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Li, Z. et al. (2010). International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics 10, No.

2, 4757

The response of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads


Z. LI*, S. K. HAIGH* and M. D. BOLTON*
Numerous pile groups are subjected to significant cyclic lateral loads due to wind, waves or
earthquakes, and many have failed catastrophically. In this research, centrifuge modelling of a pile
group subjected to cyclic lateral loads has been conducted to investigate the interaction effect in pile
groups and the influence of cyclic lateral loads on the performance of pile groups. Different pile
installation methods were also applied to capture the full range of construction-induced soil conditions
available in the field. Lateral permanent displacements of the pile group were seen to be induced by
one-way cyclic lateral loads but not by two-way symmetric cyclic lateral loads. The lateral secant
stiffness of the pile group increases slightly with increasing number of cycles, and leading piles attract
greater loads than trailing piles. Furthermore, permanent settlements of the pile group accumulate,
which can be attributed to the swaying motion of the pile cap induced by cyclic lateral loads.
doi: 10.1680/ijpmg.2010.10.2.47
KEYWORDS: centrifuge modelling; piles & piling; waves & wave loading

piles in a group have less resistance than the sum of


individual pile capacities if the pile spacing is less than eight
times the pile diameter in the direction of lateral load.
Similar conclusions were drawn for driven pile groups from
the test results of Brown et al. (1987) and Rollins et al.
(2005).
Nowadays, monotonically jacked piles are popular for
use in urban construction owing to the minimal noise and
ground vibration caused during their installation.
Compared to bored and driven pile groups, jacked pile
groups exhibit a stiffer axial response resulting from
enhanced normal resistance of the soil surrounding pile
shafts (White & Deeks, 2007). However, the behaviour of
monotonically jacked pile groups under cyclic lateral loads
is not yet fully understood.
In field tests, it is difficult to exert cyclic loading on piles
with large diameters because of the limitations of test
facilities and high costs. Additionally, few real-time failures
of piled foundations subjected to live loads in service are
well monitored and recorded. This lack of well-documented
soilpile response cases has hindered the progress of
research on the effects of cyclic loads and earthquakes on
the behaviour of piled foundations.
Fortunately, centrifuge modelling offers an effective
method to understand the influence of cyclic loads on
piled foundations. Compared with full-scale field tests,
centrifuge modelling tests are more convenient and efficient
to conduct with significantly reduced costs. Centrifuge
modelling can offer physical conditions similar to those in
the field and can reproduce the response of a piled
foundation subjected to cyclic loading. In centrifuge tests,
small-scale model pile loading tests are conducted in
acceleration fields of magnitude many times the earths
gravity, such that full-scale prototype stresses are correctly
reproduced. This ensures that the highly non-linear soil
behaviour can also be replicated realistically. Thereby,
observations from small-scale model piles can be related to
the full-scale prototype situation by appropriate scaling
laws.
The objective of the current work was to investigate a
range of pile installation procedures. Three different
jacking protocols were used: Cyclic jacking corresponds
quite closely to conventional pile jacking in the field, such
as by the Giken method. Model piles are pressed into the

INTRODUCTION
Piled foundations are the most prevalent class of deep
foundations; they are often designed with the intention of
resisting dead load and to demonstrate a factor of safety
during their working life. Numerous piled foundations are
subjected to significant cyclic lateral loads because of their
fluid environment, particularly in high-rise buildings and
offshore platforms, which may suffer wind and wave
actions. Pile heads may also be subjected to largemagnitude cyclic loads arising from the swaying and
rocking motions of superstructures during earthquakes.
These significant cyclic lateral loads lead to permanent
deformations of the soil surrounding the pile shafts,
causing significant accumulated permanent displacements.
Consequently, many piled foundations have failed catastrophically owing to these cyclic loads, causing overturning or collapse of major pile-supported structures.
In order to understand such behaviour, many researchers (e.g. Long & Vanneste, 1994) have investigated the
response of single piles to cyclic lateral loads. However,
piles are rarely constructed in isolation but work together
as pile groups. The response of a pile group under cyclic
lateral loads is generally different from that of an
individual pile because of the interaction between neighbouring piles, resulting in a reduction of pile group
capacity.
The leading piles in a group will carry significantly
higher loads than the trailing piles at the same deflection.
The piles in trailing rows are thought to exhibit less lateral
resistance because of interference (shadowing) with the
failure surface of the row of piles in front of them. This
shadowing or group interaction effect is expected to
become less significant as the spacing between piles
increases because there is less overlap between adjacent
failure zones (Ochoa & ONeill, 1989).
Prakash (1962) and Franke (1988) suggest that bored
Manuscript received 26 March 2010, revised manuscript
accepted 17 June 2010.
Discussion on this paper should reach the editor by 15 February
2011.
* Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, UK.

