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POULOS, H. G. and DAVIS, E. H., 1968. Gdotechnipe, 18: 351-371.

THE SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY


LOADED INCOMPRESSIBLE PILES AND PIERS
H. G. POULOS, B.E., Ph.D., A.M.I.E. Aust.*
and
E. H. DAVIS, B.Sc.(Eng.), A.M.I.C.E., A.M.I.E. Aust.*

SYNOPSIS
The settlement behaviour of a single axially On analyse le comportement au tassement d’un tas
loaded incompressible cylindrical pile in an ideal cylindrique incompressible soumis & une charge
elastic soil mass is analysed using Mindlin’s equa- selon l’axe dans une masse ideale de sol Blastique en
tions. By considering the pile as a number of utilisant les equations de Mindlin. En considerant
le tas comme un nombre d’elements cylindriques a
uniformly loaded cylindrical eIements together with
charge uniforme ainsi qu’une base circulaire a charge
a uniformly loaded circular base, solutions are ob- uniforme, on obtient des solutions pour la repartition
tained for the distribution of shear stress along the de l’effort de cisaillement sur le tas et le mouvement
pile and the displacement of the pile. du tas.
Influence factors are presented for the settlement Des facteurs d’influence sont present& pour le
of a pile in a semi-infinite mass and in a finite layer, tassement d’un tas dans une masse partiellement
and the effects of the length to diameter ratio of the infinie et dans une couche finie, et les effets du
pile, Poisson’s ratio of the soil and the depth of the rapport de la longueur au diametre du tas, le nombre
de Poisson du sol et la profondeur du sol sont
soil are examined. A significant result of the analyses
examines. Un resultat significatif des analyses est
is that the major portion of the total final settle- que la majeure partie du tassement final total d’un
ment of a single pile in an ideal soil occurs as im- tas unique dans un sol ideal a lieu sous forme d’un
mediate settlement and that only a small proportion tassement immediat et qu’une petite proportion
occurs as time-dependent consolidation settlement. seulement a lieu sous forme d’un tassement dont la
The effect of an enlarged base on the behaviour consolidation depend du temps.
of a single pile is examined and it is shown that the L’effet d’un socle Blargi sur le comportement d’un
effect is of major significance only for relatively tas unique est examine et on montre que I’effet est
d’une importance majeure seulement dans le cas de
short piles.
tas relativement courts.
The elastic analysis is extended to include the L’analyse de i’elasticite est Btendue pour compren-
effect of local shear failure between the pile and dre l’effet de rupture locale par cisaillement entre le
cohesive soil and the load-settlement behaviour up tas et le sol coherent et le comportement du tasse-
to general failure is given for typical cases. ment de la charge jusqu’a rupture generale est
Some approximate solutions for the rate of present6 pour des cas typiques.
settlement of a single pile are given. It is found On donne quelques solutions approximatives pour
that the hydraulic boundary conditions of the pile la vitesse de tassement d’un tas unique. On trouve
que les conditions limites hydrauliques du tas ont
have a considerable influence on the rate of settle-
une influence considerable sur la vitesse de tasse-
ment at early times and that the rate of settlement ment tot et que la vitesse de tassement d’un tas est
of a pile is generally slower than that of a surface en general plus lente que celle d’un empattement de
footing of the same radius. surface d’un m&me rayon.

INTRODUCTION
Most existing methods of predicting the settlement of pile foundations rely on more or less
arbitrary assumptions of the way in which the piles transfer their load to the soil. Further-
more such methods generally compute the settlement by means of one dimensional theory,
whereas the geometry of a deep foundation such as a pile or group of piles clearly should
receive three dimensional treatment. With the advent of computers more sophisticated
analyses of pile behaviour have become feasible. Several investigators have recently outlined
methods, based on elastic theory, which may be used to analyse the behaviour of a single
axially-loaded pile (e.g. Seed and Reese, 1955; D’Appolonia and Romualdi, 1963; Thurman
and D’Appolonia, 1965; Salas and Belzunce, 1965; Coyle and Reese, 1966). While several

* Department of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney.


3+c. 351
352 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

problems associated with a single pile, such as the behaviour of a floating or ‘friction’ pile, the
behaviour of an end-bearing pile and the influence of down-drag or ‘negative friction’, have
been considered, most solutions published to date have dealt with specific cases and therefore
do not cover a sufficient range of variables to have general application. Little has been
published on the influence of such variables as the length to diameter ratio of the pile, the
depth of the soil layer, and the soil parameters on the settlement behaviour of a pile.
In this Paper, linear elastic theory is used to analyse the behaviour of a single axially
loaded incompressible floating cylindrical pile in an ideal two phase elastic soil. A wide range
of length to diameter ratios is considered and influence factors for the settlement of a pile in a
semi-infinite mass and in a finite layer are given for four values of Poisson’s ratio of the soil.
The effects of slip between the pile and the soil and of an enlarged pile base are investigated.
Some approximate solutions are also given for the rate of settlement of a single pile.
The results presented in this Paper are relevant to the case of a single pile in soft clay
since in this case the pile is virtually incompressible in relation to the surrounding soil. For
piles in stiff clay the compressibility of the pile itself may have a significant influence and the
use of the theory for an incompressible pile will generally lead to an underestimate of the
settlement of the top of a compressible pile. However, detailed consideration of the effects
of pile compressibility is outside the scope of this Paper. It is emphasized that the results
presented refer strictly to single piles or piers and, although they will be approximately
applicable to individual piles of a very widely spaced group of piles, the interaction between
closely spaced piles causes considerable modification to the settlement behaviour of any one
pile. Theoretical work is currently being undertaken on pile groups and shows, for example,
that the settlement of a pile having a length to diameter ratio of 25 is increased over 400/,
by the addition of a second pile with the same load as the first at a distance of 5 diameters.

