Kavvadas,
M. & Gazetas,
G. (1993). GPotechnique
43, No. 2, 207222
Kinematic 
seismic 
response 
and 
bending 
of freehead 
piles in 
layered 
soil 
M.
KAVVADAS
and
G.
GAZETASt
The paper studies the kinematic response of free head piles. Such pile deformation has triggered structural damage in many strong earthquakes. In this Paper dimensionless parametric graphs for pile bending moments are presented which pertain to characteristic twolayer soil profiles. The results are derived by using an existing rigorous dynamic finiteelement code, and by implementing a realistic beamondynamicWinklerfoundation formulation specifically developed for the kinematic response of piles in layered soil. The Winkler model is shown to reproduce quantitatively even detailed trends observed in the finiteelement results; a simple analytical expression is thereby developed for esti mating the Winkler stiffhess in terms of the local soil Young’s modulus and key dimensionless pile/ soil parameters. The study concludes that even relatively flexible piles may not exactly experience the wavy and abruptly changing ground deforma tion of the free field. The critical region of pile dis tress due to such kinematic loading is shown to he at or near the interface between alternating soft and stiff soil layers. The magnitude of the bending moment at such critical interface locations depends mainly on the stiffness contrast of the two layers through which the pile penetrates, the excitation frequency and the relative rigidity of the pile. A constraining cap may exert an important effect on such kinematic deformations.
KEYWORDS: dynamics; earthquakes; numerical mod elling and analysis; piles; soilstructure interaction.
L’article Ctudie la r+onse
cinbmatique de pieux $
tCtelihre. La deformation de ces pieux a en effet occasionni des endommagements structuraux lors de nomhreux tremhlements de terre de forte ampli tude. L’article propose des graphiques $ para mi?tres adimensionnels permettant de calculer le moment flM&sant des pieux et de caracteriser des sols bicouches. Les rbultats sont calculis P I’aide
d’un code dynamique d’&!ments finis, prkxistant et rigoureux, et d’une formulation rCaliste de “BeamonDynamicWinklerFoundation” sp&ia
lement mise en oeuvre pour la rkponse cinkmatique des pieux dans des sols stratifib. Le modele de Winkler permet de reproduire les tendances, mdme trb dBtaillCes, des r&.ultats obtenus par klements finis. Une expression analytique simple est alors d&elop$e. Elle permet d’estimer la raideur de Winkler en terme de module de Young local du sol et de param&tres clb adimensionnel pieu/sol. L’btude montre que m&me les pieux relativement flexihles ne supportent pas totalement une d&for mation rapide et odulante du terrain. La zone cri tique des pieux sinistr6s rbultant d’un tel chargement cinkmatique se trouve au niveau ou I proximitC de I’interface sol souple/sol rigide. L’amplitude du moment flbhissant au niveau de ces interfaces critiques dCpend principalement du
contraste de raideur existant
couches traver&s par le pieu, de la frCquence d’excitation et de la rigiditi! relative du pieu. Un capuchon de mise sous contrainte pourrait avoir un
effet important sur de telles deformations cinCma tiques.
entre les deux
INTRODUCTION 
CNELENEL 
(1976) has documented 
pile 
rup 

Pile 
distress and 
failure 
during 
seismic shaking, 
tures 
under two 
bridges 
in the 
Friuli (Italy) 
1976 

although difficult 
to observe 
in 
postearthquake 
earthquake and 
Ross, Seed 
& 
Migliaccio 
(1969) 

site 
investigations, 
have 
been 
well documented. 
have 
described 
numerous 
failures of 
piles 
sup 

For 
example, Mizuno (1987) 
has 
reported 
on 
28 
porting 
bridge 
and 
harbour 
facilities in 
the 
1964 

cases 
involving 
seismic 
pile 
failures in 
Japan, 
Alaska 
earthquake. 