47
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Motor

3D load cell

2D actuator

Adaptor

3D load cell

Pile cap

Strain gauges
Strain gauges
Pile cap

Lasers
Model piles

Encoder

Lasers
P3 and P4

350 mm

P1 and P2

Dry sand

Load cells

850 mm
(a)

(b)

Fig. 1. The centriguge test package: (a) side view of the test package; (b) front view of the test package

soil in flight at high g, with unload/reload cycles


representing the successive repositioning of the driving
head as the pile is driven in the field. Monotonic jacking
represents an ideal procedure more easily achievable in a
model than in the field, in which piles are installed in flight
without intermediate unloading cycles. Pre-jacking refers
to the jacking-in of the model piles prior to centrifuging, at
1g. Although this insertion procedure remains one of soil
displacement, the consequential locked-in stresses must be
very small, so the outcome may be more similar to the
construction of a bored pile in the field.
Regarding conventional pile driving with a hammer, it is
known that hammer blows tend to reduce the axial capacity
of piles compared with monotonic jacking. This mechanism
is known as friction fatigue, which was attributed by White
& Lehane (2004) to densification under cyclic shearing
causing radial stress relief immediately around the pile.
This effect might be seen in the differences between
monotonically and cyclically jacked piles in the centrifuge
tests.
Accordingly, pile group cyclic lateral load tests were
conducted using a 1 in 50 scale model pile group tested at
50g in the centrifuge. Individual pile responses and group
interaction effects are reported. The influence of cyclic
lateral loads on pile group lateral secant stiffness and
accumulated displacements are described. Moreover, since
cyclic lateral loads can give rise to swaying, which induces
cyclic axial loading of the piles, the effect of cyclic lateral
loads on the axial performance of the pile group is
demonstrated.

actuator and an introduction to the facility can be found in


Haigh et al. (2010).
Model pile group
A 2 6 2 pile group configuration of stainless steel tubular
piles spaced at four times the pile diameter has been
manufactured and instrumented, and placed in the test rig,
as shown in Fig. 1. Stainless steel tubes of 10 mm (0?5 m at
prototype scale) outer diameter and 2 mm (0?1 m at
prototype scale) wall thickness were used as model piles.
The length of each pile was 220 mm (11 m at prototype
scale), and the embedment depth was 180 mm (9 m at
prototype scale). Pile shaft surfaces were smooth, and pile
tips were flat and close-ended. An aluminium plate with
dimensions of 70 6 70 6 35 mm (3?5 6 3?5 6 1?75 m at
prototype scale) was fabricated as a pile cap to give a fixedhead condition.
All the piles were installed with tip load cells to measure
pile base resistance and instrumented with strain gauges on

Axial force
strain gauges
Bending moment
strain gauges

65

70

METHODOLOGY
Test apparatus
Pile group tests were conducted at 50g on the Turner beam
centrifuge at the Schofield Centre, Cambridge University.
A two-axis servo actuator was used to install the pile group
as an integrated assembly and then to apply vertical and
horizontal loads, as shown in Fig. 1. The design of the

45
50
70

Fig. 2. Strain gauge arrangement at front and back sides of


the 3D load cell

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The response of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads

260 mm

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

240 mm

Axial force at prototype scale: kN


20 000
10 000

30 000
0

40

80

120

160

200

2000

4000

6000

8000

10 000

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

2D actuator rotated 90

49

10
12 000

Axial force at model scale: N

Fig. 4. The penetration resistance of the monotonically jacked


pile group

Fig. 3. Centrifuge test arrangement

their external shaft surface at levels above the sand surface


to record pile head axial force, lateral force and bending
moment.
A new three-dimensional (3D) load cell was designed and
manufactured to measure the pile cap axial forces, lateral
forces and bending moments applied to the pile group as a
whole, as shown in Fig. 2. A full wheatstone bridge,
comprising four 5 V d.c. powered 350 V strain gauges, was
attached on the external surface of the cylinder to measure
axial forces. Another two bridges of strain gauges were
attached close to each end of the cylinder to measure
bending moments. Shear forces were calculated based on
the difference in bending moments measured at the top and
bottom of the load cell.

