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The general skin friction capacity can be expressed by the below equation.

 us  ca   v K s tan a
For sandy soils ca = 0 and hence the above equation is simplified to

 us   v K s tan a
However, accurately determining the lateral earth pressure coefficient Ks is difficult task. Therefore,
based on the research studies, various methods were developed to estimate the coefficient of lateral earth
pressure closer to pile. One of the commonly used method is β-method proposed by Burland (1972).


Assumptions involved in this method

1) Due to remoulding adjacent to the pile, the effective stress cohesion intercept reduced to zero
2) The horizontal stress acting on the pile after dissipation of pore pressure is at least equal to the
horizontal stress prior to the installation of the pile (Ko condition)
3) The major shear distortion during pile loading is confined to a very relative thin zone around the pile
shaft and drainage of this thin pile zone either occurs rapidly during loading or ha already occurred
in the delay between driving and loading

Considering above assumptions  u   v K 0 tan a

Ko – Coefficient of lateral earth pressure at rest and for normally consolidated soils it is equal to
(1  sin  )

Substituting   K a tan a the ultimate skin friction capacity can be expressed as  u   v

Generally, β varies from 0.27 to 0.3 in the practical (for range of 25 to 300). This method is more of then
used with driven piles in cohesion less soil.

Based on the results of the research, it is concluded that the effective vertical overburden pressure closer
to the pile is not similar to the vertical effective over burden pressure under in-situ undisturbed
conditions. The presence of the pile tends to change the stress conditions close to the pile. The pile
provides some aching action and tends to reduce the overburden pressure beyond certain critical depths.

The skin friction developed on piles in sand varies with the depth and the total resistance should be
estimated considering such variations.

For driven piles   10  10
For bored piles   10  3

Effective depth equations (Poulos and Davis, 1980)

For 28    36.5
0 0

Z c / d  5  0.24(  28)
For 36.5    42
0 0

Z c / d  7  2.35(  36.5)

Example-1: Site investigation showed that sandy soil layer exists up to 10 m from the top surface and
the water table level is 2 m below the top surface. The internal friction angle of soil is   33 0 and
cohesion c = 0. It is required to install a driven 500 mm square pile. Determine the skin friction
distribution along the pile and estimate the total ultimate skin frictional resistance on the pile?

The unit weight of soil below water table is 18 kN/m3 and 15 kN/m3 above the water table.

Example-2: Site investigation showed that the thicknesses of medium, dense and weathered rock layers
are 11, 7 and 6 meters as show in below Figure. The water table is 3 m below the top surface. The
internal friction angles and unit weights of each layer is indicated in below Figure. If 900 mm diameter
long pile is installed, determine the skin friction along the pile and estimate the total ultimate skin
frictional resistance on the pile?

 wet  15kN / m3

Medium dense sand

 wet  18 kN / m 3
  30 0

Dense sand  wet  19 kN / m 3

  35 0

Weathered rock layer  wet  21kN / m 3

  40 0
900 mm diameter long pile

Example 3: Subsurface exploration showed that soil is made of four layers such as loose silt sand, stiff
clay, weathered rock and fractured rock and their shear strength properties are shown in the below
Figure. Determine ultimate skin friction of the pile?

 wet  15kN / m3
2.0 m
Loose silty sand  wet  16kN / m 3
  30 0
6.0 m
Stiff clay
 wet  16.5kN / m 3
cu  50kPa
11.0 m
Completely weathered
rock (Coarse sand)  wet  18kN / m 3
  38 0

16.0 m
Fractured rock

1000 mm diameter bored pile

Determination of the end bearing capacity

The pile bottom is pressed against the soil beneath the pile toe and the bearing capacity failure of the
soil can occur. The pile top is at a greater depth below the ground surface, the failure mode is normally
the local shear failure and the failure pattern is shown below.

The failure pattern is different from shallow foundation failure pattern. The same bearing equation
used in the shallow foundation design may be used with modified bearing capacity factors.

qend  cN c  qN q  BN 
Nc, Nq and N  - Bearing capacity factors

B - Width of the pile

q – Effective overburden pressure at the toe of the foundation
 - Unit weight of the material below the pile toe.

Generally, the third term of the bearing equation is small compared to the other two terms. Therefore,
the third term of the equation can be neglected. Therefore, the above equation can be written as below.

qend  cN c  qN q
Skempton (1951) suggests the Nc values in clay as shown in the below chart.

Figure: Bearing capacity factors for foundations in clay (   0 )

Different research studies proposed number of charts as shown below to determine the bearing capacity
factor Nq. Comparison of observed base resistance of piles by Nordlund (1963) and Vesic (1964)
showed that Nq values established by Berezantsev et al. (1961) which take into account the depth to
width ratio of the pile most nearly conform to practical criteria failure. Berenzantsev’s values of Nq as

Example: Estimate the ultimate bearing capacity of the driven 500 mm square pile with the length of
10 m into a clay layer having undrained cohesion of 40 kPa.

The  value of soil should be modified as below before using with Berenzantsev’s chart which is
shown below.
 1  40
For driven piles: 
For bored piles:   1  3
Example: Subsurface investigation revealed that cohesionless soil with internal friction angle   32 0
extend up to 10 m from the top surface of the soil. The water table is 2 m below the top surface. The
saturated unit weight of soil is 18 kN/m3 whereas the unit weight of soil above the water table is 15
kN/m3. Estimate the ultimate end bearing capacity of 500 mm × 500 mm driven pile if that is installed
in the soil layer?

Figure: Bearing capacity factors for circular deep foundations

Figure: Berenzantsev’s chart

Reference: Pile Foundation Analysis and Design by H.G. Poulos and E.H. Davis