You are on page 1of 27


Propose of Pile Caps.

• Transfer the load from the Superstructure to the pile.
• Usually several piles support a single column.
• Load from the column need to be transferred to the group of piles.
• Pile cap is perfectly rigid.
• Pile heads are hinged to the pile cap and hence no bending moment
is transmitted to piles from pile caps.
• Since the piles are short and elastic columns, the deformations and
stress distribution are planer.
General Guide lines for layout
• Spacing is 3 x pile diameter
• Group symmetrically under loads
• Load is equally distributed among piles; but any moments will adjust
them a little.
• Pile cap extend 150mm beyond the circumference of pile
• For pilecap on one/two piles moment due to load eccentricity of
75mm need to be allowed; to be resisted by piles or ground beams.
• (i) Shape of pile cap.
• (ii) Depth of pile cap.
• (iii) Amount of steel to be provided.
• (iv) Arrangement of reinforcement.
• The minimum spacing of piles permitted from soil mechanics depends
on the type and end conditions. CP 2004 requires a minimum centre-
to –centre spacing of twice the diameter of the piles for end bearing
and three times the diameter for friction piles.
• IS 2911 part1, sections 1 and 2 recommended a minimum spacing of
two and half times the diameter of the pile for both driven cast in situ
and bored cast in situ piles.
• For accommodating deviations in driving of piles, the size of the pile
cap is made 300 mm more than the outer- to outer distance of the
exterior piles. (150 mm on either side).
Depth of Pile Cap
• The thickness of the Pile Cap is fixed such that
• Adequate to resist shear without shear reinforcement
• Bars projecting from the piles
• Dowel bars for the column can be provided adequate bond length.
• Provide tension anchorage by bending into it.

• Generally, pile cap thickness should not be less than 500 mm which
may be reduced to 300 mm at the free edges.
• The minimum thickness on top of piles should not be less than 300
• Pile cap depth should be kept on the high side to effect economy in
the consumption of steel and also to provide adequate rigidity to pile
• For pile caps to be rigid, pile cap has to be quite deep with 600 mm as
the minimum depth. As a guide line the formula given in Reinforced
concrete by Reynolds may be followed.
• For Pile dia < 550 mm, Pile cap depth (h) = (2 hp + 100)mm

• For Pile dia ≥ 550 mm, Pile cap depth (h)= ⅓ x( 8 hp + 600) mm
Amount of steel to be provided
• The Pile Cap has to be designed either truss theory or beam theory.
Although, the pile caps are assumed to act as a simply supported
beam and are designed for the usual condition of bending and shear,
their tendency is to fail by bursting due to high principal tension and
they will therefore always require a cage of reinforcement in three
dimensions to resist this tendency.
• The main reinforcement is usually bend (full bend) and extended for
full depth of pile cap to fulfill the check for development length.
• Though IS 456-2000 is silent on specifying the minimum
reinforcement, a minimum reinforcement of 0.15 % BD for main
reinforcement and 0.12 % BD for secondary reinforcement may be
provided as per clause 3 .11.4.1 and 2 of CP 110 code). For bursting
(horizontal binders) it is suggested that 25 % of the main
reinforcement (usually 12 Φ RTS at 150 mm c/c) shall be used.
• Cover :- A cover of 75 mm is usually provided for the pile cap surfaces
in contact with earth and 60 mm against blinding concrete of 75 to
100 mm thick. In marine situations the cover should be increased to a
minimum of 80 mm.
• If Spacing between the pile < 3x diameter of pile
• Distribute the bars uniformly
• If Spacing between the pile > 3x diameter of pile
• Band the bars.
• In all cases when the truss theory is used it must be remembered that
the reinforcement has a constant force in it between the centers of
• It must therefore have an anchorage for this force beyond the centre
of the piles. I.e. the lower nodes of the truss.
• With a three-pile cap designed on the truss theory, lt is difficult to see
how this can be done and It is suggested that the reinforcement is
banded along the centre lines joining the piles.
• This can sometimes present problems as large radius bands are
required. Where the reinforcement has been banded.
• the high compression from the pile to this area' will mean that a
shorter anchorage length would be satisfactory.
• Tests carried out at the Cement and Concrete Association have shown
this to be the case If flexure governs.
• If the reinforcement is uniformly distributed then this ‘pinching'
aCtion does not occur and a proper anchorage is required.
• As with pad footings, pile caps must al alos be realatively thick so that
they can be classed as rigid.
• In the case of pile caps designed using truss theory It is suggested
that the effective depth Is approximately half the distance between
the centre of piles.
• This means the truss has an angle of approximately 45·.
• With pile groups of more than five the beam theory should be used.
• For this reason many designers use the beam theory for all pile caps.
• The bending moment Is now found at the face of the column and the
reinforcement requires a satisfactory anchorage length from this-
• The pile cap is Considered as having simply supported ends so there
must be a 12 time anchorage beyond the centre line of the piles. With
the beam theory the reinforcement is usually distributed uniformly
across the cap.
• As with pad footings we have shear across the width of the cap and
also punching shear.
• For shear across the full width of the cap, the Code refers the reader
to the slab clauses.
• For punching shear the main requirement is around the perimeter of
the column itself and this must not exceed 0.8√fcu.
• However, if the spacing of the piles Is greater than three times the
pile diameter. punching shear should be checked on a perimeter as
given for a pad footing.
• For the enhancement factor of 2d./av, the dimension av Is the
distance between the face of the column and a line 20% of the pile
diameter inside the pile as illustrated.
• If the spacing of the piles across the section is less than three times
tha pile diameter the enhancement factor may be applied over the
whole of the section
• Where the spacing is greater, the enhancement is only applied to
strips equal to three times the pile diameter centered on each pile.
• As with the banding of the reinforcement using the truss theory
where the pile centres are more than three times the pile diameter, a
problem can arise lithe pile cap does not extend a pile diameter
beyond the pile.
• It is suggested for both cases that the band width should be the
distance from the edge of the cap to the pile face plus two pile
diameters or three pile diameters, Whichever is the lesser.