and the ratio of the smallest side boundary separation to the


pile diameter was approximately 26, as was the base boundary
separation. Thus, the boundary effects should be negligible
based on the conclusions of Gui et al. (1998).
All test locations are presented in Fig. 3. The distance
between successive tests was 28 times the pile diameter to
nullify any effects owing to locked-in effective stresses
induced in the sand by the preceding tests.
TEST RESULTS
Based on the scaling laws for centrifuge tests, in order to
express test results at prototype scale the test data from
Axial force at prototype scale: kN
0

10 000

20 000

30 000
0

40

80

120

160

200

2000

4000
6000
10 000
8000
Axial force at model scale: N

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

Sand and container


Dry fraction E silica sand was used in this project. The sand
has a d50 of 218 mm measured using the single-particle optical
sizing (SPOS) technique (White, 2003). Since the ratio of pile
diameter to average grain size was about 85, larger than the
limiting value of 20 suggested by Gui et al. (1998), the sand
should have behaved like a continuum and scaling effects
should be negligible. The sand was pluviated into a cylindrical
steel tub (850 mm diameter and 400 mm deep) using an
automatic sand-pouring machine (Madabhushi et al., 2006).
A dense homogeneous sand specimen with a relative density
of 83% was achieved. The cylindrical model container was
designed to be strong enough to sustain the large soil
pressures acting during the centrifuge tests. The ratio of
container diameter to individual pile diameter was about 85,

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

Instrumentation
Vertical displacements at the leading and trailing edges of
the pile cap and lateral displacements of the pile cap were
measured using three lasers mounted under the twodimensional actuator. Additionally, vertical and horizontal
displacements of the actuator were recorded by two
encoders.

10
12 000

Fig. 5. The penetration resistance of the cyclically jacked


pile group

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Li, Haigh and Bolton

50
Table 1. Installation forces of the pile group
Test number

ZL07-2

ZL07-4

ZL08-2

ZL08-4

Average

Installation type
Installation force: N

MJ
10 800

CJ
11 100

MJ
9800

MJ
9900

10 400

Note: MJ is monotonic jacking; CJ is cyclic jacking.

these centrifuge tests were multiplied by 50 for displacements, 50 for pile group stiffness, and 502 for forces. Test
results at both model and prototype scale are plotted in all
of the following figures. It should be noted that the axes at
left and bottom sides of graphs represent test data at the
model scale, while axes at right and top sides represent
corresponding data at the prototype scale. All numerical
values quoted in the following text and in the tables are
given at model scale.
Pile group installation
The model pile group was pre-jacked at 1g, monotonically
jacked at 50g or cyclically jacked at 50g into dry dense
sand.
Two typical penetration resistance curves for the
monotonically and cyclically jacked pile groups are
presented in Fig. 4 and Fig. 5 respectively. The monotonically jacked pile group was pushed into the sand with a
monotonic stroke in-flight, while the cyclically jacked pile
group was successively penetrated 1 mm and then unloaded
to zero head load, with 180 strokes being used during the
installation process. At a final penetration depth of
180 mm, the maximum penetration forces of the monotonically jacked and cyclically jacked pile group are
10 800 N and 11 100 N respectively, as shown in Table 1.
It seems that the cyclic jacking installation obtained a
similar penetration force to the monotonic jacking installation. During the cyclic jacking process, although the
amplitudes of cyclic axial loads were very large, and the
maximum relative displacements between pile shaft and soil
are up to 16% of the pile diameter per cycle, the friction
fatigue effect is not evident.

