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Carrying Capacity of Single Vertical Pile | Static Bearing Capacity Equations

There are various methods of determining the carrying capacity of single piles. They are:

By Static Bearing Capacity Equations

Based on SPT Results

Based on CPT Results

By Pile Driving Formula

By Pile Loading Tests

Static Bearing Capacity Equations
The static methods give the ultimate bearing capacity of an individual pile, depending upon the
characteristics of soil.
Assume a pile of diameter D is driven to a length L from the ground surface as shown in Fig.1.
Let Qu be the net load applied at the head of the pile. The weight of pile is W and unit weight of
soil is Y. If qb and qs are the unit base and skin friction respectively, then we can write the
ultimate capacity of pile as:
Qu + W Df = qbAb + qsAs - (1)

If the weight of the pile and weight of the displaced soil are assumed as nearly equal we have:
Qu = qbAb + qsAs, Then, qb = BN + vNq + suNc v
Or, qb = BN + v(Nq -1) + suNc - (2)
Similarly unit skin friction can be obtained as :
qs = sa + Kvtan - (3)
Where, v is the effective normal stress acting alone the shaft of the pile and the variation of the
normal stress is linear. sa is the adhesion between, pile and surrounding soil. The average
effective normal stress is (0+v)/2 = v/2 = v
Hence, qs = sa + K vtan - (4)
Therefore, the net ultimate pile capacity becomes:

Qu = [ BN + v(Nq - 1) + suNc]Ab + [sa + K v tan]As - (5)

This is the general equation applicable to soil having both cohesion and friction.
Cohesionless soil If soil is cohesionless, cohesion is zero and the Eq.(5) reduces to:
Qu = v(Nq 1)Ab + K v tanAs - (6)
The Eq.(6) neglects the term BN, since pile width is very small as compared to its length.
The value of Nq is obtained by the relationship suggested by Berezantsev (1961), which is
shown in Fig.. To use the graph shown in Fig.2 the value of should be known and this can be
obtained from the results of Standard Penetration Testusing the graph given in Fig.2. The
suggested relation can only be used when piles are driven to depths greater than five times the
pile width if less use Terzaghis bearing capacity equation. The term Nq is very sensitive to a
relative small error in estimating will lead to much larger error in Nq.
Meyerhof has suggested that the bearing capacity of piles driven into loose sands can be doubled
owing to compaction. The suggested value of K with is given in Table 1 below

Table 1 Values of K and

Pile material

Cohesive soil- In cohesive soil, the angle of internal friction is zero. Hence, the above Eq.(5) can
be written as:
Qu = suNcAb +saAs - (7)
In the above equation ss is the adhesion between pile and surrounding soil. Su is the undrained
shear strength at base. Driving piles in clay reduces shear strength in many ways. If the reduction
factor is , then we can write:
= sa/su - (8)
Where, su = Average undrained strength over the embedded length of pile
sa = su - (9)
Hence from Eqs.(7) and (9)
Qu = suNcAb + suAs - (10)

In the above equation, the value of Nc is taken equal to 9. In clayey soil base resistance is
negligible. So an error in the estimation of base load is less significance. The main objective
therefore is the determination of adhesion factor mobilized between pile and the surrounding