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Civil Engineers

Ground Improvement 162

November 2009 Issue GI4

Pages 199204

doi: 10.1680/grim.2009.162.4.199

Paper 800036

Received 04/08/2009

Accepted 07/08/2009

Keywords: dynamics/failures/

foundations

Sumanta Haldar

Assistant Professor, Department of

Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of

Technology, Bhubaneswar, India

G. L. Sivakumar Babu

Associate Professor, Department of

Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of

Science, Bangalore, India

S. Haldar

PhD

PhD

foundation is to restrict the maximum amplitude of the

foundation motion to within the safety limits. When the

underlying soil is poor, pile foundations are generally

used to reduce the amplitude of foundation motion in

machine foundations. Analysis results pertaining to a

field example in which the foundation response of a

foundation for a generator was improved using a

reinforced soil technique are presented herein. The

numerical simulations with regard to the response of the

foundation on the reinforced soil confirm the efficacy of

the method adopted. The results show that reinforced

soil foundations are viable alternatives to improve

foundation response due to dynamic loading.

NOTATION

Kz

soil stiffness

N

SPT-N count

G

shear modulus (kips/ft2 )

r0

equivalent radius of a rectangular area of size (W 3 L)

Poissons ratio of soil

z

damping coefficient of the soil

r

density of the soil

excitation frequency

1. INTRODUCTION

Machine foundations are subjected to dynamic loads due to

reciprocating, impact and rotary machines. In comparison wih

the static load, the dynamic loads act repetitively on the

foundation soil system. Hence, it is necessary that the soil

behaviour remains elastic under such vibration or else the

deformation increases monotonically with each cycle and as a

result excessive settlement occurs. 1 When designing a machine

foundation, the natural frequency of the foundation soil system

and maximum displacement amplitude of the machine at its

operating frequency are important. The main objective is to

restrain the maximum foundation displacement amplitude

within the specified limit provided by design guidelines. The

natural frequency of the foundation soil system must be

different from the operating frequency of the machine to avoid

resonance. Richart 2 presented guidelines on the limiting

frequency and displacement amplitude for different types of

machine foundations. The Indian standard code of practice for

the design of machine foundations (IS: 2974: Part-III, 1992)3

also prescribes the limiting displacement. In some

circumstances, machine foundations are placed on a soft soil

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

excessive settlement of the foundation. To avoid excessive

displacement, pile foundations are commonly used. This note

presents an analysis of machine foundations on a soft soil

using soil reinforcement as an alternative to pile foundations.

2. DESCRIPTION

The analysis 4 was conducted for a foundation for a generator

which was constructed in Bangalore, India. It was observed

that the foundation displacement was higher than the

prescribed limiting displacement for the existing soil. Hence,

the foundation soil elastic modulus was improved by using

steel reinforcement to minimise the foundation displacement

amplitude. The analysis of the machine foundation using soil

reinforcement was conducted using a two-dimensional

numerical finite-difference code FLAC. 5 The following sections

present the method of analysis and results obtained.

The soil below the foundation was specified as soft soil which

had very low SPT-N value (about 9) up to a depth of 4.5 m.

Hence, the value of shear modulus can be estimated as 6

1

G 325N 0 68

kips/ft2 . Assuming a Poissons ratio of 0.3, the soil elastic

modulus value was about 178 MPa. The foundation

(4.35 m wide 3 11.05 m long 3 1.35 m deep) was made up of

reinforced concrete. Figure 1 shows the schematic diagram of

the machine foundation and the foundation data are given in

Table 1. To consider the vertical mode of vibration, the elastic

half-space method was used to determine the maximum

vertical displacement amplitude. The computation of the

displacement using the elastic half-space method is described

in the following section.

2.1. Displacement amplitude using the elastic half-space

method

In the elastic half-space method, 7 the soil mass is considered as

a semi-infinite homogeneous, isotropic, elastic body. A general

representation of the elastic half-space method is shown in

Figure 2. The soil properties are described by three parameters,

namely the shear modulus of soil (G), the density of the soil (r)

and Poissons ratio of soil (). An equivalent model for vertical

vibration is considered as a mass-spring, one degree of freedom

199

Fz sin(t)

Fzeit

G.L.