EEFIT (1986) has described 
cases of pile 
extru 
Mizuno (1987), 
in summarizing the 
Japanese 

sion in Mexico City during the 1985 earthquake, 
experience with 
regard 
to 
the 
likely causes 
and 

different types 
of pile failure, has concluded 
that 
Discussion 
on 
this 
Paper 
closes 
1 October 
1993; 
for 
many 
of the failures 
arose 
from 
the 
transmission 

further details 
see 
p. 
ii. 
onto 
the 
foundation 
of 
large 
inertia 
forces/ 

* National 
Technical 
University of Athens. 
moments 
developing 
in 
the 
superstructure: 
such 

t National 
Technical 
University 
of 
Athens 
and State 
failures 
take 
the form 
of 
either 
shear/bending 

University 
of New 
York at Buffalo. 
cracking 
and 
rupturing 
beneath 
the 
head 
of the 
207
208
KAVVADAS AND GAZETAS
pile 
or 
of 
the 
ultimate 
tension 
capacity 
of 
the 
mations 
and 
bending 
moments 
from 
the 
kine 
soilpilecap 
system 
being 
exceeded. 
Lique 
matic loading 
(type (b)). Moreover, 
a search 
of the 
factioninduced and spectacular. 
failures have However, in 
also been several frequent cases 
literature mation 
cited on above kinematic 
shows that bending 
published moments infor (rather 

location 
of pile 
failure 
was 
too 
deep 
the to be caused 
than pilehead 
deflexions) 
is 
so 
limited, 
even for 
by
inertia),
have
with
and
loading
while
occurred;
the
stiffness
from
the
top
was
(due
could
in
to
structural
possibly
associated
strength
liquefaction
damage
of
not
fact
in
most
presence
the
of
discontinuities
soil
profile.
The
likely
the
that
order
methods
sary
simplest
the
case
of a homogeneous
cannot
readily
Recourse
widely
available
alternative.
This
soil profile,
their
engineer
assess
to
even
of
but
magnitude.
that
are
not
unattractive
sophisticated
is a neces
Paper
is
cause 
is 
the 
relatively 
large 
curvatures imposed 
intended 
to bridge 
the apparent 
gap 
in 
both 

by 
the 
surrounding 
soil 
as 
it deforms while 
theory 
and practice 
of the seismic 
analysis/design 

excited 
by 
up and down (after 
reflection) propa 
in 
two 
ways. 

gating seismic waves. 
First, 
an extensive 
parametric 
study is presen 

This mode 
of deformation 
and 
potential failure 
ted 
on 
the kinematic 
response 
of 
a 
single 
free 

has 
not 
received proper attention: 
in fact, engi 
head 
pile to verticallyincident 
harmonic 
shear 

neers 
usually 
ignore 
the problem 
altogether 
and 
waves 
(Swaves). The 
study, conducted using 
an 

design the 
piled foundation 
merely 
against head 
expanded 
version of 
the dynamic 
finite 
element 

loading. 
However, 
some theoretical 
work 
has 
formulation developed 
by Blaney, 
Kausel 
& 

been 
published on the 
kinematic 
response of piles 
Roesset 
(1976), concentrates 
on 
a twolayer 

(Penzien, 
1970; Tajimi, 1969, 
1977; 
Kagawa 
& 
profile 
which 
represent 
two 
characteristic 

Kraft, 1981; Takemiya 
& Yamada, 1981; Kobori, 
cases: 
can a stiff crust underlain by a softer layer, 
and 
Minai & 
Baba, 
1981; Wolf & 
Von Arx, 1982; 
a 
soft 
surficial layer 
underlain 
by 
a 
stiff 
soil 

FloresBerrones 
& 
Whitman, 1982; Kaynia 
& 
stratum 
into 
which 
the 
pile is 
embedded. 
The 

Kausel, 
1982; Gazetas, 1984; Barghouthi, 1984; 
results 
of the study are presented in dimensionless 

Dennehy 
& 
Gazetas, 
1985; Tazoh, Wakahara, 
graphs, 
which 
are useful 
not 
only for development 

Shimizu 
& 
Matsuzaki 
(1988); Nogami, Jones 
& 
of 
an 
improved understanding of 
the 
mechanics 

Mosher, 
1991; Ahmad 
& Mamoon, 
1991; Masay 
of 
the 
problem and 
checking of the 
accuracy 
of 

uki 
& Shoichi, 
1991). A comprehensive survey 
of 
less rigorous 
solutions, 
but 
also for preliminary 

the 
dynamic 
and seismic response 
of piles 
has 
design 
estimates. 