METHOD OF ANALYSIS

The pile is assumed to consist of s cylindrical elements each acted upon by a uniform
shear loading p and a uniform radial stress (T and a circular base having a uniform vertical
stress 9,. It will be assumed in the initial analysis that the sides of the pile are perfectly
rough but that the base is perfectly smooth, i.e. no shear stresses are developed on the base.
If the pile is incompressible each element must suffer an equal vertical displacement pZ and
zero radial displacement pr. The correct distributions of p, 0 and p, will be those which
satisfy the above conditions of displacement compatibility.
It has been found by Mattes (1967), however, that the consideration of compatibility of
both vertical and radial displacements leads to a solution for the distribution of shear stress
and the settlement of the pile which is almost identical with the solution obtained by con-
sidering compatibility of vertical displacements alone. The radial stresses on the pile are
typically only of the order of 0.5% of the shear stress on the pile. Thus, in the subsequent
derivations and solutions, only compatibility of vertical displacements is considered.
Considering a typical element i as in Fig. 1, the vertical displacement of the soil adjacent
to the pile at i due to the stresses on an element j will be
pi, = 1i,p, . . . . . . . . . (1)
where I,, is the vertical displacement factor for i due to shear stress on element j. Due to
all n elements and to the base the displacement of the soil at i will be
f=fl
P1 =, pi,P,++r,bP, * * * . * ’ * (2)
where Ii, is the vertical displacement factor for i due to a uniform vertical stress on the base.
The displacement of the base may be expressed as
j=?I
Pb =,~,lb,$,+lbbpb * * * - - * * c3)
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 353

Fig. 1. Stresses acting on pile and adjacent soil

where I,, is the vertical displacement factor for the base due to shear stress on element j and
Ibb is the vertical displacement factor for the base due to uniform vertical stress on the base
itself.
From equations (2) and (3) the (n + 1) matrix for the vertical displacement of the soil
adjacent to all elements of the pile may be written as
bl= [~lrPl+vblPLl * * . * * * . (4)
For the pile itself the displacement of all points is uniform. Putting this displacement
equal to unity, equation (5) is obtained by equating the displacement of the pile and the soil
adjacent to the pile.
[II [$I +[Ib] p, = [l] . . f . . . . (5)
The solution of equation (5) gives the distribution of 9 and the value of $,, for the condition
of unit displacement. Using the equilibrium condition
j=n
L: $,rrd;++$=P . . . . . . . . (6)
j=l

where P is the applied load on the pile, the vertical displacement for unit applied load may
then be obtained.

Reeresentations of the tractions applied to the pile by the soil


In examining the behaviour of a pile theoretically, it is necessary to approximate the shear
stress on a pile element by some loading which when used in conjunction with elastic theory
leads to a mathematically tractable solution. There are essentially three types of loading
which may conveniently be considered to represent the shear stress on a pile element
(i) a vertical point load acting on the axis of the element
(ii) a uniform vertical line load acting down the axis on the element
(iii) a vertical stress uniformly distributed around the outer circumference of the
element.
Several investigators have employed the first representation (e.g. Salas and Belzunce,
1965 ; Thurman and D’Appolonia, 1965). The second and third representations appear to
have received little consideration in connexion with the pile problem. Of the three represen-
tations the third is obviously the most accurate, although algebraically the most complex.
However, since the use of a computer renders this representation no more difficult than the
first two, it has been used in obtaining the solutions described in this Paper.
354 K. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

PTld L
P

Fig. 2. Distribution of side shear p for various approximations to pile action

A comparison between the distributions of shear stress along the pile using these three
representations of pile action is shown in Fig. 2 for a length to diameter ratio L/d of 100 and a
Poisson’s ratio of the soil of 0.5. In all cases the base has been assumed to carry no load. It
will be seen that for this case the distributions obtained from the line load and ring representa-
tions agree closely, while the distribution obtained from the point load representation is sig-
nificantly different, being more nearly uniform along the pile than the other two solutions.
For piles with an L/d ratio considerably less than that considered in Fig. 2, it is obvious that
the approximation of the shear stresses as ring loads will most closely represent the action of
the pile, while the other representations become increasingly inaccurate.
In the main analysis allowance has been made for the load taken by the base. It can be
seen from Fig. 2 that, even for a slender pile, the base has a small but significant modifying
effect on the distribution of shear stress on the shaft. In taking the base into account it has
been assumed that the pressure on the base is uniform, thus neglecting the non-uniformity of
pressure due to rigidity. A more refined analysis could have been made by considering the
base as a series of uniformly loaded rings and including their displacements, and those due to
them, as elements in the matrix in equation (S), but it was thought not to be worth the extra
computational labour, in view of the fact that the base exerts only a relatively minor modifying
influence on the whole pile behaviour except for very short piers (see e.g. Fig. 6).

