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Proceedings of the Institution of

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

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement


S. Haldar

PhD

and G. L. Sivakumar Babu

PhD

The main objective in the design of a machine


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

(e.g. SPT-N values less than 9) and may be affected by


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

where N is the SPT-N count and G is the shear modulus in


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

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu

199

Fz sin(t)

Fzeit

G.L.
135 m

435 m

G, r,

Plan view

1105 m

Figure 2. Schematic view of foundation in elastic half-space

M: Mass of machine and foundation

Kz: Equivalent spring constant of soil in


vertical direction for base area A of the
foundation

Figure 1. Schematic diagram of the machine foundation


Kz

system. The idealised representation of the machine foundation


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

where is the excitation frequency. The equation of motion of


the system is
3

M z_ K z Z Fz sint

The spring constant is given as8

Kz

Figure 3. Equivalent model for vertical vibration

r
WL
r0


The natural frequency of the system can be presented as


nz

r
Kz

Considering the damping of the soil, the maximum


displacement amplitude due to vertical vibration is given by
4Gr0
1

Az
7

where r0 , the equivalent radius of a rectangular area of size


(W 3 L) is given by
Parameter

Fz

v8
9
u "

 #2 
 =
u<
2
2
u
K zt 1 
2 z
:
nz
nz ;

Value

Width of foundation (W)


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

Table 1. Properties of foundation and design data

200

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu

where  z is the damping coefficient of the soil.

technique. Hence, the soil stiffness was improved using soil


reinforcement and the following method was adopted in the
field.

In the present case, a fixed value of operating frequency of


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

3. IMPROVEMENT OF FOUNDATION SOIL USING


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

Ground improvement for DG set foundation plan


(a)

(b)

1000

1000

300 300 300

N.G.L

Angle section of 50 50 5
welded together

500

PCC for foundations


in CM (1:4:8)
500
500
500

Compacted sand layer

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)

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu

201

3.1. Numerical model and simulations


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.

A sinusoidal stress amplitude of 15.6 kPa was applied along the


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

Table 2. Soil and reinforcement properties for finite-difference analysis

F0sin(t)
PCC

Reinforcement

Quiet boundary

Quiet boundary

Compacted sand layer

Quiet boundary

Figure 5. Finite-difference model for analysis

202

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu

104
Reinforced soil

Plain soil

10

05

1
Time: s

15

Figure 6. Displacement plotted against time for foundation

fundamental frequency values for reinforced soil can be


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

soil and reinforcement. This frictional resistance also developed


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

Maximum axial force: N

Vertical foundation displacement: m

200
100
0
100

05

At ground surface
At the bottom of reinforcement

Time: s

Figure 8. Axial force in horizontal reinforcement

8 Hz (50 rad/s)

004

1500

003

1000

002
50 Hz (314 rad/s)
001
0

300

Maximum axial force: N

Fourier amplitude

005

15

200

400

006

20

40
60
Frequency: Hz

80

100

500
0
0

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

15

1000
1500

Figure 7. Fourier amplitude for determination of natural


frequency of reinforced soil

05

500

Time: s

Figure 9. Axial force in vertical reinforcement

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu

203

natural frequency of the foundation soil system. Therefore,


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.

5. ITASCA CONSULTING GROUP. Fast Lagrangian Analysis of


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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204

Ground Improvement 162 Issue GI4

Improvement of machine foundations using reinforcement

Haldar Sivakumar Babu