been 
presented 
by 
Novak (1991). Moreover, 
Second, 
a 
beamondynamicWinklerfounda 

recent seismic codes 
and seismic 
guidelines have 
tion (BDWF) 
formulation 
is developed 
that 
can 

recognized 
the importance of this 
type of loading 
be 
readily 
used in practical 
seismic 
design 
of piles 

(AASHTO, 
1983; 
JSCE, 1988; 
AFPS, 1990; 
in 
layered 
profiles. Described 
through rationally 

Eurocode 
EC8, 
1990). For example, 
the first draft 
derived 
‘springs’ and 
frequencydependent 
‘dash 

of Part 5 
of 
the 
Eurocode states 
that: ‘Piles 
shall 
pots’, 
this 
BDWF model 
is shown 
to accord 
with 

be designed 
for 
the 
following two 
loading condi 
the 
rigorous 
finite element 
(FE) 
predictions 
of 

tions: 
both deflexions and bending 
moments: 
maximum 
(4 
inertia forces 
on 
the 
superstructure 
transmit 
deviation tions of of geometry, 15% under soil the most parameters adverse condi and excitation 

ted 
onto 
the heads of the piles 
in the form 
of 

an 
axial 
force, 
a 
horizontal 
force 
and 
a 
frequency. 
The BDWF 
spring stiffness is evalu 

moment 
in determining 
displacements 
and 
ated sion 
using in a terms proposed of key 
simple analytical dimensionless of the proposed expres problem model 

rotations 
resulting from these 
forces, the 
soil 
parameters. The merits 

is 
considered 
as 
deforming 
only 
due 
to 
the 

transmitted 
actions 
. 
. 
include 
the 
familiarity 
of geotechnical engineers 

(4 
soil 
deformations 
arising from 
the 
passage 
of 
with 
(linear 
and 
nonlinear) 
beamonwinkler 

seismic waves 
which impose 
curvatures 
and 
foundationtype 
models 
and 
its 
clear computa 

thereby lateral 
strain 
on the piles 
along 
their 
tional advantage (a difference 
of 
at 
least 
a factor 

whole length 
such 
kinematic loading 
may 
of tions. 100) over 
the rigorous continuumtype 
solu 

be particularly 
large 
at interfaces of soil 
layers 

with sharply 
differing 
shear 
moduli. 
The 

design must 
ensure 
that 
no 
‘plastic 
hinge’ 

develops 
at such 
locations 
.’ 
PROBLEM DEFINITION 
AND 
PARAMETRIC 

While there 
is ample geotechnical 
experience 
of 
RESULTS 

carrying 
out 
the equivalent 
static 
analysis 
for 
the 
The system 
studied 
refers 
to 
an 
endbearing 

inertial 
loading (type (a)), no 
specific 
method 
is 
pile embedded 
in a twolayer 
soil deposit 
(Fig. 
l), 

proposed (let alone 
required) in EC8 or the 
other 
underlain 
by rigid 
bedrock and subjected 
to verti 

codes 
referred 
to 
in 
this 
Paper 
to 
predict 
defor 
cally propagating 
Swaves. 
Such 
waves 
produce 
FREEHEAD 
PILES IN LAYERED 
SOIL 
209 

Pile: 

Swavevelocity 

_{.} 

V, 

Case: 
A 
B 
C 
_{D}_{I}_{E}_{.} 
_{G} 

Fig. 1. Twolayer soil profiles under study 

horizontal 
harmonic 
motion 
normalized 
bending 
moments 
and 
shear 
forces 

u,(r) = 
U, egot 
(1) 
M 

at the bottom 
of the lower 
layer. 
$j= 
Ppd”ii8 
(24 

The 
soil 
is assumed 
to 
be 
a linearlyhysteretic 

solid 
with 
Young’s 
modulus 
E, 
or E,, 
damping 
^{&}^{L} ppd3ii, 

ratio 
j?. = 
& 
= 10% 
(appropriate 
for moderately 

strong 
shaking), 
mass 
density 
pa = 
pb, 
and 

Poisson’s 
ratio 
v, 
= v,, = 0.40. 
The 
pile 
is a 
while 
deflexions 
are 
normalized by 
U,. 
The 
pre 

linearlyhysteretic 
beam 
with 
Young’s 
modulus 
vious 
normalized 
quantities 
were 
obtained 
by 
a 

