Wick Drains

Wick drains speed up the consolidation of cohesive soils. They can also be used in conjunction with stone column, compaction grouting, and RIC installations to aid densification, thereby allowing for faster verification of the ground improvement.

Wick drains were developed primarily to speed up the consolidation of cohesive soils. They are normally installed on a regular grid pattern ranging from 3-feet to 6-feet on center depending on ground conditions. The drains accept water from the consolidating ground in the radial direction and transport it to the vertical direction with as little hydraulic resistance as possible. In addition to their initial application, wick drains have proven to be very beneficial in aiding the vibratory densification of mixed soils. Traditionally soils that contain high fines have shown only limited densification improvement immediately after the installation of stone columns, with the full improvement not measurable for many weeks after the installation is complete. However, by installing wick drains before the stone columns, the effectiveness of the stone columns can be increased considerably, and the results of the improvement can be verified in a much shorter period of time.