Bearing Capacity of

Shallow Foundation
BEARING CAPACITY
If a footing is subjected to too great a
, load som e of the soilsupporting it w ill
reach a failure state and the footing
m ay experience a bearing capacity
. failure
T h e b e a rin g ca p a city is th e
lim itin g p re ssu re th a t th e fo o tin g
. ca n su p p o rt
Supporting soil
Definitions and Key
Terms

Foundation: Structure transmits
loads to the underlying ground (soil).

Footing: Slab element that
ground

Embedment depth, D
f
: The depth
below the ground surface where the
base of the footing rests.

Bearing pressure(q): The normal
stress impose by the footing
on the supporting ground.
(weight of superstructure +
self weight of footing + weight of
earthfill if any.)
Definitions and Key
Terms

Ultimate bearing capacity
q
ult
/q
f
/q
u
: The maximum
bearing pressure that the soil
can sustain (i.e it fails).

Ultimate net bearing capacity
(q
unet
/q
nf
/q
nu
):

The maximum bearing
pressure that the soil can
sustain above its current
overburden pressure
D q q or
D q q
nf f
f nf
γ
γ
+ ·
− ·
G Ground

Safe bearing capacity: it is the
maximum pressure which the soil
can carry without shear failure or
ultimate bearing capacity, q
f
,
divided by Factor of safety ,F.

Net safe bearing capacity: It is
the net ultimate bearing capacity
divided by factor of safety, F.

D
F
q
D q q
nf
ns s
γ γ + · + ·
F
q
q
nf
ns
Definitions and Key Terms
(Cont.)

Allowable bearing capacity:
(q
all
/q
a
): The working pressure
that would ensure an acceptable
margin of safety against bearing
capacity failure, or It is the net
soil fails in shear nor there is
excessive settlement detrimental
to the structure.

Factor of safety: The ratio
between (q
unet
) and (q
all
). (F.S. =
q
unet
/q
all
)
Definitions and Key Terms
(Cont.)

Ultimate limit state: A state that
defines a limiting shear stress that
should not be exceeded by any
during the life span of a foundation
or any geotechnical system.

Serviceability limit state: A state
that defines a limiting deformation
or settlement of a foundation,
which, if exceeded will impair the
function of the supported
structure.
Basics
Basics
D
D
f
/ B 1
Terzaghi
D
f
/ > B 4
D
f
/ - . B 2 2 5
Others
Design Requirements

1. The foundation
must not
collapse

or become
unstable under
any

conceivable

2. Deformation
(settlement) of
the

structure
must be within
tolerable

limits
settlement of shallow
foundations

Relatively elastic vertical

compression

almost

straight.

Local yielding starts to
affect

Upward and outward
movement of

the soil with a possible
surface

heave.

General shear failure

Large settlements are
produced as

plastic yielding is fully
developed

within the soil.

In dense sands: softening
can

occur after collapse.
Collapse and Failure
( ) c Punching shear failure
( ) a General shear failure
( ) b Local shear failure
§
Shallow foundations in rock and
undrained clays are governed by
the general shear case.
§
Shallow foundations in dense
sands are governed by the general
shear case. In this

context, a dense sand is one
with a relative density, D
r
, greater
§
Shallow foundations on loose to
medium dense sands (30% < D
r
<
67%) are probably

governed by local shear.
§
Shallow foundations on very
loose sand

(D
r
< 30%) are probably
governed by punching shear.

Characteristics of Each
Failure Mode
General shear (Dense sand):

– well defined failure mechanism

– continuous slip surface from
footing to surface

– sudden catastrophic failure
Local shear (Loose sand):

– failure mechanism well defined
only beneath the footing

– slip surfaces do not extend to
the soil surface

– considerable vertical
displacement

– lower ultimate capacity
Guide lines to know
whether failure is local
or general

(i) Stress-strain test: (c- soil) 
general shear failure occurs at low
strain, say <5 % while for local shear
failure stress-strain curve continues to
rise at strain of 10 to 20 %.

(ii) Angle of shear resistance: For 
> 36
o
,general shear failure and < 
28
o
local shear failure.