E,, 
bending moment 
of inertia 
I,, 
damping 
ratio 
formal 
dimensional 
analysis 
of the 
governing 
dif 

/?, 
= 
5% and 
mass 
density 
pp = 
1.60 pa. The 
Ber 
ferential 
equations. 

noulli 
assumption 
for 
a 
beam 
(plane 
sections 
The 
fundamental 
characteristics 
of the 
soil and 
remain plane 
and perpendicular 
to 
its neutral 
pile 
response to 
harmonic base excitation 
are 

axis) 
results 
in 
the horizontal pile 
displacement 
investigated 
by analysis 
of two series of systems: 

u&z, t) being 
the 
only independent 
variable of pile 
series 1 (Table 1) is used to study the effect of the 

deformation. 
To 
reduce the required 
number 
of 
soil 
Swave velocity 
ratio V,/V,, series 2 (Table 
1) 

analyses (without 
loss of insight), 
only 
the follow 
is used to 
study 
the 
effect of the pile slenderness 

ing 
crucial dimensionless parameters 
are varied: 
ratio 
L/d. 
The selected 
cases, which cover a wide 

the 
piletosoil 
stiffness ratio E,/E,, 
the ratio 
of 
range of possible 
twolayer profiles, help to inves 

the 
Swave velocities VJV, of the 
two 
soil layers, 
tigate the 
effect 
of 
the layer interface on 
pile 

the 
pile slenderness ratio L/d, the 
ratio of 
the 
bending moments 
and 
shear forces for highly 
con 

thicknesses of the 
soil layers Ha/H,, 
and the ratio 
trasting soil properties 
and various pile slender 
w/w1 
of 
the 
excitation 
frequency 
to 
the 
funda 
ness ratios. 

mental 
natural 
frequency 
of the ‘free’ (i.e. without 
Figure 
2(a) shows 
the 
distribution 
with 
depth 
piles) soil deposit in vertical 
Swaves. 

The sensitivity of 
bending 
moments 
to 
varia 

tion 
in the values of Poisson’s 
ratios 
v, 
and 
v,, is 

also 
explored. As anticipated 
in 
a linear 
analysis, 

all computed deformation 
and 
stress 
quantities 

are 
proportional to 
the 
excitation 
intensity, 
of
_{f}_{i}_{e}_{l}_{d}_{)}
common
level)
Only
are
the
displacement
and
the
amplitudes
U,
in
the
soil
with
(free
the
_{U}_{r}_{,}_{,}
at
the
studied:
pile,
soil
(normalized
pile
the
two
and
case
displacement 
at 
bedrock 

frequency 
of 
the 
deposit. 
Swave
upper
velocity
crust)
ratio
cases
and
case
D
natural
extreme
A (stiff
expressed 
by 
the 
amplitude 
of 
bedrock 
dis 
(very 
soft upper layer). As expected, 
amplification 

placement 
U, 
or 
the 
amplitude 
of bedrock 
accel 
of 
the 
motion occurs 
almost exclusively 
in 
the 

eration 
Ui, = w2U,. 
Results 
are 
presented 
for 
softer 
layer, while 
the 
pile follows 
the freefield 
210
KAVVADAS
AND
GAZETAS
Table 
1. 
Series 1 (AD) 
and series 2 (E and G) of studied profiles 

Case 
_{&}_{I}_{v}_{,} 
_{E}_{d}_{&} 
_{H}_{.}_{&}_{b} 
_{W} 
Computed 
o1 d/V, 

A 
0.58 
5000 
1 
20 
0.048 

B 
1 
5000 
1 
20 
0.079 

C 
173 
5000 
1 
20 
0.116 

D 
3 
5000 
1 
20 
0.141 

E 
3 
5000 
1 
10 
0.282 

G 
3 
5000 
1 
40 
0.071 

soil displacement 
profile 
only in an average 
sense. 
that exhibits 
only 
small 
differences 
in relative 
soil 

As 
a result, 
curvatures 
sustained 
by 
the pile 
are 
stiffness 
(case C). 
The 
deflexion 
profiles 
in 
Fig. 

