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Shahien, M. M., and El-Naggar, H. M. (2015).


Analysis of Axial Pile Load Test(s) on Large
Bored Grouted and Instrumented Piles,
Proceedings of International Conference on
Advance...
Conference Paper April 2015
DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4211.1602

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Marawan Shahien

Hayel M. El-Naggar

Tanta University

Housing and Building National Research Cen

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Analysis of Axial Pile Load Test(s) on Large Bored Grouted and


Instrumented Piles
M. Shahien
Structural Engineering Department, Tanta University, Egypt mshahien@hamzaconsult.org

H. M. El-Naggar
Housing and Building National Research Centre (HBRC), Egypt, hayelelnaggar@gmail.com

ABSTRACT
Large capacity piles are important type of foundation elements that are needed in case of high column
loads such as in tall buildings with large span between columns. In many projects, especially if the designer uses one pile supporting one columnconcept (Hamza, 2003). The axial capacity of the large bored
piles can be further increased by grouting the shaft skin and the base of the pile. The increase in the capacity of the piles due to grouting can be tremendous and can reach to as high as almost twice the capacity of non-grouted piles. A data base of pile load tests of instrumented grouted piles is under development
in a major study aiming to propose a simple method to estimate the axial capacity of large bored grouted
piles. The data base include pile load tests from projects constructed in Egypt and abroad. The main goal
of this paper is to analyze pile load test(s) from one project. The instrumentation of the tested piles allowed for the separation of skin friction base contribution to the axial load. Further, the contribution of
the skin friction of every layer along the pile shaft could be identified. The results of the analysis clarified
how base and shaft grouting increased the axial capacity of the pile and decreased the settlements for certain load level compared to conventional un-grouted piles installed under similar conditions.
KEYWORDS: Pile Load Tests, Instrumented Piles, Grouted Piles, Large Bored, Axial Capacity

1. INTRODUCTION
In recent years, significant research has been carried out to develop new techniques which are suitable
to withstand problems in the major project such as high applied loads in high rise building projects.
Base and shaft grouting of piles are one of these new techniques which aim at decreasing the settlements and increasing the capacity of the pile under axial load.
Base grouting consists of injection grout under pressure at the base of the pile after the concrete is sufficiently hard. Suckling and Eager (2001) made a comparison between base-grouted and non-basegrouted bored piles bearing in Thanet sand. They showed that the non-base-grouted bored pile bases
have ultimate en-bearing capacity ranged from 12,000 kN/m2 to 17,000 kN/m2and 17,000 to 21,000
kN/m2 for base- grouted pile.
On the other hand, shaft-grouting causes increase in the soil density in the zone which had been disturbed by the pile construction and thereby improves the shaft resistance of the pile. Based field measurement, Littlechild et al (2000) found that the shaft resistance of grouted pile were approximately double that of non-grouted piles.

International Conference on Advances in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering (ICASGE 2015(

This paper is a part of a major study that aims to the development of a simple method to estimate the
axial capacity of large bored grouted piles. The data base includes pile load tests from projects constructed in Egypt and abroad.
This paper presents and discusses the results of pile load test of a base and shaft grouted bored pile that
was carried out for a project in Egypt. The test pile was instrumented. The instrumentation of the pile
allowed the collection of the base resistance and shaft resistance of all the layers along the shaft of the
pile. The study focuses on calculating the resistance from different static methods, including the Egyptian Code (2001) method, the Bustamente (2002), the AASHTO (2007) and the FHWA (2010) methods. Furthermore, the interpretation of the results included the extrapolation of the load settlement data
of the entire test, as well as, those of base and shaft data of every layer along the shaft of the pile. The
extrapolation of the load versus settlement data were carried out utilizing the Chin and Kondner (1972)
and Decourt(1999) and (2008) methods. Such interpretation allowed for a comparison between the shaft
resistances computed from the static methods and those obtained from the pile load test. The comparison aimed the development of a design approach for grouted piles.

2. SOIL CONDITIONS
A comprehensive geotechnical investigation was conducted. The investigation comprised of four boreholes that were drilled in the site down to a depth of 50 m from the ground surface. The ground water
table (G.W.T.) was measured in piezometers at 4.5 m below ground surface. Figure (1) shows the stratification and geotechnical parameters of the different layers in the site.