Calculation of displacement factors for pile elements


In order to solve equation (5) it is necessary to evaluate the displacement at the mid-
height of the periphery of each element due to all the elements comprising the pile. These
displacements may be obtained by integration of the Mindlin equations (Mindlin, 1936) for
the displacement due to a point load within a semi-infinite mass.
The geometry of a typical cylindrical pile element is shown in Fig. 3. For the point i at
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 355
mid-height of the ith element on the periphery of the pile of radius a, the influence factor for
vertical displacement due to uniform shear on the jth element is
id n/2
Iij = 4a ,IdOdc . . . . . . . (7)
s U-1)6 s 0
where J is the influence factor for vertical displacement due to a vertica1 point load. From
Mindlin’s equation pI is given by

1
1+v z; 3-4v+5-12v+8v2+(3-4v)z2-2cz+2c2+6cz2(z-c)
R5 . ’ ’ (‘)
p1 = &r(l-v)E [ @- R, R R3
where z= (i-$)6 +c and z1 = (;-*)6-c and for use in equation (7) R2 =4a2 cos2 0+,z2,
Rf=4a2 cos2 B+zT.
The integral with respect to c in equation (7) can be evaluated analytically, but that with
respect to 6’is evaluated more conveniently numerically.
The geometry of the pile base is shown in Fig. 4. To allow for an enlarged base the general
case of a base radius a,, different from the pile radius a was considered. For the point i on
the shaft the influence factor for vertical displacement due to uniform loading on the base is
2n ab
Ii, = .Ir ar de . . . . . . . . (9)
ss0 0

Fig. 3 (below). Geometry of a typical cylin-


drical pile element

Fig. 4 (right). Geometry of pile base

Load on element ds. dc


= p;ZadCXdc

Load on element dr.#

3*
356 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

where PI is given by equation (S), but now for use in equation (9)
c = n8
R2 = .z2+a2+y2-2ra cos 0
Rf = zf+a2+r2-22ra cos 6’
The integration with respect to Y can be done analytically but again the integration with
respect to 0 is evaluated most readily numerically.
The influence factor for displacement of the centre of the base due to shear stress on
element i is given by
id
I,, = 2ra p1 ac . . . . . . . . (10)
s (1-W
where pl is given by equation (8) with, for use in equation (10)
i = +z+*
R2 = .z2+a2
Rf = $+a2
The integration in equation (10) can be clone analytically, the integrals involved being
essentially the same as those for integrating with respect to c in equation (7).
In calculating the vertical displacement of the base due to the base itself, it was thought
worthwhile to make an approximate correction for the effect of the rigidity of the base by
multiplying the displacement of the centre of the uniformly loaded circular base by a factor
of r/4. This factor is the ratio of the surface displacement of a rigid circle on the surface of a
semi-infinite mass to the displacement of the centre of a corresponding uniformly loaded
circle. It is reasonable to assume that this ratio will apply approximately to the case of a
circle founded below the surface of a semi-infinite mass. With this assumption the influence
factor for the vertical displacement of the base clue to the load on the base is given by

I,, = ;2r % ,Ir dr . . . . . . (11)


s 0
where PI is given by equation (8) with, for use in equation (11)
i = n++
c = n8
R2 = 4c2+y2
R, = Y

The integral in equation (11) can readily be evaluated analytically.


In obtaining the subsequent solutions the pile has been divided into ten elements. It was
found that the displacements obtained by the use of 10 elements differed by less than 2%
from those using 25 elements although the shear stress distribution was somewhat modified,
with higher shear stresses being obtained near the pile base with the larger number of ele-
ments. As the emphasis lay with the displacements rather than with the detail of the shear
stress distribution, the above sacrifice in accuracy in using 10 elements was considered justi-
fied in view of the sixfold saving in computer time. In performing the numerical integrations
in equations (7) and (9) intervals of m/50 in 0 were found to be adequate. All solutions were
obtained using the KDF9 computer at the University of Sydney.

SOLUTIONS FOR A PILE IN A SEMI-INFINITE MASS

For a wide range of L/d ratios and for four values of Poisson’s ratio v of the soil, equation
(5) has been solved to obtain the distribution of shear stress and the displacement of a floating
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 357