During the cyclic jacking process, a loading/unloading


loop was conducted in each stroke. Thus the whole
installation is equivalent to a set of loading tests conducted
at different embedded depths. The initial pile group vertical
stiffness (Kc,install), in other words the initial gradient of the
pile cap axial loadsettlement curve, increases almost
linearly with increasing embedded depth, as shown in
Fig. 6. The initial pile group base stiffness (Kb,install), that is
the sum of the four individual pile base stiffnesses, is also
plotted here to exclude the benefit from the pile shaft
friction. Kb,install is similar to Kc,install at shallow depths
owing to the negligible shaft friction; while Kb,install is
smaller than Kc,install at depths over 30 mm, this difference
increases with increasing depth since the pile shaft friction
becomes more considerable at depth.
Moreover, the ratio of the Kb,install to the mobilised pile
group base capacity reduces from 3?5 to 1?4 mm21 as the
embedded depth increases from 15 mm to 180 mm, as
shown in Fig. 7. This phenomenon is similar to test results
from Deeks (2008), indicating that the Kb,install is proportional to the soil small strain shear modulus, which is
approximately proportional to the square root of the soil
vertical effective stress (McDowell & Bolton, 2001).
Table 1 lists the maximum installation force of the pile
group at the final penetration depth for all centrifuge tests.
The average value of the installation force is 10 400 N, and
the coefficient of variation is 5?4%; therefore, these pile
group centrifuge tests are very repeatable.
Additionally, during the jacking process, individual piles
of a pile group shared the pile cap force equally, and had
the same force distribution, as shown in Fig. 8. This
indicates that the pile group was jacked vertically without
any obvious eccentric force.

Pile initial stiffness at prototype scale: kN/m

250 000

500 000

750 000

Stiffness ratio at prototype scale: 1/m


60
20
40

80

Pile cap

80

120

160

200

5000
10000
15000
Pile initial stiffness at model scale: N/mm

10

Fig. 6. The initial pile group stiffness variation during cyclic


jacking installation

40

80

120

160

200

2
1
3
Stiffness ratio at model scale: 1/mm

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

40

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

Pile bases

10

Fig. 7. Ratio of pile group base stiffness to the mobilised pile


group base capacity during cyclic jacking installation

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The response of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads

51

Pile head axial force at prototype scale: kN


0

2500

5000

2500

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

Pile 1

5000

Pile 2

40

40

80

80

120

120

160

160

200

500

1000

1500

2500

2000

10
2500

5000
0

200

500

1000

1500

2500

2000

5000

10
2500

Pile 4

Pile 3
40

40

80

80

120

120

160

160

200

500

1000

1500

2000

10
2500

200

500

1000

1500

2000

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

10
2500

Pile head axial force at model scale: N


(a)
Pile base axial force at prototype scale: kN
0

2500

2500

5000

40

80

80

120

120

160

160

Pile 1

40

Penetration depth at model scale: mm

5000

200

500

1000

1500

2500

2000

5000

10
2500

200

Pile 2

500

1000

0
2

1500

2500

2000

5000

10
2500

40

80

80

120

120

160

160

Pile 3

40

200

500

1000

1500

2000

10
2500

200

Pile 4

500

1000

0
2

1500

2000

Penetration depth at prototype scale: m

10
2500

Pile base axial force at model scale: N


(b)

Fig. 8. Penetration resistances of individual piles for a jacked pile group: (a) pile head axial force of individual piles during
penetration process; (b) pile base resistance of individual piles during penetration process

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60
5
11
10
10
20
20
5
10

PJ, pre-jacking; MJ, monotonic jacking; CJ, cyclic jacking.