considerably 
smaller than 
those 
induced on 
a ver 
2(b) should 
not lead 
to 
the 
conclusion 
that 
peak 

tical 
line 
in 
the unperturbed 
soil. Deviations 
are 
pile displacements 
near 
the surface 
are insensitive 

evident 
near 
the 
ground 
surface 
and 
at the 
inter 
to the 
soil 
profile 
characteristics, 
since 
the 

face 
between 
the 
upper 
and 
lower 
soil 
layers. 
bedrock 
displacement 
(used 
as 
a 
normalization 

Such deviations 
merely 
reflect 
different pile and 
factor) 
corresponds 
to 
the 
natural 
frequency 
of 

soil boundary 
conditions 
at these 
two locations. 
the deposit. 
If, instead, 
bedrock 
acceleration 
is 

Figure 
2(b) shows only 
pile 
deflexion profiles 
used in the normalization 
(perhaps 
a more 
logical 

(normalized 
with 
the 
bedrock displacement 
choice 
for seismic 
excitation), 
top 
deflexions 
at 

amplitude) 
at the 
natural 
frequency 
of 
each 
the natural frequency 
of the 
deposit 
decrease 
pro 

deposit, 
for 
all 
series 
1 
profiles. 
The topto 
gressively from case 
A 
to 
case 
D; 
this 
is a direct 

bottom 
displacement ratio 
(amplification) 
does 
result of the 
corresponding 
increase 
in 
the funda 

not 
change 
significantly 
from case to case; 
differ 
mental 
frequency 
(see Table 
1). 

ences are limited 
to the shape of the displacement 
The 
effect 
of variation 
of the Swave velocity 

profile. 
With 
highly 
contrasting 
stiffness (cases 
A 
ratio and pile slenderness 
on 
bending moment 

and 
D) 
most 
of 
the amplification 
occurs 
in 
the 
and shear force 
distributions 
along 
the 
piles 
is 

soft 
layer 
(i.e. in 
the 
lower 
and upper 
layers 
shown 
in Figs 35. 
Fig. 
3 plots the 
normalized 

respectively), 
while the 
displacement 
profile 
amplitudes of bending 
moment 
and 
shear force 
at 

achieves a fairly uniform 
slope 
in both 
the 
homo 
the fundamental 
natural 
frequency 
w = 
oi 
for 

geneous 
profile (case B) and the layered 
profile 
various 
Swave 
velocity 
ratios 
(series 1 cases). 

 
Soil 
^{r} Pile deflexions 

 
Pile 

,“,‘. 
/ /” 

,’ 
/’ 

1.01 r 
w 
= 
w, 

I 
I 
I 
L 
^{I} 

0 
_{2} 
4 
6 
0 
0 
2 
4 
6 

hdJg 
(soil), Up/U, (pile) 
UJU, 
(pile) 
(a)
(W
Fig. 2. Comparison of distributions with depth of: (a) freefield (soil) and pile deflexions for profiles A and D; (b) pile deflexions for profiles A, B, C and D
FREEHEAD
PILES
IN
LAYERED
SOIL
211
9
JO{
Fig. 3. Distribution with depth of the amplitudes of: (a) bending moment; (b) shear force, at the fundamental natural frequency of the deposit (cases A, B, C and D)
Bending moments 
are invariably 
maximal 
at, 
or 
diagrams 
reveals 
that 
the 
peak 
of the 
M(z) curve 

very 
close 
to, the interface between 
the upper 
and 
near 
the 
layer 
interface 
becomes sharper 
with 

lower 
soil 
layers, 
and zero 
at 
the 
surface 
and 
at 
increasing 
difference in stiffness 
between 
the 
two 

bedrock 
level (freehead 
pile 
hinged 
on 
the 
layers; 
the 
peak 
is flattest 
with 
the homogeneous 

bedrock). 
Moreover, 
the shape 
of these 
moment 
stratum 
(profile 
B). The 
same 
characteristics 
are 