II

Fig. 5. Variation of distribution of side shear with pile proportion

pile in a semi-infinite mass. Typical distributions of shear stress are shown in Fig. 5 for the
case when v = 05. As mentioned the shape of these distributions may be somewhat inaccu-
rate because only 10 elements were used, but nevertheless, the general change in the shear
stress distribution with decreasing L/d can readily be seen from Fig. 5. For slender piles the
shear stress increases gradually from a minimum near the top of the pile to a maximum near
the base of the pile. As L/d decreases, the shape of the shear stress distribution alters and
for values less than 5 there is a concentration of shear stress near the ends of the pile and a
minimum value near the centre.
The proportion of the total load carried by the base is plotted against L/d and d/L in
Fig. 6. The base load is influenced to some extent by the value of v of the soil and, for any
given value of L/d, is greater for v= O-5 than for v=O. For slender piles the amount of load
taken by the base is small and only when L/d is less than about 2 for v=O and 3.5 for ~=0.5
does the load on the base exceed 25% of the applied load.
The displacement factors, given by the analysis using equation (5), are plotted for v=O
and O-5 as the solid lines in Fig. 7. Although the full range of length to diameter ratio is
covered, values of the displacement factor can be read accurately from it only for short piles
and piers. For long piles the displacement factor can be read more accurately from the right-
hand side of Figs 9 to 12. It should be noted that the definition of displacement factor is
different in these figures from that in Fig. 7. For comparison, the dotted curves shown in
Fig. 7 are for perfectly smooth piles to which the soil does not adhere, so that no shear stress
is developed on the shaft. These curves have been obtained by calculating the displacement
of a rigid circle buried within a semi-infinite mass using the reduction factor method (Poulos,
1967a). Comparison between the two sets of curves for rough and smooth piles shows that,
as was to be expected, the presence of side adhesion has a dominant effect in reducing the
settlement, especially for long piles, and even quite shallow piers with rough sides cannot
accurately be considered as buried footings applying their load to the soil solely through the
base. At the other extreme of an infinitely long pile the rough pile undergoes zero settlement,
whereas the smooth pile has the finite settlement of a rigid circle within an infinite mass.
For piles and piers of normal proportions the perfectly smooth condition is unlikely to be
358 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

4 C-d

‘\
‘\
--A
\
\
\
\ \

Fig. 6. Variation of base load with pile proportions

i
-0 ‘L 025 d/L 0
4

Fig. 7. Displacement of a pile in a semi-intiite mass


SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 359
approached in practice. For example, in model tests conducted by Coyle and Reese (1966) in
which both roughened and polished brass piles were used the settlement of the polished pile
was little different from that of the roughened pile. There is little doubt that the analysis for
a rough pile is more applicable to field conditions especially under working loads. The change
in load-settlement behaviour of a rough pile as the load is increased towards failure and local
shear failure occurs on the interface between the shaft and the soil at the higher stressed
locations is discussed later.
The relative importance of the immediate settlement of a single rough pile in a semi-
infinite mass of ideal soil is shown in Fig. 8 where the ratio of the immediate settlement S,
to the total final settlement S,, is plotted against L/d and d/L. The immediate settlement
S, is given by putting E equal to the undrained Young’s modulus E, of the soil and using the
influence factor for the undrained value of Poisson’s ratio vu. The total final settlement S,, is
given by putting E = E’, the Young’s modulus of the soil skeleton with respect to effective
stresses, and using the influence factor for the Poisson’s ratio v’ of the soil with respect to
effective stresses. For an ideal saturated soil v,=O+ and if the shear modulus is assumed to
remain constant throughout the consolidation process E, is related to E’ and V’ as follows

3E’
E, = 2(1+v,) . . . . . . e . (12)

Figure 8 shows that for a practical range of values of L/d the immediate settlement con-
tributes the major part of the total final settlement, even for v’=O. For example, in a soil
having a value of V’ of 0.2, for a pile with L/d =25, 8974 of the total settlement occurs immedi-
ately and only the remaining 11 o/0is time-dependent consolidation settlement. It is only for
very shallow piers (L/d < 1) that the proportion of immediate settlement to total final settle-
ment tends to that for the surface footing case. Although the curves in Fig. 8 are for an ideal
soil with a linearly elastic skeleton, the trend in the relative importance of immediate settle-
ment which they show should be quaIitativeIy true for real soil, but for predictions of immedi-
ate and total final settlement it is preferable to use separate experimental values of E,, and
E’ and V’ determined from undrained and drained triaxial tests, rather than to rely on the
validity of equation (12).
The results of full-scale sustained load tests carried out by Whitaker and Cooke (1966)
confirm that for increments of load well below the ultimate load the amount of consolidation
settlement of a single pile is very small compared with the immediate settlement. It is only

0, 005 0, 0
% I_

fig. 8. Relative importance of immediate settlement for a pile in a semi-infinite mass


360 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

Displacement p cpI
LE P

Fig. 9. Displacement of a pile in a finite layer. v=O.5

Fig. 10. Displacement of a pile in a finite layer. v=O.4


362 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

when the load approaches the ultimate that significant time-dependent settlements occur and
these would appear to be due to shear creep rather than to pore pressure dissipation.
Thus the implications of Fig. 8 are that the predominant portion of the total final settle-
ment of a single pile or pier occurs immediately on application of the load so that, in contrast
to surface pad footings, the consideration of the rate of settlement of a pile is of relatively
minor importance. This conclusion should not be taken as necessarily applying to large
groups of piles. It would also appear that for working loads well below the ultimate sustained
loading tests on piles may often be of insufficient value to justify their expense. Adequate
information on the behaviour of the pile will usually be obtained from a constant rate of pene-
tration test as suggested by Whitaker and Cooke (1961).

