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# Design of Mat Foundations

Mahdi Mokhberi

Hemsley (2000)

## Rigid vs. Non-rigid Mat

Coduto (2001)

Non-rigid Methods
Nonrigid methods consider the deformation of
the mat and their influence of bearing pressure
distribution.
These methods produce more accurate values of
mat deformations and stresses
These methods are more difficult to implement
than rigid methods, because of soil-structure
interaction

Non-rigid Methods

Winkler Methods

Coupled Method

Pseudo-Coupled Method

Multiple-Parameter Method

## Nonrigid methods must take into account that

both the soil and the foundation have deformation
characteristics.
These

## deformation characteristics can be either linear

or non-linear (especially in the case of the soils)

## The deformation characteristics of the soil are

quantifier in the coefficient of subgrade reaction,
or subgrade modulus, which is similar to the
modulus of elasticity for unidirectional
deformation

Non-rigid Methods

## Nonrigid methods consider the deformation of

the mat and their influence of bearing pressure
distribution.
These methods produce more accurate values of
mat deformations and stresses
These methods are more difficult to implement
than rigid methods because of soil-structure
interaction

p
k
1
k

Nonlinear
Dependent on size of plate
Typicalk values based ona plate size of 300mm
Reduction needed fora largely loaded area

Soil

ks
lb/in3

kN/m3

Loose

6.5- 8.0

1800- 2200

Medium

20- 25

5500- 7000

Dense

55- 65

15,000- 18,000

Loose

3.5- 5.0

1000- 1400

Medium

12- 18

3500- 4500

Dense

32- 45

9000- 12,000

Submerged sand

reaction

larger mats

Coefficient of
Reaction

## Portions of the mat that experience more

settlement produce more compression in the
springs
Sum of these springs must equal the applied
structural loads plus the weight of the mat

Winkler Methods
The earliest use of these "springs" to represent
the interaction between soil and foundation was
done by Winkler in 1867; the model is thus
referred to as the Winkler method
The one-dimensional representation of this is a
"beam on elastic foundation," thus sometimes it
is called the "beam on elastic foundation" method
Mat foundations representa two-dimensional
application of the Winkler method

## Equations of the beam on elastic foundation

By combining results (1) and (2), we obtain the
equilibrium equation of a beam element on an
elastic foundation:
Q= - q+ r

(1)

Q= M

(2)

M = q + r

## Using the elementary theory of bending and linear

elastic beams. The most essential other equations are
then the relationship between rotation and deflection:
= v
(4)
the relationship between curvature and deflection:
= v
(5 )
the relationship between bending moment and
curvature:
M = EI
(6)
and the relationship between shear force and bending
moment
Q = M
(7)

## The (already known) relationship between bending moment and

deflection follows from expressions (5) and (6).
(11)
By inserting this relationship and the relationship (8) between the
deflection and the foundation pressure into equilibrium equation
we get
(12)
This is the differential equation of the beam on elastic foundation. In the case of
a uniform (EI = constant) beam, it gets the form
(13)
This can be expressed as

(14)
Where
(15)

Beam on Springs

P

Deflection,

Moment,M

Shear force,T

## Beams on Elastic Foundations

haviour

Non-Linear Characteristics of
Soil Deformation

## Load-settlement vurves are not really linear; we

must make a linear approximation to use the
Winkler model

## Winkler model assumes that a uniformly loaded

mat underlain by a perfectly uniform soil will
uniformly settle into the soil.

## Actual data show that such a

mat-soil interaction will
deflect in the centre more than the edges

## this is one reason why we uhe other methods (such as

Schmertmann's) to determine settlement

## Limitations of Winkler Method

Soil springs do not act independently. Bearing
pressure on one part of the mat influences both
the "spring" under it and those surrounding it
(due to leteral earth pressure)
No single value of ks truly represents the
interaction between the soil and the mat
The independent spring problem is in reality the
largest problem with the Winkler model

Coupled Method

## Ideally the coupled method, which uses

additional springs as shown below, is more
accurate then the Winkler method
The problem with the coupled method comes in
selecting the values
of k for the coupling springs
s

