Graphs for the Design of
Laterally Loaded Piles in Clay

 

Abdellah Alem

Lecturer, University of Le Havre, Department of Civil Engineering,
Le Havre, France

and

Ahmed Benamar

Lecturer, University of Le Havre, Department of Civil Engineering,
Le Havre, France

 

ABSTRACT

In the design of piles, we are frequently bound to study both the pile head deflection and the maximum bending moment. By using the subgrade reaction theory with a simplified p-y soil response, an analytical method is developed for the solution of the pile bending equations for a pile subjected to flexion and horizontal load. This paper describes this analytical method applied to a single pile installed in clay. Predicted responses by this method are compared with experimental results given in literature. A comparison of computed and measured lateral load-deflection response of single pile in clay shows a good agreement. In order to make useful this analytical method graphical non-dimensional relationships are proposed. Lateral deflection at ground level, rotation at ground level and maximum bending moment in pile are given versus the pile lateral load.

KEYWORDS: Pile, Analytical, Lateral load, soil, Elastic-plastic, reaction, clay, deflection, bending moment, graphical.

See Discussion

INTRODUCTION

Single pile and pile groups are often subject to significant lateral loads in addition to axial compressive and uplift loads. The lateral loads on piles are derived from earth pressures, wind pressures, water forces and impact loads from vessels. Structures are often constructed in coastal areas and in the flood plains of rivers.

Over the years, several methods have been proposed to predict the response of laterally loaded piles. The most frequently used is the well-known p-y analysis, which has been included into several codes of practice (Fascicule 62 (M.E.L.T.) 1993, P.H.R.I. 1980, A.P.I. 1993). In this approach, the soil around a pile is simulated by a series of independent non-linear springs, each spring representing the behaviour of a soil layer of unit height. This procedure requires to input series of p-y curves. To derive the load-deformation characteristics of piles we usually need to use numerical methods except in some cases where analytical solutions may be found. Subgrade reaction approach treats a laterally loaded pile as a beam on elastic foundation. It is assumed that the beam is supported by a Winkler soil model according to which the are represented by a series of independent and elastic springs.

This paper presents an example of analytical solution developed to predict the response of laterally loaded piles in clay. In this method the subgrade reaction approach is used with the simplification of linear elastic-perfectly-plastic p-y soil response. In order to verify the validity of this analytical method the results obtained for pile deflection and bending moment are compared with experimental results reported by Poulos (1980). The principal results are presented by graphical non-dimensional relationships which allow an easy evaluation of pile head deflection and maximum bending moment in the pile.

LATERAL SOIL REACTION

It is well known that the soil behavior in the case of piles under lateral load in non-linear. The non-linear behavior of soils in the analysis of laterally loaded piles is generally incorporated using p-y curve approach. Then the relationship between lateral force P on the soil and pile deflection y at any point along a pile is non-linear. A simplest approach to account for this nonlinearity is to consider the elastoplastic model. This model, used in the present method, is defined by a limit lateral force Pu below which the soil reaction is linear and then the soil pressure is expressed as P(z) = Esy(z), where Es is the modulus of lateral subgrade reaction of the soil and y is the lateral displacement of the pile. This model needs to define the lateral limit load and the modulus of lateral subgrade reaction of the soil.

It is usually assumed that the lateral limit load for cohesive soils increases from 2cud to 3cud at ground level up to 8cud to 12cud at a depth of about 2d to 3d and beyond this depth it remains constant (Matlock, 1970; Reese and al., 1975), cu being the undrained shear strength of the soil and d the diameter or width of pile. According to Broms (1964a) the proposed distribution of Pu is shown in Figure 1. The soil resistance in the upper zone is neglected up to a depth equal to 1.5d. Below this depth ultimate lateral load Pu is taken equal to 9cud as in the tip capacity of vertically loaded piles. For the mathematical solution this is represented by taking the oringin, z = 0, at a distance 1.5d below the soil surface, and restricing the soil reaction development with Pu (Figure 1).