SOLUTIONS FOR A FLOATING PILE IN A FINITE LAYER

A rigorous solution to the problem of a pile in a finite layer underlain by a rough, rigid
base, which followed the same approach as that used for a pile in a semi-infinite mass, would
require a knowledge of the displacements due to a point load buried within a finite layer.
Although a formal solution to this problem is reported to have been obtained (Shekhter and
Prikhodchenko, 1964) no numerical results are available. Hence, in order to obtain an ap-
proximate estimate of the influence of a finite layer on the distribution of shear on the pile and
the displacement of the pile, the Steinbrenner approximation (Steinbrenner, 1934) has been
used. The accuracy of this approximation has been discussed by Davis and Taylor (1962)
and Poulos (1967b) in relation to surface footings. It has been found that the Steinbrenner
approximation gives values for the displacement of a uniformly loaded area on the surface on
a finite layer which are generally within 10% of the correct values, except for very shallow
layers and for high values of v when the approximate values may be considerably greater than
the correct values.
From the Steinbrenner approximation the vertical displacement influence factor I, for a
point 0 in the surface of a layer of depth h is given by
I, 2: 1,--I,_, . . . . . . . . (13)
where I, is the displacement factor for a semi-infinite mass and I,_ m is the displacement factor
for a point within a semi-infinite mass a distance h vertically below the point 0.
These influence factors for a finite layer may be substituted into equations (2) and (3) and
the resulting equation (5) may be solved as before to yield the distribution of shear stress on
the shaft and the displacement of the pile.
Solutions obtained in the above manner for a pile in a layer underlain by a rough, rigid
base gave a distribution of shear stress on the shaft identical with that for a pile in a semi-
infinite mass. This was a direct consequence of the approximate Steinbrenner assumption
and presumably a more exact analysis would have given somewhat different distributions for
different layer depths. In this analysis the shear stress distribution was independent of the
depth of the layer and so the settlement ,o,, of a pile in a layer of any depth Iz could be
conveniently calculated as follows :
j=?L

Ph = pm- jz, Pirhi +Pb’hb * * * * * . (14)


( 1

where pa settlement of the pile in a semi-infinite mass


P, shear stress on element i
Pb vertical stress on the base
I h, displacement influence factor for a point below the periphery of the pile at a depth
F, below the soil surface, due to a uniform shear on element i
I hb displacement influence factor for a point on the axis of the pile at a depth Jz below
the soil surface, due to a uniform load on the base
Using equation (14) the displacement of a pile was calculated for the full range of values
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 363
of h/L for four values of V. These displacements are plotted in Figs 9 to 12 for various values
of L/d. In order to cover the entire range of values of h/L, the displacements have been plot-
ted against h/L for h/L= 1 to 2, and against L/h for h/L=2 to co.
From these figures it will be seen that the presence of a rigid base below the soil surface
has a decreasing influence on the settlement of a pile as the ratio L/d increases. For example,
for a relatively short pier (L/d=5) the presence of a rigid base at a depth of h=2L below the
surface decreases the settlement by 47% as compared with the settlement of the same pier in
a semi-infinite mass. For a slender pile (L/d = 200) the corresponding reduction in settlement
is only 10%.
For very shallow layers the curves must be considered as approximate, since it is for such
layers (especially for the case v=O-5) that the Steinbrenner approximation is likely to be most
inaccurate. Nevertheless Figs 9 to 12 should provide a rational basis for the determination
of the immediate and total final settlement of a single pile or pier of normal proportions.

SOLUTIONS TAKING INTO ACCOUNT SLIP BETWEEN PILE AND SOIL

In the analysis described it is assumed that the pile is perfectly rough and that the soil is
an ideal elastic material capable of resisting any shear stresses which may be developed be-
tween the pile and the soil. However, real soils have a finite shear strength and the interface
between the pile and soil has a finite adhesive strength. When the shear stress reaches the
adhesive strength slip will occur between the pile and the soil. Thus the solutions presented
are valid only while conditions in the soil remain elastic and the shear stresses along the pile
are less than the adhesive strength.
An approximate analysis of the behaviour of a pile after slip occurs may be made by a
modification to the elastic analysis. Such an analysis has been described by Salas (1965)
for a pile in a cohesive soil, Thurman and D’Appolonia (1965) for a pile in sand and D’Appolonia
and Romualdi (1963) for end-bearing piles. In this Paper the only case considered is that of
a floating pile in a saturated clay loaded under undrained conditions. The value of Y of the
soil for this case is therefore 0.5. It will be assumed that the soil has an undrained cohesion c
and that the adhesive strength between the pile and the soil is c,.
For a pile composed of YJelements (including the base) elastic conditions prevail until the
load-carrying capacity of the most heavily loaded element of the pile is reached. If slip
occurs along the pile shaft it will be when
P mox=Ca . . . . . . . . . (15)
wherePm,, is the maximum shear stress on the pile shaft. If failure of the base occurs the
vertical stress on the base is
p,, = cN, . . . . . . . . . (16)
where N, is a bearing capacity factor, assumed here to be 9.
If the load applied to the pile increases beyond the value required to cause the first slip or
yield, the element which has failed can take no additional load and the increase in load is thus
redistributed between the remaining elastic elements until the load-carrying capacity of the
next most heavily loaded element is reached. This stage may be analysed by calculating
from the original elastic displacement matrix (for v=O+) the displacements at the centres of
the remaining elements due to the unknown stresses on the elastic elements and the known
ultimate stress on the element which has slipped. A set of n - 1 equations is thus obtained
which may be solved as before to give the stress distribution on the pile and the displacement
of the pile until slip of the next element occurs.
This procedure may be repeated until all the elements in the pile including the base have
failed. At this stage the ultimate failure load P, of the pile is reached, where
P, = dLc,i- (z-d2/4)cN, . . . . . . . (17)
The load-settlement relationship up to failure may thus be obtained.
364 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

Settlement Factor I.