160
1000
875
600
200

1000
1000
600
750
600

One-way
One-way
One-way
Two-way
Two-way

Twoway
160
Two-way
Two-way
Two-way
Two-way

Two-way

PJ
PJ
MJ
MJ
CJ
MJ
PJ
PJ
PJ

Pile
type
Cyclic load
type
Cyclic load
amplitude: N
Cyclic load
number

PJ

ZL08-1-2
ZL08-1-1
ZL08-4-2
ZL08-4-1
ZL074
ZL07-2
ZL08-3-4
ZL08-3-3
ZL08-3-2
ZL08-3-1

Table 2. Cyclic lateral load information

Lateral performance of pile groups


In the current research, force-controlled lateral load cycles
were conducted at the pile cap. The cyclic load ratio RH, that
is the minimum load/maximum load in a cycle, is considered
to be an important characteristic of cyclic loads. Two typical
RH values are used here, RH 5 0 representing one-way cyclic
loads and RH 5 21 representing two-way cyclic loads. The
cyclic load frequency is not considered here since the loading
rate was chosen to be around 0?1 mm/s to obtain quasi-static
behaviour. The parameters of these cyclic lateral loads are
listed in Table 2.
Figure 9(a) presents the pile cap lateral response of the
monotonically jacked and cyclically jacked pile groups in
the first two-way lateral load cycle. The cyclic lateral load
displacement curves of both jacked pile groups in the
following load cycles are similar to those in the first cycle,
without any permanent lateral displacement or pile group
lateral stiffness variation. It is seen that a cyclically jacked
pile group has a similar response to a monotonically jacked
pile group under subsequent cyclic lateral loads. Therefore,
only the monotonically jacked pile group is used to
represent the behaviour of the jacked pile group in this
paper.
Figure 9(b) presents pile cap lateral forcedisplacement
curves for the pre-jacked pile group subjected to cyclic
lateral load with a small amplitude of 200 N. It should be
noted that an axial load was applied on the pile cap to
model the dead weight of the structure before cyclic lateral
loading. A small lateral load was induced because the pile
group was not perfectly vertical, causing a non-zero initial
lateral load at the onset of lateral cycling. This initial lateral
load seems to have negligible effect on the pile group
behaviour under cyclic lateral loads. These lateral force
displacement curves form narrow hysteresis loops, with the
secant stiffness reducing marginally with increased lateral
displacement. It is seen that no permanent lateral displacement of the pile group was accumulated during the cyclic
loading process. Under small-amplitude two-way cyclic
lateral loads, the deformation of the soil surrounding the
pile shaft, especially at depth, is very small. Thus the pile
cap cyclic lateral loaddisplacement response is quasielastic and repeatable without any pile cap permanent
displacement.
Figure 9(c) presents pile cap lateral forcedisplacement
curves for the pre-jacked pile group subjected to cyclic
lateral load with a large amplitude of 1000 N. Although
the cyclic lateral loads induced a significant pile cap lateral
displacement of 2?1 mm (21% of pile diameter), these
cyclic forcedisplacement curves are also repeatable. No
permanent lateral displacement accumulated during the

ZL08-2

In Fig. 8, at the final penetration depth, the average


individual pile head axial force, base resistance and shaft friction
are 2475 N, 1965 N and 510 N respectively. The ratio of the pile
base resistance to the pile head axial force is around 80%.
The load at the pile cap reduced to zero after the
installation. However, residual stresses were locked in the
piles. This is because the surrounding sand prevents the pile
from rebounding upwards, producing negative (downwards) skin friction on the upper part of the shaft and
positive (upwards) skin friction on the lower part of the
shaft. At the same time, a portion of the base resistance still
remains at the pile tip, as shown in Fig. 8(b). The ratios of
the residual force to the ultimate capacity of the base
resistance and shaft friction are about 8% and 30%
respectively. These ratios are not as large as those from
other test results (Poulos, 1987; Jacobsz, 2002) owing to the
smooth surface of the pile shaft used in these tests.

MJ

Li, Haigh and Bolton

Test number

52

The response of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads


Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm
500

250

_100

_250

_200

_500

0.1

0.2

100

_100

_250

_200

_500

_600

_1200

_1500

_2

_1

_50
800

3000

1500

_0.2

Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm

The 1st cycle


The 2nd_5th cycles
600

0.4
0.2
0
Lateral displacement at model scale: mm
(b)

_3000

Lateral displacement at model scale: mm


(c)

Lateral force at model scale: N

50

250

_0.4

Lateral force at prototype scale: kN

Lateral force at model scale: N

1200

500

100

Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm


_50

20

The 2nd_10th cycles

200

Lateral displacement at model scale: mm


(a)
_100

10

_25

25

50

2000

The 1st cycle


The 2nd_5th cycles
400

1000

_400

_800
_1.0

_1000

_0.5

0.5

1.0

Lateral force at prototype scale: kN

_0.1

Lateral force at prototype scale: kN

100

_10

The 1st cycle


Lateral force at model scale: N

Monotonic-jacked
Cyclic-jacked

_0.2

_20
Lateral force at prototype scale: kN

Lateral force at model scale: N

200

Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm


_10
_5
0
5
10

53

_2000

Lateral displacement at model scale: mm


(d)

