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Introduction

Buildingloadsaretransmittedbycolumns,bearingwalls,orbyotherbearingmembertofoundations.Afoundationisthe
lowerpartofastructurewhichtransmitsloadstotheunderlyingsoilwithoutcausingashearfailureofsoilorexcessive
settlement.Thus,thewordfoundationreferstothesoilunderstructureaswellasanyinterveningloadcarryingmember.
Ifthesoilnearthesurfacehasadequatebearingcapacitytosupportthestructuralloadsitispossibletousespread
foundationsuchasfootingorraft.Ifthesoilnearthesurfaceisincapableofsupportingthestructuralloads,pilesorpiers
areusedtotransfertheloadstosoillayingatgreaterdepthcapableofsupportingsuchloads.
Thefoundationsareclassifiedasshallowanddeepfoundation,accordingtothedepthofconstruction.

BearingCapacityandStabilityofFoundations
The ability of a soil to support a load from a structural foundation without failing in shear is known as its bearing
capacity.
Thestabilityoffoundationdependson:
1. Thebearingcapacityofthesoilbeneaththefoundation.
2. Thesettlementofthesoilbeneaththefoundation.

Thereare,therefore,twoindependentstabilityconditionstobefulfilledsincetheshearingresistanceofthesoilprovides
thebearingcapacityandtheconsolidationpropertiesdeterminethesettlement.

BearingCapacity
Thesupportingpowerofsoilisreferredtoasitsbearingcapacity.Itmaybedefinedasthelargestintensityofpressure
whichmaybeappliedbyastructuretothesoilwithoutcausingfailureofsoilinshearorexcessivesettlement.Considera
footingplacedatdepthDbelowthegroundsurface,theoverburdenpressureatthebaseofthefootingis qo=D.The
totalpressure
atthebaseofthefootingduetotheselfweightofthefooting,weightofthesuperstructureandduetotheweightofearth
fill over the footing is known as the gross pressure intensity. The difference in intensities of gross pressure after the
constructionofthestructureandoftheoriginaloverburdenpressureisknownasthenetpressure.
Theultimatebearingcapacityof soil may be determined by analytical methods (i.e., by bearing capacity theories)and
fieldtests,orapproximatevaluesmaybeadoptedfromBuildingCodeswhicharebasedonexperience.

UltimateBearingCapacityqu
Theultimatebearingcapacityquisdefinedastheleastgrosspressureintensitywhichwouldcauseshearfailureofthe
supportingsoilimmediatelybelowandadjacenttoafoundation.
ThreedistinctmodesoffailurehavebeenidentifiedandtheseareillustratedinFig.1,theywellbedescribedwith
referencetoastripfooting

Inthecaseofgeneralshearfailure,continuousfailuresurfacesdevelopedbetweentheedgesofthefootingandthe
groundsurfaceasshowninFig.2.Asthepressureisincreasedtowardsthevaluequthestateofplasticequilibriumis
reachedinitiallyinthesoilaroundtheedgesofthefootingthengraduallyspreadsdownwardsandoutwards.Ultimately
thestateofplasticequilibriumisfullydevelopedthroughoutthesoilabovethefailuresurfaces.Heavingoftheground
surfaceoccursonbothsidesofthefootingalthoughthefinalslipmovementwouldoccuronlyononeside,accompanied
bytiltingofthefooting.Thismodeoffailureistypicalofsoilsoflowcompressibility(i.e.denseorstiffsoils)andthe
pressuresettlementcurveisofthegeneralformshowninFig.2,theultimatebearingcapacitybeingwelldefined.

In the mode of local shear failure there is significant compression of the soil under the footing and only partial
developmentofthestateofplasticequilibrium.Thefailuresurfaces,therefore,donotreachthegroundsurfaceandonly
slightheavingoccurs.Tiltingofthefoundationwouldnotbeexpected.Localshearfailureisassociatedwithsoilsofhigh
compressibilityand,asindicatedinFig.2,ischaracterizedbytheoccurrenceofrelativelylargesettlements(whichwould
beunacceptableinpractice)andthefactthattheultimatebearingcapacityisnotclearlydefined.
Punchingshearfailureoccurswhenthereiscompressionofthesoilunderthefooting,accompaniedbyshearinginthe
verticaldirectionaroundtheedgesofthefooting.Thereisnoheavingofthegroundsurfaceawayfromtheedgesandno
tilting of the footing. Relatively large settlements are also a characteristic of this mode and again the ultimate bearing
capacity is not well defined. Punching shear failure will also occur in a soil of low compressibility if the foundation is
locatedatconsiderabledepth.Ingeneralthemodeoffailuredependsonthecompressibilityofthesoilandthedepthof
foundationrelativetoitsbreadth.