Fig. 13. Effect of pile length on load-settlement behaviour to failure

In this analysis the development of plastic zones within the soil is not taken into account
and the assumption is made that the displacements due to the constant shear stress, equal to
the adhesive strength, which is acting on an element which has slipped, are given by elastic
theory. Although this assumption should involve little inaccuracy when only a few elements
have slinned. the load-settlement relationship is likely to be inaccurate as the load approaches
the ultimate .failure load of the pile. - -

0.151

ov 0 005 Cl 006 C-007 C-O&8 0 C 9


0 0 001 0 002 0 003 0004

Settlement Factor I,

Fig. 14. Effect of ratio c,/c on load-settlement behaviour to failure


SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 365
Load-settlement curves for a pile in a semi-infinite mass have been obtained and are given
in Figs 13 and 14, the settlements being plotted in terms of an influence factor I,. It has
been found that by expressing the settlements in this form the shape of the load-settlement
curves is independent of the ratio E/c, although the magnitude of the settlement does of
course depend on this ratio.
The load-settlement curves for various values of L/d are given in Fig. 13 for c&/c= 1, the
load being plotted as the dimensionless ratio P/Pu. It will be seen that the settlement of a
pile at a given working load, expressed as a fraction of the ultimate load of the pile, increases
as the L/d ratio increases (although in terms of the actual load on the pile the settlement
decreases as L/d increases). The analysis also shows that even when c, = c slip occurs between
the side of the pile and the soil long before the ultimate bearing capacity of the base is reached,
and that the full side adhesion of the shaft is mobilized at a settlement considerably less than
that at the point of overall failure of the pile. This effect is well-known in practice from the
measurements of Whitaker and Cooke (1961, 1966). As L/d increases and the base effect
becomes less important the ratio of the settlement at which the full adhesion is mobilized to
the settlement at full failure increases accordingly.
The effect of the amount of side adhesion on the load-settlement curves is shown in Fig. 14
where curves for values of c,/c from 1-O to 0.2 are plotted for L/d=25. As the value of c,/c
decreases the bearing capacity of the pile decreases and the settlement at the point of failure
also decreases. Furthermore the ratio of the settlement at which full shaft adhesion is
mobilized to the settlement just before ultimate failure decreases as c,/c decreases.
It may therefore be concluded that the shape of the load-settlement curve is influenced by
both the value of L/d and the value of cJc, but not by E/c.

Fig. 15. Effects of enlarged base on base load


366 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

SOLUTIONS FOR PILES WITH AN ENLARGED BASE


In analysing the behaviour of a pile with an enlarged base this base has been considered
as a rigid circle of diameter d, greater than the shaft diameter d of the pile. The analyses have
been done as described previously. In Fig. 15, the variation of load taken by the base with the
ratio d,jd is shown for a pile in a semi-infinite mass. As the diameter of the pile base in-
creases the load taken by the base increases as expected. The smaller the value of L/d, the
more rapid is the rate of increase of base load with increasing base diameter. With values
of L/d smaller than about 5 it is apparent that even a relatively small enlargement of the base
results in the pile becoming effectively a spread footing with almost all the load taken by the
base. For slender piles enlargement of the base has little influence on the small amount of
load transferred to the base.
The effect of an enlarged base on the settlement of a pile in a semi-infinite mass is shown
in Fig. 16 where the ratio of the settlement of a pile with an enlarged base to the settlement of
a pile without an enlarged base is plotted against d,Jd. It will be seen that enlarging the
base of a slender pile has little effect in reducing the settlement. However, for relatively
short piles with L/d ratios less than about 25 enlargement of the base results in a significant
decrease in settlement.
A series of tests on model piles with enlarged bases in a soft remoulded clay was carried
out by Cooke and Whitaker (1961) and tests on full-scale piles with enlarged bases in London
Clay were made by the same investigators (Whitaker and Cooke, 1966). The results of these
tests are shown in Fig. 17 where the ratio of the base load taken for a pile with an enlarged
base to the base load for a conventional pile without an enlarged base is plotted against d,ld.
The results quoted by Cooke and Whitaker for the model tests are the mean of a series of tests
for L/d ratios ranging from 11 to 35 and the theoretical curve for an average value of L/d of

Fig. 16 (below). Effect of enlarged ;


base on the settlement of a pile
?
5

Fig. 17 (right). Comparison be- $


tween theoretical and observed aJ
behaviour of piles with an en- 2
larged base
5
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 367

Fig. 18. Effect of enlarged base on load settlement behaviour

25 is plotted for comparison in Fig. 17. For the full-scale tests the value of L/d was about 15
so that the theoretical curve for this ratio is also given. It will be seen from Fig. 17 that there
is fair agreement between the theory and the observations, although in both cases the experi-
mental points lie above the theoretical curve. The discrepancy is greater for the full-scale
tests and this may be due to the relative compressibility of the pile in relation to the stiff
London Clay in which they were founded.
Theoretical load-settlement curves for a pile with an enlarged base are shown in Fig. 18
for L/d=25 and CJC = 1. The load is plotted as the dimensionless ratio PIPu. It will be seen
that the effect of enlarging the base is to increase the settlement of the pile at any given frac-
tion of the ultimate failure load, although the ultimate load for a pile with an enlarged base
will be greater than that for a pile without an enlarged base. This effect has again been
confirmed in the full-scale tests made by Whitaker and Cooke (1966).