w 
= 
0, 
I
3000 6
I
500
M/Q
P d4ii
(4
9
Qlepd&
(b)
Fig. 4. Distribution with depth of the amplitudes of: (a) bending moment; (b) shear force, at the fundamental natural frequency of the deposit (cases D, E and G)
KAVVADAS
AND
GAZETAS
_{0} 4000
Mle d4ii _{9}
P
8000
0
2000
MiQ,ff ii,
Case D
4000
Fig. 5. Distribution of bending moment amplitude at the natural frequency of the deposit: solid lines sbow values com puted from the ‘exact’ pile deflexions; broken lines show values computed from the freefield soil displacements, i.e. on the assumption that piles follow the soil motion exactly
shown 
in 
Fig. 
4(a), which 
contrasts bending 
associated with 
a sharp 
amplification 
of 
motion 

moment 
distribution for 
various pile 
slenderness 
despite 
the hysteretic 
damping 
of the 
soil 
(10%). 

ratios 
(series 2 cases). The 
very short 
and 
hence 
The maximum bending 
moment 
decreases 
rapidly 

rigid pile 
(case 
E) does 
not 
follow 
the soil 
dis 
for frequencies higher 
than 
oi 
due 
to 
the 
rapidly 

placement 
curvatures closely; 
normalized bending 
increasing radiation 
damping 
and 
the 
increasing 

moments 
are smaller than 
in 
more 
flexible 
piles 
waviness of soil 
which cannot 
be followed 
by the 

(cases 
D 
and 
G) while 
in 
absolute 
terms 
M 
pile. At excitation 
frequencies 
lower 
than 
the fun 

increases 
approximately 
in 
proportion 
to 
pile 
damental frequency 
of 
the 
deposit 
there 
is little 

length 
and 
to d3. 
radiation damping, 
since 
laterallyspreading 

The importance 
of the soilpile kinematic 
inter 
waves 
(which are 
carriers 
of radiated 
energy) are 

action 
is better 
elucidated 
with 
reference to Fig. 
5. 
not 
generated, 
e.g. 
Kausel, 
Roesset 
& 
Waas 

The ‘exact’ bending moment 
distributions 
at 
w 
= 
(1975), 
Dobry, 
Vicente, 
O’Rourke 
& 
Roesset 

wi are 
plotted 
in solid lines 
for the 
two extreme 
(1982), 
Gazetas 
(1983) 
Krishnan, 
Gazetas & 
cases 
studied 
(A and 
D, corresponding 
to 
a stiff 
Velez (1983). 

crust 
and 
a 
soft upper 
layer respectively). 
The 
However, max. M,(w) 
does 
not 
always 
occur 

dashed 
lines 
show 
the 
corresponding 
bending 
at 
the fundamental frequency of the 
deposit: 
for 

moment distributions 
if interaction is neglected, 
certain combinations 
of pile/soil 
parameters 
the 
i.e. if pile
displacements
are
assumed
to
be equal
largest
peak
can
be shown
to occur
at
the
second
to 
freefield 
soil 
displacementsan 
assumption 
natural 
frequency. This could have 
been 
antici 

often invoked 
in 
seismic design practice 
(see 
for 
pated, 
since 
bending moments in the 
pile are con 

example Margason 
& Holloway 
(1977)). 
Signifi 
trolled 
by two 
counteracting factors 

cant errors 
evidently could occur 
in 
the 
estima 

tion 
of bending 
moments under this 
assumption. 
(a) 
the 
value 
of the normalized 
curvature 
of the 

Consequently, 
soiltopile kinematic 
interplay 
pile 
displacement shapelarger 
values 
occur 

should not 
be neglected. 
in the higher modes as they are more ‘wavy’ 

Figure 
6 
plots 
the spectrum 
of 
maximum 
(b) 
the 
overall 
amplitude of the pile displacement 

alongthepile 
bending moment 
amplitude 
as 
a 
profilelarger 
values occur 
in the 
lower 
function 
of the frequency ratio 
w/w1 
for the 
series 
modes. 
The peaks of soil 
displacement ampli 

1 profiles. 
In 
most 
cases studied, 
the 
largest 
fication 
(ratio of top 
to 
bottom freefield soil 

maximum 
value 
max. M,(w) 
has 
indeed 
been 
displacements) are 
in 
first 
approximation 

found 
to 
occur 
at 
the fundamental 
frequency of 
inversely 
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