135 m

435 m

G, r,

Plan view

1105 m

vertical direction for base area A of the

foundation

Kz

and soil is presented in Figure 3. The mass (M) is the total mass

of the machine and the foundation, which generally takes part

of the vibration. The soil stiffness is represented as Kz . The

unbalanced force is represented by

2

Fz t Fz sint

the system is

3

M z_ K z Z Fz sint

Kz

r

WL

r0

nz

r

Kz

displacement amplitude due to vertical vibration is given by

4Gr0

1

Az

7

(W 3 L) is given by

Parameter

Fz

v8

9

u "

#2

=

u<

2

2

u

K zt 1

2 z

:

nz

nz ;

Value

Length of foundation (L)

Thickness of foundation (D)

Density of foundation

Mass (foundation)

Mass (machine)

Amplitude of load on foundation

Operating frequency of machine

Machine base dimension

Dynamic stress amplitude on foundation

4.35 m

11.05 m

1.35 m

2500 kg/m3

1.62 3 105 kg

0.14 3 105 kg

136 kN

1500 rpm

5.8 m 3 1.5 m

15.6 kPa

200

reinforcement and the following method was adopted in the

field.

1500 rpm (157 rad/s) was given for the generator. From

Equation 7, the maximum amplitude of a machine could be

obtained when the excitation frequency was close to the

natural frequency of the foundation soil. As per Indian

standard (IS 2974: Part-III, 1992), 3 the following two criteria

must be satisfied; (a) the permissible displacement limit is

0.40.6 mm (for operating frequency of machine 1500

3000 rpm) and (b) the ratio of natural frequency to operating

frequency should be more than 1.5 for an over-tuned system.

Considering a 15% damping coefficient for soft soil, 6 the

maximum amplitude for the present case was about 0.3 mm,

which is less than the permissible limit. However, the ratio of

foundation soil natural frequency (93 rad/s or 890 rpm) to

operating frequency was about 0.6, which was much less

than 1.5. Hence, a back-analysis was required to determine

the required soil stiffness such that both criteria could be

satisfied. To satisfy the second criterion, the foundation soil

natural frequency must be at least 2250 rpm (1.5 3 1500 rpm)

or 235 rad/s. Hence, the foundation soil elastic modulus must

be at least 1100 MPa to satisfy safety criteria. However, the

required soil elastic modulus (1100 MPa) represents a very

stiff soil. Practically it is difficult to achieve stiffness in this

range for plain soil without using any ground improvement

REINFORCEMENT

Reinforced soil was suggested for use as the foundation soil. A

pit of dimensios 16.05 m 3 9.35 m was dug to a depth of

1.4 m. A 0.2 m thickness plain cement concrete (PCC) layer was

prepared at the bottom of the pit. The ISA

50 mm 3 50 mm 3 5 mm steel angles9 were embedded

vertically in the PCC. layer with 0.5 m horizontal spacing all

around the pit. Similar steel angles were placed as horizontal

layers with 0.3 m vertical spacing within the 1.2 m depth of the

pit. The vertical and horizontal steel sections were welded

together and formed a three-dimensional grid. The grid was

filled with compacted sand layers. A schematic diagram of the

arrangement is shown in Figure 4. To determine the vertical

displacement of the foundation on improved ground using the

elastic half-space method, the estimation of the equivalent

elastic modulus is required. However, the determination of the

equivalent elastic modulus is mathematically involved, as

reported by Chen et al. 10 Hence, the improved foundation soil

system was modelled numerically using a finite-difference

algorithm.

1000

Compacted

sand layer

9350

Machine

foundation

7350

Fz sin(t)

1000

14050

1000

N.G.L.

ISA 50 50 5

angles

1000

N.G.L.

PCC (1:4:8)

16050

Compacted sand

layer

Angle section

of 50 50 5

welded together

vertical spacing

300 mm and

hor spacing

500 mm

(a)

(b)

1000

1000

N.G.L

Angle section of 50 50 5

welded together

500

in CM (1:4:8)

500

500

500

200

1200

N.G.L

500

500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500

500

300

(c)

Figure 4. (a) Schematic diagram of ground improvement for DG set foundation; (b) plan view for the reinforcement; (c) crosssectional view (dimensions in mm)