Fig. 9. Lateral forcedisplacement curves of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads: (a) monotonic-jacked and cyclic-jacked pile
groups in the first two-way lateral load cycle in test ZL07-2 and ZL07-4; (b) pre-jacked pile group under two-way cyclic lateral loads
in test ZL08-3-1; (c) pre-jacked pile group under two-way cyclic lateral loads in test ZL08-3-4; (d) jacked pile group under two-way
cyclic loads in test ZL08-4-1

large-amplitude two-way cyclic lateral loading test, similar


to those curves under small-amplitude cyclic lateral loads.
However, these curves displayed local softening with a
reduced tangent stiffness of the pile cap whenever the pile

2.0

Normalised pile secant stiffness

Pre-jacked 200 N
1.8

Pre-jacked 1000 N
Jacked 600 N

1.6

Jacked + 1000 N

1.4
1.2
1.0
0.8

10
Cycle number

Fig. 10. Pile cap normalised lateral secant stiffness in cyclic


lateral load tests

group passes its original position. Moreover, the response


of the monotonically jacked pile group under two-way
cyclic lateral loads is similar to that of the pre-jacked pile
group, although the local softening behaviour in the force
displacement curves is even more evident, as shown in
Fig. 9(d).
Figure 10 shows the overall pile cap lateral secant
stiffnesses in each load cycle, normalised by the stiffness
value in the first cycle. The secant stiffness is calculated
based on the position of the pile cap at the beginning of
that cycle, not the initial pile cap position. The pile secant
stiffness is seen to increase slightly with increasing number
of lateral load cycles. The best explanation is that the cyclic
lateral movement of the pile group induces local densification of the sand surrounding the pile shafts.
This local densification due to lateral cycling will reduce
the radial effective stresses on the pile as it passes its neutral
position, where the lateral load is zero, rather in the fashion
of White & Lehanes (2004) friction fatigue model for axial
cycling. This would explain the local tangent stiffness
reduction. The response is analogous to the post-holing
effect described by Fleming et al. (1992) as involving a gap
opening up around piles under combined axial and cyclic
lateral loading, leading to the failure of piles close to their
neutral position. Soil densification could also explain overall
secant stiffness enhancement when the pile has been pushed

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Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm
0
50
100
150

Lateral force at model scale: N

The 1st cycle


The 2nd_60th cycles
1000

2500

500

1250

0
_1

0
0
1
2
Lateral displacement at model scale: mm

Lateral force at prototype scale: kN

_50

3.5
3.0

175
Maximum displacement
Minimum displacement

150

2.5

125

2.0

100

1.5

75

1.0

50

0.5

25

0
100

101

0
102

Lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm

Lateral displacement at model scale: mm

(a)

Cycle numbers

2.0

100

1.5

75

1.0

50

0.5

25

0 0
10

101

102

Displacement magnitude at prototype scale: mm

Displacement magnitude at model scale: mm

(b)

Cycle numbers

scale, its value arriving at 1?25 mm after 60 cycles. As before,


the pile cap lateral secant stiffness in each load cycle increased
and the displacement amplitude reduced slightly with
increasing number of force-controlled lateral load cycles, as
shown in Fig. 11(c). Evidently, the effect of cyclic lateral loads
on the lateral accumulated displacement and pile cap secant
stiffness is greatest for the first load cycle, with the effect of
cyclic loads diminishing as cycling continues.
With one-way cyclic shearing, the induced lateral stress
states will be large at maximum displacement and small
at the end of the return leg. This lack of symmetry is
thought to lead to the progressive lateral displacements, in
contrast to symmetrical two-way loading.
Interaction effect within pile groups
Figure 12 presents the lateral forcedisplacement curves of
individual piles of the pre-jacked pile group under two-way
cyclic lateral loads with an amplitude of 1000 N. Piles P1
and P2 are in the same row; piles P3 and P4 are in the other
row. The spacing of individual piles is four times the pile
diameter. It is evident that the lateral responses of individual
piles in different rows are quite different from each other.
During the first quarter-cycle, the pile group moves
forward in the positive direction. The piles P1 and P2 are
leading piles, and their lateral secant stiffnesses are much
larger than those of the trailing piles P3 and P4, while the
behaviours of individual piles in the same row are similar to
each other. This is because the soil restraining the leading
edges of the trailing piles is affected by the movement of the
leading piles, and thus the stress level and the stiffness of
the soil is reduced by this pile group interaction effect,
causing the behaviour of the trailing piles to be less stiff
than those of the leading piles. The maximum force exerted
on pile P1 or P2 is 330 N, while that on pile P3 or P4 is
100 N, as shown in Fig. 12. When the pile group is
unloaded and loaded in the opposite direction, piles P1 and
P2 become trailing piles, and piles P3 and P4 are leading
piles. The responses of piles P3 and P4 are much stiffer than
those of piles P1 and P2. The minimum force exerted on
pile P1 or P2 is 2170 N, while that on pile P3 or P4 is
2400 N. Although the extreme forces of individual piles in
different rows are different, the force amplitudes of these
individual piles are similar, indicating that the globe secant
stiffnesses of the individual piles of the pile group under
two-way cyclic lateral loads are similar to each other.
Moreover, the interaction effect of individual piles is also
evident for the pile group under one-way cyclic lateral
loads, as shown in Fig. 13. The responses of the leading
piles P1 and P2 are around 27% stiffer than the trailing
piles P3 and P4 owing to the pile group interaction effect.

