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Foundation Engineering I

Chapter 4: Pile Foundations

Dr. Jamil
NUST Institute of Civil Engineering (NICE)
School of Civil & Env. Engineering (SCEE)

Pile foundation 2

• Single pile capacity • Pile settlement

– Piles driven in sand – Pile settlement in sand
– Piles driven in clay – Piles settlement in clay
• Pile driving formulas • Drilled shafts
• Pile load tests – Drilled shafts in sand

• Negative skin friction – Drilled shafts in clay

– Settlement of drilled shafts
• Pile group
– Pile group in sand
– Pile group in clay
Types of piles 3
Pile foundations 4

End bearing piles

Piles are structural members that are made of
steel, concrete or timber.

They are used to build pile foundations, which

are deep and which cost more than shallow

When one or more upper soil layers are highly

compressible and too weak to support the
load transmitted by the superstructure, piles
are used to transmit the load to underlying
bedrock or a stronger soil layer.
Pile foundations 5

Frictional piles

When bedrock is not encountered at a

reasonable depth below the ground surface,
piles are used to transmit the structural load
to the soil gradually.

The resistance to the applied structural load is

derived mainly from the frictional resistance
developed at the pile-soil interface.
Pile foundations 6

Lateral load on piles

When subjected t horizontal forces, pile

foundations resist by bending, while still
supporting the vertical load transmitted by
the superstructure.

This type of situation is generally encountered

in the design and construction of earth-
retaining structures and foundations of tall
structures that are subjected to high wind or
to earthquake forces.
Pile foundations 7

Piles in expansive soils

Expansive and collapsible soils may extend to
a great depth below the ground surfaces.

Expansive soils swell and shrink as their

moisture content increases and decreases
respectively, and the pressure of the swelling
can be considerable.

Shallow foundations are not suitable for such


Pile foundations are alternative and are

extended beyond the active zone of swelling
and shrinking.
Pile foundations 8

Piles in collapsible soils

Soils such as loess are collapsible in nature.

When the moisture content of these soils increase, their

structures may break down.

A sudden decrease in the void ratio of soil induces large

settlements of structures supported by shallow foundations.

In such cases, pile foundations may be used. Piles in such cases

are extended into stable soil layers.
Pile foundations 9

Uplifting forces on foundations

The foundations of some structures (e.g.

transmission towers, offshore platforms,
and basement mats below the water table)
are subjected to uplifting forces.

Piles are sometimes used for these

foundations to resist the uplifting forces.
Pile foundations 10

Erosion effects on foundations

Bridge abutments and piers are

usually constructed over pile
foundations due to soil erosion.

Shallow foundations are not

suitable for such conditions.
Steel piles 11

Steel piles generally are either pile piles or rolled steel H-section piles.
Pipe piles can be driven into ground with their ends open or closed.
General facts about steel piles
Usual length: 15 – 60 m (50 – 200 ft)
Usual load: 300 kN – 1200 kN (67 – 256 kip / 33 – 128 ton)
Advantages Disadvantages
• Easy to handle with respect to • Relatively costly
cutoff and extension to the
desired length • High level of noise during pile
• Can stand high driving stresses
• Subject to corrosion
• Can penetrate hard layers such
as dense gravel and soft rock • H-piles may be damages or
deflected from the vertical
• High load-carrying capacity during driving through hard
layers or past major
Concrete piles - precast 12

Two categories: (a) precast piles (b) cast-in-situ piles

General facts about precast concrete piles
Usual length: 10 – 15 m (30 – 50 ft)
Usual load: 300 kN – 3000 kN (67 – 675 kip / 33 – 337 ton)

• Can be subjected to hard Disadvantages
• Difficult to achieve proper cutoff
• Corrosion resistant
• Difficult to transport
• Can be easily combined with a
concrete superstructure
Concrete piles – precast prestressed 13

Precast piles can be prestressed by use of high-strength steel pre-stressing

During casting of piles, the cables are pre-tensioned to about 900-1300
MN/m2 (130-190 ksi), and concrete is poured around them.
General facts about precast prestressed concrete piles
Usual length: 10 – 45 m (30 – 150 ft)
Max length: 60 m (200 ft)
Max load: 7500 – 8500 kN (1700 – 1900 kip / 850 – 950 ton)
Advantages and disadvantages are same as those of precast piles
Concrete piles – cased cast-in-situ 14

Cast-in-situ piles are built by making a hole in the ground and then filling
it with concrete. These piles are divided into two broad categories: (a)
cased, and (b) uncased.
General facts about cased cast-in-situ concrete piles
Usual length: 5 – 15 m (15 –50 ft)
Max length: 30 – 40 m (100 – 130 ft)
Usual load: 200 –500 kN (45 – 115 kip / 22 – 57 ton)
Max Load: 800 kN (180 kip / 90 ton)

• Relatively cheap Disadvantages
• Allow for inspection before • Difficult to splice after concreting
pouring concrete
• Thin casing may be damaged
• Easy to extend during driving
Concrete piles – uncased cast-in-situ 15

Cast-in-situ piles are built by making a hole in the ground and then filling
it with concrete. These piles are divided into two broad categories: (a)
cased, and (b) uncased.
General facts about uncased cast-in-situ concrete piles
Usual length: 5 – 15 m (15 –50 ft)
Max length: 30 – 40 m (100 – 130 ft)
Usual load: 300 –500 kN (67 – 115 kip / 33 – 57 ton)
Max Load: 700 kN (160 kip / 80 ton)
Advantages • Voids may be created if concrete
is placed rapidly
• Initially economical
• Difficult to splice after concreting
• Can be finished at any elevation
• In soft soils, the sides of the hole
may cave in, squeezing the
Bored pile – defect 17
Dilemma of Bored and Driven Piles 18

• In American/Australian literature, the word “pile”

would generally mean “the driven system”. For
“bored piles”, they use the term “drilled piers/drilled
piles/caissons/drilled shafts”.