Pseudo-Coupled Method
An attempt to overcome both the lack of coupling
in the Winkler method and the difficulties of the
coupling springs
Does so by using sprinns that act independently
(like Winkler springs), but have different
k
s
values depending upon their location on the mat
Most commertial mat design software uses the
Winkler method; thus, pseudo-coupled methods
can be used with these packages for more
conservative and accurate results

Pseudo-Coupled Method
Implementation
Divide the mat into two or more concentric zones

long as the mat

Assign a kvalue
to each zone
s

the centre

innermost zone

## Evaluate the shears, moments and deformations using

the Winklermethod
Adjust mat thickness and reinforcement to satisfy
strength and serviceability requirements

Pseudo-Coupled Method

Multiple-Parameter Method
This method replaces the independently-acting
linear springs of the Winkler method with sprinns
and other mechanical elements
The additionalelements define the coupling effects
Method bypasses the guesswork involved in
distributing the k values in the pseudo-coupled
s
method; should be more accurate
Method has not been implemented into software
packages and thus is not routinely used on design
projects

## Finite Element Method

Models the entire soil-mat systemin a threedimensional
way
In theory, should be the most accurate methode
Methed is not yet practical because

## Requires largeamount of computing power to perform

Difficult to determine soil properties in such a way as
to justify the ptecision of the analysis, espetially when
soil parameters are highly variable

## Finite Element Method

Finite element method is used for structural
analysis
Mat is modelled in a similar way to other plate
structures with springs connected at the nodes of
the elements
Usually superstructure stiffness is not considered
(conservative)

## Determining the Coefficient of

Not a straightforward process due to:

wide mat

Not a
straightforward
process due to:

Shape of the
stresses beneath
long, narrow
different from
those below
areas

## Determining the Coefficient of

Not a
Straight forward
process due to:

Depth of the
below the
ground surface

Change in stress
in the soil due to
q in a smaller
percentage of the
initial stress at
greater depths

## Determining the Coefficient of

Not a straightforward process due to:

## To model the soil accurately, k needs to be larger near the

s
edges ofthe mat and smaller near
the centre

Time

## With compressible (and especially cohesive compressible

soils) mat seetlement in a process which mat take several
years

## May be necessary to consider both shortand long term cases

Non-linear nature of soil deformation makes unique
value of k
non-existent
s

## Test results must be adjusted between the shape of the

the size of the plate vs.
the side of the foundation, and the influence of size on the
depth of soil stress

## Attempts to make accurate adjustments have not been very

successful to dane

possibilities

## Determining the Coefficient of

Methods used to determine coeffitient
Use settlement techniques such as Terzaghies
consolidation theory, Schmertmann's method, etc., and
express the results in a k
value
s
If using a pseudo-coupled value, use valees of k in the centre
s
of the mat which are half those along the perimeter
This methodology has the potential of eliminating the
problems described earlier while at the same time yielding
values of k which then can be used in astructural analysis of
s
the mat with some degree of confidence

Given

## Structure to be supported on a 30 m wide by 50 m

long mat foundation

## Average bearing pressure is 120 kPa

Average settlement determined = 30 mm
settlement analysis method

using

Find

Solution

Solution

Solution

## Structural Design of Mats

Structural design requires two analyses

Strength

design methods

required

Servicability

## Evaluate using unfactored loads for excessive deformation as

places of concentrated loads, such as columns, soil nonuniformities, mat non-uniformities, etc.

## Structural Design of Mats

closed form solutions

## Once popular; however, with the advent of computers,

Have fallen out of favour

## Finite difference methods

Finite element methods

## Springvalues as computed in the example can then be

used in finite element analysis

## the stiffer springs at the edges will encourage

the
foundation to
sag in the centre, which is what we
actually see in foundations

Total settlement

## "Bed of springs" solution should not be used to

compute total settlement; this should be done using
othermethods

Bearing

capacity

## Mat foundations generally do not have bearing

capacity probleme
With undrained silts and clays, bearing capacity needs
to be watched
Methods for spread footings can be used
with mat
foundations, including presumptive
bearing capacities