(iii) Penetration test: N 30 : G.S.F 

N 5 : L.S.F 
… Contd

(iv) Plate Load Test: Shape of the
settlement curve decides
whether it is G.S.F or L.S.F

(v) Density Index : I
D
> 70 G.S.F

I
D
< 20
L.S.F

For purely cohesive soil, local
shear failure may be assumed to
occur when the soil is soft to
medium, with an unconfined
compressive strength q
u
10 t/m 
2

(or c
u
5 t/m 
2
).
… Contd
Punching shear (Very Loose
sand):

– failure mechanism less well
defined

– soil beneath footing
compresses

– large vertical
displacements

– lowest ultimate capacity

– very loose soils or at large
embedment depth
Foundation
Requirements
1.Safe against failure (bearing capacity or
structural failure)
2.Should not exceed tolerable
settlement(probable maximum and
differential settlement)
3.Its construction should not make any
change to existing structure.
environment influence:
i. Zones of high volume change due to
moisture fluctuations.
ii.Depth of frost penetration
iii.Organic matter; peat and muck.
iv.Abandoned garbage dumps or
loosed fill areas.
v.Scouring depth
BEARING CAPACITY
ANALYSES IN SOIL-
GENERAL SHEAR CASE

Methods of Analyzing Bearing
Capacity
q To analyze spread footings for bearing
capacity failures and design them in a way to
avoid such failures, we must understand the
q
footing dimensions, and soil
properties. Various researchers have
studied these relationships using a variety of
techniques, including:
Ø
Assessments of the performance
of real foundations, including full-
Ø
Ø
Limit equilibrium analyses.
Ø
Detailed stress analyses, such as
finite element method (FEM)
analyses.
• Full-scale load tests, which consist

them to failure, are the most
precise way to evaluate bearing
capacity. However, such tests are
expensive, and thus are rarely, if
ever, performed as a part of routine
design. A few such tests have been
performed for research purposes.
• Model footing tests have been
used quite extensively, mostly
because the cost of these tests
is far below that for full-scale
tests. Unfortunately, model tests
have their limitations, especially
when conducted in sands,
because of uncertainties in
applying the proper scaling
centrifuge model tests has
partially overcome this problem.
• Limit equilibrium analyses are
the dominant way to assess bearing
capacity of shallow foundations.
These analyses define the shape of
the failure surface, as shown in
Figure , then evaluate the stresses
and strengths along this surface.
These methods of analysis have their
roots in Prandtl' s studies of the
punching resistance of metals
(Prandtl,

1920). He considered the ability of
very thick masses of metal (i.e., not
sheet metal) to resist concentrated
usually include empirical factors
developed from model tests.
zD u c ult
s N q σ + ·
• Occasionally, geotechnical engineers
perform more detailed bearing
capacity analyses using numerical
methods, such as the finite element
method (FEM). These analyses are
more complex, and are justified
only on very critical and unusual
projects. We will consider only limit
equilibrium methods of bearing
capacity analyses, because these
methods are used on the
overwhelming majority of projects.
Essential Points so far
• Failure mode in sands
depends on the density of
the soil.
• More settlement is expected
in loose soils than in dense
Alternatively, dense soils can
The limit equilibrium
method
consider the continuous footing as
shown in Figure.
Let us assume this footing
experiences a bearing capacity
failure, and that this failure occurs
along a circular shear surface as
shown.
Assume the soil is an undrained clay
with a shear strength s
u
.
Neglect the shear strength between
the ground surface and a depth D.
Thus, the soil in this zone is considered
to be only a surcharge load that
produces a vertical total stress of

zD
D = D at a depth D. 
§
The objective of this derivation is
to obtain a formula for the
ultimate bearing capacity,q
ult
,which is the bearing pressure
required to cause a bearing
capacity failure.
§
consider a slice of the foundation
of length b and taking moments
about Point A, we obtain the
following:
zD u ult
zD u ult A
s q
B Bb B Bb s B Bb q M
σ π
σ π
+ ·
− − ·
2
) 2 / ( ) )( ( ) 2 / )( (
It is convenient to define a new
parameter, called a bearing capacity
factor, N
c
and

rewrite Equation as:

Equation is known as a bearing
capacity formula, and could be used to
evaluate the

bearing capacity of a proposed
foundation. According to this
derivation, N
c
= 2 = 6.28.
This simplified formula has only
limited applicability in practice
because it considers
zD u c ult
s N q σ + ·
… Contd

only continuous footings and
undrained soil conditions ( = 0), 
and it assumes the

foundation rotates as the
bearing capacity failure occurs.
However, this simple derivation
illustrates the general methodology
required to develop more
comprehensive bearing capacity
formulas.

… Contd
q
No exact analytical solution for
computing bearing capacity of
footings is available at present
because the basic system of
equations describing the yield
problems is nonlinear.

On account of these reasons,
Terzaghi (1943) first proposed a semi-
empirical equation for computing the
ultimate bearing capacity of strip
footings by taking into account
cohesion, friction and weight of soil,
and replacing the overburden pressure
with an equivalent surcharge load at
the base level of the foundation.

The ultimate bearing capacity, or
the allowable soil pressure, can be
calculated either from bearing
capacity theories or from some of the
in situ tests.

