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Cyclic Pile Load Test on Large diameter Piles, A Case Study

Anil A Kamat
Sr. Vice president Jaiprakash Associates Limited, Email ID: anil.kamat@gmail.com
Renu R Mahuli
Project Co ordinator Noble Geo Structs, Email ID: info@noblegeostructs.com

ABSTRACT: Jaypee DSC ventures Limited was awarded the work of 27 km long, Access controlled Expressway NH–
8 Project (Delhi – Gurgaon section) on BOOT basis. It has an 8 access controlled lanes and 6 service lanes expressway
with 13 nos. of flyovers / underpasses at various junctions. Length of the flyovers/ elevated carriage ways varies
between 400m to 1300 m. The site specific soil investigation had revealed existence of typical Yamuna Sand followed
by weathered rock at certain locations. Considering the variation in depth of sandy strata, at various locations the design
pile depth varied from 12 m to 26 m. Hence it was intended to derive useful guidelines for the purpose of selection of
design parameters. Although the test piles were showing the requisite capacity, due to large variation in strata it was
difficult to adopt these results for adjoining locations. Hence, cyclic load test were conducted on series of piles to arrive
at a relationship between the pile load capacity and the depth of pile. Based on cyclic pile load test data, it was possible
to separate the pile capacity in to skin friction and end bearing components. Based on these investigations, a rational
approach could be adopted to decide depth of piles to be provided for the entire stretch. The case study presents analysis
of 4 different sites and highlights usefulness of cyclic tests.

INTRODUCTION: chowk V3 28.400 Dry 20.25 Cyclic
Construction of flyovers at all the crossings was Rajiv L3 33.220 Bentonite 20.25 Cyclic
essential for conversion of dual carriageway highway from chowk
14.3 km to 42 km of NH8 (Delhi Gurgaon Section) into Shankar V11 24.840 Bentonite 18 Cyclic
access controlled 8/6 lane highway. The sandy substrata
necessitated adoption of Pile Foundation for flyovers. Piles were cast either without bentonite slurry circulation
About 1500 Piles were estimated for the project. (dry) or with bentonite slurry circulation (bentonite).
Considering the spread of the project, it was not possible
to provide for large number of test piles. The flyover
foundation was subjected to cyclic loading (both axial &
lateral). The Pile load test is intended to validate the
computed capacity for pile foundation and also to provide
information for improvement of design rationale. Pile tests
were also used to provide a methodology for assessing the
pile tip elevations of the working piles. Attempt has been
made to understand the skin friction development in cyclic
pile load tests. Based on the assessed unit skin friction, the
length of pile is estimated the guidelines have been
established to co relate the basic shear parameters from
soil investigation with the pile capacity. All piles were of
1200mm diameter.
Details regarding test pile locations, pile depth,
type of test conducted is given below. The test piles were
installed with cut off levels in the same range as that of the
proposed working piles at later stage.


Location Test Chainage, Boring Pile Type of
pile km method dept test
no. for pile h, m
Rajokri V1 22.155 Dry 20.25 Maintained
junction V2 22.155 Bentonite 20.25 Cyclic
IFFCO V4 28.060 Bentonite 20.25 Maintained
Fig 1 Test Pile Locations
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION OF PILES. 4 Shankar chowk 17-43 33 48 40
Based on subsurface data, piles were designed for Depth, m 0 - 12 12 – 20
435t load as per IS 2911 provisions. Bored cast in situ Concrete properties
piles were formed by using rotary rig with M35 Grade The M-35 grade of concrete was used which showed ‘E’
concrete. In all the cases, test setup with 1000t Kentledge value as 3.15 x 105 kg/cm2
was used.
Subsoil Properties ANALYSIS
The soil investigation at site indicated loose to medium Load Test Setup
fine sand followed by dense sand or weathered rock is Loading has been realized by means of system of
given below. kentledge
1. Rajokri Load Settlement Data Presentation
The top layer of filled up material was observed up to Cyclic Pile load test were conducted at IFFCO Chowk,
a depth varying from 0.5m to 1.35m from existing Rajokri Junction, Rajiv Junction & Shankar Chowk. The
ground level. load settlement curves are given below.
The top layer was followed by soft to hard yellowish
brown/ brown/reddish brown sandy silt of low Pile Load Test
plasticity with varying proportion of gravels, sand, silt 0
Load ,t
and clay. This layer was extending up to 30.3m The -6 0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
SPT values for the strata were observed as 18 for -12
strata up to 12m and 25 for strata between 12m and -18