0
2

0.5

Test Pile1

Ground Surface
Made Ground

LEmbedded=26.30 m
Dia. = 1200 mm

G.W.T (4.50)

Cutt off Level (4.30)

8
10

Stiff Brown CLAY

12
14

Meidum dense to dense SAND

Top of Grout (17.30)

20

22

Depth (m)

18

L grouted
9.00 m

Depth (m)

16

20

NSPT

40

60

Su(Pocket), kPa
80

100

10

10

12

12

14

14

16

16

18

18

Depth (m)

20
22

26

26

28

28

30

30

32

32

34

34

34

36

36

Tip of Pile (26.30)

28
30
32

Medium dense to very dense SAND

38

(A)

40

38
40

(B)

BH.1
BH.2
BH.3
BH.4

75

100

22
24

26

50

20

24

24

25

36
38

B.H.1

(C)

B.H.3

40

Figure (1): (A) Genereral soil profile, (B) NSPT, (C) Undrained Shear Strength (kPa)

3. TESTED PILE
3.1 Pile Geometry and Construction

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The tested pile is a trial pile that was bored with a diameter of 1200 mm and with depth of 26.3 m. The
bottom nine meters were shaft grouted and the pile was also base grouted. The used concrete strength
fcu= 25 MPa and E = 21,000 MPa. The pile was reinforced along the entire length of the pile. The cutoff level is (-4.30). The bottom nine meters were shaft grouted and the pile was also base grouted. As
the pile should extend to platform level, a double wall casing extending from platform level to cut-off
level was installed to eliminate the skin friction along this part during the loading test as shown in Figure (1-A).
3.2 Instrumentation
The pile is instrumented with the following Figure (2):
1) Five sets of 4 vibrating wire sister bar strain gauges to be used to measure the strain at different
levels of the pile. The levels include; cut off level, top of sand level, top of grout length, middle
of grout length and 1 m above toe level.
2) Three tell-tales extensometer were fixed to the pile to measure the displacement at three levels;
top of sand, top of shaft grouting and toe of pile.
0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

TELL TALES
(TO TOE, TOP OF GROUT, TOP OF SAND

0
2
4
6
8
10

PLATFORM (-3.00)
CUT-OFF (-4.30)
VW STRAIN GAUGE
4 @each level (-4.50)

12
14

A-A

16
VW STRAIN GAUGE
4 @ each level (-11.00)

18
20
22

24
26
VW STRAIN GAUGE
4@ each level (-17.30)

28
30
32
34
36
38

C
(-26.30)

B-B

VW STRAIN GAUGE
4@each level (-21.80)
C
VW STRAIN GAUGE
4@ each level (-25.30)

40

C-C

Figure (2): Pile Instrumentation Scheme


3.3 Shaft grouting
Figure (3) shows the construction steps of the pile including those of shaft and base grouting.
For the purpose of shaft grouting, bundles of poly-ethylene pipes are fixed to reinforcement
cage. Each bundle consists of a number of grout pipes (22mm diam.) and each pipe covers 2m
of grout length. Cement grout is pumped under pressure through the grouting pipes approximately two days after concreting so that the green concrete cover is easily fractured allowing the

International Conference on Advances in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering (ICASGE 2015(

grout to flow freely around the shaft along the grouted length. The grout initially fills the interface between the shaft and soil, and then penetration occurs (Hamza, 2003 and Wahba, 2014).
3.4 Base grouting
Base grouting is carried out via a flat jack that is installed at the bottom of the pile with the steel
reinforcement cage. The jack is connected with grout pipes. After two days and after completion
of the shaft grouting, the flat jack is charged with grout at a pressure. The circumferential seal
between the steel top plate and the thin steel membrane of the jack is broken and grout initially
compacts and then flows into the soils beneath and around the toe. Excessive uplift of the pile
should be avoided (Hamza, 2003 and Wahba, 2014).

Figure (3): Construction steps for pile and shaft / base grouting procedure (Wahba 2014).

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4. ESTIMATION OF AXIAL PILE CAPACITY USING STATIC METHODS


The pile static axial capacity was estimated for base, shaft and total resistances using Egyptian Code
(2001), Brown et al. (2010), ASHTTO (2007), and the Bustamante (2002) methods. The Bustamente
(2002) is originally developed for grouted piles. The estimated ultimate shaft, base, and total resistance
are shown in Table (1).