Each theory has its own good and
bad points. Some of the theories are
of academic interest only. However, it
is the purpose of the author to
present here only such theories
which are of basic interest to
students in particular and

professional engineers in general.
Terzaghi's Bearing
Capacity Formulas

Assumptions:
The depth of the foundation is less than or
equal to its width (D B). 
The bottom of the foundation is sufficiently
rough that no sliding occurs between the
foundation and the soil.
The soil beneath the foundation is a
homogeneous semi-infinite mass (i.e., the soil
extends for a great distance below the
foundation and the soil properties are uniform

throughout).
The shear strength of the soil is described by
the formula s = c' + ' tan '.  
The general shear mode of failure
governs.
No consolidation of the soil occurs
(i.e., settlement of the foundation is
due only to

the shearing and lateral
movement of the soil).
The foundation is very rigid in
comparison to the soil.
The soil between the ground
surface and a depth D has no shear
strength, and serves

and applied vertically to the centroid
of the foundation and no applied
Bearing Capacity
Failure
Transcosna Grain
18, 1913)
West side of foundation
- sank 24 ft
P
Surcharge
= Pressure
zD
- / 45 2
- / 45 2 
Passive Zone
Lowest Shear Surface
Wedge Zone
D
B
B
 
Collapse and Failure
Terzaghi considered three zones in the
soil, as shown in Figure, immediately
beneath the foundation is a wedge zone
that remains intact and moves downward
with the foundation.
Next, a radial shear zone extends from
each side of the wedge, where he took
the shape of the shear planes to be
logarithmic spirals.
Finally, the outer portion is the linear
shear

zone in which the soil shears along
planar surfaces
Since Terzaghi neglected the shear
strength of soils between the
ground surface and a depth D, the
shear surface stops at this depth
and the overlying soil has been
replaced with the surcharge pressure

zD
.This approach is conservative,
and is part of the reason for limiting
the method to relatively shallow
foundations (D < B).
Terzaghi developed his theory for
continuous foundations (i.e., those with
a very large L/B ratio).
This is the simplest case because it
is a two- dimensional problem.
He then extended it to square and
coefficients obtained from model
tests and produced the following
bearing capacity formulas:
For square foundations:

For continuous
foundations:

For circular foundations
γ
γ σ BN N N c q
q zD c ult

+

+

· 3 . 0 3 . 1
γ
γ σ BN N N c q
q zD c ult

+

+

· 5 . 0
γ
γ σ N B N N c q
q zD c ult

+

+

· 4 . 0 3 . 1
Because of the shape of the failure
surface, the values of c and only  
need to represent the soil between
the bottom of the footing and a
depth B below the bottom. The soils
between the ground surface and a
depth D are treated simply as
overburden.
Terzaghi's formulas are presented in
terms of effective stresses. However,
they also

may be used in a total stress
analyses by substituting c
T

T
and 
D

for c', ', and  
D
 If saturated
undrained conditions exist, we may
conduct a total stress analysis with the
shear strength defined as c
T
= S
u
and

T
= O. In this case, N
c
= 5.7, N
q
= 1.0,
and N

= 0.0.
The Terzaghi bearing capacity
factors are:
… Contd
( )

,
`

.
|

·
>

·
·

·
·

+
·
′ ′ −
1
cos 2
tan
0
tan
1
0 7 . 5
) 2 / 45 ( cos 2
2
tan 360 / 75 . 0
2
2
φ
φ
φ
φ
φ
φ
γ
γ
φ φ π
θ
θ
p
q
c
c
q
K
N
for
N
N
for N
e a
a
N
… Contd

For strip footing:

D R BN . R ) N ( D cN .
F
q
D R BN . R ) N ( D cN .
F
q
D R BN . R ) N ( D cN
F
q
w w q c s
w w q c s
w w q c s
γ γ γ
γ γ γ
γ γ γ
γ
γ
γ
+ + − + ·
+ + − + ·
+ + − + ·
2 1
2 1
2 1
3 0 1 3 1
1
: footing circular For
4 0 1 3 1
1
: footing square For
5 0 1
1
Computation of safe
bearing capacity
φ φ
γ
γ
tan / tan c of / c
factor reduction table Water R and R
g.s.f for cohesion c
failure shear
local for factors capacity Bearing N , N , N
failure shear general for φ on depending
factors capacity Bearing N , N , N
footing of diameter or footing of Width B
footing of Depth D
to safety of Factor F
m m
w w
q c
q c
3 2 and 3 2

3 2 Where
2 1
· ·
·
·
·
′ ′ ′
·
·
·
·
1
2
1
0 1 5 0
1
2
1
0 1 5 0
2 2 2 2 2
2
2
1 1 1 1
1
1
· · · · ·

