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This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in

Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

Plaxis Simulation of Static Pile Tests and Determination of Reaction Piles


Influence
Serhii Lozovyi1, Evhen Zahoruiko1
Department of Geonstruction and Mining Technologies, National Technical University of Ukraine Kyiv
Polytechnic Institute, Borshhaghivsjka str.115/3, Kyiv 03056, Ukraine

Abstract: Finite element simulations of four pile static tests were performed using Plaxis 3D. In addition,
calculations of pile settlements according to Ukrainian and USSR building codes were performed. These
results compared to full-scale pile tests. In order to determine the influence of reaction piles on the test pile
response in a static load test were performed simulations with group of reaction piles around tested pile and
applied respective negative loads. Plaxis and in situ measured load-displacement curves showed good
correlation. Recommendations for Plaxis modeling were given.
Keywords: Plaxis 3D, simulation, piles, bearing capacity, load-displacement curves, calculation methods.
The problem and its connection with scientific and practical tasks. Before the construction of buildings
and structures, where piles are used as foundation, it is required to carry out at least two in-situ static pile
tests according to Ukrainian building code. Existing methods of calculating the bearing capacity and
settlements of pile foundations, required in building code is rather cumbersome and take a lot of time on
their conduct. Simulation of pile foundations testing using computer program Plaxis 3D Foundation reduces
time for calculation of pile settlement. This method allow to simulate pile groups with reaction piles and
determine their optimal length and diameter, to simulate pile static tests in different parts of the construction
site in a variety of soil conditions in order to reduce time and money spent on arranging pile groups and
testing.
Analysis of researches and publications. In recent years, methods of calculation, design and construction
of pile foundations have reached substantial progress. Scientists in collaboration with specialists in design
and construction organizations have generalized accumulated experience of pile installation in different soil
conditions, have conducted a large amount of experimental and theoretical studies, and have developed
new or improved existing methods of calculation and design of pile foundations. One of the big
contributions in Ukraine became the new DBN (Ukrainian State building code) V.2.1-10-2009
"Foundations of buildings" with change 1. Substantial contribution to the design and calculation of pile
foundations do foreign scientists, including the creation of the program Plaxis 3D Foundation and
publications in the exploration of its possibilities [1-3].
Research task. The aim of this work is to study new methods of pile foundations modeling using Plaxis
3D Foundation, determination of pile settlements, reaction piles influence on test pile, and comparison of
results with the methods of calculating the bearing capacity and pile settlement in accordance with DBN
V.2.1-10-2009 "Foundations of buildings" and SNIP (USSR State building code) 2.02.03-85 "Pile
foundations"
Main part and results. As initial data for the study was taken results of four static pile tests. Initial data
included: drawings and schemes of test construction, all necessary geological data, complete test reports
with load-displacement graphs. Short description for each testing is given below:
Root piles #1 and #2, 620 mm, length - 23.5 m, were placed during the construction of apartment
buildings in the residential area of North Osokorky, Darnitskiy district, Kyiv, Ukraine. Tests were
carried out in November 2010.
Root pile #3, 620 mm, length - 9 m, was placed during the construction of the parking lot at SE
"International airport "Boryspil", Boryspil, Ukraine. Test was carried out in May 2011.
Steel tube pile #4, 1000 mm, length - 25 m, was placed on construction of the new Chernobyl
Nuclear Power Plant sarcophagus Shelter Object, Chernobyl, Ukraine. Test - June 2010.

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

Procedure of tests performing presented on Figures 1-2. Physical and mechanical properties of soils and
layout of piles in the groups are presented in Tables 1-4 and Figure 3, respectively.

Figure 1. Boryspil Pile #3 test view

Figure 2. Chernobyl Pile #4 test view


Table 1. Physical and mechanical properties of soils for pile #1.
layer
#
1
2
3
4
5
6

Density Permeability Poissons ratio Youngs modulus Cohesion Friction angle

[kN/m3] [m/day]
[kPa]
[kPa]
[]
Reclaimed soil
17,6
10
0,3
16000
1
30
Fine sand
18,8
5
0,3
34000
1
31
Medium sand
19,5
6
0,3
55000
1
34
Sandy loam
17,5
0,5
0,31
8000
7
19
Loam
19,5
0,05
0,35
9000
13
17
Loam with organic additive 15,5
0,05
0,35
6000
15
17
Soil

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

Table 2. Physical and mechanical properties of soils for pile #2.