• Engineers unknowingly, tend to use the theories of

driven piles for bored piles, in Pakistan, on many
Why Bored Piles are too Common in Pakistan ?

• These are labor-intensive, and labor is cheap in


• The expertise is well-developed

• The longer time required for construction is socially

accepted by the clients

• The pressure of development is not enormous on the

construction industry
Changes in soils during pile construction 20

The construction of shallow foundations do not significantly alter the

underlying soils, so pre-construction soil properties also reflect post-
construction conditions.
The process of constructing deep foundations changes the
surrounding soils, e.g., driven piles push the soil aside as they are
driven into ground, thus inducing large horizontal stresses in soil.

These changes alter engineering properties of soil, which means the

pre-construction soil tests may not accurately reflect the post-
construction conditions.
Sometimes these changes are beneficial, while other time they are
detrimental. However, they introduce complexity into load capacity
Changes in clays 21

As a pile is driven into ground, the soil below the toe must move out
of the way.

This motion causes both shear and compressive distortions.

Additional distortion occurs a result of sliding friction along the side of
the advancing pile.

These distortions are greatest around large displacement piles, such

as closed-end steel pipe piles.

The remolding of the clay changes its structure and reduces its
strength to a value near the residual strength.

Current analysis techniques are based on the peak strength. An

analysis based on the residual strength might be more reasonable,
but no such method has yet been perfected.
Changes in clay 22

Nature of variation of
undrained compressive
strength, cu, with time
around a pile driven into
soft clay
Changes in clays
Compression and excess pore water pressure
Pile driving also compresses the adjoining soils.
If saturated clays are present, this compression generates excess pore
water pressure.
The ratio of the excess pore water pressure, ue, to the original vertical
effective stress, v’, (i.e. ue/v’) may be as high as 1.5 to 2.0 near the
pile, gradually diminishing to zero at a distance of 30 to 40 pile radii
(see figure on next slide).
The greatest compression occurs near the pile toe, so ue/v’ in that
region may be a high as 3 to 4 (Airhart et al., 1969).
These high pore water pressure dramatically decrease the shear
strength of the soil, which makes it easier to install the pile, but
temporarily decrease its load-bearing capacity.
Changes in clays
Compression and excess pore water pressure

Book: Foundation Design

By Coduto, Page 496
Changes in clays
Compression and excess pore water pressure
In most cases, the excess pore water pressure that develop
around a single isolated pile completely dissipate in less than
one month, with corresponding increase in load capacity (see
figure on next slide).

However, in pile groups, the excess pore water pressures

develop throughout a much larger zone o soil and may require
a year or more to dissipate.
Changes in clays
Compression and excess pore water pressure

Book: Foundation Design

By Coduto, Page 497
Changes in clays
Loss of contact between pile and soil
Piles wobble/vibrate/shake during driving, thus creating gap
between them and the soil.

Soft clays will probably flow back into this gap, but stiff clays
will not.

Tomlinson (1987) observed such gaps extending to a depth of

8 to 16 diameters below the ground surface.

Piles subjected to applied lateral loads also can create gaps

near the ground surface. Therefore, the side friction in this
zone may be unreliable, especially in stiff clays.
Changes in sand 28

Soil compression from advancing pile also generates excess pore

water pressure in loose saturated sands.
These excess pore water pressure dissipate very rapidly due to
higher hydraulic conductivity (permeability) of sands.
Thus the full pile capacity develops almost immediately.
Some local dilation (soil expansion) can occur when driving piles
through very dense sands.

Dilation temporarily generates negative excess pore water pressure

that increase the shear strength and make the pile more difficult to
drive. This effect is especially evident when using hammers that
cycle rapidly.
Changes in sand (contd.) 29

The impact/vibrations from pile will cause particle rearrangement,

crushing, and densification.

In loose sand, these effects are especially pronounced, and

engineers sometimes use piles purely for densification.

However, dense sands will likely require predrilling or jetting to

install the pile.

The sand in the center of pile groups is influenced by more than one
pile, and therefore becomes denser than sand near the edge of the
group. This, in turn, probably causes the center piles to carry a large
share of the total downward load.
Drilled shafts 30

The construction methods for drilled shafts foundations are

completely different from those for piles.

Piles cause the increase in lateral earth pressure, whereas drilled

shaft construction causes decrease in lateral earth pressure.

Pile driving compresses the soil below the toe, while drilled shaft
construction does not.

Pile and drilled shafts may not develop the same side-friction and
toe-bearing resistance, even when the foundation dimensions are

If the boring is left open for an extended period, too much expansion
occurs and the load capacity can be significantly reduced.
Drilled shafts (condt.) 31

In clays, the process of drilling the hole also alters the soil
properties because the auger smears and remolds the clay. This
can reduce the shear strength and the side-friction resistance.

Drilling mud used during construction can also affect the side-
friction resistance because mud may become embedded in the
walls of boring.