,
`

.
|
+ ·
· · · ·

,
`

.
|
+ ·
w w w w w
w
w
w w w w
w
w
R , B R , B Z If , R Z If
B
Z
. R
R , D Z If , R Z If
D
Z
. R
[ ( )] BEARING CAPACITY FACTORS After Terzaghi and Peck 1948
N
q
and N
c
N

(
)
d
e
g
r
e
e
s
N

N
q
N
c
Bearing Capacity Factors
Effective Stress Analysis
Two situations can be simply
analysed.
The soil is dry. The total and
effective stresses are identical and
the analysis is identical to that
described above except that the
parameters used in the equations
are c´, ´,  
dry
rather than c
u
, 
u
,

sat
. If the water table is more
than a depth of 1.5 B (the footing
width) below the base of the
footing the water can be assumed to
have no effect.
Further Developments
Skempton (1951)
Meyerhof (1953)
Brinch Hanson (1961)
(1961)
Meyerhof (1963)
Brinch Hanson (1970)
Vesic (1973, 1975) 
) 4 . 1 tan( ) 1 (
cot ) 1 (
) 2 / 45 ( tan
5 . 0 : Load Inclined
5 . 0 : load Vertical
2 tan
φ
φ
φ
γ
γ
γ
φ π
γ γ γ
γ γ γ
− ·
− ·
+ ·

+ + ·

+ + ·
q
q c
q
q q q c c c ult
q q q c c c ult
N N
N N
e N
d i N B d i N q d i cN q
d s N B d s N q d s cN q
Meyerhof Bearing
Capacity Equations
. L or D/ /B L ratio use 6, - 4 section. in presented 2), - (4
equation of subscripts , For and , as and
shape of sets two compute to have may you 0) or H
0 either yH (and H load a and load a vertical With . 3
a vertical either with consistent are above values The 2.
. c Vesi by not but n Hanse
by L . B dimension base e effectiv of use Note . 1
. . , . . .
B
B L
B
′ ′
>
·

′ ′ ′ ′
L i d d s s d
s
L i B i L i B i i
i

Notes:
1.Use H
i
as either H
B
or H
L
. Or both if H
L
>0.
2.Hansen did not give an i
c
for > 0  . The
value above is from Hansen and also
used by Vesic . 
3.Variable c
a
= base adhesion on the order of
0.6 to1.0 x base cohesion.
4.refer to sketch for identification of angles 
and , footing width D, location of
H
i
(parallel and at top of base slab;
usually also produces eccentricity).
Especially note V = force normal to base
and is not the resultant R from combining
V and H
i
.
Bearing –capacity
equations by the several
authors indicated

Terzaghi(1943). See table 4-2 for
typical values and for k
p
values.

8 0 6 0 0 1
3 1 3 1 0 1
1
2
1
2 45
5 0
2
2 75 0
2
2
. . . s
. . . s
square round strip For
cos
K
tan
N
cot ) N ( N
e a
) / ( cos a
a
N s BN . N q s cN q
c
p
q c
tan ) / . (
q q c c ult
γ
γ
γ
φ φ π
γ γ
φ
φ
φ
φ
γ

,
`

.
|
− ·
− ·
·
+
· + + ·

0 0 0
0
2
1
2
90
1 : n Inclinatio
0 1
10 1 0 1
B
2 0 1 : Depth
0 1
10 1 0 1
2 0 1 : Shape
For e Valu Factors
· > ·
>
,
`

.
|
− ·

,
`

.
|
− · ·
· · ·
> + · ·
+ ·
· · ·
> + · ·
+ ·
φ θ
γ
φ
φ
θ
γ
φ
θ
φ
γ
φ
γ
φ
φ
γ
φ
γ
φ
for i
o
o
i
Any
o
o
q
i
c
i
d
q
d
o
B
D
p
K . d
q
d
Any
D
p
K .
c
d
s
q
s
o
L
B
p
K . s
q
s
Any
L
B
p
K .
c
s
H
R
V
<
Where K
p
= tan
2

( + / 45 2)
=
angle of
resultant R
measured from
vertical without a
: = sign if 0 all
i =
. 1 0
. . B L D =
previously defined
- Table 4 3
• Meyerhof(1963) see Table 4-3 for
shape, depth and inclination
factors.

