Equivalent Raft Method

This method is the simplest general method for estimating group settlement and is
applicable both to short-term and long-term settlement problems (Poulos, 1993) The
method assumes that the drilled shaft group is equivalent to a raft or large footing
buried in the ground at some distance D below the ground surface. D is selected
based upon whether the drilled shafts resist load primarily in side shear (D = 0.67
Ldrilled shaft) or in base resistance (D = L drilled shaft). Most drilled shafts in relatively
uniform soils resist load through a combination of the two resistance components,
so a value between these two limits is usually appropriate (D = 0.7 – 0.8 L drilled shaft).
The group is considered to be rigidly capped, so that all shaft heads settle the same
amount. Under this condition





∆ s

in which w


is the settlement of the group cap (uniform settlement of the

shafts), wer is the settlement

of the embedded equivalent raft and

∆ S is the

compression of the piles above the level of the equivalent raft assuming that the
drilled shafts are freestanding columns. The settlement of the equivalent raft is
computed by the first dividing the geomaterial beneath the elevation of the
equivalent raft into several layers. The settlement of the equivalent raft is given by


∑ ε zi h i



in which FD is a factor that corrects for the depth of the equivalent raft,



is the

average vertical strain in geomaterial layer i, hi is the thickness of layer I and n is
the number of layers down to the bottom of the zone of influence.
If the drilled shaft group can be categorized as rectangular, and the horizontal
dimensions of the group of drilled shafts are b’ by l’ the dimensions of the
equivalent raft are (b’ + D/2) by (l’ + D/2) if the geomaterial is relatively uniform
with depth. These raft dimensions are predicted on an assumed l in 4 load spread
gradient. They will be referred to as b and l, respectively.
If the drilled shafts are socketed into an intermediate geomaterial or rock, D should
be taken to be 0.67L, measured from the top of the rock, where L is the length of
the socket measured from the top of the rock of IGM, and the equivalent raft will
have the dimensions of (b’ + L/3) by (l’ + L/3). Note that if the bases of the drilled
shafts are placed on the surface of a layer of rock, L (measured from the rock
surface) is zero, so that b = b’ and l = l’. l is the largest dimension.

Ads is the sum of the cross-sectional areas of all of the drilled shafts in the group and E c is the Young’s modulus of the concrete in the drilled shafts (corrected for steel if higher accuracy is desired). p.5 below the drilled shafts bases.  Determine FD (depth factor) from Figure C.  At the center of each ith geomaterial.11. it should still be broken up into layers with thickness h i not exceeding about 0. the geomaterial below the level of the equivalent raft is divided into several horizontal layers based on the deformational characteristics of each layer.5 because the geomaterial strain ε zi varies with distance z below the equivalent raft in a nonlinear manner.  Apply Equation (C. Once these preliminary tasks have been performed. the calculations proceed as follows:  Compute the net pressure on the equivalent raft. If the geomaterial is uniform below the equivalent raft. In an LRFD approach these loads would ordinarily be the factored loads for the service limit states that are considered.  Continue to compute values for ε zi down to the depth of strain influence.12.As stated. p = [Q Tgroup (applied)] / [bl].60).5(bl)0. QTgroup (applied) is the combination of loads for which settlement is to be estimated. in which ∆ s = [Q Tgroup (applied)(Draft)] / [AdsEc]. for best accurancy. .62) Where Ebi is the Young’s modulus of the geomaterial in Layer i and I ε i is an influence factor obtained from Figure C. which is about 3(bl)0. In that figure z is the vertical distance from the equivalent raft to the center of Layer i. where Draft is the distance from the heads of the drilled shafts to the elevation of the ewuivalent raft. compute ε zi = p I εi ε zi according to: / Ebi (c.