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# NPTEL – ADVANCED FOUNDATION ENGINEERING-I

Module 8
Lecture 30
PILE FOUNDATIONS

Topics

1.2 EQUATIONS FOR ESTIMATING PILE CAPACITY
 Point Bearing Capacity, 𝑸𝑸𝒑𝒑
 Frictional Resistance, 𝑸𝑸𝒔𝒔
1.3 MEYERHOF’S METHODS ESTIMATION OF 𝑸𝑸𝒑𝒑
 Sand
 Clay (𝝓𝝓 = 𝟎𝟎 𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜𝐜)

SAND

## 1.7 FRICTIONAL RESISTANCE (𝑸𝑸𝒔𝒔 ) IN SAND

The load transfer mechanism from a pile to the soil is complicated. To understand it,
consider a pile of length L, as shown in figure 8.8a. The load on the pile is gradually
increased from zero to 𝑄𝑄(z=0) at the ground surface. Part of this load will be resisted by
the side friction developed along the shaft, 𝑄𝑄1 , and part by the soil below the tip of the
pile, 𝑄𝑄2 . Now, how are 𝑄𝑄1 and 𝑄𝑄2 related to the total load? If measurements are made to
obtain the load carried by the pile shaft 𝑄𝑄(𝑧𝑧) , at any depth z, the nature of variation will be
like that shown in curve 1 of figure 8.8b. The frictional resistance per unit area, 𝑓𝑓(𝑧𝑧) , at
any depth z may be determined as

∆𝑄𝑄(𝑧𝑧)
𝑓𝑓(𝑧𝑧) = (𝑝𝑝)(∆𝑧𝑧) [8.7]

Where

## Figure 8.8 Load transfer mechanism for piles

If the load Q at the ground surface is gradually increased, maximum frictional resistance
along the pile shaft will be fully mobilized when the relative displacement between the
soil and the pile is about 0.2-0.3 in. (5-10 mm) irrespective of pile size and length L.
however, the maximum point resistance 𝑄𝑄2 = 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 will not be mobilized until the pile tip
has moved about 10%-25% o the pile with width (or diameter). The lower limit applies to
driven piles and the upper limit to bored piles. At ultimate load (figure 8. 8d and curve 2
in figure 8. 8b), 𝑄𝑄(𝑧𝑧=0) = 𝑄𝑄𝑢𝑢 . Thus

𝑄𝑄1 = 𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠

And

𝑄𝑄2 = 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝

The preceding explanation indicates that 𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 (or the unit skin friction, f, along the pile
shaft) is developed at a much smaller pile displacement compared to the point resistance,
𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 . This condition can be seen in Vesic’s (1970) pile-load results in granular soil, shown
in figure 8. 9. Note that these results are for pile piles in dense sand.

(redrawn after Vesic, 1970)

At ultimate load, the failure surface in the soil at the pile tip (bearing capacity failure
caused by 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 ) is like that shown in figure 8. 8e. Note that the foundations are deep
foundations and that the soil fails mostly in a punching mode, as illustrated previously in
figure 8.1c and 8.3 (from chapter 3). That is, a triangular zone I, is developed at the pile
tip, which is pushed downward without producing any other visible slip surface. In dense

sands and stiff clayey soils, a radial shear zone, II, may partially develop. Hence the load
displacement curves of piles will resemble those shown in figure 8. 1c (from chapter 3).

Figure 8. 10 shows the field load-transfer curves reported by Woo and Juang (1995) on a
bored concrete pile (drilled shaft) in Taiwan. The pile was 41.7 m long.

Figure 8.10 Load transfer curves for a pile as obtained by Woo and Juang (1975)

The subsoil conditions where the pile was bored were as follows:

## Depth below ground surface (m) Unified soil classification

0-3.7 SM

3.7-6.0 GP-GM

6.0-9.0 GM-SM

9.0-12.0 GM-SM

12.0-18.0 SM

18.0-20.0 CL-ML

20.0-33.0 ML/SM

33.0-39.0 GP-GM

39.0-41.7 GP-SM/GM

## EQUATIONS FOR ESTIMATING PILE CAPACITY

The ultimate load-carrying of a pile is given by a simple equation as the sum of the load
carried at the pile point plus the total frictional resistance (skin friction) derived from the
soil-pile interface (figure 8. 11a), or

Where

## 𝑄𝑄𝑢𝑢 = ultimate pile capacity

𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = load − carrying capacity of the pile point
𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 = frictional resistance

Numerous published studies cover the determination of the values of 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 and 𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 .
Excellent reviews of many of these investigations have been provided by Vesic (1977),
Meyerhof (1976), and Coyle and Castello (1981). These studies provide insight into the
problem of determining ultimate pile capacity.

