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Stiffness constants and flexibility coefficients of single piles and interaction factors are presented to facilitate the
analysis of pile groups subjected to static vertical loads. A continuous transition from friction to endbearing piles
is accounted for. A new type of interaction factor, established from subgroups of five piles, is introduced for end
bearing piles. This interaction factor allows for the stiffening effect of the piles occurring between the two reference
piles. This feature improves the accuracy of group analysis for endbearing piles. Numerical results for axially loaded
single piles and pile groups are presented for a wide range of pile and soil parameters. The results are applicable to
both rigid and flexible caps.
Key words: piles, pile group, settlement, interaction
Pour faciliter l'analyse de groupes de pieux soumis a des charges statiques verticales, l'on prCseate les constantes
de rigidit6 et les coefficients de flexibiliti d'un pieu simple. Une transition continue de portance en friction vers une
portance en pointe des pieux est prise en compte. Un nouveau type de facteur d'interaction Ctabq. en partant de sous
groupes de cinq pieux est introduit pour les pieux portant en pointe. Ce facteur d'interaction Gent compte de l'effet
d'augmentation de la rigidit6 des pieux qui se produit entre les deux pieux de rCfCrence. Cette caractbristique ameliore
la prCcision de l'analyse du groupe pour les pieux portant a la pointe. Des rCsultats numCriques pour les pieux simples
charges axialement et pour les groupes de pieux sont prCsentCs pour une plage Ctendue deparamktres de pieu et de
For personal use only.
sol. Les rCsultats sont applicables tant aux capuchons rigides que flexibles. La prCcision des donnCes publiCes est CvaluCe.
Mots elks : pieux, groupes de pieux, tassement, interaction.
[Traduit par la rkdaction]
Can. Geotech. J. 27, 813822 (1990)
Introduction the data published may not be quite accurate, and the pile
Over the years, static response of pile foundations has interaction effects may be overestimated, particularly for
been investigated using a variety of empirical, analytical, endbearing piles under vertical loads (El Sharnouby and
or numerical techniques. Static analyses of piles were for Novak 1985). The latter inaccuracy may occur because the
mulated and made readily applicable by Poulos (1968, 1979), interaction factors being superimposed are calculated for any
Poulos and Davis (1980), Banerjee (1978), Butterfield and two piles in the group, ignoring the presence of the others
Douglas (1981), and also by El Sharnouby and Novak (1985, and thus disregarding the stiffening effect they have.
1986) and others. Although the amount of data is increasing, It is the purpose of this paper to alleviate some of these
much of it is limited by the choice of parameters. Moreover, limitations by providing a broad range of pile flexibility coef
some of these data were obtained using a small number of ficients and a new type of interaction factor. The study is
elements yielding insufficient accuracy, particularly for long, limited to linear, elastic behaviour of single piles and pile
flexible piles. groups under vertical static loading. Horizontal flexibility
In groups of closely spaced piles, interaction between indi coefficients and interaction factors are given elsewhere (e.g.,
vidual piles, known as pilesoilpile interaction or group El Sharnouby and Novak 1986).
effect, occurs. The group effect increases group settlement, The analysis employed here is the same as that described
redistributes the loads on individual piles, and modifies in El Sharnouby and Novak (1985), but it is used to gener
group flexibility and thus its stiffness. Analysis of pile groups ate new results and to evaluate the accuracy of published
can be conducted in two ways: either accurately, using a data.
computerbased direct analysis of the whole group, or Method of analysis
approximately, using superposition of interaction factors. The basic idea of the approach employed here is to view
The direct analysis is preferable because it is accurate within the whole pile or group with the soil as one composite con
the validity of the assumptions made and provides more tinuum whose conditions of equilibrium are specified for
information, but the programmes are usually proprietary. a number of discrete points (nodes). The conditions of equi
The advantages of the interactionfactor approach are that librium are expressed in terms of the stiffness method in
it is simple and the analysis can be conducted by means of which the structural stiffness of the pile is combined with
longhand calculation or very small computer programs. the stiffness of the soil medium.
The concept of interaction factors is very useful, partic The key step in this solution is the determination of the
ularly for small groups, but its applicability may suffer from soil flexibility matrix. The nodal soil flexibility coefficients
a few drawbacks: the evaluation of large groups is tedious, can be generated by the application of uniform vertical shear
Printed in Canada / lmprime au Canada
814 CAN. GEOTECH. J. VOL. 27, 1990 , I \
P
Can. Geotech. J. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by San Francisco (UCSF) on 09/12/14
vr
Floating Piles