φ
φ
φ
γ
γ
γ
φ π
γ γ
γ γ
4 1 1
1
2 45
2
. tan N N
cot N N
/ tan e N
i d B . i d N q i d cN q
d s B . d s N q d s cN q
q
q c
tan
q
q q q c c c ult
q q q c c c ult
− ·
− ·
+ ·

+ + ·

+ + ·

Hansen (1970).* See Table 4-5 for
shape, depth, and other factors.
φ
φ
γ
γ
γ γ γ γ γ γ
tan N . N
N
N
q g b i d s s . q
b g i d s BN .
b g i d s N q b g i d s cN q
q
c
q
c c c c c u ult
q q q q q q c c c c c c ult
1 5 1
above Meyerhof as same
above Meyerhof as same
1 14 5 use
0 When
5 0
: General
− ·
·
·
+

+

+ ·
·
+
+ ·
0.6
L
B
0.4 1.0
γ(V)
s
φ all for 1.0
γ
d 0.6
L
B
0.4 1.0
γ(H)
s
____ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
φ all for
above defined k tanφ
L
B
1.0
q(V)
s
k
2
sinφi (1 φ 2tan 1
q
d sinφ
L
B
1.0
q(H)
s
_______ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
radians in k strip for 1.0
c
s
1 D/B for (D/B)
1
tan k
L
B
.
c
N
q
N
1.0
c(V)
s
1 D/B for
B
D
k
L
B
.
c
N
q
N
1.0
c(H)
s
)
o
0 (φ 0.4k
c
d )
o
0 (φ
L
B
0.2
c(H)
s
factors Depth factors Shape
equations capacity bearing c Vesi or
Hansen the in use for factors depth and Shape
≥ − ·
· ≥

− ·
+ ·
− ′ + ·

+ ·
·
>

· + ·
≤ ·

+ ·
· · ′ ·

· ′

- ( ) TABLE 4 5 a
( )
) tan . exp( b
) tan exp(
q
b
) (
o
o
c
b
cot
a
c
f
A V
i
H
o
/
o
.
i
) (
o
o
c
b
cot
a
c
f
A V
i
H .
i
) base tilted ( factors Base
) tan . ( g
q
g
cot
a
c
f
A V
i
H .
q
i
o
o
.
c
g
q
N
q
i
q
i
c
i
o
o
c
g
a
c
f
A
i
H
.
c
i
_ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
) slope on base ( factors Ground factors n Inclinatio
_ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
η
φ η
γ
φ η α
φ
η
α
φ
η
γ
φ
η
α
φ
γ
α
β
γ
α
φ
β
β
7 2
2 5
2
2
0
147
1
2
450 7 0
1
0
147
1
7 0
1
5
1
2
5
5 0 1
1
5 0
1
147
0 1
1
1
147
1 5 0
− ·
− · ≤ ≤
> − ·
+

− ·
· · ′
+
− ·
≤ ≤
− · ·
+
− ·
− ·

− ·
· ′ − − · ′
]
]
]
]
]

]
]
]
]
]

]
]
]
]
]

- ( ) TABLE 4 5 b
• Vesic (1973, 1975).* See Table 4-5 
for shape, depth, and other factors.
_ __________ __________ __________ __________
tan N N
above Meyerhof as same N
above Meyerhof as same N
q
c
q
φ
γ
1 2
above. equations s Hansen' use
+ ·
·
·
* These methods require a trial process to obtain
design base
dimensions since width B and length L are needed
to compute
, , . shape depth and influence factors
† . - See Sec 4 6 when i
i
< . 1
( )
( )
( )
2
1
2
0 1
1
2
14 5
2
1
1
2
0 0 1 0 1
base) (tilted factors Base
0 1 0 1
with defined below defined and
0
14 5
1
0
1
1
14 5
0 1
slope) on (base factors Ground factors n Inclinatio
terms. of tion identifica for sketch to refer and below es not See
equations. capacity bearing 1973,1975b c Vesi the
for factors base and ground, n, inclinatio of Table
φ η
φ
β
φ
φ
β
φ
φ
φ
φ
β
β
φ
γ
γ
γ
tan . b b
B / L
B / L
m m
tan .
b
L / B
L / B
m m
) ( g b
cot c A V
H
. . i
__________ __________
tan . g g
cot c A V
H
. i
i i m , i
tan .
i
i g ) (
N
i
i i
.
g ) (
N c A
mH
i
______ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
______ __________ __________ __________ __________ __________
q L
c B
c c
m
a f
i
q
m
a f
i
q
c q q
q
q c
q
q
q c
c
c a f
i
c
− · ·
+
+
· ·
− ·
+
+
· ·
· ′ · ′
]
]
]

+
− − ·
− · ·
]
]
]

+
− ·
>

− · >

− ·
· ′ · − · ′
− ′
+
- ( ) Table 4 5 c
• Notes:

1. When = 0 (and 0) use    N

= -2
sin(± ) in N 

term.

2. Compute m = m
B
when H
j
= HB (H
parallel to B) and m = m
L
when H
i
=H
L
(H
parallel to L). If you have both H
B
and H
i
,use m
= m 
B

2
+m
2
L
Note use of B and L, not B', L

3. Refer to Table sketch and Tables 4-5a,b
for term identification.

4. Terms N
c
,N
q
, and N

are identified in
Table 4-1.