20m below pile cutoff level. -24

2. IIFCO Chowk
The top layer of filled material was observed up to a Settlement,mm
depth of one meter from the existing ground level, IFFCO Chowk
sandy silt with gravels was extending up to 30.3m. -54
Rajiv Junction
SPT values were observed as 12 for strata up to 4.5m -60
Shankar Chowk
and 30 for strata below 4.5m from pile cut off level. -66
3. Rajiv Chowk
The sub-soil profile showed homogeneous strata -84
overall. It consisted of sandy silt with gravels. The -90
sieve analysis showed gravel 4-10%, sand 20-32%, -96
silt 58-76. The soil was non-plastic in nature. The Fig 2 Cyclic Pile load test Graph
bulk density was assessed as 1.69 g/cc up to 12m and Load deformation curves show soil sub-grade
1.75 g/cc further below. The SPT values of the strata deformations that are much lesser in magnitude than the
were observed as 10 up to 12m and 18 between 12m elastic compression of pile material.
and 20m from pile cutoff level. At Rajokri, comparison of maintained & cyclic load tests,
4. Shankar Chowk shown in fig, where deterioration of capacity is visible in
The strata met with was predominantly non-plastic cyclic test.
sandy silt with traces of gravel. The sieve analysis
shows 4% gravel, 15% - 20% sand, 76%-81% silt. Rajokri
Wet density was assessed about 1.89 g/c up to 15m Load,t
and about 2.1 g/cc beyond it. The SPT values were
0 200 400 600 800 1000 1200
observed varying from 36-50 for strata up to 12m.and
48 beyond 12mfrom pile cut off level.
Shear Parameters -12
The angle of friction observation from the laboratory tests

is given in table below -18

Sr. Location SPT - N  degrees SPT - N  -24

No. degrees Cyclic

1 Rajokri chowk 19 26 26 36
Depth, m 0 - 12 12 - 20 -36
2 IFFCO chowk 12 28 30 37
Depth, m 0 – 4.5 4.5 – 20 -42
3 Rajiv chowk 10 28 50 41
Depth, m 0 – 12 12 – 20 Fig 3 Cyclic & maintained load Graph
Theoretical Pile capacity calculations made as per IS 2911 Fig 5 Cyclic Pile load test Graph
Part 1. These calculations are done considering angle of The values are summarized for ready reference in table.
shearing resistance as 280 through the pile length. Earlier Table 3: ASSESSMENT OF SKIN FRINCTION AND
instrumented pile results have shown 55% as skin friction END BEARING COMPONENT FOR THE DESIGN
contribution LOAD
Methods of assigning safe load on piles Location Skin End bearing Vertical load
1) SPT values and shear parameters obtained at different friction, resistance, capacity of
depths are made use of in static pile formulae to assess ton ton pile, ton
safe loads on piles of different lengths. Rajokri junction 400 050 450
2) Pile load tests, Cyclic as well as maintained load test
IFFCO chowk 375 175 450
are used to establish and ascertain the contribution of
end bearing and skin friction components in pile Rajiv chowk 300 150 450
capacity. Shankar chowk 320 130 450
Consider skin friction as 55%.
Depth Vs Total Skin Friction
0 5 10 15 20 25 30
-100 Locati Safe Assessed Unit skin Weight Averag
-150 on load skin friction ed unit e
-200 @ 12 friction skin skin weighte
Skin Friction

