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152 RAPID PLATE LOAD TESTS ON BEARING STRATUM OF A BUILDING


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RAPID PLATE LOAD TESTS ON BEARING
152 STRATUM OF A BUILDING FOUNDATION

H. NEMOTO and H. SAKIHAMA


ANDO Corporation, 1-19-61 Ooi-chuo, Fujimino City, Saitama, Japan
fvgv0182@mb.infoweb.ne.jp

Y. NAKASHIMA and K. MATSUZAWA


Marubeni Construction Material Lease Co., Ltd., 2-4-1 Shibakoen,
Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan
k_matsuzawa@maruken-lease.co.jp

T. MATSUMOTO
Department of Civil Engineering, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi,
Kanazawa, Japan
matsumot@t.kanazawa-u.ac.jp

SUMMARY: A 14-storey office building with a basement floor was


constructed in Sendai, Japan, in 2006. A diluvial gravel layer exists at the site
to depths of 7 to 8 m underlain by a very hard rock to depths more than 30 m.
Hence, a raft foundation at a depth of 5 m was adopted in the design stage to
carry the weight of the building. The measured SPT N-values at the depth of 5
m varied widely from 24 to 60. Therefore, it was necessary to confirm the
distribution of bearing capacities over the construction area densely. For this
purpose, rapid plate load tests using the Spring Hammer devices were carried
out. It was confirmed that the bearing capacities at all the locations tested
exceed the required value of 900 kPa, and that the bearing stratum had enough
stiffness to suppress settlements of the foundation below the allowable level.
Keywords: load-displacement, raft foundation, rapid plate load test, spring
hammer device.

INTRODUCTION

It is important to design buildings with due consideration for their performance. In the
framework of performance-based design in Japan, foundations of a building are designed
considering settlements as well as the bearing capacity to support the weight of the
building. To perform such design, it is important to investigate the distribution of bearing
characteristics such as bearing capacity and stiffness of the bearing stratum below the
foundation, because the bearing characteristics may vary by location even in a narrow
construction area.

Foundations: Proceedings of the Second BGA International Conference on Foundations, ICOF2008. Brown M. J., Bransby M. F.,
Brennan A. J. and Knappett J. A. (Editors). IHS BRE Press, 2008. EP93, ISBN 978-1-84806-044-9. www.ihsbrepress.com
1798 Nemoto, Sakihama, Nakashima, Matsuzawa and Matsumoto

A 14-storey office building with a basement floor was constructed in Sendai, Japan,
in 2006. A diluvial gravel layer exists at the site to depths of 7 to 8 m underlain by a very
hard rock extending to depths more than 30 m. Hence, a raft foundation at a depth of 5 m
was adopted at the design stage to carry the weight of the building. The measured SPT
N-values at the depth of 5 m varied widely from 24 to 60. Therefore, it was necessary to
confirm the distribution of bearing capacities over the construction area.
It was thought to be useful to carry out many plate load tests to ascertain the
variation of the bearing stratum. However, it was difficult to carry out many static plate
load tests in the construction site, because of high cost and time. Therefore, rapid plate
load test using a Spring Hammer device (SH test, hereafter) were employed, because the
SH test does not need a reaction system and requires a short time for preparation and
testing1,2. Use of the SH test method allowed us to carry out many plate load tests (15
locations) in a short time period. In addition, conventional static plate load tests were
carried out at four locations on the site, in order to validate the SH test results.
In this paper, outline of the construction site including the building and the ground
conditions, the SH test method, and the results of the SH tests and the static plate load
tests are presented. It will be shown that the results from both test methods are
comparable, and that bearing capacities and coefficients of vertical subgrade reaction at
all the locations tested exceed the required values adopted in the design.

OUTLINE OF THE BUILDING AND THE GROUND

Figure 1 shows the plan and side views of the building foundation. The raft foundation
with a thickness of 2.0 m has an almost rectangular area, 40.7 m by 22.4 m. The building
is a base-isolated structure, where anti-seismic laminated rubber is intercalated between
the raft and the base of the building. Borehole investigations including measurements of
SPT N-values were carried out at three locations as indicated in the Figure 1.
Figure 2 shows the profiles of the soil layers and measured SPT N-values. A
diluvial gravel layer exists at the site to depths of 8 to 9 m from G.L. at Bor. A (Tokyo
Pail, T.P.+40.51 m) underlain by hard rocks to depths more than 30 m. The ground was
excavated to T.P.+33.94 m or T.P.+33.16 m, and the raft foundation was founded at that
lovel. The SPT N-values at the raft base level varies widely from 24 to 60 by location,
because the bearing stratum contains gravels and cobbles as shown in Figure 3. Therefore,
it was necessary to investigate the distribution of bearing characteristics at the raft base
level, in order to confirm the validity of the soil parameters adopted at the design stage.
The design maximum contact pressure at the foundation base was estimated at 300 kPa.
According to Japanese building codes, a bearing capacity greater than 900 kPa is needed,
adopting a safety factor of 3.
Allowable maximum settlement of the foundation was set at 30 mm, because this
value may not cause harmful cracks of the raft foundation. In order to satisfy this criterion,
it was estimated empirically that coefficient of the vertical subgrade reaction, kv,
estimated from the plate load test using a rigid circular plate having a diameter, D, of
0.3 m should exceed 220 MPa/m. This value was used to design the raft foundation.
Rapid plate load tests on bearing stratum of a building foundation 1799