The conventional modulus of subgrade reaction in cohesive soils is expressed as a function of the undrained shear strength. Banerjee and Davies (1978) backfigured values of Es between 100cu and 180cu. In practice, a possible way to derive Es values is the use of the results of pressuremeter tests (Fascicule 62 (M.E.L.T.) 1993).

MATHEMATICAL FORMULATION

When the pile is subject to lateral load it moves in this direction until the counteracting pressure is distributed in such a way that the equilibrium conditions are satisfied. The resulting distribution of soil reaction against the pile may be decomposed into two zones. A plastic zone which extends to a depth zp which is a function of the horizontal force level and its point of action, and an elastic zone below this depth. The governing equation for the pile deflection at any depth z is given by:

(1)

The integration of this equation leads to the following expressions giving the load per unit of length P, the shear force V, the bending moment M, the rotation of pile section w and the lateral deflection y in each zone.

For the plastic zone ():

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

(6)

For the elastic zone ():

(7)

Assuming that the pile is long and the soil modulus is independent from depth, the pile deflection is

(8)

where b is the reciprocal of the characteristic length l0 of the pile:

The expressions that give the rotation w, the bending moment M, the shear force V and the load per unit of length P are found by successive differentiations. The unknown parameters Ci and z = zp are obtained by imposing the equilibrium for bending moment and shear force at z = 0 and z = zp, and the compatibility for displacement and slope at z = zp. The last boundary condition is obtained from the fact that at depth z = zp, the rate of shear variation is equal to the ultimate soil resistance/unit length.

The following solution is obtained for pile subject to a lateral force H0 and bending moment M0 at z = 0.

For load level is such that soil is elastic. Thus z = zp = 0 and deflection and bending moment are given by

(9)

(10)

The position and value of maximum bending moment are

(11)

(12)

For zp > 0 a plastic zone develops. The integration parameters are

C1 = H0 and C2 = M0

(13)

The depth of the plastic zone in this case is given by

(14)

Furthermore,

(15)

(16)

(17)

(18)

where

(19)

and

(20)

The two values C3 and C4 divided by the bending rigidity EI of pile give respectively rotation and horizontal deflection of pile at z = 0.

According to the two cases the position and value of maximum bending moment are

For the maximum bending moment occurs in elastic zone at depth:

(21)

where

(22)

For , the maximum bending moment occurs in plastic zone at depth:

(23)

and its value is

(24)

The lateral deflection of pile at a level L (above z = 0) where the load is applied is given by the following equation

(25)

in which y(0) and w(0) are respectively lateral deflection and rotation of pile at z = 0. When the modulus of lateral subgrade reaction is linearly increasing with depth (z) the resolution of equation (1) needs to use numerical methods. This inconvenience is overcome by assuming an average value of Es taken in a significant part of the pile and giving the appropriate pile head displacement in elastic conditions. Based on the above considerations an implicit equation that gives Esm was developed and graphical dimensionless solution is shown in Figure 2.


Figure 1. Pile movement and lateral soil pressure distribution


Figure 2. Curve giving average value of lateral soil modulus

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

In order to check the suggested formulation, predicted results are compared with some of the available published data obtained from tests. The test results presented in this paper were reported by Poulos (1980). The piles were installed in clay and subject to lateral load. The lateral deflection at ground level was measured. The details of pile and soil materials are given in Table 1. The undrained shear strength cu and the lateral subgrade reaction modulus Es were obtained from plate-bearing tests.