-250 mm compon friction/(d friction d unit

Borehole Data settle ent L) T/m2 = skin skin
Rajokri Junction ment (55%) T friction/ friction
IFFCO Junction T (dLeff) T/m2
Rajiv Chowk T/m2
Shankar Chowk IFFCO
-500 Maint 513 287 3.75 4.35
Depth chowk
Fig 4 Skin Friction Graph load
junctio 510 285 3.73 4.32
Test Results test
Elastic rebound observed in cyclic load tests. IFFCO
The elastic rebound observed particular load increment 633 344 4.5 5.20 4.52
stage of 400 t are 1 to 1.5 mm The percentage of (elastic Rajokri
rebound / total settlement) observed at 400T load stage at junctio 440 246 3.22 3.73
Rajokri, IFFCO chowk, Rajiv chowk and Shankar chowk Cyclic
are 61%, 88%, 94% and 63% respectively. Similarly for load
640 T load stage the corresponding values are 40%, 81%, test 640 352 4.67 5.33
93% and 37% respectively, thus indicating that
settlements are instantaneous in nature. The contribution
r 452 248.6 3.66 4.23
of skin friction and end bearing components from the
vertical pile load test data are as per provision of IS 2911
(Part 4).
Thus 17.04 t/m is the average skin friction contribution. In
Pile Load Test
general ultimate point capacity is not developed until after
0 200 400 600 800 1000
the ultimate skin resistance and the ultimate shaft
resistance is not simultaneously developed along the full
pile shaft. For analysis following cases are considered.
Elastic Compression of subgrade, mm

Case I
When the pile is supported entirely as end bearing the
deformation observed incorporate the elastic compression
of pile due to full length of pile. Here the load applied at
the pile head is entirely transmitted at pile tip. The load is
IFFCO Chowk transmitted through end bearing, when the deformations
Rajokri Junction induced are of the order of 10% of diameter, as per IS
Rajiv Junction
such large deformations are not observed in the pile load
Shankar Chowk
tests conducted for the project. Apparently the end bearing
contribution is not manifested as sub strata contribution 3. From theoretical calculations separation of the end
from pile tip bearing and skin friction shows that end bearing
Case II component is around 40% of total load.
During initial stages of load applications skin friction is 4. The skin friction is seen to be around 17 T/m
mobilized along full length of pile. As further load 5. Data from test should not be used to lengthen or
mobilized skin friction gradually increases, until the shorten the pile to the extent that their new capacities
limiting, value of shaft skin friction resistance is reached. will vary more than 10% from test.
Only marginal say 10% - 15% point resistance is
developed at this stage and deformations are of the order REFERENCE CODES
of 3-10mm .On further settlement gradually end bearing 1. IS 2911, Part IV
resistance increases. Full end bearing resistance is 2. A cyclic Pile Load Test at Shuaiba Maqal Road,
mobilized at settlement of the order of 10 % of pile IGC 84, VOLI, pg 33-37.

The length of pile evaluated from shear parameter, from

cyclic pile, from maintained load test, and from cyclic pile
results are tabulated below.


LocatioLoa AnalyticalFrom From From Averag
n d, t calculatio skin skin skin e
ns from friction friction frictio
shear separate as 55% n as
paramete d as per of safe 55%
rs IS cyclic load of safe
maintain load
ed cyclic
Rajokri 300 14.00 9.72 12.80 14.40 12.70
Rajokri 350 15.00 10.92 14.51 16.42 14.20
Rajokri 400 15.50 12.13 16.23 18.41 15.60
Rajokri 450 16.50 13.33 17.94 20.40 17.00
IFFCO '300 14.00 10.20 12.70 10.00 11.90
IFFCO 350 15.00 11.48 14.44 12.18 13.30
IFFCO 400 15.50 12.77 16.15 13.56 14.50
IFFCO 450 16.50 14.05 17.85 14.94 15.80
Rajiv 300 14.00 12.13 10.70 12.30
Rajiv 350 15.00 13.73 12.07 13.60
Rajiv 400 15.5 15.33 13.44 14.80
Rajiv 450 16.50 16.94 14.81 16.10
Shankar300 14.00 11.52 10.20 11.90
Shankar350 15.00 13.03 11.53 13.20
Shankar400 15.50 14.53 12.82 14.30
Shankar450 16.50 16.04 14.12 15.60

1. For large diameter piles, as per the present IS codes
12mm & 10% of diameter are set as controlling
settlements. The 12mm settlement appears realistic.
2. The test results have shown capacity much higher
than design capacity of 435t for 20m length. Average
capacity based on 4 tests carried out works out to be
around 524T.