layer
#
1
2
3
4
5
6

Density Permeability Poissons ratio Youngs modulus Cohesion Friction angle

[kN/m3] [m/day]
[kPa]
[kPa]
[]
Reclaimed soil
17,6
10
0,3
16000
1
30
Fine sand
18,8
5
0,3
30000
0,1
31
Medium sand
19,5
6
0,3
45000
0,1
31
Sandy loam
17,5
0,5
0,31
8000
7
19
Loam
19,5
0,05
0,35
9000
13
17
Loam with organic matter 15,5
0,05
0,35
6000
15
17
Soil

Table 3. Physical and mechanical properties of soils for pile #3.


layer
#
2
3
4
6
8

Density Permeability Poissons ratio Youngs modulus Cohesion Friction angle

[kN/m3] [m/day]
[kPa]
[kPa]
[]
Fine sand
18,5
5
0,3
30000
1
32
Loessial sandy loam 16,3
0,5
0,31
17000
30
25
Sandy loam
16,5
0,5
0,31
20000
18
25
Fine sand
19
5
0,3
40000
1
32
Loam
18,5
0,05
0,37
22000
20
18
Soil

Table 4. Physical and mechanical properties of soils for pile #4.


layer
#
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8, 9
10

Density Permeability Poissons ratio Youngs modulus Cohesion Friction angle

[kN/m3] [m/day]
[kPa]
[kPa]
[]
Made ground
18
10
0,3
20000
5
30
River sand
18
6
0,3
35000
5
33
River sand
18
6
0,3
25000
5
33
River sand (oozy)
18
4
0,3
5000
18
22
Fine sand
17
5
0,3
45000
3
22
Oozy sand
17
4
0,3
8000
4
32
Medium sand
17
5
0,3
13000
3
35
Fine and medium sand 17
6
0,3
13000
3
33
Clay marl
15,3
0,005
0,35
80000
38
23
Soil

Figure 3. Geological section with the schemes of placing piles in groups.

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

Were calculated bearing capacity of three root piles (1, 2, 3) according to DBN V.2.1-10-2009 and
SNIP 2.02.03-85, also were calculated pile settlements from static loads according to the layer-by-layer
summing method from DBN V.2.1-10-2009.
The result of pile foundations testing simulations using computer program Plaxis 3D Foundation are loaddisplacement plots, these results are compared with the results obtained during the full-scale pile static tests
on the graphs - Fig. 4-7. Also shown the correlation coefficients separately for pile loading and unloading.
The red curves show displacements in simulation using the finite element program Plaxis. The blue curves
show displacements determined in full-scale static tests.
To simulate soils in Plaxis was used elastic-plastic Mohr-Coulomb model.

0
0

500
1000
1500
2000
2500
3000
load,
0
-0,25 -0,59
kN
-0,90
-0,99
-1,40
-1,54
-2,13
-2,29
-2,80
-3,21
-3,55
-4,30
-4,39
-5,10
-5,19
-5,97 -5,71
-6,27
-6,94 -7,19
-7,17
-7,87
-7,98
-8,04
-9,28
-8,71
-8,72
-9,31
-9,33 -9,37
-9,68
-9,82
-9,88
-9,73
-9,88
0

-2
-4
-6
-8
-10
-12

In situ measurements

displacement, mm

Correlation
Loading
0.97
Unloading
0.94

Plaxis simulation

Figure 4. Load-displacement curves for pile #1.


0
0
-2
-4
-6
-8
-10
-12
-14

500
1000
1500
2000
0,00
0
0,00 -0,16 -0,53
-0,84
-1,06
-1,86
-2,05
-2,82
-3,38
-3,86
-4,87
-5,06
-6,08
-7,31 -6,98
-8,59 -8,82
-8,98
-9,95
-10
-11
-11,64
-12
-12,75
-13
-13,52
-14,01
-14,26

-16

In situ measurements

displacement, mm

2500

3000

load,
kN
Correlation
Loading
0.97
Unloading
0.94

-11,00
-12
-13
-14 -13,65
-14
-14,35 -14,35

Plaxis simulation

Figure 5. Load-displacement curves for pile #2.


0
0

500
0

-0,3
-0,9

-1,6
-2

1000
-3,1
-4,3

-10

-4,5
-8

1500
-5,9

-8

-11,5
-23

-24

-25

2500

load,
kN
-15,1

-20

2000

-26

-30

-12
-19,7 -19
-24,8 -26
-27
-29
-28
-30,4
-34,2

-40

displacement, mm

In situ measurements

Plaxis simulation

Figure 6. Load-displacement curves for pile #3.