5. Vesic always uses the bearing- 
capacity equation given in Table 4-1 (uses B‘
in the N

term even when H
i
= H
L
).

6. H
i
term < 1.0 for computing i
q
, i

(always).
Bearing Capacity
• 1. The cohesion term dominates in cohesive soils.
• 2. The depth term (γ D Nq) dominates in cohesionless soils. Only a small
increase in D
• increases qu substantially.
• 3. The base width term (0.5 γ B Nγ) provides some increase in bearing capacity
for both
• cohesive and cohesionless soils. In cases where B < 3 to 4 m this term could be
• neglected with little error.
• 4. No one would place a footing on the ground surface of a cohesionless soil
mass.
• 5. It's highly unlikely that one would place a footing on a cohesionless soil with
a
• Dr < 0.5. If the soil is loose, it would be compacted in some manner to a higher
• density prior to placing footings on it.
• 6. Where the soil beneath the footing is not homogeneous or is stratified, some
judgment
• must be applied to determining the bearing capacity.
EFFECT OF WATER TABLE
ON BEARING CAPACITY
• The theoretical equations developed
for computing the ultimate bearing
capacity qu of soil are
• based on the assumption that the
water table lies at a depth below
the base of the foundation equal
• to or greater than the width B of the
foundation or otherwise the depth
of the water table from
• ground surface is equal to or greater
than (D,+ B). In case the water
table lies at any intermediate
• depth less than the depth (D,+ B),
the bearing capacity equations are
affected due to the presence of
• the water table.
• Two cases may be considered here.
• Case 1. When the water table lies
above the base of the foundation.
• Case 2. When the water table lies
within depth B below the base of
the foundation.
• We will consider the two methods for
determining the effect of the water
table on bearing
• capacity as given below.

Method 1

For any position of the water table
within the depth (D
f
+ B), we may
write Eq. as:
Eq. of terms third and second
the both in purposes practical all for
. foundation the of level base the
below table water for factor eduction
, foundation the of level base the
above table water for factor reduction
2
1
sat
2
1
2 1
γ γ
γ γ
γ
·
·
·
+ + ·
r R
R Where
R BN R N D cN q
w
w
w w q f c u
• Case 1:When the water table lies
above the base level of the
foundation or when Dwl/Df < 1
• (Fig. 12.10a) the equation for Rwl
may be written as
. . R have we , . D / D for and
, . R have we , D / D For
D
D
R
w f w
w f w
f
w
w
0 1 0 1
5 0 0
1
2
1
1 1
1 1
1
1
· ·
· ·

,
`

.
|
+ ·
• Case 2:When the water table lies
below the base level or when
Dw2/B < 1 (12.1 Ob) the equation
for R
w2
is

• Method 2: Equivalent effective
unit weight method
0 1 0 1
5 0 0
1
2
1
2 2
2 2
2
2
. R have we , . B / D for and
. R have we , B / D For
B
D
R
w w
w w
w
w
· ·
· ·

,
`

.
|
+ ·
WT above lying soil
of weight unit saturated or moist
foundation the of
level base the above lying soil of
weight unit effective weighted
effective weighted Where
2
1
2
1
2 1
·
·
·
+ + ·
m
e
e
e q f e c u
BN N D cN q
γ
γ
γ
γ γ
γ

sat
=saturated unit weight of soil
below the WT (cas1 or case 2)

 =Submerged unit weight of
soil =(
sat
- 
w
)

Case 1

An equation for 
e1
may be
written as
γ γ γ γ
γ γ
γ γ
γ γ γ γ

− +

·
·

·

− +

·
m
w
e
m e
e
m
f
w
e
B
D
D
D
2
2
1
2
1
1
2 Case
Which Equations to Use
q
There are few full-scale footing
tests reported in the literature
(where one usually goes to find
substantiating data).
q
The reason is that, as previously
noted, they are very expensive to do
and the cost is difficult to justify
except as pure research (using a
government grant) or for a precise
determination for an important
project— usually on the basis of
settlement control.
q
Few clients are willing to
underwrite the costs of a full-scale
bearing capacity can be obtained—
often using empirical SPT or CPT
data directly—to a sufficient
precision for most projects.
Use for Best for
Terzaghi
Hansen,
Meyerhof ,
Vesic
Hansen ,
Vesic
Very cohesive soils where D/B 1or for a
quick estimate of q
ult
to compare with other
methods. Do not use for footings with
moments and/or horizontal forces or for tilted
bases and/or sloping ground.
Any situation that applies, depending on user’s
preference or familiarity with a particular
method.
When base is tilted; when footing is on a slope
or when D/B > 1
Bearing Pressure from In
situ Tests
• From Empirical Formulae
• SPT
• (Terzaghi & Peck )
• Sandy Soil