Raft

Fig. 1: Plan and side views of the building foundation.

Fig. 2: Profiles of soil layers and SPT N-values at the construction site.
1800 Nemoto, Sakihama, Nakashima, Matsuzawa and Matsumoto

Fig. 3: Situation of the ground at the raft base level.

RAPID PLATE LOAD TEST METHOD

SH device and test procedure


Loading mechanism of the SH device is similar to those of the Dynatest3 and the
Pseudo-static load test4, where springs are intercalated between a load cell on the pile top
and a falling mass in order to prolong loading duration. In the SH device, spring unit
consisted of several coned disc springs placed on rigid plate or pile top. Figure 4
illustrates the SH device with the data acquisition system in case of plate load test. Load
on a plate and acceleration of the plate are measured by a load cell and accelerometers
(see Fig. 5). Velocity and displacement of the plate are obtained by single or double
integration of the measured acceleration with respect to time, respectively. Displacement
can be measured directly using laser or optical displacement meters in some situations.
On the building construction site, two types of the SH devices, portable type (Fig. 6,
DSH-020) and machine-mounted type (Fig. 7, SH-070), were used. Table 1 summarises
the specifications of DSH-020 and SH-070. Although the maximum load capacity of
DSH-020 is limited to 200 kN, the device has the advantage of portability. Therefore, it
is easier to carry out the tests at many points efficiently with DSH-020.

Load cell

Acceleromete

Fig. 4: Loading and data acquisition system in the Fig. 5: Load cell and accelerometers set on the plate
SH rapid load test method.
Rapid plate load tests on bearing stratum of a building foundation 1801

Fig. 6: DSH-020 Spring Hammer test device for small plate (D=0.3 m).

Fig. 7: SH-070 Spring Hammer device for large plate (D=0.6 m).

Table 1. Specifications of Spring Hammer test devices.

Device name DSH-020 SH-070


Device type Portable tripod Machine mounted
Max. load 200 kN (standard use) 1000 kN
Hammer mass 200 kg 1500 kg
Max. fall height of hammer 2m 3m
Spring value 5125 kN/m (variable) 8700 kN/m
1802 Nemoto, Sakihama, Nakashima, Matsuzawa and Matsumoto

Non-linear damping interpretation method


One of advantages of the rapid load test is that simplified interpretation methods can be
used to derive a static load-displacement relationship from the measured dynamic signals.
The non-linear damping interpretation method (Matsumoto et al)5 was used in the SH
rapid load tests.
Figure 8 shows the modelling of plate Frapid
and soil during rapid plate load testing. The Plate mass, Mp,
plate is assumed as a rigid mass having mass with additional soil
of Mp, and the soil is modelled by a spring mass, Ms
and a dashpot. This type of modelling has
dashpot, C
been advocated by Middendorp et al.6 and
spring, K (Fv)
Kusakabe and Matsumoto7. They assume
(Fw)
non-linear spring and linear damping. On
the other hand, in the non-linear damping
interpretation method, both spring and
damper are treated as non-linear. Fig. 8: Modelling of plate and soil during rapid
As shown in Figure 9, applied load, loading.
Frapid, is corrected for the inertia of the plate and additional soil mass, to obtain the soil
resistance, Fsoil. The additional soil mass, Ms, can be estimated as follows following
Randolph and Deeks8.
0 .1 − ν 4
M s = 2D3 ρ (1)
(1 − ν ) s
where ν and ρ s are Poisson's ratio and density of the soil, and D is the plate diameter.
Figure 10 shows the procedure of the non-linear damping interpretation. The soil
resistance, Fsoil, is the sum of the spring resistance (static resistance), Fw, and the dashpot
resistance, Fv. At the first step (i = 1), the initial stiffness, K(1), is calculated by the initial
static load, Fw (1), divided by the initial displacement, w(1). At the next step (at i+1), the
soil spring, K(i+1) is assumed to be equal to K(i). Hence, the static resistance, Fw(i+1), at
i+1 can be calculated. The damping coefficient, C(i+1), can be found from the difference
of Fsoil and Fw divided by velocity, v(i+1).

