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Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference

December 22-24,2013, Roorkee



J.C. Shukla, L&T Sargent & Lundy Ltd. Vadodara, India. E mail:
P.J Shukla, App. Mech. Dept , K.J. Polytechnic, Bharuch, India.
D.L. Shah, Professor, App. Mech. Dept., M.S. University of Baroda, Vadodara, India.

ABSTRACT: There are many approaches to estimate the lateral capacity of piles however, Beams on elastic
foundation still very popular in the practice. In present study relatively simple iterative procedure is adopted to
estimate the lateral load capacity of the piles using beams on elastic foundations. The instrumented pile history of
Mustang Island is selected to demonstrate the efficiency of the method and compared with the actual measured
response of the pile. In order to demonstrate the applicability in the Indian context, the results are also compared
with the lateral pile analysis recommendations given in IS:2911 Part 1 (2010). The approach uses the SAP2000
computer code for the estimation of the lateral response against the applied load. The comparison reveals that the
present approach is efficient and can be used for preliminary estimation of the lateral response of the piles. Case of
small loading and high loading are also incorporated in the present study to investigate its applicability. It is
observed that for both of the level of loading (high and low) the present approach is efficient compared to the
equivalent cantilever approach of IS: 2911. The estimated lateral displacement, shear force and bending moment
response are compared with the actual observed response at the end of the paper.

Laterally loaded piles can readily be idealized and SPT N- values, California bearing ratios and
analyzed as beams on an elastic foundation using undrained shear strengths. Alternatively, they may
the Winkler soil model in order to obtain be estimated using empirical formulae that have
acceptable values of bending moment and shear been proved to be reasonably representative of the
force. This approach is relatively crude and is soil(s) under consideration.
obviously not as sophisticated as analyses based on Assessments or choices of kh for single piles, pile
elastic continuum theories. It does, however, groups and continuous sheet piling are
provide a useful means of carrying out preliminary understandably somewhat different. The software
designs. like SAP2000/STAAD allows user to model spring
Soil is an intrinsically variable material, even in the supports for subgrade reaction and can, therefore,
same location and at the same depth. Accordingly, be used to analyze each of these constructions
the idea of estimating the deformation using whatever variations of let, are considered
characteristics of the soil for analytical purposes appropriate by the designer(s). In the subsections
must be considered from a practical viewpoint, which follow, the generally accepted estimations of
with the intention of formulating a representative kh are described and used in the following
mathematical model. It must be understood that the illustrative examples, with kh set to allow tension.
Winkler soil model does not pretend to predict the .
real behavior of the soil as it does not allow for Single Piles
continuity within the soil mass. The sensitivity of Consider a single pile of width b (b is the diameter
the modulus of horizontal subgrade reaction (kh), of a circular pile or b is the width of a
the parameter central to the analysis, is not usually square/rectangular pile which is normal to the
great. It is always advisable, however, to carry out applied loading) with an embedded length of L
sensitivity analyses using a wide range of kh subjected to lateral loading as shown in Figure 1
values. Values of kh may be assessed by reference The assumed variation of the modulus of
to indirect parameters relating to soil stiffness, e.g.

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Shukla J. C., Shukla, P. J., and Shah D. L.

horizontal subgrade reaction (let,) is dependent on measurements by different investigators have

the soil type and site conditions (Fig. 1(b) and (c)). indicated that the values in Table 1 are very much
In general, the modulus of horizontal subgrade on the low side. Elson (1994) recommends that
reaction k, accounting for the width b of the pile, is Terzaghi (1955) values are used as a lower limit
given by k= kh*b and that values calculated from the following
where kh, is the modulus of horizontal subgrade relationship attributed to Reese et al. (1974) should
reaction for a pile of unit width, and b is the width be used as an initial upper limit for sands
of pile.(Units: k in kN/m2 , kh in kN/m2 /mm and b n ' h = 0.19 D 1.16
in mm) Where nh is the initial value of nh
The variation of kh shown in Figure 1 (b) can be
expressed as at small strain expressed in kN/m2/mm and D is the
z relative density of soil expressed as a percentage.
k h = nh ( ) ; where nh is the rate of increase of
b Some observed values of nh for normally
k), with depth z measured from ground level for a consolidated clays lie in the range of0-35 to 070
single pile (Units: nh in kN/m2/mm and z, bin kN/m2 /mm.
nun). In order to account for the non-linear behavior of
piles at higher loads, Garassino et al. (1976)
suggested the following relationship for sands and
normally consolidated clays
yg b
nh = n h y '
where nh is the modulus of horizontal subgrade
reaction for a pile of unit width (in kN/m2 /mm), yg
is the lateral deflection of the pile at ground level
(in mm), yg is the limiting value of lateral
deflection of the pile at ground level for which nh,
applies (in mm), and q is the dimensionless
exponent (in the range - 05 to -07). Typical
values of yg, expressed as a percentage, are given
in Table 2.
Fig. 1 (a) single pile; (b) generally assumed
variation of horizontal subgrade reaction modulus Table 1 Terzaghi (1955) values of nh for sands in
for sands, normally consolidated days and variable kN/m2 /mm
over-consolidated clays (where the effect of local
yield at ground level and /or surface weathering are Relative density
significant); (c) assumed variation of horizontal Loose Medium Dense
subgrade reaction modulus for uniform over- dense
consolidated clays (where the effect if local yield at SPT (blows 4 to 10 10 to 30 30
ground level and /or surface weathering are not / 300 mm)
significant) Dry moist 3 6 17
In the case of sands, Terzaghi (1955) has suggested Submerged 1 4 10
the values of nh given in Table 1. These are valid sand
for stresses up to one half of the ultimate soil
pressure and include an allowance for long term Note : The above values of nh may be modified to
movements. However, interpretations of in-situ allow for difference in the width b (mm) of the pile