( )
o
n
n n
w
n
w n a
w n w n
log . C
N C N
al et Peck overburden for Correction
mm in settlement Allowable s
correction table water c
) necessary if e submergenc and (
overburden for value N corrected average N
m / t s c N . q
. mm exceeding not settlement for pressure net q where
kPa c N . m / t c N . q
σ
200
77 0
041 0
25
25 10 025 1
2
25
2
25
·
× ·
·
·
·
·
·
· ·

C
n
max. = 2

o
in t/m
2
(10
Ton/m
2
)

o
2.5 t/m 
2

Correction for
submergence

(very fine silty
sand below water
table and N > 15)

N =15+ ½(N 
n

– 15)

o
t/m
2
C
n
0 2
0.6 – 1.0 1.8
1.5 – 2.0 1.6
10 1.0
For
o
. / 2 5 t m
2
Bearing Pressure for
Rafts and Piers

q
50
=2.05 N
n
c
w
t/m
2

q
50
= net pressure for settlement =
50 mm or differential settlement =
20 mm

c
w
= 0.5 + 0.5 D
w
/D + B 1 

Where D
w
= depth of water table
below the ground surface

c
w
= 0.5 for D
w
= 0 and c
w
= 1 for
D
w
= D + B
• The proximity of water table is likely
to reduce the bearing capacity by
50 % or increase the settlement by
100 % .
• For designing of footings, generally N
values are determined at 1 m
interval as the test boring is
• Generally the average corrected
values of N over a distance from
the base of footing to a depth B –
2B below the footing is calculated.
the lowest average should be used.
• For raft. N is similarly calculated or
determined, if N
n
is less than 5.
• Sand is too loose and should be
compacted or alternative
foundation on piles or piers should
be considered.
• If the depth of raft D ie less than 2.5
m, the edges of raft settle more
than the interior because of lack of
confinement of sand.
By Meyerhof’s Theory

q
net 25
=11.98 N
n
F
d
For B 1.22m and 25 
mm settlement, q = kN/m
2

q
net 25
=7.99 N
n
F
d
(B + 0.305/B)
2
For B >
1.22m
• B in mm
• By Bowles (50 % above)

q
net 25
=19.16 N
n
F
d
(s/25.4) For B 1.22 m 
(kN/m
2
)

q
net 25
=11.98 (B + 0.305/B)
2
(For B >
1.22m) x N
n
F
d
(s/25.4)

Where F
d
= Depth factor = 1 + 0.33(D
f
/B)
1.33 
• s = tolerable settlement.

Parry’s Theory

q
ult
= 30 N kN/m
2
D B 

Teng (For continuous or strip footing)

q
net (ult)
=1/60 { 3 N
2
BR
w
+ 5(100 + N
2
)
D
f
R
w
}

For square and circular:

q
net (ult)
=1/30 {N
2
BR
w
+ 3(100 + N
2
)
D
f
R
w
}

q
net
= ulltimate bearing capacity in t/m
2

N = corrected SPT value

R
w
, R
w
= correction factor for water
table

B = width of footing

D
f
= depth of footing

Empirical relationships for C
N
(Note: 
o
is in kN/m
2
)
Source C
N
Liao and Whitman
(1960)
Skempton (1986)
Seed et al. (1975)
Pecket al. (1974)
o
.
σ

1
78 9
o
. σ

+ 01 0 1
2

,
`

.
|

6 95
25 1 1
.
log .
o
σ
2
5 2
1912
77 0
m / kN . for
log .
o
o

,
`

.
|

σ
σ
SAFE BEARING PRESSURE
FROM EMPIRICAL EQUATIONS
BASED ON CPT VALUES FOR
FOOTINGS ON COHESIONLESS
SOIL
mm. 25 of settlement a
for been have equations above The
kPa in and kg/m
in resistence point cone the is where
kPa 7 2
widths all for formula e approximat An
m 2 1 for kPa
1
1 1 2
m 2 1 for kPa 6 3
2
2
2
2
2
. q
q
R q . q
. B R
B
q . q
. B R q . q
s
c
w c s
w c s
w c s
·

,
`

.
|
+ ·
≤ ·
Meyerhof (1956)
• Allowable bearing pressure of sand
can be calculted:

q
c
is in units kg/cm
2
. If q
c
is in other
units kg/cm
2
, you must convert
them before using in the equation
below.
4
55
c
q
N
By Meyerhof (1956)
( )
( )
m B
m / kN ce tan resis n penetratio cone q where
mm settlement m . B For
B .
B . q
q
mm settlement m . B For
q
q
c
c
net all
c
net all
·
·
>

,
`

.
|
+
·
≤ ·
2
2
25 22 1
28 3
1 28 3
25
25 22 1
15
Terzaghi
• The bearing capacity factors for the use
in Terzaghi equations can be
estimated as:

