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CE60: FOUNDATION ENGINEERING

BEARING CAPACITY
In geotechnical engineering, bearing capacity is the capacity of soil to support the loads
applied to the ground. The bearing capacity of soil is the maximum average contact pressure
between the foundation and the soil which should not produce shear failure in the soil. Ultimate
bearing capacity is the theoretical maximum pressure which can be supported without failure;
allowable bearing capacity is the ultimate bearing capacity multiplied by a factor of safety.
Sometimes, on soft soil sites, large settlements may occur under loaded foundations without
actual shear failure occurring; in such cases, the allowable bearing capacity is based on the
maximum allowable settlement.
TERZAGHIS BEARING CAPACITY THEORY
Karl von Terzaghi was the first to present a comprehensive theory for the evaluation of
the ultimate bearing capacity of rough shallow foundations. This theory states that a foundation
is shallow if its depth is less than or equal to its width. Later investigations, however, have
suggested that foundations with a depth, measured from the ground surface, equal to 3 to 4 times
their width may be defined as shallow foundations

TERZAGHIS BEARING CAPACITY THEORY


A. General Shear Failure (Dense Sand and Clay)
Ultimate Bearing Capacity
Square Footing
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4B N
2. Circular Footing
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.3 B N
1.

Where:
qult = ultimate bearing capacity
c = cohesion of soil
= qu/2
qu = unconfined compressive strength
= unit weight of soil
q = Df
Nc , Nq, N = bearing capacity factors that are non dimensional and are only functions of the soil
friction angle
B = dimension of each side of foundation or for circular footing it is equal to its diameter.
= angle of internal friction

Bearing Capacity Factor


1.
Nq = tan2 ( 45 + /2 ) etan
2.
Nc = ( Nq 1) cot
3.
Ny = (Nq + 1) tan (1.4)
Allowable bearing capacity = qult/F.S.
Allowable load, all = (qult/F.S.)A
= (qult/F.S.)B2
Where F.S. = factor of safety (ranges from 3 to 4)

B. Local Shear Factor (For Loose Sand and Soft Clay)


c = (2/3)c
tan = (2/3)tan
1. Strip Foundation
qult = 1.3cNc + q Nq + (1/2)BN
2. Square Footing
qult = 1.3cNc + q Nq + 0.4BN

3. Circular Footing
qult = 0.3cNc + q Nq + 0.4BN
where:
Nc , Nq, N = are modified bearing capacity factors which are obtained by using the value of
angle of friction .
Sample Problems:
1. A clayey soil has an unconfined compressive strength of 48kN/m3 and an angle of
friction of 25o.
Compute the Terzaghis bearing Capacity factor Nq
a.
Compute the Terzaghis bearing Capacity factor Nc.
b.
Compute the Terzaghis bearing Capacity factor Ny.
c.
Answers:
a.
Nq = tan2 ( 45 + /2 ) etan
= tan2 ( 45 + 25o/2 ) etan(25)
= 10.66
b.

Nc = ( Nq 1) cot
= (10.66 1) cot25o
= 20.72

c.

Ny = (Nq + 1) tan (1.4)


Ny = (10.66 +1) tan (1.4)( 25o)
= 8.16

2. A sandy soil having a cohesion of 24kPa has a bearing capacity factor Nq = 14.72.
a. Compute the value of the angle of internal friction of the sandy soil.
b. Compute the value of the bearing capacity factor Nc.
c. Compute the value of the bearing capacity factor Ny.
Answer:
a. Internal friction angle:
Nq = tan2 ( 45 + /2 ) etan
Trial and error: assume = 28 o

14.72 = tan2 ( 45 + 28o/2 ) etan(28)


= Shift solve = 28 o
b. Nc = ( Nq 1) cot
= ( 14.72 1) cot28o
= 25.8
c. Ny = (Nq + 1) tan (1.4)
Ny = (14.72 + 1) tan (1.4)( 28o)
= 12.82

MODIFICATION OF BEARING CAPACITY EQUATIONS DUE TO PRESENCE OF


WATER TABLE
Case 1:
If water table is located so that D1 < Df. The factor q in the bearing capacity equations
takes the form:
q = D1 + D2 (sat w)
where:
q = effective surcharge
= unit weight of soil

sat = saturated unit weightall of soil


Also the value of in the last term of the equations has to be replaced by = sat - w
Ground surface
D1
Df

Water table

D2

qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN


Use:
q = D1 + D2 (sat w)
Value of on the third term
= sat - w

Case 2:
For water table located so that d < B.
all

Ground surface

Df

B
d<B
Water table

qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN


Use:
q = Df
Value of on the third term
= (1/B) [( dry x d) + (sat - w)(B d)]
Case 3:
For water table located so that d > B. (the water will have no effect on the ultimate
bearing capacity).
all

Ground surface

Df

B
d>B
Water table

qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN


Use:
q = Df
Case 4:
For water table located at the bottom of foundation.
all

Ground surface

Df
Water table
B

qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN


Use:
q = Df
Value of on the third term
= sat - w

FACTOR OF SAFETY
- Generally, a factor of safety of 3 or more is applied to the ultimate soil bearing
capacity to arrive at the value of the allowable bearing capacity.
ALLOWABLE BEARING CAPACITY OF SHALLOW FOUNDATION
1. Gross allowable bearing capacity
qall = qult / F.S.
2. Net allowable bearing capacity
qall(net) = (qult - q)/ F.S.
where:
q = Df
ALLOWABLE LOAD CARRIED BY THE FOUNDATION
Ultimate bearing capacity is the theoretical maximum pressure which can be
supported without failure; allowable bearing capacity is the ultimate bearing
capacity divided by a factor of safety. Sometimes, on soft soil sites, large
settlements may occur under loaded foundations without actual shear failure
occurring; in such cases, the allowable bearing capacity is based on the maximum
allowable settlement.