## The ultimate bearing capacity of shallow foundations was discussed in chapter 3.

According to Terzaghi’s equations,

And

## 𝑞𝑞𝑢𝑢 = 1.3𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐 + 𝑞𝑞𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞 + 0.3𝛾𝛾𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝛾𝛾 (for shallow circular foundations)

Similarly, the general bearing capacity equation for shallow foundations was given in

𝑞𝑞𝑢𝑢 = 𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐 𝐹𝐹𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 𝐹𝐹𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 + 𝑞𝑞𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞 𝐹𝐹𝑞𝑞𝑞𝑞 𝐹𝐹𝑞𝑞𝑞𝑞 + 12𝛾𝛾𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝛾𝛾 𝐹𝐹𝛾𝛾𝛾𝛾 𝐹𝐹𝛾𝛾𝛾𝛾

## 𝑞𝑞𝑢𝑢 = 𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑞𝑞𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ + 𝛾𝛾𝐵𝐵𝐵𝐵𝛾𝛾∗ [8.9a]

Where 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ , 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ , and 𝑁𝑁𝛾𝛾∗ are the bearing capacity factors that include the necessary shape
and depth factors

Pile foundations are deep. However, the ultimate resistance per unit area developed at the
pile tip, 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 , may be expressed by an equation similar in form to that shown in equation
(9a), although the values of 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ , 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ , and 𝑁𝑁𝛾𝛾∗ will change. The notation used in this
chapter for the width of a pile is D. hence substituting D for B in equation (9a) gives

## 𝑞𝑞𝑢𝑢 = 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑞𝑞𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ + 𝛾𝛾𝐷𝐷𝐷𝐷𝛾𝛾∗ [8.9b]

Because the width D of a pile is relatively small, the term 𝛾𝛾𝐷𝐷𝐷𝐷𝛾𝛾∗ may be dropped from
the right side of the preceding equation without introducing a serious error, or

## 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑞𝑞′𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ [8.10]

Note that the term q has been replaced by q’ in equation (10) to signify effective vertical
stress. Hence the point bearing of piles is

𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 � 𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑞𝑞 ′𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞 � [8.11]

Where

## 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 = area of pile tip

𝑐𝑐 = cohesion of the soil supporting the pile tip
𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = unit point resistance
𝑞𝑞 ′ = effective vertical stress at the level of the pile tip
𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ = the bearing capacity factors

Where

## 𝑝𝑝 = perimeter of the pile section

Δ𝐿𝐿 = incremental pile length over which 𝑝𝑝 and 𝑓𝑓 are taken constant
𝑓𝑓 = unit friction resistance at any depth 𝑧𝑧

There are several methods for estimating 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 and 𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 . They are discussed in the following
sections. It needs to be reemphasized that, in the field, for full mobilization of the point
resistance (𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 ), the pile tip must go through a displacement of 10 to 25% of the pile
width (or diameter).

## MEYERHOF’S METHODS ESTIMATION OF 𝑸𝑸𝒑𝒑

Sand

The point bearing capacity, 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 , of a pile in sand generally increases with the depth of
embedment in the bearing stratum and reaches a maximum value at an embedment ratio
of 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷 = (𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 . Note that, in a homogeneous soil 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 is equal to the actual
emebedment length of the pile, L ( figure 8. 11a). However, in figure 8. 6b, where a pile
has penetrated into a bearing stratum, 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 < 𝐿𝐿. Beyond the critical embedment ratio,
(𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 , the value of 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 remains constant (𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝑞𝑞1 ). That is, as shown in figure 8. 12
for the case of a homogeneous soil, 𝐿𝐿 = 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 . The variation of (𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 with the soil
friction angle is shown in figure 8.13. Note that that the broken curve is for the
determination of 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and that the solid curve is for the determination of 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ . According to
Meyerhof (1976), the bearing capacity factors increase with 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷 and reach a maximum
value at 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷 ≈ 0.5(𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 . figure 8.13 indicates that (𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 for 𝜙𝜙 = 45° is about
25 and that is decreases with the decrease of the friction angle, 𝜙𝜙. In most cases the
magnitude of 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷 for piles is greater than 0.5(𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 so the maximum values of
𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ will apply for calculation of 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 for all piles. The variation of these maximum
values of 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ with friction angle, 𝜙𝜙, is shown in figure 8. 14.