Where q
c
is avaeraged over the depth
interval from about B/2 above to 1.1B
below the footing base. This
approximation should be applicable
for D
f
/ B 1.5. For chesionless soil 
one may use:

Strip q
ult
= 28 - 0.0052 (300- q
c
)
1.5

(kg/cm
2
)

For square q
ult
= 48 - 0.009 (300- q
c
)
1.5

(kg/cm
2
)

c q
q N . N . ≅ ≅
γ
8 0 8 0

For clay one may use
2
2
kg/cm 34 0 5
kg/cm 28 0 2
c ult
c ult
q . q square
q . q Strip
Bearing Capacity from Plate
q
This is reliable method to obtain
bearing capacity.
q
The cost is very high.

q
By using several sizes of plates this
equation can be solved graphically for
q
ult
.

term N the
is N and terms N and N the includes M Where
B
B
N M q
q q
q c
foundation
foundation ult
γ
+ ·
·
,
, ,
q
tests for sands (which are often in a
configuration so that the N
q
term is
negligible), use the following

q
It is not recommended unless the
B
foundation
/B
plate
is not much more than
about 3. When the ratio is 6 to 15 or more
the extrapolation from a plate- load test is
little more than a guess that could be
obtained at least as reliably using an SPT or
CPT correlation.
plate
foundation
plate ult
B
B
q q
Housel's (1929) Method of
Determining Safe Bearing
Pressure from Settlement
Consideration

Objective

To determine
f
and the
size of a
foundation for a
permissible
settlement S
f
.

Housel
suggests two plate
plates of different
sizes, say B
1
x B
1

and

B
2
x B
2
for this
purpose.
. shear perimeter to
ing correspond t tan cons another n
pressure bearing the
to ing correspond t tan cons a m
plate of perimeter P
plate of area contact A
plate given a on applied load Q Where
n P m A Q
p
p p
·
·
·
·
·
+ ·

Procedure

1 Two plate load tests are to be
conducted at the foundation level of
the prototype as per the procedure
explained earlier.

for each of the plate load tests.

3. Select the permissible settlement
S
f
. for the foundation.

1
and Q
2
from
each of the curves for the given
permissible settlement s
f

Now we may write the following equations

Q
1
=mA
p1
+ nP
p1

Q
2
=mA
p2
+ nP
p2

The unknown vaues of m&n can be found by
solving

the above equations.

The equation for a prototype foundation may be
written as

Q
f
= mA
f
+ nP
f

Where A
f
area of the foundation, P
f
=perimeter of
the foundation.

When A
f
and P
f
are known, the size of the foundation
can be determined.

Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
Case (a): Strong over
weak (su
1
/su
2
>1).
q / If H B is
relatively , small
failure would
occur as punching
in the first
, layer followed
by general shear
failure in the
( second the ) weak
layer
q / If H B is
relatively , large
the failure surface
would be fully
contained within
the first ( upper
). layer
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
Case (a): Strong over
weak (su
1
/su
2
>1) (cont.)
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
Case (a): Strong over
weak (su
1
/su
2
>1) (cont.)

Where:

B = width
of
foundation

L =
length of
foundation

N
c
= 5.14
(see chart)

s
a
=
cohesion
along the
line a-a' in
the
previous
figure.
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
Case (b): Weak over
strong (su1/su2 <1)
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
II) Dense or compacted
sand above soft clay

If H is relatively

small, failure
would

extend into the
soft

clay layer

If H is relatively

large, the
failure

surface would
be

fully contained

within the sand

layer.
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
II) Dense or compacted
sand above soft clay
(cont.)
Bearing Capacity on
Layered Soils
II) Dense or compacted
sand above soft clay
(cont.)
BEARING CAPACITY
BASED ON BUILDING
CODES
(PRESUMPTIVE
PRESSURE)
• In many cities the local building code
stipulates values of allowable soil
pressure to use when designing
foundations. These values are
usually based on years of
experience, although in some cases
they are simply used from the
building code of another city.
q
Values such as these are also
found in engineering and building-
construction handbooks.
q
These arbitrary values of soil
pressure are often termed
presumptive pressures.
q
Most building codes now stipulate
that other soil pressures may be
acceptable if laboratory testing and
engineering considerations can
justify the use of alternative values.
q
Presumptive pressures are based
on a visual soil classification.

Table 4-8 indicates representative
values of building code pressures.
These values are

primarily for illustrative purposes,
since it is generally conceded that in
all but minor construction projects
some soil exploration should be
undertaken
• Major drawbacks to the use of
presumptive soil pressures
are that they do not reflect
the depth of footing, size of
footing, location of water
table, or potential
settlements.