1. Gross allowable LOAD


qall = (qult / F.S.) x A
where: A = cross sectional area of footing
A= B2
2. Net allowable load
qall(net) = [(qult - q)/ F.S.] x A
where: A = cross sectional area of footing
A= B2
Sample Problems:
1. A square footing for a multinational bldg has its bottom 2.5m below the ground surface.
It has a dimension of 1.12m x 1.12m. Angle coefficient of soil is 28o. Unit weight of soil
is 16kN/m3 with cohesion of 22 kPa. It has a saturated unit weight of 18kN/m3, use F.S. =
3.
a. Compute the bearing capacity factor Ny.
b. Compute the net allowable bearing capacity of the soil if there is a water table at the
bottom side of the footing.
c. Compute the net allowable load that the footing could carry if there is a water table at
a depth of 0.80m from the bottom of the footing.

Answer:
a. Bearing Capacity factor Ny.
Nq = tan2 ( 45 + /2 ) etan
= tan2 ( 45 + 28o/2 ) etan(28)
= 14.72
Ny = (Nq + 1) tan (1.4)
Ny = ( 14.72 + 1) tan (1.4)( 28o)
= 12.82
b. Net allowable bearing Capacity
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
all

Use:
q = Df
= 16 (2.5)
= 40

Ground surface

= sat w
2.5
Df
m
Water table
B
1.12
m

= 18 9.81
= 8.19
Nc = ( Nq 1) cot
= (14.72 1) cot28o
= 25.80
Therefore:
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
= 1.3(22)(25.8) + (40)(14.72) + 0.4 (8.19)(1.12) (12.82)
= 1373.72kPa
Allowable
qall(net) = (qult - q)/ F.S. = (1373.72 40)/ 3 = 444.57 kPa
c. Net allowable load the footing could carry
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
Where:
q = (Unit weight of soil) Df
= (16 x 2.5)
= 40
= (1/B) [( dry x d) + (sat - w)(B d)]
= (1/1.12) [(16 x 0.8) + (18 9.81) (1.12 0.8)]
= 13.77 kN/m3

Therefore:
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
= 1.3 (22)(25.8) + (40)(14.72) + 0.4 (13.77)(1.12) (12.82)
= 1405.77kPa
Allowable
qall(net) = [ (qult - q)/ F.S.] x A = [(1405.77 40) /3] x (1.12x1.12) = 571.07 kN

Ground surface

2.50m
B = 1.12m

0.32m
0.80m

1.12m
1.12m

Water table

2. A square footing shown has a dimension of 1m x 1m has its bottom 2.5m below the
ground surface. Angle of friction of the soil foundation is 30o. Unit weight of soil is
18.1kN/m3 with cohesion of 15.7kN/m2. Saturated unit weight of soil is 19.3kN/m3.
Factor of safety is 3.0.
a. Compute the value of the bearing capacity factor Nq.
b. Compute the net allowable load that the footing could carry if the ground water table
is located 0.20m below the foundation footing.
c. Compute the net allowable load that the footing could carry if the ground water table
is located 1.2m below the ground surface.
Soultion:
a. Value of Nq
Nq = tan2 ( 45 + /2 ) etan
= tan2 ( 45 + 30o/2 ) etan(30)
= ____________
b. Net allowable load
Ny = (Nq + 1) tan (1.4)
Ny = (_____ + 1) tan (1.4)( 30o)
= _____________________
Nc = ( Nq 1) cot
= (14.72 1) cot30o
= _________________

qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN


Where:
q = Df
= (18.1 x 2.5)
= ________________
= (1/B) [( dry x d) + (sat - w)(B d)]
= (1/1.0) [(18.1 x 0.2) + (19.3 9.81) (1.0 0.2)]
= ________________________

Therefore:
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
= 1.3 (__)(____) + (____)(_____) + 0.4 (___)(____) (_____)
= _____________
Allowable
all(net) = [ (qult - q)/ F.S.] x A = _______________
P

Ground surface

2.50m

0.20m

1.0m
1.12m
Water table

B = 1.0m
0.8m

c. Net allowable load if the water table is at 1.2m below the ground surface.
q = ( x d) + (sat w) (d)
= (18.1 x 1.2) + (19.3 9.81)(1.3)

= ________________________
= sat w
= 19.3 9.81
=___________________
Therefore:
qult = 1.3c Nc + q Nq + 0.4BN
= 1.3 (__)(____) + (____)(_____) + 0.4 (___)(____) (_____)
= _____________
Allowable
qall(net) = [ (qult - q)/ F.S.] = _______________

net

Ground surface
1.2m
Water table

2.5m
2.5m
1.3m

1m

In geotechnical engineering, bearing capacity is the capacity of soil to support the


loads applied to the ground. The bearing capacity of soil is the maximum average
contact pressure between the foundation and the soil which should not produce
shear failure in the soil.