APPROXIMATE SOLUTIONS FOR THE RATE OF SETTLEMENT OF A SINGLE PILE

Although it has been shown that the consolidation settlement of a single pile is of minor
importance compared with the immediate settlement, it is nevertheless interesting to examine
the rate at which the consolidation settlement occurs. A complete solution for the rate of
settlement of a foundation can, in principle, be obtained by solving the basic equations of
consolidation derived by Biot (1941), but even for problems with relatively simple boundary
conditions such a complete solution is difficult to obtain either by analytical or numerical
means.
It was shown by Gibson and Lumb (1953) that the equation governing the rate of dissipa-
tion of excess pore pressure obtained from Biot’s theory is
au
-= iao
c,V% +-- . . . . , . . .
at 3at
4-G.
368 H. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

where u = excess pore pressure


cg = three dimensional coefficient of consolidation, KE’/3y,(l-2~‘)
0 = bulk total stress, CJ~+CT~
fo,

Equation (18), because of the term a@/%, cannot in general be solved without using the
full Biot theory to give the changes in stress distribution as well as pore pressure during the
consolidation process. However, it can be shown from the formal mathematical solution of
Biot’s theory given by McNamee and Gibson (1960) that when v’=O.5, a B/%=0. Equation
(18) can then be readily solved as an ordinary diffusion equation without reference to the
complications of elasticity, except in so far as elastic theory must be used to give the initial
distribution of excess pore pressure. Such solutions for particular problems are most
conveniently obtained by numerical finite difference methods.
The solution of equation (18) for the appropriate boundary conditions gives the distribu-
tion of excess pore pressure at any time t. From this the average degree of pore pressure
dissipation on the centre line beneath the foundation can be calculated for the time t.

q&Jp.$ . . . . . . . . (19)
uo *
where tit excess pore pressure at time t

*0 initial excess pore pressure

Only under one dimensional conditions, such as those of the oedometer test, is Dp identical
with the degree of consolidation settlement U,, but it has been found (Davis and Poulos,
1968a) that 0, (v’=O.5) can be used as a first approximation for U, sufficiently accurately for
many practical purposes, for all values of V' and for three dimensional situations involving
surface loading. For such foundations the value of U, at any particular time factor TV is
generally greater than the corresponding value of o,, but is unlikely to exceed it by more
than 0.16 and in most cases the difference will be less. In this comparison TV is defined as
c&/D’ where D is some convenient reference length of the problem. 0, (v’= 0.5) can thus be
regarded as a lower bound to U, for all v'. An improvement in the accuracy of this approxi-
mate approach, obtained by making some adjustment for the change in 0 during consolida-
tion when ~‘~0.5, is discussed by Davis and Poulos (1968a). In the present context this
refinement was not considered to be warranted in view of the other inaccuracies such as those
of the Steinbrenner assumption and also the relative unimportance of consolidation settle-
ment in the total settlement of single piles. 6, (v’=0.5) is therefore treated as U, with the

Fig. 19. Approximate solutions for the rate of settlement of a single pile
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 369

expectation that it will be a lower limit to the true value of U, for a single pile as it is for a
surface foundation.
Solutions of equation (18) with 8 @/at=0 for a single pile were calculated by finite differ-
ence methods, the distributions of initial excess pore pressure throughout the mass being
obtained by integrating the Mindlin equation for the bulk stress 0. At any point the bulk
stress due to loading of the pile is given by
j=n r2n ri& r2n ra,
t3=axpi
j=l J0 J u- I)6
Jo dc d B+p,
J J ”pIB~
0 0
dv d6’ . . . (20)

where J@ is the influence factor for the bulk stress due to a point load.
These integrations were performed analytically with respect to z and Y and numerically
with respect to 8, the numerical integration and the summation in equation (20) being done
on the KDF9 computer. Assuming an ideal two phase elastic soil the initial pore pressure
is given by O/3.
Regions of high initial pore pressure were found to be very localized around the pile and
consequently it was necessary to use a fine finite-difference mesh in the vicinity of the pile
tip and a coarser mesh X times larger than the fine mesh away from the pile tip. Thus in
the finite difference solution X2 operations were done on the mesh points within the fine net
for each operation on the coarse net. X was generally taken as 8 or 10 for the solutions
given in this Paper.
In Fig. 19 typical solutions are given for a permeable and impermeable pile for L/d =25
and /z/L= 2 with a permeable base beneath the soil layer and for Y’of the soil of 05. It will
be seen that the rate of settlement is considerably faster for the permeable pile than for the
impermeable pile at early times, although the difference between the two rates decreases at
later times and is generally not as great as might have been expected. A feature of both
curves is the relatively long ‘tail’ of the curve at later times with the major portion of the
curve extending over more log cycles of time than does the curve for a surface footing.
With the time factor TV defined as c,t/L2 (Fig. 19) it was found that the rate of settlement
increased as L/d increased, although L/d had little influence on the rate of settlement for
values between 25 and 200. The rate of settlement also tended to increase as h/L decreased
but the effect was not significant for values of h/L between 5 and 1.5. Furthermore, it was
found that, unless h/L was less than about 1.5, the permeability or impermeability of the base
underlying the soil layer had little effect on the rate of settlement.
A comparison between the rate of settlement of a single pile and of a surface footing of the
same diameter as the pile is shown in Fig. 20 for the case of a permeable pile and footing and