Fig. 9: Correction of inertia to obtain soil Fig. 10: Non-linear damping interpretation.
resistance, Fsoi
Rapid plate load tests on bearing stratum of a building foundation 1803

At the following step i+2, C(i+2) is assumed to be equal to C(i+1). Therefore, the
values of Fw(i+2) and K(i+2) can be determined.
By repeating these procedures, the values of K and C for following steps are alternately
updated consecutively. Finally, the whole static load-displacement relationship, Fw vs w, is
constructed. Detail of this interpretation is mentioned in another paper in this proceeding1.

TEST DESCRIPTION

Figure 11 shows the locations of the plate load tests at the site. A total of 19 tests (15 SH
tests and 4 static plate load tests) were carried out as listed in Table 2. A plate having a
diameter, D, of 0.3 m was used at 13 locations, and a plate having D = 0.6 m was used at
the other locations. In the SH tests, DSH-020 device was used for testing the plate of
D = 0.3 m, whereas SH-070 device was used for testing the plate of D = 0.6 m.
Static plate load tests were carried out at 4 locations in the site. A rigid plate of
D = 0.3 m was tested at 3 locations while a plate of D = 0.6 m was tested at S4. Figure 12
shows a static plate load test using reaction beams. It took 2 days to perform each static
load test including preparation and testing periods.

Fig. 11: Locations of plate


loading tests.

Fig. 12: Loading system of static


plate load test.
1804 Nemoto, Sakihama, Nakashima, Matsuzawa and Matsumoto

Table 2. Test conditions of SH and static plate load tests, and brief test results.

Test conditions Brief test results

Yield Bearing Initial


Plate Hammer Max. fall Planned
Test stress resistance at stiffness in
Diameter mass height max. load
No. (kPa) w = 30 mm first loading
D (m) MH (kg) h (cm) (kPa) (kPa) kv0 (MPa/m)
R1 0.6 1500 300 3000 1400 2200 455
R2 0.3 200 100 2000 1220 >1500 374
R3 0.6 1500 300 3000 1130 2000 495
R4 0.3 200 98 2000 1060 >1470 293
R5 0.6 1500 250 3000 1100 1500 317
R6 0.3 200 104 2000 830 >1370 816
R7 0.6 1500 300 3000 1350 1780 338
R8 0.3 200 100 2000 820 >1580 458
R9 0.6 1500 300 3000 1235 2110 605
R10 0.3 200 110 2000 830 >1500 657
R11 0.3 200 100 2000 635 >1330 1005
R12 0.3 200 98 2000 840 >1500 660
R13 0.3 200 96 2000 1100 >1320 319
R14 0.3 200 100 2000 840 >1600 642
R15 0.3 200 93 2000 1050 >1320 585
S1 0.3 ---- ---- 1200 890 >2400 244
S2 0.3 ---- ---- 1600 850 >2270 330
S3 0.3 ---- ---- 1200 500 1430 366
S4 0.6 ---- ---- 1200 535 2180 254

TEST RESULTS
Rapid plate load tests
Figure 13 shows examples of dynamic signals measured in the first rapid load test on
Plate R3 having a diameter of 0.6 m. The loading duration was about 50 ms. Figure 14
shows the results of the non-linear damping interpretation. A total of 5 tests were
conducted on Plate R3, as shown in Figure 15. As mentioned before, the required value
of the vertical subgrade reaction, kv0, was 220 MPa/m and the allowable settlement of
the foundation was set at 30 mm. The value of kv0 was estimated from the first loading,
although that obtained from the following tests becomes larger. It is efficient to
suppress the contact pressure of the raft below the yield stress, py, in order to minimise
the foundation settlements. The yield stress, py, was defined as indicated in Figure 15.
The bearing resistance at w = 30 mm, kv0 and py are listed in Table 2.
Rapid plate load tests on bearing stratum of a building foundation 1805

400 200

Acceleration (m/s )
2
R3 blow 1 R3 blow 1
300
Force (kN)

100
200
0
100
-100
0
-200
0 50 100 150 200 0 50 100 150 200
Time (ms) Time (sec)
(a) Pile head force (b) Acceleration
1.0 10

Displacement (mm)
R3 blow 1 R3 blow 1
8
Velocity (m/s)

0.5
6
0.0 4
-0.5 2
0
-1.0
0 50 100 150 200 0 50 100 150 200
Time (sec) Time (sec)
(c) Velocity (d) Displacement
Fig. 13: Examples of measured test signals of Plate R3 (D=0.6m).
Stress (kPa) pstatic (kPa)
0 500 1000 1500 2000 0 1000 2000 3000 4000
0 py
0 kv0
Displacement (mm)

Displacement (mm)

1
10
5 h = 0.5 m
20 h = 1.0 m
h = 1.5 m
30 h = 2.0 m
D = 0.6 m prapid
10 h = 3.0 m
MH = 1.5 ton
h = 0.5 m
psoil 40
R3 blow 1 pstatic R3 D = 0.6m
15 50

Fig. 14: Example of derived load-displacement Fig. 15: Load-settlement relations of Plate R3.
curve of Plate R3.