 
....
/ / 
4
Present ( 50 Elements )
Poulos ( I0 Elements
Sal~nera( > 20 Elements )
For personal use only.
\,.\..L..M
/
4 
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EndBearing Piles
Ep /Es = 1000 FIG.4. Dimensionless pile stiffness versus pilesoil stiffness
V = 0.5 ratio for homogeneous soil.
For personal use only.
Present ( 50 Elements )
Salinero (>20 Elements)
25 50 75 100

\
\ 
Present ( 5 0 Elements )   Floating Piles
\ Poulos ( 10 Elements ) 2. 0.6  L/d = 25
&
C
U
0.4 
C
0
.
5
C
0.2 
\
\ L / d = I00 
C
0,
C 
O i S /d 1, 4 d/S
Can. Geotech. J. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by San Francisco (UCSF) on 09/12/14
 Present ( 5 0 Elements ) 9
0,
0.2 
C

C
Ep/ES = 1000
d/S
E!
For personal use only.
a
w
1 Floating Piles I Ep /Es = 100
I
0.6 

Floating Piles
0
C
0.4 
LL
C
0
.= 0.2 
FIG. 9. Comparison between interaction factors by Poulos u
(1968) and using the present formulation for floating piles. z
0,

=
C
0
2 3 4 5 d/S
because the soil Young's modulus, E,, is specified at the
pile tip, and the uppermost part of the long pile is adjacent FIG. 10. Interaction factors versus pile spacing for different
to soil having a very small Young's modulus. pilesoil stiffness ratios; floating piles and homogeneous soil.
The magnitude of pile stiffness decreases significantly with
the changing of the soil profile from homogeneous to
parabolic to linear (Fig. 7). This indicates the importance
of determining the soil profile correctly and the need to Interaction factors
account for the reduction of the soil modulus towards The interaction factors, introduced by Poulos (1968) and
ground surface associated with the reduction in confining widely used in practice, are defined for two equally loaded
pressure. piles as the ratio
Figure 8 displays the vertical dimensionless flexibility for settlement of one pile owing to adjacent pile load
single piles in homogeneous soil for a wide range of the pile [6] a =
soil stiffness ratio, Ep/E,, and slenderness ratio L/d plot pile settlement under its own load
ted versus the stiffness of the underlying stratum ratio, For larger groups, these interaction factors are superim
Eb/Es, where Eb is Young's modulus of the underlying posed to yield the total settlement. A large amount of infor
stratum. These charts indicate a number of important mation is available on the interaction factors in the litera
features. Pilesoil stiffness ratio is a major factor affecting ture, particularly in Poulos and Davis (1980). However,
pile flexibility (notice the logarithmic scale for the vertical some of the interaction factors are overestimated, particu
and horizontal axes). The flexibility dramatically increases larly for endbearing piles. There are two reasons for this:
with the decrease in Ep/E, for all pile slenderness ratios, first, they were calculated considering two piles of the group
L/d, and over the whole range of base stiffness from floating at a time, ignoring the stiffening effect of the other piles;
to endbearing piles. Pile flexibility is almost independent second, the number of elements was limited to 10 per pile
of tip condition for long piles or very stiff soil (small in that analysis which may induce an error similar to that
Ep/Es) but depends very much on tip condition for short observed with single piles in Fig. 3. For these reasons, the
piles in weaker soil. Longer piles possess less flexibility for present method is employed to verify the accuracy of the
a moderately stiff base, but for a very rigid base, shorter standard interaction factors and introduce a set of alternative
piles are stiffer then longer piles. factors.
818 CAN. GEOTECH. J . VOL. 27, 1990 \
J / I ,
0
L/d = 5 0 1 2 3
2
z
0
F
g
LL
0.1    +
 