Fig. 20. Comparison between rate of settlement of a pile and a surface footing
370 II. G. POULOS AND E. H. DAVIS

for V' =0.5. For the pile, curves for L/d = 25 and L/d = 10 are shown. For the surface footing
the numerical solution for a circle on a semi-infinite mass is shown, previously obtained by
Davis and Poulos (1968a). The time factor TV is defined here as c,t/d2. It will be seen that
the rate of settlement of a pile is generally slower than that of a surface footing of the same
diameter. However, as L/d decreases the rate of settlement of a pile increases (with TV de-
fined in terms of d) and progressively tends to that of the surface footing (which is the
limiting case L/d =0) although even for L/d = 10 the rate of settlement of the pile is still much
slower than that of the surface footing.
At the present time it is not possible to estimate the accuracy of the numerical solutions
in Figs 19 and 20 since no limiting analytical solutions to this problem are available. Thus,
both because of the approximate nature of the numerical solution and the approximation of
assuming the degree of settlement equal to the degree of pore pressure dissipation, these
curves must be regarded only as approximate solutions for the rate of settlement of a pile.
However, because the consolidation settlement is relatively unimportant in relation to the
immediate settlement, the curves in Figs 19 and 20 and the other findings reported probably
give an adequate guide to the rate of settlement of a single pile for most practical purposes.
They should not be taken as being applicable to large groups of piles.

CONCLUSIONS

The conclusions of practical significance to be drawn from the theoretical work described
in this Paper on the behaviour of single axially loaded incompressible piles and piers founded
in compressible soil are given below. Although these conclusions may also apply to small
groups of piles and to a large number of widely spaced piles, they should not be taken as
necessarily applying to large groups of closely spaced piles.

1. When a single pile is loaded the major part of the settlement occurs immediately
under undrained conditions, and even for low values of Poisson’s ratio V' of the soil skeleton
the immediate settlement may contribute about 90% of the total final settlement.
2. There is a considerable difference between the settlement of a perfectly rough pile
and a perfectly smooth pile, the latter settling a much greater amount for a given load.
However, it is very doubtful whether the condition of perfect smoothness is ever approxi-
mated in the field.
3. The amount of load transferred to the base of a single pile is small for piles of common
L/d ratios. Even for piers with an L/d ratio of 2 only about 25% of the applied load is
taken by the base.
4. As the L/d ratio increases the presence of a rigid base to the compressible soil in
which a single pile is founded has a progressively smaller influence in decreasing the
settlement of the pile.
5. The shape of the load settlement curve for a pile loaded to failure under undrained
conditions is influenced by the L/d ratio of the pile and the ratio of the adhesion c, between
pile and soil to the soil cohesion c. However, the shape of the curve is independent of the
value of E/c.
6. The effect of an enlarged base on a pile is to increase the load taken by the base and
to decrease the settlement of the pile as compared with a similar pile without an enlarged
base. However, these effects are significant only if L/d is less than about 25, so that en-
larging the base of a single pile is only effective if the pile is relatively short.
7. The rate of consolidation settlement of a single pile is generally slower than that of
a surface footing of the same radius as the pile. At early times it is strongly influenced
by the permeability or impermeability of the pile.
SETTLEMENT BEHAVIOUR OF SINGLE AXIALLY LOADED PILES AND PIERS 371

The analyses presented in this Paper are based on elastic theory and are therefore strictly
applicable only to the case of an ideal soil. The application of these analyses to real soils has
been discussed previously (Davis and Poulos, 1968b) and it has been shown that, provided the
‘elastic’ soil parameters are determined over a stress range representative of that in the field
problem, elastic theory may successfully be used to predict the settlement of pad foundations
on a real soil. It is therefore reasonable to expect that the settlement of pile foundations may
similarly be successfully predicted from elastic theory. However, an assessment of the
accuracy of such predictions must await comparisons with the results of carefully controlled
model and field tests.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The major part of the work described in this Paper was made possible by a grant from
Frankipile Australia for research into the settlement of pile foundation. Assistance was
also received by the award of a research grant from the Australian Research Grants Com-
mittee. The computational work was done on the KDF9 computer at the Basser Computing
Department of the School of Physics, Sydney University. The Authors would like to ac-
knowledge the work of Mr W. 0. Sherrard who did some preliminary analyses in connexion
with the work described and the work of Mr N. S. Mattes, who made an analysis of the effects
of radial strain compatibility. The comments and constructive criticisms made by Dr I. K.
Lee, Senior Lecturer in Civil Engineering, Sydney University are also gratefully acknowledged.

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