## Figure 8.12 Nature of variation of unit point resistance in a homogeneous sand

Figure 8.13 Variation of (𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 /𝐷𝐷)𝑐𝑐𝑐𝑐 with soil friction angle (after Meyerhof, 1976)
For piles in sand, 𝑐𝑐 = 0, and equation (11) simplifies to

## 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 𝑞𝑞 ′ 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ (Figure 8.14) 

Figure 8.14 Variation of the maximum values of 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ with soil friction angle 𝜙𝜙
(after Meyerhof, 1976)

However, 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 should not exceed the limiting value, or 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 𝑞𝑞1 , so

## The limiting point resistance is

𝑞𝑞1 (kN/m2 ) = 50𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ tan 𝜙𝜙 [8.15]

Where

## In English units, equation (15) becomes

𝑞𝑞1 (lb/ft 2 ) = 1000𝑁𝑁q∗ tan 𝜙𝜙 [8.16]

Based on field observations, Meyerhof (1976) also suggested that the ultimate point
resistance, 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 , in a homogeneous granular soil (𝐿𝐿 = 𝐿𝐿𝑏𝑏 ) may be obtained from standard
penetration numbers as

## 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 (kN/m2 ) = 40 𝑁𝑁cor 𝐿𝐿/𝐷𝐷 ≤ 400𝑁𝑁cor [8.17]

Where

𝑁𝑁cor = average corrected standard penetration number near the pile point (about
10𝐷𝐷 above and 4𝐷𝐷 below the pile point)

In English units,

Where

## VESIC’S METHOD-ESTIMATION OF 𝑸𝑸𝒑𝒑

Vesic (1977) proposed a method for estimating the pile point bearing capacity based on
the theory of expansion of cavities. According to this theory, based on effective stress
parameters.

## 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 𝑞𝑞𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 (𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝜎𝜎 ′ 0 𝑁𝑁𝜎𝜎∗ ) [8.20]

Where
𝜎𝜎 ′ 0 = mean normal ground stress (effective)at the level of the pile point.

1+2𝐾𝐾0
=� � 𝑞𝑞′ [8.21]
3

## Note that equation (20) is a mobilization of equation (11) with

3𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗
𝑁𝑁𝜎𝜎∗ = (1+2𝐾𝐾 [8.23]
0)

## According to Vesic’s theory,

𝑁𝑁𝜎𝜎∗ = 𝑓𝑓(𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 )

Where
𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 = reduced rigidity index for the soil [8.25]

However,
𝐼𝐼
𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 = 1+𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟 [8.26]
𝑟𝑟 Δ
Where

𝐸𝐸𝑠𝑠 G s
𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟 = rigidity index = 2�1+μ ′ = c+q ′ tan [8.27]
s �(c+q tan 𝜙𝜙 ) ϕ

## 𝐺𝐺𝑠𝑠 = shear modulus of soil

Δ = average volumatric strain in the plastic zone below the pile point

## 𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟 = 𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 [8.28]

Table D.6 (Appendix D) gives the values of 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝜎𝜎∗ for various values of the soil
friction angle (𝜙𝜙) and 𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 . For 𝜙𝜙 = 0 (undrained condition),
4 𝜋𝜋
𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ = 3 (In 𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟𝑟𝑟 + 1) + 2 + 1 [8.29]

The values of 𝐼𝐼𝑟𝑟 can be estimated from laboratory consolidation and triaxial tests
corresponding to the proper stress levels. However, for preliminary use the following
values are recommended:

Sand 70-150

## Janbu (1976) proposed calculating 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 as follows:

𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 (𝑐𝑐𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ + 𝑞𝑞 ′ 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ ) [8.30]

Note that equation (30) has the same form as equation (11). The bearing capacity factors
𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ are calculated by assuming a failure surface in soil at the pile tip similar to
that shown in the insert of figure 8. 15. The bearing capacity relationships then are

## Figure 8.15 Janbu’s bearing capacity factors

𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ = (tan 𝜙𝜙 + �1 + tan2 𝜙𝜙)2 (e2η tan 𝜙𝜙 ) [8.31]

## (The angle 𝜂𝜂′ is defined in the insert of figure 8.15.

𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ = �𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ − 1� cot 𝜙𝜙 [8.32]

Figure 8. 15 shows the variation of 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ and 𝑁𝑁𝑐𝑐∗ with 𝜙𝜙 and 𝜂𝜂′. The angle 𝜂𝜂′ may vary
from about 70° in soft clays to about 105° in dense sandy soils.

Regardless of the theoretical procedure used to calculate 𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 , its full magnitude cannot be
realized until the pile tip has penetrated at least 10%-25% of the width of the pile. This
depth is critical in the case of sand.

## COYLE AND CASTELLO’S METHOD-ESTIMATION OF 𝑸𝑸𝒑𝒑 IN SAND

Coyle and Castello (1981) analyzed twenty-four large-scale field load tests of driven piles
in sand. Based on the test results, they suggested that, in sand,
𝑄𝑄𝑝𝑝 = 𝑞𝑞 ′ 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ 𝐴𝐴𝑝𝑝 [8.33]

Where

## 𝑞𝑞 ′ = effective vertical stress at the pile tip

𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ = bearing capacity factor

Figure 8. 16 sows the variation of 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ with 𝐿𝐿/D and the soil friction angle, 𝜙𝜙.