NetUltimateBearingCapacityqnu
Thenetultimatebearingcapacityistheminimumnetpressureintensitycausingshearfailureofsoil.

qnu=quqo
qu=qnu+qo

NetSafeBearingCapacityqns
ThenetsafebearingcapacityisthenetultimatebearingcapacitydividedbythedesiredfactorofsafetyF.

SafeBearingCapacityqs

Thesafebearingcapacityisthemaximumpressurewhichthesoilcancarrysafelywithoutriskofshearfailure.

AllowableBearingCapacity
The allowable bearing capacity is maximum pressure which is considered safe both with respect to shear failure and
settlement.
Whenthetermbearingcapacityisusedwithoutanyprefixitmaybeunderstoodtorefertotheultimatebearingcapacity.

BEARINGCAPACITYTHEORIES
Broadly,therearetwoapproachesfortheanalysisofstabilityoffoundations.Thefirstoftheseisknownasthe
conventionalapproachwhichgeneratesfromtheworkofCoulomb(1977).Thisisbasedontheassumptionofacertain
shapefortherapturesurface.TheotherapproachwhichstemsfromtheworkofRankine(1857)andKotter(1903)is
basedontheassumptionofsimultaneousfailureateverypointincertainzoneofthesoilmass.Thisisreferredhereas
plasticitytheoryapproach.However,thereisfoundtobereasonablygoodagreementbetweenthetwoapproaches

Terzaghi'sBearingCapacityTheory
Assumptions:BasedonPrandtl'stheory(1920)forplasticfailureofmetalunderrigidpunchesTerzaghideriveda
generalbearingcapacityequation.Allsoilsarecoveredinthismethodbytwocaseswhicharedesignatedasgeneral
shearandlocalshearfailures.Generalshearisthecasewhereintheloadingtestcurveforthesoilunderconsideration
comestoaperfectlyverticalultimateconditionatrelativelysmallsettlementasshownbycurve1inFig.3.Localshearis
thecasewhereinsettlementsarerelativelylargeandthereisnotadefiniteverticalultimatetothecurveasincurve2in
Fig.3.(Soilisloose
relativetoageneralshearfailure).Thefollowingassumptionsweremadeintheanalysis.
1. Thefootingiscontinuous.
2. Theweightofsoilabovethebaseleveloffootingisreplacedbyequivalentsurcharge(Fig.4),whereisthe
unitweightofsoil.
3. Theshearresistanceofthesoilabovethebaselevelofthefootingisneglected.
4. Thebaseofthefootingisrough.
5. Thefailuresurfaceiscomposedofastraightlineacandthelogarithmicspiraldcorcg.
6. Thesoilwedgeabcbeneaththebaseoffootingisinelasticstateandmoveswiththefooting.
7. thebaseangleofthewedgeabcisequalto.
8. Theprinciplepfsuperpositionisvalid.

Theapplicationoftheload (Fig.4) tends to push the wedge of soil abcintothe ground with a lateral displacement of
zonesII(radialshearzones)andzonesIII(planeshearzones).Thedownwardmovementofthissoilwedgeisresisted
bytheresultantofthepassivepressureofthesoilandthecohesion,actingalongthesurfaceofthewedgesac,bcasit
moves.Consideringtheequilibriumofthewedgeabc,Terzaghipresentedthefollowingbearingcapacityexpressionfor
generalshearfailure:

where

=relatesthepassivepressureofthesoilinzonesIIandIIItothesizeofthefooting,andangle of failure zone I


(Fig.4).Thevaluesaredeterminedbymeansofthecircleorlogarithmicspiral.
Itisproposedthatultimatebearingcapacityforlocalshearfailureconditionmaybecomputedbasedonthefollowingsoil
parameters

Table1BearingCapacityFactorsforGeneralShearConditions

andLocalShearConditions

Nc

Nq

N'c

N'q

N'

5.7

1.0

0.0

5.7

1.0

0.0

7.3

1.6

0.5

6.7

1.4

0.2

10

9.6

2.7

1.2

8.0

1.9

0.5

15

12.9

4.4

2.5

9.7

2.7

0.9

20

17.7

7.4

5.0

11.8

3.9

1.7

25

25.1

12.7

9.7

14.8

5.6

3.2

30

37.2

22.5

19.7

19.0

8.3

5.7

34

52.6

36.5

35.0

23.7

11.7

9.0

35

57.8

41.4

42.4

25.2

12.6

10.1

40

95.7

81.3

100.4

34.9

20.5

18.8

45

172.3

173.3

297.5

51.2

35.1

37.7

48

258.3

287.9

780.1

66.8

50.5

60.4

50

347.6

415.1

1153.2

81.3

65.6

87.1

ShapeFactors
Equation1isthebearingcapacityequationforalongstripfooting.ItcanalsobeusedforrectangularfootingoflengthL
equaltoorgreaterthan5timesthewidthBi.e..TerzaghihasrecommendedthatEq1couldbeusedforcircularand
squarefootingswiththefollowingmodifications.