W
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I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 I 1 1
I 5 10 50 100 500 1000
I 1 I 1 1 I 1 1 1 I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1
FLOATING %I/ Es E N D BEARING
I 5 10 50 100 500 1000
FLOATING Eb/Es E N D BEARING
FIG. 14. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
FIG. 13. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness ratio and stiffness of underlying s t ~ a t u mfor L / d = 25 and
ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L / d = 25 and S / d = 3.
S / d = 2.5. :.
stiff piles, whereas for flexible this variation is moderate
and levels off quickly. Thus, flexible endbearing piles pro
Interaction factors established from subgroup of five duce more interaction than stiff endbearing piles, whereas
For personal use only.
piles flexible floating piles give less interaction than stiff piles.
To improve the analysis of pile groups resting on stiffer For long piles with L/d r 50, the variation of interaction
strata, the direct method was applied to a line subgroup of factors for flexible piles (Ep/Es = 100) with base stiffness
five piles to establish the interaction factors considering the is not plotted because it was found that for such piles the
presence of all these piles. The first pile of the group was interaction factors are independent of the tip condition.
loaded by a unit vertical load, and the other piles remained Therefore, interaction factors of floating piles shown in
unloaded. The flexibilities of all five piles were determined, Fig. 3 can be used for this particular situation.
and the flexibilities of the unloaded piles were normalized
by the flexibility of the loaded pile. These normalized flex Group stiffness and flexibility
ibilities represent the new interaction factors. These factors The flexibility coefficients and interaction factors pre
are still not quite accurate because it is impossible to pre sented above can be used to evaluate the flexibility and stiff
sent them for any group size and shape, but they at least ness of the whole group of piles. This can be done in a few
partly account for the stiffening effect of the other piles, . ways, depending on the type of pile cap and the accuracy
normally completely disregarded. required.
The interaction factors calculated in this way are defined First, the group flexibility matrix, [FG], may be
as usual by [6]. When evaluating the interaction factors, only assembled; its diagonal elements are equal to the flexibility
the displacements occurring in the vertical direction are coefficients of individual piles F;, and the offdiagonal
considered. elements are expressed using the interaction factors as
These new interaction factors were calculated for a broad where ij = 1, 2, 3,..., n, and n is the number of piles in
range of parameters. Examples of them are displayed in the group.
Figs. 13 and 14. These charts are for homogeneous soil and Then, for flexible caps or structures supported directly
a continuous transition from floating to endbearing piles on individual piles, the group stiffness matrix [KG] =
represented by the basestiffness ratio Eb/Es. In each chart,
[FG] can be combined with the stiffness matrix of the
four interaction factors are plotted for three pilesoil stiff cap or the superstructure, and the analysis of the response
ness ratios; azlrepresents the interaction factor for a pile to external loads can proceed.
at a distance of one S from the reference loaded pile. The For rigid caps, the vertical stiffness of the group of equal
interaction factors a 3 ~ a41,
, and as, are related to the piles, KG, can be evaluated approximately as
distances of 2S, 3S, and 4S from the reference pile, respec I n n \
tively. For very large distances, the magnitude of the interac
tion factors diminishes, becoming less significant, and can
be established using extrapolation and published data.
For other pile lengths and spacings, the interaction fac in which K = 1 / F is the stiffness of a single pile, ariis the
tors are given in Appendix A. The Poisson's ratio assumed interaction factor between the reference pile and the ith pile
was v = 0.50, but its magnitude has little effect. in the group, and a,, is unity. The reference pile should not
Figures 13, 14, and A1A6 show that the variation of be at the extremity or right in the centre of the group. The
interaction factors with base stiffness is quite dramatic for underlying assumption in this evaluation is that the piles are
\
820 C A N . GEOTECH. J. VOL. 27, 1990
I
 E p / E s = 1000
_ L/d = 2 5
Y = 0.5 Y = 0.5