5. PILE LOAD TEST AND COLLECTED DATA


Figure (4-A) shows static field test setup. The axial Pile head movement was measured by four dial
gauges with a precision of 0.01mm. A precise level, equipped with plane plate micrometer with 0.1 mm
resolution was used to measure and backup check the axial movement at three points fixed to the pile
head. The shaft movements at the top of sand layer, at the top of grout length and at the toe of the pile;
were measured using three telltales that were fixed inside the pile.
The axial load was applied using three 6,000kN hydraulic jacks that were placed between the pile head
and the reaction system that consisted of a crown restrained by twelve ground anchors distributed
around the pile Figure (4-B). The hydraulic jacks were capable of holding the axial load for enough
time.
Load cells located between the jacks and the reaction system were used for axial load measurements.
The applied load was checked by obtaining the force that results from multiplying the piston area of the
jack by the applied hydraulic pressure recorded by a pressure gauge mounted on the pumping unit connected to the jacks. The hydraulic jack load was increased if any reduction in load cell was observed.
Maximum pile load applied was 11,600 kN which is 200 % of design load with one cycle of loading
and unloading. The test was carried out in accordance with ASTM D 1143.
During the test, continuous observations were made of load readings, hydraulic pressure, dial gauges,
the level, till tales readings, and dial gauges during the test. Figure(5-A), shows the axial load versus
pile head settlements relationship of the test, and Figure (5-B) shows skin friction and end bearing separately. Figure(6) shows axial head load versus settlements of pile head, top of sand layer, top of shaft
grout and at pile toe.
Strain measurements at different levels by set of four vibrating wire strain gauges, allowed the average
strain and thus load distributions along the shaft length to be determined during the test. Figure (7)
shows average strain distribution along Pile Shaft, while Figure(8) shows average estimated Load Distribution along Pile Shaft. Furthermore, skin friction for each layer (CLAY, SAND, GROUT1, and
GROUT2 layer) is measured at each applied load increment as shown in Figures (9).

(b)
36.30

Figure (4) (A) Pile Load Test setup, (B) Distribution of ground anchors

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Load (kN)

Load (kN)
2500

5000

7500

10000

Pworking

5000

7500

10000
Friction

Cycle 1

Cycle 2

4
2 Pworking

6
8
10

2500

Settlement (mm)

12500

Settlement (mm)

0
0

Bearing

4
6
8

10

(A)

(B)

12

12

Figure (5): (A) Pile load vs displacemnet, (B) friction/end-bearing vs displacemen

Load (kN)
0

2500

5000

7500

10000

12500

0
1
Settlement (mm)

2
3
4

5
6

Head Settlement

Top of sand

Top of grout

Toe
Teo

10

Figure (6) Pile head load versus settlements of pile head, top of sand layer, top of shaft grout and at pile
toe

Figure (7): Average strain along pile shaft (negative strains are compressional strain)

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Figure (8) Average load distribution along pile shaft

Figures (9): Predicted Skin friction Load v displacement for each Layer

6. INTERPRETATION OF DATA
The ultimate capacities of the piles are determined from the load test results using two methods ChinKondner, and Decourt Extrapolation.
6.1 Chin-Kondner Extrapolation
Chin and Kondnor (1972) proposed a method to determine the ultimate capacity. To apply this method,
divide each movement with its corresponding load and plot the resulting value against the movement
Figure (10).

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Figure (10): Chin-Kondner Extrapolation curves for ultimate capacities (skin friction for every layer,
total skin friction, end bearing, and total axial capacity)

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The values will fall along a straight line after some initial variation. The inverse slope of this line is the
Chin-Kondner Extrapolation of the ultimate load, Qu, which is given by:
Qu =

1
c1

C1= is the slope of the linear regression


6.2 Decourt Extrapolation
The Decourt extrapolation (1999) & (2008) is employed to determine the ultimate capacities. In this
method, each load is divided by the corresponding movement. The ratio is plotted versus the applied
load. The extrapolations of the total capacity, base resistance, total frictional resistance, and the frictional resistance of the clay, sand, grouted 1 and grouted 2 layers are shown in Figure (11). The extrapolated load limit, Qu is determined by the expression: :
c2
Qu =
c1
C1 = Slope of straight line
C2 = y-intercept of the straight line

7. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Table (1) summarizes the estimated capacities using the methods mentioned in section 4 of this paper.
The extrapolations of the resistances of the total capacity end bearing resistance, total skin resistance,
and the mobilized skin resistances of clay, sand, grouted 1 and grouted 2 layers; are shown also in Table
(1).
The ECDF (2001), the AASHTO (2007) and the Brown et al (2010) methods estimated very close and
comparable values of the resistances for skin resistances of each layer with the exception of the grouted
layers 1 and 2, total skin resistance, end bearing resistance and total resistance of the pile.
The interpreted resistances using both the Chin-Kondner and the Decourt methods are in excellent
agreement. The average interpreted resistances of each component in Table (1) are considered to be the
measured mobilize resistances. The measured resistances are used to estimate the ratio of measured resistance to estimated resistance. The calculated ratios are shown in Table (2).
The conventional ECDF (2001), the AASHTO (2007) and the Brown et al (2010) methods under estimated the resistances of total skin, end bearing and total resistances of the pile. The ratios of underestimation reached to as low as 0.29 to 0.4. Such underestimation is due to the high mobilized resistances
of the grouted layers and grouted base resistances. The mentioned methods do not take into account the
influence of grouting on the capacities.
For non-grouted clay and sand layers, the above mentioned conventional methods slightly underestimate the skin resistances. The ratios of underestimation reached to as low as 0.6 to 0.8. The underestimation is higher in case of sand as compared to clay.