Figures 16 to 18 are the corresponding results from the rapid load test on Plate R4 with
D = 0.3 m. The signals in the 4th test are shown. The yield stress from this test series is
comparable to that of Plate R3 with D = 0.6 m, not showing so-called ‘size-effects of plate
diameter’. In the rapid load tests on Plate R4, the final displacement of the plate was 9 mm
which was less than the allowable settlement of 30 mm. In cases where the final displacement
of the plate did not reach 30 mm, the stress at the final displacement is listed in Table 2.

Static plate load tests


Figure 19 shows the load-displacement curves of Plates S1 to S4 obtained from the static load
tests. Each load was maintained for 30 min except for the test on Plate S2. Continuous loading
was adopted for Plate S2 in which a loading rate of 113 kPa/min was used. The bearing
resistance at w = 30 mm, kv0 and py from the static plate load tests are also listed in Table 2.
1806 Nemoto, Sakihama, Nakashima, Matsuzawa and Matsumoto

120 800

Acceleration (m/s )
2
R4 blow 4 R4 blow 4
100
Force (kN)

80 400
60 0
40
20 -400
0
-800
50 0
100 150 50 0 100 150
Time (ms) Time (ms)
(a) Pile head force (b) Acceleration
1.5 6

Displacement (mm)
R4 blow 4 R4 blow 4
1.0 5
Velocity (m/s)

0.5 4
3
0.0
2
-0.5 1
-1.0 0
-1.5
0 50 100 150 50 100 0 150
Time (ms) Time (ms)
(c) Velocity (d) Displacement

Fig. 16: Examples of measured test signals of plate R4 (D=0.3m).

Stress (kPa) pstatic (kPa)


0 500 1000 1500 2000 0 1000 2000 3000
0 0
py
h = 0.25 m
Displacement (mm)
Displacement (mm)

2 h = 0.50 m
5 h = 0.75 m
h = 0.98 m
4
10
6 D = 0.3 m prapid
MH = 0.2 ton
psoil 15
8 h = 0.98 m
R4 blow 4 pstatic R4 D = 0.3m
10 20

Fig. 17: Example of derived load-displacement Fig. 18: Load-settlement relations of Plate R4.
curve of Plate R4.

Comparison of SH and static plate load test results


The load-displacement curves obtained from all the tests are compared in Figure 20.
Variations of the bearing characteristics over the site obtained from the rapid load tests
and the static load tests are similar.
As can be seen from Figure 20 and Table 2, it was confirmed from the plate load
tests that the ground over the foundation area has the bearing capacity and subgrade
reaction coefficient exceeding the values adopted in the design stage.
In all the tests, the yield stress, py, exceeds 500 kPa that is sufficiently larger than
the design contact pressure of 300 kPa. It is expected that the settlement of the foundation
will be small enough, even if the ‘size-effects’ exists.
Rapid plate load tests on bearing stratum of a building foundation 1807

p (kPa) pstatic (kPa)


0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500
0 0

Displacement (mm)
Displacement (mm)

10 10

20 20
RLT
30 Allowable settlement 30 D = 0.6m
D = 0.3m
40 S 1 (D=300mm) 40
S 2 (D=300mm)
SLT
50 50 D = 0.3m
S 3 (D=300mm)
D = 0.6m
S 4 (D=600mm)
60 60

Fig. 19: Results of static plate load tests. Fig. 20: Load-displacement relationship obtained
from rapid and static load tests.

CONCLUDING REMARKS

A number of plate load tests were carried out on a building construction site to estimate
variability of bearing characteristics of the bearing stratum for the raft foundation. Rapid plate
load tests using the SH device and static plate load tests were used. A non-linear damping
interpretation method was used to derive static response of the plate in rapid plate load test.
Variability of the bearing stratum obtained from the rapid load tests and the static load
tests were comparable. It was confirmed from all the tests that bearing capacities and
coefficients of vertical subgrade reaction at all the locations tested exceed the required values
adopted in the design stage. Construction of the building proceeded as designed after the tests.
Fifteen rapid load tests using the SH devices were done in 3 days, whereas it took
8 days to perform 4 static load tests. This fact encourages the use of the rapid plate load
test method on sites to reduce delay to construction works.

REFERENCES

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