Judith A F Harvey, Cambridge University Engineering Department. This paper was first published in GE’s July 1997 edition.
A laboratory model of the soft sediments found at the seabed was subjected to vacuum drainage treatment. The results were used to gain information on the suitability of the method in the case of the Chek Lap Kok airport construction. Vacuum drainage is a fast method for consolidating soft deposits in order to provide an adequate founding layer for placing fill. It has significant advantages over the traditional methods of excavating and dumping soft clay sediments at sea, or drainage to atmospheric pressure.