201

The reinforced soil was simulated using FLAC 5 as a plain strain

analysis. The soil was modelled using four-noded quadrilateral

grids. The foundation soil was represented by loose sand and

the appropriate soil properties. Boundary conditions were

applied in the soil zone. At the bottom plane of the grid, all the

movements were restrained. The lateral sides of the grid were

free to move in a downward direction (ve Y-axis) but not in

the X-direction. The soil was modelled as elastic material. As

the limiting displacement of a machine foundation is very

small, the soil displacement is therefore elastic and involves

negligible non-linearity. 11 Hence, the assumption of an elastic

model for the soil was reasonably appropriate. The required

input properties for the model were the density, shear modulus

and bulk modulus of the soil. The present analysis used a field

size of 50 m 3 6 m depth. The total soil medium was

discretised into 3190 finite-difference grids in 29 rows and 110

columns.

The steel sections in both vertical and horizontal directions

(reinforcement) were simulated using pile elements (twodimensional elements with three degrees of freedom at each

node). The interaction of the pile and finite-difference grid was

achieved via shear and normal coupling springs which were

related to the soil properties. The properties for ISA 50 3 50 3 5

angles were assigned for the pile element properties. The present

example was basically a three-dimensional problem. Donovan et

al. 12 suggested that a three-dimensional problem can be reduced

to a two-dimensional plain strain problem by assuming linear

scaling of the material properties. Hence, a two-dimensional

plain-strain analysis was adopted. The soil and pile element

properties are given in Table 2.

foundation width to simulate the dynamic load from the

machine. To minimise the wave reflections and energy

radiation from the boundary, quiet or absorbing boundaries

were applied. A detailed description of the quiet boundary is

given in Itasca. 5 Figure 5 shows the finite-difference model for

analysis. The Rayleigh damping of 15% was applied for the

soil. Analysis was conducted for both plain and reinforced soil.

The vertical displacement at the centre of the width of the

foundation with time of excitation was obtained from the

analysis.

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

The simulation was conducted for plain soil having an SPT-N

value of 9. The soil properties assigned in finite-difference

grids are given in Table 2. The maximum displacement

amplitude was observed when the excitation frequency was

close to the natural frequency of the foundation soil system.

Hence, the frequency of the dynamic load was set close to the

natural frequency of the foundation soil system for analysis. It

was observed that the natural frequency of the foundation soil

system was 93 rad/s (or 890 rpm) and so the excitation

frequency of the dynamic load was taken as 900 rpm. Figure 6

shows the timedisplacement history for plain soil at the

middle of the foundation. It has been stated that the

permissible displacement amplitude for a machine foundation

is about 4 3 104 m. The maximum displacement amplitude of

the machine foundation was observed to be 8 3 104 m which

is much greater than the permissible value.

A similar analysis was conducted considering reinforcement

below the foundation soil. It should be noted that the

Parameter

Value

Soil properties

Shear modulus of plain soil: kPa

Modulus of elasticity of compacted sand: kPa

Poissons ratio of soil

Bulk unit weight of soil: kN/m3

Reinforcement properties

Modulus of elasticity: kPa

Density: kg/m3

Cross-sectional area: m2

Moment of inertia: m4

6.88 3 104

1.56 3 104

0.30

18

2.00 3 108

7880

4.80 3 104

1.10 3 107

F0sin(t)

PCC

Reinforcement

Quiet boundary

Quiet boundary

Quiet boundary

202

104

Reinforced soil

Plain soil

10

05

1

Time: s

15

determined from the accelerationtime history at the bottom

level of reinforcement for an applied sinusoidal excitation at

the soil surface. The fundamental frequency of the ground is

the frequency at which the highest Fourier amplitude is

observed from the Fourier amplitude spectrum of the groundlevel accelerationtime history. To determine the ground

frequencies for different soils having three different relative

densities, a sinusoidal wave of 50 rad/s excitation frequency

was applied at the surface level of the soil and the predominant

frequency was obtained for the reinforced soil. From the

Fourier amplitude (Figure 7), the natural frequency of the soil

was observed to be 314 rad/s (or 2998 rpm). As the operating

frequency of the machine was reported to be 1500 rpm, the

excitation frequency was selected as 1500 rpm and the

foundation timedisplacement is plotted in Figure 6. It can be

observed that the maximum vertical displacement amplitude

was reduced to 5 3 105 m. Therefore, due to the presence of

reinforcement, the displacement was reduced significantly and

the value was within the permissible limit.