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Figure (11) Decourt Extrapolation curves for ultimate capacities (skin friction for every layer, total skin
friction, end bearing, and total axial capacity)

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Table.(1) Measured and estimated eesistances


Qu Estimated(kN)
Bustamante
Brown et al.
ECDF
AASHTO
(2002)
(2010)
(2001)
(2007)
For grouted
FHWA
part

Resistance

Total ultimate
Resistance
Total ultimate skin
friction
Total ultimate end
bearing
CLAY
SAND
Skin
Friction GROUT1
GROUT2

9436.09

8221.33

9141.03

-----

5590.78

4969.78

5889.48

-----

3845.31

3251.55

3251.55

1010.34
1187.52
1696.46
1696.46

1262.92
1364.76
1172.26
1169.84

1262.92
1256.04
1614.48
1756.04

QuMeasured(kN)
Chin

Decourt

25000

26719.45

16666.67 17639.09

3958.40
--------4919.85
5768.1

10000

10238.65

1666.67
2000
5000
10000

1558.31
2109.39
5756.07
7659.97

Table.(2) Ratios of measured resistance to estimated resistance


Resistance
Total ultimate
resistance
Total ultimate skin
friction
Total ultimate end
bearing
CLAY
SAND
Skin
Friction GROUT1
GROUT2

ECDF2001

AASHTO2007

FHWA2010

Bustamante
2002
For grouted
part

2.74

3.14

2.82

-----

3.07

3.45

2.91

-----

2.63

3.11

3.11

1.59
1.73
3.17
5.20

1.27
1.50
4.58
7.54

1.27
1.63
3.33
5.02

2.55
--------1.09
1.53

As mentioned above, the under estimation of the skin resistance of non grouted clay layer is reasonable.
The influence of soil disturbance of the clay samples on the measured undrained shear strength can be
easily used to explain the slight underestimation. On the other hand the significant under estimation of
the skin resistance of the non-grouted sand layer could be attributed to the influence of energy level during carrying out the SPT and thus the obtained N values used in the estimation process.
As expected the conventional ECDF (2001), the AASHTO (2007) and the Brown et al (2010) methods
significantly underestimate the skin resistances of grouted sand layers named as GROUT 1 and
GROUT 2. The underestimation reached as low as 0.22 to 0.3 and 0.13 to 0.2 for GROUT 1 and
GROUT 2, respectively.

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As expected, the grouted base resistance is significantly underestimated by the conventional methods.
The underestimation reached as low as 0.32 to 0.38.
The Bustamante (2002) method that is originally developed for grouted piles underestimated the skin
resistances of the grouted layers with different degrees as well as the base resistance. The estimate in
case of GROUT 1 layer is considered to be excellent. While the underestimation ratios of the skin resistance of GROUT2 and base resistance are 0.65 and 0.39, respectively.

8. CONCLUDING REMARK
The paper presents results of instrumented large diameter bored pile load test on a pile that is partially
grouted through the skin along the lower 9m of the shaft and grouted at the base. The instrumentation
allowed the separation of the mobilized resistances of the different layers non-grouted and grouted
along the shaft of the pile. The instrumentation, allows also the measurement of the base resistance of
the grouted base of the pile. The capability of conventional methods of estimating the different capacities as well as that of the Bustamante (2002) method that is originally developed for grouted piles; to estimate the capacities of skin and base resistances is assessed in this paper. The assessment indicated that
there is a need to develop or modify a method estimate the axial capacity of grouted piles.

ACNOWLEDGEMENT
The authors express gratitude for the data provided by both Prof. Dr. M. Hamza of Hamza Associates
and Eng. A. Wahby, for the data and help provided. Without such assistance, this paper would not be
possible to appear in this shape.

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International Conference on Advances in Structural and Geotechnical Engineering (ICASGE 2015(

Egyptian Code of Deep Foundations - ECDF (2001). Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering.
Part 4 - Deep Foundations, 6th addition, HBRC.
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East India Dock, London, Underground Construction Symposium,Brintex, London, UK,2001, pp.
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