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Comparison of lateral load capacity of pile using simplified linear spring approach and IS: 2911 (2010)

and the 305 mm square plate used in the tests to to derive the above values kh(modified)= kh(from Table) X
determine above values; nh(modified)= nh(from Table) X (b/305)-0.75
IS: 2911 Recommendations on values of k /h
Table 2 Typical values of lateral deflection of the (after
pile at ground level
Table 4 Values of constant for sand (h)
Soil Type y'g/b (%)
Sands 0.2 to 1.0 Types of Above Water Submerged in
Normally consolidated 0.2 to 0.5 soil Table (kPa/m) (kPa/m)
clays IS:29 Recom IS:29 Recomm
11 mended 11 ended by
A suitable value of yg/b is chosen by following the by Author
iterative procedure listed below. Author
1. Choose a trial value of yg/b Loose 2600 6790 1460 5430
2. Calculate nh using equation given by Sand
Garassino et al. (1976) Medium 7750 24430 5250 16300
3. Use any good analysis package /software Dense
(SAP 2000 / STAAD) to analyze the pile Sand
(beam supported on springs) to obtain a Dense 20750 61000 12450 33900
value of yg Sand
4. Calculate yg/b
If this calculated value of yg/b is significantly Table 5 Values of constant for Clay (k)
different (say 10%) from that the assumed, revise
the value of yg/b and go back to step 2. Unconfined Value in k= 67*Cu
In the case of stiff, over consolidated clays, the 2
compressive kg/cm (kPa) (Prakash and
value of the modulus of horizontal subgrade strength in Sharma )
reaction k (in kN/m2) for short term loading can be kg/cm 2
(kPa) (kPa)
assumed to be in the range 200 Cu k 400 Cu (Cu)
where Cu is the undrained shear strength of clay (in 0.2 to 0.4 (20 to 7.75 (775) 1340 to 2680
kN/m2). Moreover, for long term loading and for 40)
stresses up to 50 % of ultimate load, one third of 1 to 2 (100 to 48.80 (4880) 6700 to 13400
the above values may be appropriate. Terzaghi 200)
(1955) recommended values of modulus kh (k/b) 2 to 4 (200 to 97.75 (9775) 13400 to
for different values of Cu, are given in Table 3. 400) 26800
More than 4 195.50 >26800
Table 3 Terzaghi (1955) values of kh for clays in (400) (19550)
Consistency of clay Example Problem
Firm to Stiff Very Hard The problem presented by Reese et al. (1974) for
stiff Stiff instrumented piles in Mustang Island is selected to
Cu 50 to 100 to 200 to >400 demonstrate the methodology and will be
(kN/m2) 100 200 400 compared with IS:2911 procedure and actual
*kh (305 15 27 54 >108 measurements.
mm plate)
Note: The above values of kh may be modified to
allow for the difference in the width of the pile b
(mm) and the 305 mm square plate used in the tests

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Shukla J. C., Shukla, P. J., and Shah D. L.

