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This is the test setup to determine full-scale foundation performance information for the ETT/CREZ transmission project.

Revealing Foundation
Design Approaches
AEP moves toward implementing
a reliability-based foundation design approach.
By T. David Parrish and J. Kelly Bledsoe, American Electric Power,
and Anthony M. DiGioia Jr., DiGioia, Gray & Associates, LLC

he design of foundations for transmission line struc- Allowable Stress Design
tures provides many challenges. A transmission line As is the case with all technology-based design processes,
is a complex system of interacting components: struc- research and development are performed on a continuous ba-
tures, foundations, conductors, insulators, shield sis to bring new and innovative concepts and improvements to
wires and hardware. A line may consist of many structure the design process. This is exactly what happened to the pro-
types, which can be supported by an equally wide variety of cess for designing foundations for bridges and what is happen-
foundation types. Additionally, a line may traverse terrain that ing to the process for designing foundations for transmission
changes from flat to rolling hills or mountains. A line also may line structures. This closely parallels similar transitions in the
traverse different geologic zones, which can present unique concrete and steel building industries.
geologic challenges, such as karst areas, unstable slopes, and Over the past 30 years, the Electric Power Research Insti-
mined and unmined areas. Thus, the foundation design pro- tute (EPRI) sponsored many research projects to advance the
cess involves the application of both technology and art in foundation design. Prior to EPRI’s research efforts, the most
each step of the process. This is especially true in the develop- common design method used in practice was the allowable
ment of the geotechnical design parameters needed for foun- stress design (ASD) approach.
dation design. In the ASD approach, foundation designers assume a

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Foundation Design Models

The four main foundation design models used include MFAD, caisson, LPILE and Hansen.
M The MFAD foundation design model was developed by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) for the design of drilled

shafts for tubular-steel poles and for the design of direct embedment of tubular-steel poles using granular, cohesive soils or
concrete backfills. In the MFAD model, the applied moment, horizontal shear and compression loads are resisted by the combi-
nation of soil and rock strata lateral pressures, circumferential vertical-side shear resistance, and base lateral shear and moment
resistances. The program initially computes nominal capacities. Design capacities are based on a calibrated resistance factor of
0.63. The program also provides deflections, rotations, bending moments, shear force and lateral soil response over the length of
embedment and the base of the drilled shaft. MFAD is licensed by DiGioia, Gray & Associates, LLC on behalf of EPRI.
M The caisson foundation design model was developed by Alain Peyrot and Tarun Naik of the University of Wisconsin for the

design of drilled shafts for tubular-steel poles. In the caisson model, the applied moment and shear loads are resisted solely by soil
strata lateral pressures. Caisson is licensed by Power Line Systems.
M The LPILE foundation design model was developed by Lynn Reese of the University of Texas. LPILE is a special-purpose

program based on procedures for analyzing a pile or drilled shaft under lateral loads. The applied moment and shear loads are
resisted solely by soil and rock strata lateral pressures, which have non-linear p-y relationships. The program computes deflections,
bending moments, shear forces and soil response over the length of the pile. LPILE is licensed by Ensoft Inc.
M The Hansen model was developed by J.B. Hansen in 1961. A detailed description of the Hansen model is contained in his

book Earth Pressure Calculation, published in 1961 by the Danish Technical Press. In the Hansen model, the applied moment and
shear loads are resisted solely by soil strata lateral pressures. Implementation of the Hansen model can be done in the form of a
spreadsheet by programming the lateral pressure equations developed by Hansen in his 1961 publication.

foundation size, compute the ultimate design capacity of the son, 2.0 to 3.0 for the LPILE and 1.1 for the Hansen founda-
foundation and determine the nominal working capacity by tion design models. These models are used the most to design
dividing by a safety factor. If the working capacity is less than drilled shafts for tubular-steel single poles. The range of safety
or greater than the applied load, the designer assumes a new factors results in significant differences in foundation con-
foundation size and then repeats the process until an accept- struction costs and reliability. Thus, in accordance with the
able design is achieved. normal evolutionary process of improving technology, EPRI
The biggest challenge facing the ASD designer is the un- and the Federal Highway Administration moved forward with
certainty in establishing a safety factor because there is no sys- the development of the reliability-based (RBD) approach for
tematic method for establishing safety factors. The selection the design of foundations for transmission line structures and
of safety factors is dependent on the foundation design engi- bridges, respectively; and in recent years, American Electric
neer’s background and experience. Power (AEP) has begun a similar transition.
There are a variety of foundation design models, including
MFAD, caisson, LPILE and Hansen. EPRI recently conducted Calibrate Design with Testing
a survey that showed that factors of safety used in practice to- In simple terms, the RBD approach provides foundation
day varied from 2.0 to 4.0 for the MFAD, 1.0 to 2.5 for the cais- designers with a rational decision-making framework with
several options:
M Consider the variability of founda-
reliability level tion loads and foundation strengths
M Coordinate the level of reliability

Corridor geology Foundation between foundations and other line com-

and topology design loads ponents
Site-specific M Optimize foundation costs by estab-
geotechnical lishing a uniform level of foundation reli-
Subsurface design Reliability-based Foundation
investigation and parameters for foundation performance ability.
laboratory test foundation design program criteria
Among the current RBD options, AEP
design model
is adopting one in which the 5% lower ex-
Past geotechnical Construction
data drawings and clusion limit foundation strength must be
specifications equal to or greater than 50-year return
period load events, such as extreme wind,
Construction wind on ice covered wires, and structure
monitoring conditions. In turn, the 5% lower level
and as-built
exclusion limit design strength for a giv-
en foundation design model is equal to
The foundation design process requires site-specific foundation loads and geotechnical
design parameters. The parameters are based on corridor geology, topography, past geo- the foundation nominal strength times
technical data, and the results of subsurface investigations and laboratory test data. a calibrated resistance factor. The ques- | January 2012 51


and field data of applied load versus displacement. A database

Foundation strength
distribution, R of at least 20 to 25 full-scale load tests is needed for acceptable
statistical correlations.
2. Using the data collected in Step 1, determine the nomi-
Probability density

Foundation load
distribution, Q nal load-carrying capacity of each test foundation.
3. For each test foundation, plot the applied groundline
load versus the predicted capacity, as determined by the foun-
dation design model being calibrated.
4. Perform a least square fit to the data plotted in Step 3
and determine the slope of the least-square fit line and the
R5, Q50 coefficient of variation.
5. Based on the data determined in Step 4, compute the
Qm Rm Q or R resistance factor for the design model being calibrated.
Overlap Fortunately, EPRI has performed much of the research
work needed to establish resistance factors for single-pole
The goal of the RBD approach is to separate the foundation load dis- transmission line structure foundations. Resistance factors,
tribution from the foundation strength distribution so that the level of used to design drilled shafts for tubular-steel single poles, have
reliability is acceptable. Failure could occur in the overlap area where
foundation loads can exceed foundation strengths.
been established by the aforementioned calibration process
for the following commonly used foundation design models
tion then becomes, “How do foundation designers establish for the design of single-pole drilled shafts:
resistance factors for each foundation design model they are M MFAD 5.0 has a factor of 0.63
currently using in practice?” The answer is each foundation MCaisson has a resistance factor of 0.43
design model must be calibrated against the results of full- MHansen has a resistance factor of 0.71
scale foundation load test results. The calibration procedure MLPILE 5.0 has a resistance factor of 0.84.
provides a consistent and statistics-based method for establish- In essence, the RBD approach uses resistance factors that
ing design model strength factors: are based on an evaluation of full-scale foundation load tests,
1. Collect data on available full-scale foundation load tests, while the ASD approach uses factors of safety that are subjec-
including in-situ soil and rock properties, laboratory test data tive and, for a given foundation design model, can vary signifi-
cantly depending on the foundation design
80 k engineer. Thus, the implementation of the
6,500 k-ft
RBD approach will result in a relatively uni-
form level of reliability and optimized founda-
tion designs and construction costs.
90 k
Depth Cost Implications
Medium-dense fine sand ASD and RBD foundation designs can vary
In-situ density = 120 pcf (1,900 kg/m3) significantly from one another for a given set
Angle of internal friction = 35 degrees
of design loads and subsurface profiles. For
Modulus of deformation = 2 ksi (13.8 MP)
7 ft (2.1 m) comparison, consider a 6-ft (1.8-m)-diameter
drilled-shaft foundation for a steel single pole
Stiff to very stiff clay
using both the RBD and ASD approaches and
In-situ density = 130 pcf (2,100 kg/m3)
Undrained shear strength = 1.8 ksf (0.09 MP) the MFAD 5.0 design model. The foundation
Modulus of deformation = 1.2 ksi (8.3 MP) performance design criteria are as follows:
M Allowable top-of-concrete displacement

15 ft (4.6 m)
of 4 inches (102 mm)
Poor rock - RMR - 20 M Allowable non-recoverable top-of-con-
In-situ density = 140 pcf (2,200 kg/m3) crete displacement of 2 inches (51 mm)
Angle of internal friction = 30 degrees
M Allowable top-of-concrete rotation of 2
Cohesive strength = 2.1 ksf (0.1 MP)
Modulus of deformation = 199 ksi (1,370 MP) degrees
Concrete/rock bond M Non-recoverable top-of-concrete rotation
strength = 7 ksf (0.3 MP) of 1 degree.
6 ft In the application of both the ASD and RBD
approaches for the design of drilled shafts for
30 ft (9.1 m) tubular-steel single poles, the designers must
establish foundation performance criteria
Subsurface profile and geotechnical design parameters for design example. such as the allowable top-of-drilled-shaft later-

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