S/d = 2.5 S/d = 2.5


Direct Method
 N  Direct Method

 New Interaction  New Interaction 
Factors Factors
......
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FIG. 15. Vertical stiffness of nine piles versus stiffness of F I G . 16. Vertical stiffness of 25 piles versus stiffness of
underlying stratum using standard interaction factors, new interac underlying stratum using standard interaction factors, new interac
tion factors, and direct analysis (L/d = 25; E,/E, = 1000; tion factors, and direct analysis (L/d = 25; E,/E, = 1000;
S/d = 2.5; v = 0.5; homogeneous soil). S/d = 2.5; v = 0.5; homogeneous soil).
equally loaded, which for a rigid cap is strictly true only for ones. For floating piles (Eb/Es = 1); the three approaches
a symmetrical group of four or a pile ring. give almost the same results, just'as in Fig. 11; as Eb/Es
A more rigorous formula for rigid caps can be derived increases, the approaches diverge, with the direct analysis
by imposing identical displacements on all pile heads and giving consistently the highest group efficiency. The dif
using, again, the interaction factors to describe group flex ference also increases with number of piles, as can be seen
ibility. This procedure gives the vertical stiffness as in Figs. 15 and 16.
For personal use only.
( v ) The group flexibility matrix can be easily assembled . Conference on Numerical Methods in Offehore Piling, Univer
and applied to groups with rigid or flexible caps. sity of Texas, Austin, TX, pp. 313328.
(vi) Further research should include endbearing piles in SANCHEZSALINERO, I. 1982. Static and dynamic stiffnesses of
nonhomogeneous soil, nonlinearity, soil interaction with the single piles. Civil Engineering Department, University of Texas
at Austin, Geotechnical Engineering Report GR8231.
cap, and field experiments.
SHETA,M., and NOVAK,M. 1982. Vertical vibration of pile
groups. ASCE Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Divi
Acknowledgement sion, 108(GT4): 570590.
The authors acknowledge the financial support of the TROCHANIS, A.M., BIELAK,J., and CHRISTIANO, P. 1988. A
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of threedimensional nonlinear study of piles leading to the devel
Canada, which made this project possible. opment of a simplified model. Department of Civil Engineer
ing, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Technical Report of
Research, R881976.
Can. Geotech. J. Downloaded from www.nrcresearchpress.com by San Francisco (UCSF) on 09/12/14
Foundation Engineering, San Francisco, vol. 3, pp. 14491454. FIG. A l . Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
NOVAK,M., and JANES,M. 1989. Dynamic and static response ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L/d = 25 and
of pile groups. Proceedings, 12th International Conference on S/d = 4.
Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering, Rio de Janeiro,
pp. 11751 178.
NOVAK,M., and MITWALLY, H. 1990. Random response of off
shore towers with pilesoilpile interaction. Journal of Offshore
Mechanics and Arctic Engineering, 112: 3541.
NOVAK,M., EL SHARNOUBY, B., and EL NAGGAR,M.H. 1990.
GROUPSET a program to calculate the stiffness and settlement
of vertical piles and pile groups in layered media. Geotechnical
Research Centre, Faculty of Engineering and Science, The Uni
versity of Western Ontario, London, Ont., Report No. GEOP
904, Oct.
POULOS,H.G. 1968. Analysis of the settlement of pile groups.
GCotechnique, 18: 449471.
1979. Group factors for piledeflection estimation. ASCE
Journal of the Geotechnical Engineering Division, lOS(GT12):
14891509.
P o u ~ o s H.G.,
, and DAVIS,E.H. 1980. Pile foundation analysis
and design. John Wiley & Sons, New York. I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
I 5 10 50 100 5 0 0 1000
RAJAPAKSE, R.K.N.D., and SHAH,A.H. 1989. Impedance curves FLOATING Eb/Es END BEARING
for an elastic pile. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering,
8(3): 145152. FIG. A2. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
RANDOLPH, M.F., and POULOS,H.G. 1982. Estimating the flex ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L / d = 25 and
ibility of offshore pile groups. Proceedings, 2nd International S/d = 5.
822 CAN. GEOTECH. J. VOL. 27, 1990 ,>
, , I \
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I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
I 5 10 50 100 5 0 0 1000
I 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 FLOATING
I 5 10 50 100 b
' lEs END BEARING
5 0 0 1000
FLOATING €/I Es END BEARING FIG. AS. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
FIG. A3. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness ratio and stiffness of underlying strdum for L / d = 50 and
ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L / d = 50 and S/d = 4.
S/d = 2.5. :.
I I 1 ~ 1 1 1 1 ~ I I I I I IIII 1 1 l ( 1 1 1 ,
For personal use only.
I I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 I I I IIIIII 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
I 5 10 50 100 5 0 0 1000
FLOATING END BEARING
1 l 1 l l l l l l 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
FIG. A6. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
I 5 10 50 100 5 0 0 1000 ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L / d = 50 and
FLOATING Es END BEARING S/d = 5.
FIG. A4. Variation of interaction factors with pilesoil stiffness
ratio and stiffness of underlying stratum for L / d = 50 and
S/d = 3.