Figure 8.16 Variation o f 𝑁𝑁𝑞𝑞∗ with 𝐿𝐿/𝐷𝐷 (redrawn after Coyle and Castello, 1981)

## FRICTIONAL RESISTANCE (𝑸𝑸𝒔𝒔 ) IN SAND

It was pointed out in equation (12) that the frictional resistance (𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 ) can be expressed as

𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 = Σ 𝑝𝑝 Δ 𝐿𝐿𝐿𝐿

## The unit frictional resistance, f, is hard to estimate. In making an estimation of f, several

important factors must be kept in mind. They are as follows:

1. The nature of pile installation. For driven piles in sand, the vibration caused
during pile driving helps densify the soil around the pile. Figure 8. 17 shows the
contours of the soil friction angle, 𝜙𝜙, around a driven pile (Meyerhof, 1961). Note
that, in this case, the original soil friction angle of the sand was 32° . The zone of
sand densification is about 2.5 times the pile diameter surrounding the pile.

Figure 8.17 Compaction of sand near driven piles (after Meyerhof, 1961)

## Figure 8.18 Unit frictional resistances for piles in sand

2. It has been observed that the nature of variation of f in the field is approximately
as shown in figure 8. 18. The unit skin friction increases with depth more or less
linearly to a depth of L’ and remains constant thereafter. The magnitude of the
critical depth L’ may be 15 to 20 pile diameters. A conservative estimate would
be

## 𝐿𝐿′ ≈ 15𝐷𝐷 [8.34]

3. At similar depths, the unit skin friction in loose sand is higher for a high
displacement pile as compared to a low-displacement pile.
4. At similar depth, bored, or jetted, piles will have a lower unit skin friction as
compared to driven piles.

Considering the above factors, an approximate relationship for f can be given as follows
(figure 8. 18):

For 𝑧𝑧 = 0 to 𝐿𝐿′

## And for 𝑧𝑧 = " to 𝐿𝐿

𝑓𝑓 = 𝑓𝑓𝑧𝑧=𝐿𝐿′ [8.35b]

Where

## 𝐾𝐾 = effective earth coefficient

𝜎𝜎′𝑣𝑣 = effective vertical stress at the depth under consideration
𝛿𝛿 = soil − pile friction angle

In reality, the magnitude of K varies with depth. It is approximately equal to the Rankine
passive earth pressure coefficient, 𝐾𝐾𝑝𝑝 , at the top of the pile and may be less than the at-
rest pressure coefficient, 𝐾𝐾0 , at a greater depth. Based on the presently available results,
the following average values of K are recommended for use in equation (35):

Pile type 𝐾𝐾

## Low-displacement driven ≈ 𝐾𝐾0 = 1 − sin 𝜙𝜙 to 1.4𝐾𝐾𝑜𝑜

= 1.4(1 − sin 𝜙𝜙)

## High-displacement driven ≈ 𝐾𝐾0 = 1 − sin 𝜙𝜙 to 1.8𝐾𝐾𝑜𝑜

= 1.8(1 − sin 𝜙𝜙)

The values of 𝛿𝛿 from various investigations appear to be in the range of 0.5𝜙𝜙 to 0.8𝜙𝜙.
Judgment must be used in choosing the value of 𝛿𝛿. For high displacement driven piles,
Bhusan (1982) recommended

And

Where

## 𝐷𝐷𝑟𝑟 = relative density (%)

Meyerhof (1976) also indicated that the average unit frictional resistance, 𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 , for high-
displacement driven piles may be obtained from average corrected standard penetration
resistance values as

� cor
𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 = (kN/m2 ) = 2N [8.38]

Where

N

## In English units equation (38) becomes

� cor
𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 (lb/ft 2 ) = 40N [8.39]

## For low displacement driven piles

� cor
𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 (kN/m2 ) = N [8.40]

And

� cor
𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 (lb/ft 2 ) = 20N [8.41]

Thus
𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 = 𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑓𝑓𝑎𝑎𝑎𝑎 [8.42]

Coyle and Castello (1981), in conjunction with the material presented in section 10,
proposed that

Where

## 𝜎𝜎�′ = average effective overburden pressure

𝛿𝛿 = soil − pile friction angle = 0.8𝜙𝜙

The lateral earth pressure coefficient 𝐾𝐾, which was determined from field observations, is
shown in figure 8.19. Thus, if figure 8. 19 is used,

## 𝑄𝑄𝑠𝑠 = 𝐾𝐾𝜎𝜎�′𝑣𝑣 tan(0.8𝜙𝜙)𝑝𝑝𝑝𝑝 [8.44]

Figure 8.19 Variation of 𝐾𝐾 with 𝐿𝐿/𝐷𝐷 (redrawn after Coyle and Castello, 1981)