The reduction of the foundation displacement was basically

due to the improvement of soil stiffness. However, an

additional frictional resistance was also developed between the

an axial tension or compression within the reinforcement.

Graphs of axial force plotted against time are shown in Figures

8 and 9. The axial force developed in the horizontal

reinforcement is shown in Figure 8 and Figure 9 shows the

axial force in the vertical reinforcement. It can be seen that the

developed axial force was greater in the vertical reinforcement

than in the horizontal reinforcement, because the vertical

reinforcements were embedded in the plain cement concrete

and hence acted as column members. It can be observed that

the maximum tensile/compressive axial force in the member

was 1.25 kN. The structural steel has a compressive strength of

550 MPa, therefore the permissible axial force in the

reinforcement member is about 263 kN, which is much higher

than the developed axial force (1.25 kN). Hence, the

reinforcement is also safe against axial failure. This suggests

that the application of steel reinforcement below machine

foundation soil can lead to a substantial improvement in

foundation performance.

5. CONCLUDING REMARKS

This paper presents the application of a soil improvement

technique to improve the ground below a machine foundation.

A case study of a machine foundation for a generator was

considered for analysis. An elastic half-space method was used

to characterise the foundation soil properties and foundation

response. Numerical simulations using two-dimensional finitedifference analysis were used to assess the improvement. The

following conclusions emerged from the study.

(a) The presence of reinforcement in soil significantly

improved the soil stiffness which in turn increased the

400

300

200

100

0

100

05

At ground surface

At the bottom of reinforcement

Time: s

8 Hz (50 rad/s)

004

1500

003

1000

002

50 Hz (314 rad/s)

001

0

300

Fourier amplitude

005

15

200

400

006

20

40

60

Frequency: Hz

80

100

500

0

0

15

1000

1500

frequency of reinforced soil

05

500

Time: s

203

the operating frequency is far from the natural frequency

and resonance can be avoided.

(b) The displacement of the foundation can be significantly

reduced using steel reinforcement.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors are grateful to Professor B. R. Srinivasa Murthy for

his valuable comments and technical support. The authors

thank M/S MICO Limited, Bangalore for the help in obtaining

some data presented in the paper.

REFERENCES

1. SARAN S. Soil Dynamics and Machine Foundations.

Galgotia Publications, New Delhi, India, 1999.

2. RICHART F. E. JR Foundation vibrations. Transactions of

American Society of Civil Engineers, 1962, 127, Part 1,

863898.

3. INDIAN STANDARDS INSTITUTION. IS: 2974: PART III (1992)

Indian Standard Code of Practice for Design and

Construction of Machine Foundations. Indian Standards

Institution, New Delhi, India, 1992.

4. SIVAKUMAR BABU G. L. Technical Report on Review and

Design of Foundation Systems for DG Sets and Chimneys.

M/S Bosch Limited (MICO), Bangalore, 2008.

Continua (FLAC) Manual, Version 5.0. Itasca Consulting

Group, Minneapolis, MN, 2005.

6. KRAMER S. L. Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering. Pearson

Education, New Delhi, India, 2003.

7. LYSMER J. Vertical Motions of Rigid Footings. PhD thesis,

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1965.

8. LYSMER J. and RICHART F. E. JR. Dynamic response of

footing to vertical loading. Journal of Soil Mechanics and

Foundation Division, ASCE, 1966, 92, No. SM-1, 6591.

9. BUREAU OF INDIAN STANDARDS. SP6 (1) (1984) Handbook for

structural steel sections. Bureau of Indian Standards, New

Delhi, India, 1984.

10. CHEN T.-C., CHEN R.-H. and LIN S.-S. A nonlinear

homogenized model applicable to reinforced soil analysis.

Geotextiles and Geomembranes, 2000, 18, No. 6, 349

366.

11. GAZETAS G. Analysis of machine foundation vibrations:

state of the art. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering,

1983, 2, No. 1, 242.

12. DONOVAN K., PARISEAU W. G. and CEPAK M. Finite element

approach to cable bolting in steeply digging VCR slopes. In

Geomechanics Applications in Underground Hardrock

Mining (PARISEAU W. G. (ed.)). Society of Mining Engineers,

New York, 1984, pp. 6590.

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