Summary of Results

Description Lateral Estimate

displacem d
ent at Maximu
ground m
level bending
(mm) moment
Actual/measur Initial 5 125
ed Reese et al. Loading
(1974) High 23 374
IS:2911, static Initial 2.74 156*
estimate using Loading
provisions in High 6.7 386*
code/procedure Loading
The two tests were carried out on the test piles s
STAAD with Initial 4.38 105.34
Lateral Moment spring constant Loading
force (kN) (kNm) for short term High 10.67 253.66
Initial Loading 89 23 loading as per Loading
by Reese et al.
High Loading 220 56
STAAD with Initial 7.66 118.95
IS : 2911 Procedure :
spring constant Loading
As per Table 4, selecting h = 12.45 MN/m3
for high High 18.77 287.18
EI = 163000 kN.m2
loading as per Loading
T =5 = 1.672 Garassino et al.
nh (1976)
Considering load application on ground (L1=0.305 STAAD with Initial 7.79 119.32
m), referring the Figure 2 of Appendix C of spring constant Loading
IS:2911 (Part 1), for L1/T =0.18, Lf/T = 2.1 for selected from High 19.02 288.10
fixed end condition IS:2911 Loading
Hence depth of fixity below ground level = Lf = LPILE analysis Initial 5.34 136.501
2.1 * T = 3.512 m ( 5.75 D). Loading
Total Horizontal force on Pile (Q) High 22.67 398.08
= 89 kN + 26/3.512 = 96.40 (for Initial loading) Loading
= 220 kN + 15.95 = 235.95 (for High Loading)
Knowing the total horizontal load on pile and Observations and recommendations:
length of the equivalent cantilever (length of 1. The idealization of spring supports using
fixity), the pile had deflection shall be computed theory of beams on elastic foundations
using the equation given in IS: 2911 (Winkler Model) is useful approach for
Q( L1 + L f ) 3 preliminary / approximate analysis of the
Y= for fixed head condition laterally loaded piles.
12 EI 2. There are wide variations in the
Y = 2.74 mm (for Initial loading) recommendations for modulus of subgrade
Y=6.7 mm (for high loading) reaction values (k) for soils. Since the k-

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Comparison of lateral load capacity of pile using simplified linear spring approach and IS: 2911 (2010)

value is not fundamental soil property, its 7. It is also observed that IS: 2911 may predict
evaluation requires geotechnical expertise the load very close to the actual values
and engineering judgment for appropriate (especially for long term loading based on
solutions of the problem. the formulae specified in IS:2911) however,
3. The uncoupled spring idealization of soil it will under predict the displacement which
supporting a pile is useful approach. may cause serviceability problem. In such
However, sensitivity of the spring value case of long term loading, the present
must be attempted in order to get the better methodology using the value of modulus of
solution of the laterally loaded pile problem subgrade reaction can be used to predict the
especially for particular loading conditions displacement.
i.e. Short term/ Long term / Cyclic. The 8. LPILE results are in very good agreement
problem can be extended by bilinear with the actual measured values which
approximation of the spring value and further indicate that the later pile analysis
considering different spring value using p-y curve approach is better
respective to soil layering which may compared to other methods in all the
increase computing effort to get more loading cases. Figure 3 and 4 gives
precise solutions (Fig. 2a and 2b). STADD Pro and L Pile output for lateral
4. It is also advisable to consider the analysis respectively.
construction method, consolidation, long
term settlement etc. as influencing factor References:
for such analysis since they will in fact 1. Terzaghi K., (1955). Evaluation of
modify the in situ soil properties thereby coefficient of subgrade reaction.
modulus of subgrade reaction. Geotechnique, 5(4), 297-326.
5. The soil stiffness thereby modulus of 2. Reese L. C., Cox W.R. and Koop F.D.,
subgrade reaction value of soil may degrade (1974). Analysis of laterally loaded piles in
under the action of cyclic loading. Some stiff clay. Proc. 7th offshore Tech. Conf.,
gapping phenomena have been observed Houston, Texas, 473-483.
worldwide especially in clay soil which 3. Garassino A., Jamilokowski M. and
may not be possible to model using present Pasqualini E., (1976). Soil modulus for
approach and some specialized computer laterally loaded piles in sand and NC clays.
codes like LPILE, OPILE, FLPIER should Proc. 6th Europ. Conf. on Soil Mech. and
be used. Found. Engng, Vienna, 1.2, 429-434.
6. It is observed that the modulus of subgrade 4. Ramasamy G., Gopal Ranjan and Jain
reaction specified in IS:2911 are lower N.K., (1987). Modification to Indian
bound values and for short term loading Standard code procedure on lateral capacity
higher values may be selected. of piles. Indian Geotechnical Journal, 17(3),

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Shukla J. C., Shukla, P. J., and Shah D. L.

Fig. 2a Comparison of calculated lateral displacement for pile

Fig. 2b Figure Comparison of calculated maximum bending moment for pile

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Comparison of lateral load capacity of pile using simplified linear spring approach and IS: 2911 (2010)

Fig. 3 STAAD Pro out put for lateral pile analysis

Fig. 4 LPILE output for lateral pile analysis

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