Forcircularfooting

Forsaturatedclaymaybeassumedtobeequaltozero,andhence:

Forcohesionlesssoils(c=0.0)

Limitations:
(i)Theshearstrengthofsoilabovethebaseleveloffootingisneglected.
(ii)Thistheorygivesconservativevaluesforfootingswhosedepthsaregreaterthanzero.
(iii) Subdivisionofthebearingcapacityproblemsintwotypesofshearisanarbitraryone,sincetwocasescannot
coverthewiderangeofconditions.

Meyerhof'sBearingCapacityTheory.
Assumptions:ThebearingcapacityofshallowfoundationshasbeenderivedbyMeyerhof(1951)takingintoaccountthe
shearstrengthofthesoilabovethebaselevelofthefooting.HeassumedafailuremechanismsimilartoTerzaghi'sbut
extendinguptogroundsurfaceasshowninFig.6.

Thefollowingassumptionsaremadeintheanalysis:
1.Thefootingiscontinuous
2.Thefailuresurfaceiscomposedofastraightlineandalogarithmicspiral.
3.ThesoilwedgeABCbeneaththebaseoffootingisinelasticstate.
4.Theprincipleofsuperpositionisvalid.
Meyerhofextendedthepreviousanalysisoftheplasticequilibriumforthesurfacestripfoundationtoshallowanddeep
foundation.InthemechanismoffailureshowninFig.6.therearetwomainzonesoneachsideofthecentralzone,ABC,
radialshearzoneBCDandmixedshearzoneBDEF.Theshearingresistanceof thesoilabovethe foundationlevelis
consideredinthisanalysis.Thebearingcapacityofshallowfoundationswithroughbasesisexpressedas:

whereNc,qandNarethe general bearing capacity factors which depend on foundation depth, shape and roughness
andtheangleofinternalfriction.
Tocalculatethebearingcapacityfactors,theinclinationoftheequivalentfreesurfaceandthestressesandactingon
thissurfacemustbedetermined.MeyerhofcomputedthevaluesofNc,q andN for various angles of and . These
values for shallow strip footing are shown in Fig.7. The general solution given by Eq. 5 is too tedious for routine
application.Tosimplifythesolutionandtoavoidestimationoftheequivalentfreesurfacestressesthebearingcapacity
factorsarecombinedtogive:

Forcohesionlesssoilthebearingcapacityofstripfoundationisgivenby

WhereNq dependsonboth andNq,theformerismoreimportantatgreaterdepths,thelatter is more important at


shallowdepths.ThevaluesofNq dependsonthecoefficientofearthpressure K .ThevaluesofNq fortwovaluesof
(30oand40o)areshowninFig.8andFig.9.

For rectangular, square and circular foundations, MeyerhofmodifiedthestripbearingcapacityfactorsNC ,Nq and N by


multiplyingthembyanempiricalshapefactor.Valuesofforvariousvaluesofdepth,widthratioand areshownin
Fig.10.

Limitations:
BearingcapacitiescomputedfromMeyerhof'stheoryarefoundtobehigherthantheobservedbearingcapacitiesinsands
atgreaterdepths.

Skemptnn's(1951)BearingCapacityforClays
Skempton(1951)recommendedthefollowingshapeanddepthfactors,andvaluesofN,forsurfacefootingonclays.
(i)Surfacefootings(D=0)
NC5forstripfooting
NC6forsquareorcircularfooting
(ii)AtdepthD

(iii)Atanydepth,forrectangularfootings,

BrinchHansen'sBearingCapacityTheory
Atheory,somewhatsimilartotheTerzaghi's,hasbeenproposedbyHansen(1961).
Theultimatebearingcapacityaccordingtothistheoryisgivenby

Thevaluesofbearingcapacityfactorsaswellasapproximationsfortheshape,depthandinclinationfactorsaregivenin
Tables2.and3.Table3providesequationsfordepth,shape,andinclinationfactorsforuseinEq.9.formoreprecise
computations
TABLE2BearingCapacityFactors
NC,NqandNforUseinEq.9

0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
50

NC

Nq

5.14
6.48
8.34
10.97
14.83
20.72
30.14
46.13
75.32
133.89
266.89

1.00
1.57
2.47
3.94
6.40
10.66
18.40
33.29
64.18
134.85
318.96

0.00
0.09
0.47
1.42
3.54
8.11
18.08
40.69
95.41
240.85
681.84

Table3Shape,inclination,anddepthfactors
foruseinHansenequationEq.9

EgyptianCodeofPracticeforSoilMechanicsandFoundationEngineering(sixedition2001)
Basedontheaboveanalyses,theEgyptianCodeofPracticeforSoilMechanicsandFoundationEngineeringhasproposed
ageneralbearingcapacityequation.Thisequationincludethemostaffectingfactorsonthecalculationofbearingcapacity.

ForVerticalCentricLoad.
Theultimatebearingcapacityisgivenbythefollowingformula: