Associate Professor
Chapter 6:
Bearing Capacity of Shallow
Foundations
Texas Tech University
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Shallow Foundations
Bearing Capacity
The problems of soil mechanics can
be divided into two principal groups 
stability problems and elasticity
problems
 Karl Terzaghi, 1943
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Karl Terzaghi (18831963)
Father of modern soil mechanics
Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia
Wrote Erdbaumechanick in 1925
Taught at MIT (19251929)
Taught at Harvard (1938 and after)
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Karl Terzaghi at Harvard, 1940
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity Failure
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Transcosna Grain Elevator
Canada (Oct. 18, 1913)
West side of foundation sank 24ft
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Stability Problem
Bearing Capacity Failure
Chapter 6. Bearing Capacity Analysis
How do we estimate the maximum
bearing pressure that the soil can
withstand before failure occurs?
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity Failures
Types/Modes of Failure
general shear failure
local shear failure
punching shear failure
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
General Shear Failure
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Punching Shear Failure
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Model Tests by Vesic (1973)
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
General Guidelines
Footings in clays  general shear
Footings in Dense sands ( D
r
> 67%)
general shear
Footings in Loose to Medium dense
(30%< D
r
< 67%)  Local Shear
Footings in Very Loose Sand (D
r
< 30%)
punching shear
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity Formulas
zD u c ult
s N q o + =
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Terzaghi Bearing Capacity
Formulas
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Terzaghi Bearing Capacity Formulas
o BN N N c q
q zD c ult
'
+
'
+
'
= 5 . 0
For Square foundations:
For Continuous foundations:
o BN N N c q
q zD c ult
'
+
'
+
'
= 4 . 0 3 . 1
For Circular foundations:
o BN N N c q
q zD c ult
'
+
'
+
'
= 3 . 0 3 . 1
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Terzaghi Bearing Capacity Factors
0 7 . 5 =
'
=  when Nc
) 2 / 45 ( cos 2
2
2

u
'
+
=
a
N
q
    t
u
' '
= tan ) 360 / 75 . 0 ( exp a


.

\

'
'
= 1
cos 2
tan
2


p
K
N
0
tan
1
>
'
'
= 

when
N
N
q
c
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity Factors
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Terzaghi Bearing Capacity Formulas
D s B
No sliding between footing and soil
soil: a homogeneous semiinfinite
mass
general shear failure
footing is very rigid compared to soil
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
See Extra Handout
Further Developments
Skempton (1951)
Meyerhof (1953)
Brinch Hanson (1961)
De Beer and Ladanyi (1961)
Meyerhof (1963)
Brinch Hanson (1970)
Vesic' (1973, 1975)
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Vesic' (1973, 1975) Formulas
Shape factors. Eq. 6.14, 6.15 and 6.16
Depth Factors . Eq. 6.17, 6.18 and 6.19
Load Inclination Factors . Eq. 6.20, 6.21 and 6.22
Base Inclinations factors .. Eq. 6.25 and 6.26
Ground Inclination Factors. Eq. 6.27 and 6.28
Bearing Capacity Factors . Eq. 6.29, 6.30 and 6.31
o g b i d s BN g b i d s N g b i d s N c q
q q q q q q zD c c c c c c ult
'
+
'
+
'
= 5 . 0
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Vesic' Formula Shape Factors


.

\


.

\

+ =
c
q
c
N
N
L
B
s 1

'

.

\

+ = tan 1
L
B
s
q

.

\

=
L
B
s 4 . 0 1
\

=
B
D
k
1
tan
2
) sin 1 ( tan 2 1  
'
'
+ = k d
q
1 =
d
k d
c
4 . 0 1+ =
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity of
Shallow Foundations
6.3 Groundwater Effects
6.4 Allowable Bearing Capacity
6.5 Selection of Soil Strength Parameters
6.6 Local & Punching Shear Cases
6.7 Bearing Capacity on Layered Soils
6.8 Accuracy of Bearing Capacity
Analyses
6.9 Bearing Capacity Spreadsheet
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Groundwater Table Effect
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Groundwater Table Effect;
Case I
1. Modify o
zD
2. Calculate as follows:
w b
= =
'
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Groundwater Table Effect;
Case II
1. No change in o
zD
2. Calculate as follows:


.

\


.

\

=
'
B
D D
w
w
1
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Groundwater Table Effect;
Case III
1. No change in o
zD
2. No change in
=
'
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Allowable Bearing Capacity
F
q
q
ult
a
=
.. Allowable Bearing Capacity
F . Factor of safety
a
q
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Factor of Safety
Depends on:
Type of soil
Level of Uncertainty in Soil Strength
Importance of structure and
consequences of failure
Likelihood of design load occurrence
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Minimum Factor of Safety
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Selection of Soil Strength
Parameters
Use Saturated Strength Parameters
Use Undrained Strength in clays (S
u
)
Use Drained Strength in sands,
Intermediate soils that where partially
drained conditions exist, engineers
have varying opinions; Undrained
Strength can be used but it will be
conservative!

' '
and c
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Accuracy of Bearing Capacity
Analysis
In Clays ..Within 10% of true value
(Bishop and Bjerrum, 1960)
Smaller footings in Sands. Bearing
capacity calculated were too conservative
but conservatism did not affect construction
cost much
Large footings in Sands Bearing capacity
estimates were reasonable but design was
controlled by settlement
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Accuracy; Bearing Capacity Analysis
CE 4321: Geotechnical Engineering Design
Bearing Capacity Spreadsheet
Can be downloaded from
http://www.prenhall.com/coduto
See Appendix B (page 848) for
further instructions
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