Correlation
Loading
0.97
Unloading
-

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

0
0

1000
0,00

2000
-1,23
-4,70

3000
-3,24
-9,70

-20

4000

5000

-6,35
-16,00

6000

-9,70
-24,00

-40
-60

7000

8000

9000

load,
kN

-15,57
-32,00 -28,36
-39,00
-47,00
-48,00
-64,00
-69,63

Correlation
Loading
0.98
Unloading
0.99

-80
-100
-120

-96,61

-102,96
-113,00

-111,00

-109,79
-116,00

-114,18
-119,00

-117,10
-120,00

-140

displacement, mm

In situ measurements

Plaxis simulation

Figure 7. Load-displacement curves for pile #4.


Comparison of results full-scale tests, calculated bearing capacities according to DBN V.2.1-10-2009 and
SNIP 2.02.03-85, and Plaxis 3D Foundation program are shown in Table 5. Also compared pile
displacements from in situ results, Plaxis, and DBN V.2.1-10-2009.
Table 5. Comparison of results.
Pile #

1
2
3
4

Pile bearing
capacity
according to
DBN V.2.110-2009, kN
2725
2808,5
1297

Pile bearing
capacity
according to
SNIP
2.02.03-85,
kN
2089
2146
1056

Pile bearing
capacity
according to
full-scale tests,
kN
2207,5
2207,5
1737

Maximum pile
displacement
during full-scale
tests, mm
-9,88
-14,35
-34,20
-117,10

Pile
displacement
calculated
according to
DBN V.2.110-2009, mm
-8,03
-11,06
-32,62

Maximum pile
displacement during
Plaxis simulation
tests, mm
-9,73
-13,65
-30,40
-120,00

Figure 8. Distribution of deformations in soil at pile #1 static tests simulation.

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

Figure 9. Distribution of deformations in soil at pile #3 static tests simulation.


Simulation modeling of four piles static tests performed in the program Plaxis 3D Foundation resulted in
the load-displacement graphs. Curves obtained in simulation are compared with graphs of full-scale static
tests. The average correlation coefficient is 0.98, and the average difference between maximum values of
settlement is 5%, indicating a high reliability of the data obtained in the simulation.
The accuracy of calculation using program Plaxis 3D is better than layer-by-layer summing method
according to DBN V.2.1-10-2009. The average deviation of DBN results from full-scale tests is 15.7%.
The deformations distribution were almost the same for pile #1 and #2, so were presented only for pile #1.
As seen from fig. 8 reaction piles are shorter then main pile and we can observe their displacement in
upward direction, which is unacceptable. The correct design of reaction piles on fig.9 for pile #3 shows that
there is no displacement for these piles, only the main pile goes down.
Conclusions. The obtained results allow to recommend Plaxis 3D Foundation in simulation static pile tests
in different soil conditions of the construction site to reduce costs for additional field tests, calculation of
bearing capacity and pile settlement calculations, plotting load-displacement curves.
In addition, simulation-modeling program Plaxis 3D Foundation allows to reduce time for design and
calculation of pile foundations, increase efficiency, reliability, and informativeness of calculations, reduce
the cost of performing additional field tests, and to determine the optimal size of the main and reaction piles
for the tests. Plaxis makes possible to conduct simulation modeling of required number of pile static load
tests in different parts of the construction site and in different soil conditions. The results of Plaxis
simulation should be considered valid only when performed two required full-scale tests and they match
the simulation results.
References.
1. 3D Foundation Version 1.5. Edited by R.B.J. Brinkgreve and W. Broere, Delft University of
Technology & PLAXIS bv, The Netherlands.
2. Numerical simulations and parametric study of SDCM and DCM piles under full scale axial and
lateral loads as well as under embankment load, Author: D.T. Bergado , T. Suksawat , P.
Jamsawang , P. Voottipruex, April, 2010.

This article was published in Ukrainian language in Scientific and Technical Journal: New Technologies in
Construction, NDIBV, Kyiv, 23-24(1-2):68-73, 2012

3. FE-Analysis of piled and piled raft foundations, Author: J. S. Lebeau, August, 2008.
4. DBN V.2.1-10-2009 with change 1 Foundations of buildings Ministry of Regional
Development of Ukraine, 2011.
5. USSR Building Code SNIP 2.02.03-85 "Pile foundations", 1985.
6. Pile Foundations Design Guide / NIIOSP named after N.M. Gersevanov, USSR State Construction
Committee. - M .: Stroyizdat, 1980.