Table 1. Pile and soil properties in Poulos (1980) tests
Test no Pile diameter
(m)
Pile length
(m)
Pile bending
rigidity EI (kN/m)
Soil shear strength
cu (kPa)
Lateral reaction
modulus Es (kPa)
1 0.01 3.00 622000 14.4 3500
2 0.038 5.25 31600 14.4 3500
3 .0076 5.25 246000 14.4 3500
4 0.001 5.25 320000 14.4 3500

Figure 3 shows typical experimental and computed load-deflection curves using the analytical method presented here. The test results and predicted values of deflection were matched at different load levels. The results of this comparison (Figure 3 below) show that the agreement between measured and computed deflection seems to be better for high load level. Nevertheless the predicted responses by this method are reasonably in good agreement with the experimental values.


Figure 3. Comparison of measured and calculated load-deflection curves
------Measured , ---o--- predicted

GRAPHS OF DIMENSIONLESS SOLUTIONS

In the design of piles we are usually interested in the pile head deflection and the maximum bending moment. By using the above solutions, it is possible to define respectively the dimensionless lateral deflection (y0 Es/cu d), the pile rotation (w Es)/cu at level z = 0 and the corresponding maximum bending moment M0 in the pile section. These dimensionless parameters are expressed as a function of the dimensionless applied load and the dimensionless length bL as shown in Figure 4. These practical graphics can be used by engineers to predict pile head deflection and maximum-bending moment in a pile structure project, or to verify the lateral load resistance of existing piles.

In the design of piles we are usually interested in the pile head deflection and the maximum bending moment. By using the above solutions, it is possible to define respectively the dimensionless lateral deflection

y0 Es / (cu d),

the pile rotation

w0Es / cu

at level z = 0, and the corresponding maximum bending moment

Mmax b2 / (cu d)

in the pile section. These dimensionless parameters are expressed as a function of the dimensionless applied load

H0b / (cu d)

and the dimensionless length bL as shown in Figure 4. These practical graphics can be used by engineers to predict pile head deflection and maximum-bending moment in a pile structure project, or to verify the lateral load resistance of existing piles.


Figure 4(a) Ground line deflection versus applied load


Figure 4(b) Ground line rotation versus applied load


Figure 4(c) maximum bending moment versus applied load

CONCLUSIONS

A simple analytical formulation has been proposed to predict the response of laterally loaded piles in clay. This method is based on a simplified subgrade modulus approach. The comparison of calculated solutions by this method with measured test data show a good agreement for load-displacement curves. Nevertheless this simplified analytical approach presents more validity for high lateral load levels. Dimensionless relationships to estimate easily pile head deflection and maximum bending moment in pile are presented as curves.

REFERENCES

  1. American Petroleum Institutes (A.P.I) RP 2A-LRFD - Section G, “Foundation Design” , A.P.I, pp 64-77.
  2. Banerjee, P.K., and Davies, T.G., “The behaviour of axially and laterally loaded single piles embedded in nonhomogeneous soils”, Geotechnique, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp 309-326, (1978).
  3. Broms, B.B., “Lateral resistance of piles in cohesive soils”, Journal of the Soil Mechanics Division - ASCE, Vol. 90, No. SM3, May, pp 27-63, (1964a).
  4. Canadian Foundation Engineering Manual (C.F.E.M.), 2nd Edition, Canadian Geotechnical Society, (1985).
  5. Fascicule 62 - Titre V “Règles techniques de conception et de calcul des fondations et des ouvrages de génie civil”, Ministère de l’Equipement, du Logement et des Transports (M.E.L.T.), France, (1993).
  6. Matlock, H., “Correlations for design of laterally loaded piles in soft clay”, Proceedings of the Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, Texas, OTC 1204, pp 544-593, (1970).
  7. Poulos, H.G., and Davies, E. H., “Pile foundation analysis and design”, John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, (1980).
  8. Port and Harbour Research Institute (P.H.R.I.), “Technical standard for port and harbour facilities in Japan”, Japan Ministry of Transport, 371p, (1980).
  9. Reese, L.C., and Welch, R.C., “Lateral loading of deep foundations in stiff clay”, Journal of Geotechnical Engineering - ASCE, Vol.101, No. GT7, July, pp 633-649, (1975).

 

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