  • Boreholes

Finished file:

The initial file and the finished file can be found in the tutorial folder Tutorial 22 - Section creator. All tutorial files installed with Settle3 can be accessed by selecting File > Recent Folders > Tutorials Folder from the Settle3 main menu.

1.0 Starting file

The starting file can be found in the tutorial folder Tutorial 22 - Section creator_initial.s3z. This file contains soil properties and boreholes. We will use the boreholes to create a 2D section soil profile with the Section creator feature.

2.0 Model


  1. Select Analysis > Project Settings to open the Project Settings dialog. Project settings icon
  2. Make sure the time-dependant analysis option is selected.General tab - Project Settings
  3. Select Stages. Make sure you see 9 stages with the time shown below.
    Project Settings stages dialog
  4. In the Soil Profiles tab, select Extruded section layers option.
  5. Select Groundwater tab. Select the Groundwater Analysis and keep the default values.
  6. Select OK to exit the dialog.


The initial starting file already has set up the soil properties defined. You can check the soil properties.

Soil properties icon Select: Soils > Soil Properties

    Soil Properties existing fill dialog

    You should see 6 different types of soil in the soil properties dialog. Select OK to exit the dialog.

    set up the soil properties of the model using the Soil Properties dialog.


    Borehole Editor Icon Select: Soils > Boreholes > Borehole Editor

    Borehole Editor

    You will see there are four existing boreholes defined in the initial tutorial file. The boreholes are also shown in the plan viewer.

    Borehole plan viewer

    3.0 Section Creator

    Next, we use Section creator to create a soil profile with the defined boreholes.

    Select Soils > Section creator.

    You'll be prompted with 'Enter vertex' on the command prompt shown at the bottom right end of the program.

     Section creator

    Enter the following coordinates: {-600, 0} for first point, then {0, 0} for second point. After you define where you want to define your section, you will see the section creator dialog with boreholes as shown below:

    Section Creator Dialog


    We will first create ground surface with the defined boreholes.

    Draw Ground Surface icon Select: Draw ground surface.

    You will be able to snap along the top of the boreholes. Select the top points of each boreholes as shown below. Right click and select Done after you've selected all the vertices.

    Tip: If you're finding it hard to select the top surface of boreholes, you can zoom in / zoom out on each boreholes with scrolls or built in zoom/in out feature for each boreholes Zoom In/Out Icon. Below is an example of utilizing zoom in feature to select the top surface.

    Figure with Result

    Once you have finished selecting all the top points of the boreholes, the section creator should look like the following:


    Now we will draw internal boundaries to connect between the boreholes. Select: Draw internal boundary Draw internal boundary dialog.

    Zoom in to each boreholes and select the layer underneath the top surface (1m fill layer) as shown below.

    Draw internal boundary

    Repeat this process for three other boreholes.

    TIP: In case you have accidentally selected the wrong location, you can undo the selection by Right click > undo.

    You should see the fill layer formed right underneath the ground surface layer.

    Draw internal boundary

    Now we will repeat this process for other layers. Now select the layer underneath the fill layer as shown below and continue connecting this line to other boreholes with this layer.

    Draw internal boundary

    Some of the layers in some boreholes are thinner than other boreholes, so the zoom in / out feature will help snap to the layers.

    Your soil profile should look as the following after three-layer boundaries added:

    Draw internal boundary 3 boundaries

    After drawing all internal boundaries by connecting the soil deposit depths from boreholes, select Define Bottom Elevation. We will select 'Use bottom of boreholes' as shown below. Select OK.

    Define Bottom Elevation

    you should see the following:

    Define Bottom Elevation section creator


    We can assign materials for each layer boundaries drawn.

    Assign Materials Icon Select: Assign Materials.

    You will be able to see list of material properties available to assign. We will assign each layers with the order shown in available materials: Existing Fill, Upper Sand, Clay I, Clay II, Lower Sand, and Deeper Sand.

    Zoom into the left borehole (Borehole 2) and assign each layer section with corresponding material as shown below:

    Assign Materials

    After assigning the material properties to each layer, your overall section profile should look as the following:

    Assign Materials

    Click OK to exit the dialog and you will see the 3D soil model created with the section creator as shown below.

    Assign Materials 3D view

    You can also see the section you have created in 3D viewer when Section Line is selected in the view controls as shown below.

    Assign Materials 3D view

    4.0 Add Load


    Now we will apply embankment load to the created section.

    Select: Loads > Add Embankment (Cross Section).

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    Select Add and enter unit weight of 0.12 at Stage 1.

    Initial Section Settings

    Select OK.

    Enter the following coordinates to the first embankment:


    Select OK and the embankment should look as the following:

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    Next, we will apply staged embankment installation. Select Add again. Choose the unit weight of 0.12 and stage 5 for installing the side extension embankment.

    Initial Section Settings

    This time, we will be extending the right portion of the embankment with a width of 25ft. Select two vertices and connect the last point to the first embankment as shown below:

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    Select Done and you should see the extended embankment shown below.

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    You have installed the extension at stage 5, so you can navigate on the stage tab on the right side of the dialog to see the embankment installation.

    We will lastly apply the top extension of the embankment on top. Select Add.

    This installation will be applied 30 days prior to the side embankment (Stage 6). Enter the unit weight of 0.11. Select different color and select OK.

    Initial Section Settings

    Enter the following coordinates and select Done.


    You should see the following installation of the embankment shown below after stage 6.

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    Before we select OK, we have to assign the elevation of the embankment. Enter 16 ft for elevation.

    Embankment Cross Section Designer

    Select OK.

    Now we will apply the embankment we have created to the model.

    Enter {-400, 0} for first point and enter {-200, 0} for second point to apply embankment load to the model.

    Embankment Cross Section Model

    You will see the embankment as shown below.


    Now we will add a load on top of the embankment.

    Select Loads > Add polygonal loads.

    Enter the following coordinates for the vertices: {-400 -30}, {-200, -30}, {-200, -10}, {-400,- 10}. Select Enter or Done.

    Enter 0.11 ksf for pressure and bottom elevation of 36 ft. The installation stage should be at Stage 6.

    Add polygonal loads

    Select OK. You should see the embankment with slab load as shown below.

    embankment with slab load

    5.0 Results

    5.1 QUERY LINE

    Add a query line underneath the embankment to see the settlement results.

    Select Query > Add Query line.

    Select OK when the dialog pops up (keep default value) and enter the coordinates {-400 -20} and {-200, -20}.

    We will another query line along the width of the embankment at the center. Select Add query line again and enter the following coordinates: {-300, -40}, {-300, 20}.

    You should see the following contour settlement result as shown below underneath the load.

    Query line result

    You can also see the field grid contour of settlement underneath the embankment load by selecting Grid > Auto Field Point Grid. Keep the default values and select OK. You should be able to see the contour of settlement as shown below:

     Auto Field Point Grid

    As shown above, the contour settlement shows greater settlement along the region where the soil profile is thinner than the right side of the embankment where the soil profile is thicker. Also, note that the load is applied at constant elevation along the width of the embankment. The field grid point shows distributed settlement that corresponds to the soil profile created with the section creator.

    We recommend you to try out different types of analysis using this model such as adding additional load for immediate settlement, or ground improvement and run primary consolidation analysis.

    This feature allows you to create a variety range of soil profiles with flexibility of defining soil layout along the section line A-A'. Section creator option provides many other features including import *.dxf, extended material layers outside the section line A-A' etc. Be sure to check out Section creator for more information.

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