Settlement and Bearing Capacity of Shallow
Footings in Riyadh Limestone


Hussain Abdullah Alawaji

Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, King Saud University,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


This paper presents the results of studies of bearing capacity and settlement of square and circular shallow footings in Riyadh limestone rock. Nonlinear axisymmetric and 3D finite element program (Z-Soil) with contact and membrane elements is used for footing-rock interaction analysis. Simple elastic and advanced Hoek-Brown material models are considered for concrete and rock. Representative material parameters were derived from laboratory and in-situ tests. Results indicate that limestone rock allowable bearing capacity is 6 MPa. This value is higher than locally used conservative value of 0.4 MPa. Settlement is negligible under commonly used working load. Rock mass parameters from in-situ tests are very significant for deformation analysis. Results of the Elastmeter2 and FEM results are presented, and the settlement and bearing capacity of Riyadh limestone rock are assessed. Although this study addresses footings with specific geometry and boundary conditions, the methodology developed for this analysis can be applied to a variety of similar situations. The findings in this paper will definitely have influential effects in the financing and upgrading of major infrastructures such as large buildings, bridges, underpasses, pipelines and storage tanks in limestone.

KEYWORDS: Finite element method, shallow foundations, limestone rock, settlement, bearing capacity.

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