(c)

Fig. 11. The response of a jacked pile group under one-way


cyclic lateral loads in test ZL08-2: (a) cyclic lateral force
displacement curves; (b) maximum and minimum displacement; (c) displacement amplitude

far enough from its neutral position to regenerate large


lateral stresses on the leading edge of the pile.
On the other hand, Fig. 11(a) presents the response of the
monotonically jacked pile group subjected to one-way cyclic
lateral loads with an amplitude of 1000 N. Unlike two-way
cyclic lateral loads, one-way cyclic lateral loads induce
significant accumulated permanent lateral displacements of
the pile group, as shown in Fig. 11(b). This accumulated
permanent lateral displacement increases approximately
linearly with increasing number of cycles on a logarithmic

Axial performance of pile groups


During the cyclic lateral loading process, a constant axial
force of approximately 1800 N was applied to the pile cap
to model the dead load of the superstructure. However, a
swaying motion of the pile group is induced by the pile cap
lateral movement, leading to individual pile head cyclic
axial forces and displacements. Fig. 14 shows the variation
of individual pile head axial forces of the monotonically
jacked pile group subjected to cyclic lateral loads with an
amplitude of 600 N.
The maximum compression axial force is beyond 1200 N
and the maximum pull-out axial force is around 200 N. A pile
cap permanent settlement of 0?42 mm accumulated cycle by
cycle during this cyclic lateral loading process, as shown in
Fig. 15. The maximum accumulated permanent settlements
in all tests are listed in Table 3. The settlement increases with

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The response of pile groups under cyclic lateral loads


Pile lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm
_100 _50
50 100 150
0
400

Pile 1

200
Pile head lateral force at model scale: N

500

_200

100

150

Pile 2

200

500

_500 _200

_400

400

50

_2

_400

_1

_100 _50

50

100

150

Pile 3

200

500

_200
_400

_500

400

_2

_1

_100 _50

50

100

150

Pile 4

200

500

_500 _200
_2

_1

_400

Pile head lateral force at prototype scale: kN

400

_100 _50

55

_500
_2

_1

Pile lateral displacement at model scale: mm

Fig. 12. Lateral forcedisplacement curves of individual piles under two-way cyclic lateral loads

increasing amplitude of cyclic lateral loads. Additionally, the


settlement of the pre-jacked pile group is much larger than
that of the monotonically jacked pile group. This is because
the pile group jacked in at 50g has a stiffer base response than
the pre-jacked pile group owing to the stresses induced during
insertion. The jacked pile group also has a higher shaft
resistance and therefore higher stiffness caused by the larger
radial stress in the soil surrounding the pile shafts induced
during the jacking process.
CONCLUSIONS
Cyclic lateral loads with different amplitudes were applied
to model pile groups after installation in the centrifuge. The

performance of pre-jacked pile groups and jacked pile


groups subjected to cyclic lateral loads were investigated.
The installation forces of monotonically jacked pile
groups and cyclically jacked pile groups are similar to each
other, the friction fatigue effect not being evident during
the cyclic jacking process.
In the cyclic jacking installation, the initial pile group
vertical stiffness and the initial pile group base stiffness in
each loading stroke increased with increasing embedded
depth. The ratio of the initial pile group base stiffness to the
mobilised pile group base capacity reduced with increasing
embedded depth, indicating that the pile group base
stiffness is proportional to the small strain shear modulus
of soil.

Pile lateral displacement at prototype scale: mm


75

100

125

750 300

50

Pile head lateral force at model scale: N

Pile 1

75

100

125

750

Pile 2

200

500 200

500

100

250 100

250

0
0.5

300

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

50

75

100

125

3.0

0
0.5

750 300

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

50

75

100

125

Pile 3

Pile 4

3.0

750

200

500 200

100

250 100

250

0
0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

3.0

500

0
0.5

1.0

1.5

2.0

2.5

Pile lateral displacement at model scale: mm

Fig. 13. Lateral forcedisplacement curves of individual piles under one-way cyclic lateral loads

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3.0

Pile head lateral force at prototype scale: kN

300

50

1000

2500

500

1250

0
_500

200

400

600

800

1000

1200

Piles 3 and 4

1500

0
_1250

3750

1000

2500

500

1250

0
_500

200

400

600

1000

800

1200

0
_1250

1.0

0.5

25

_25

_0.5
0

Elapsed time: s

Fig. 14. Axial force variation of individual piles during the cyclic
lateral load test ZL08-4-1

50

Piles 1 and 2
Piles 3 and 4
Average

200

400

600
800
Elapsed time: s

1000

Axial displacement at prototype scale: mm

Axial displacement at model scale: mm

3750

Axial displacement at model scale: mm

Piles 1 and 2

1500

Pile head axial force at prototype scale: kN

Li, Haigh and Bolton

56

1200

Fig. 15. Axial displacements accumulated during the cyclic


lateral load test ZL08-4-1

Table 3. Permanent settlement accumulated during cyclic lateral load tests


Test number
Pile type
Cyclic load amplitude: N
Cyclic load number
Permanent settlement: mm

ZL08-3-1

ZL08-3-2

ZL08-3-3

ZL08-4-1

ZL08-4-2

ZL08-1-1

ZL08-1-2

ZL08-2

PJ
200

PJ
600

PJ
875

MJ
600

MJ
750

PJ
+600

PJ
+1000

MJ
+1000

10
1?6

5
2?4

5
3?0

10
0?42

10
1?23

11
2?5

5
1?3

60
2?05

PJ, pre-jacking; MJ, monotonic jacking.

Significant permanent lateral displacements of the pile


group accumulate under one-way cyclic lateral loading but
not with two-way symmetric cyclic loading. This accumulated permanent lateral displacement increases approximately linearly with the logarithm of the number of oneway cycles.
The pile group lateral secant stiffness increases slightly
under cyclic lateral loads, possibly caused by the local
densification of sand surrounding individual pile shafts.
However, when the pile group is close to its original
location, the stress level of the sand at the pilesoil interface
can drop, inducing local softening of the pile group. Both
observations are consistent with the effects of cyclic
densification.
When the spacing of individual piles is four times the pile
diameter, interaction effects on the pile group are
significant. Under cyclic lateral loads, the soil within the
pile group in front of the trailing piles is affected by the
movement of leading piles, and thus the stress level and the
stiffness of the soil reduces. The leading piles have larger
pile head secant stiffnesses and carry higher loads than the
trailing piles.
A constant axial force was applied on the pile cap, but a
swaying motion of the pile group was induced by the cyclic
lateral loads. Individual piles were thus subjected to cyclic
axial loads induced by the lateral loads, causing large
accumulated permanent settlements. The settlement
increases with increasing amplitude of cyclic lateral loads.
Additionally, the settlement of the pre-jacked pile group is
much larger than that of the monotonically jacked pile
group, because the more highly stressed soil created by inflight jacking installation causes an increased stiffness in
the soil surrounding individual piles.
These tests provide a better understanding of the
influence of cyclic lateral loads on the performance of pile

groups, offering some insights regarding appropriate


construction and design methods.
NOTATION
d50
Kcinstall
Kbinstall
RH

average particle size


initial pile group vertical stiffness
initial pile group base stiffness
cyclic load ratio

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This research was funded by Atkins Geotechnics and by
Giken Seisakusho Ltd. The first author is also supported
by the China Scholarship Council and the Cambridge
Overseas Trust.
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