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Proceedings of Indian Geotechnical Conference

December 22-24,2013, Roorkee



A. K. Yadav, Resident Engineer, Jayprakash Associates Pvt. Ltd., Noida, India, akyiitg30@gmail.com
A. Dey, Assistant Professor, IIT Guwahati, Assam-781039, India, arindam.dey@iitg.ac.in

ABSTRACT: Pile foundations of bridges are often subjected to detrimental changes in lateral load capacity in
event of extreme scouring. Based on the permissible deflection of the pile at its cut-off level, this article reports the
estimation of lateral load capacity of a single free-headed pile embedded in stratified deposit. Two softwares with
different working principle, BEF and OASYS ALP, have been utilized. Extreme scouring depths (in the tune of 5-7
m has been accounted) portray vivid degradation of the lateral load capacity of pile, guided by the thickness and
stiffness of the substratum.

For piles supporting bridge structures, it is very difference theory to solve for the flexural response
important to estimate the ultimate lateral load of the beam in terms of deflection, bending
capacity of the pile in order to have a-priori idea moment, shear stress and contact stress profiles.
about its failure. Conventionally, such piles are The responses are provided as graphical response
estimated for their ultimate load based on specific envelopes as well as in tabulated format as nodal
deflection criterion. This article reports the information. Fig. 1 depicts an arbitrarily loaded
findings of a study to estimate the lateral load prismatic beam of unit width and length L resting
capacity of a single pile embedded in stratified soil on an elastic foundation with variable foundation
deposit in river bed, based on the permissible reaction.
deflection of 10% of the pile diameter at the cut-off
(in absence of scour) or at the maximum scour
level (in the presence of scour). Flexural response
of the pile (in terms of deflection, bending moment
and shear force and contact stress profiles) has
been illustrated using two different softwares
namely Beams on Elastic Foundations (BEF)
[linear elastic analysis] and OASYS ALP v19.1
[nonlinear P-Y analysis]. Analysis of Laterally
Loaded Piles (ALP) has been found to be more
efficient since it has the ability to consider the Fig. 1 Arbitrarily loaded prismatic beam resting on
effect of water table and nonlinear earth pressure Winkler foundation
generation in the soil surrounding the pile. Based
on the results, the article reports the lateral load The governing deflection response of the above
capacity of the piles embedded in stratified deposit beam is expressed as:
with or without the effect of scour. The effect of
4 y
scour on the lateral load capacity of the pile has EI w ky (1)
x 4
also been reported.
where, E is the modulus of elasticity and I is the
moment of inertia of the beam, y is the deflection
at any point of the beam, w is the magnitude of
BEF [1] utilizes the concept of beam resting on
applied load, and k is the modulus of subgrade
elastic Winkler foundation [2,3] and uses finite
reaction of the elastic foundation.

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A. K. Yadav & A. Dey

In order to solve the above problem numerically, analyzed for three different diameters (1000 mm,
the beam is discretized into several nodes, and the 1200 mm and 1500 mm). The pile is considered to
central difference scheme of the finite difference be made of M25 grade concrete, and is assumed to
theory is utilized to express the governing be free-headed. Seven different soil-pile
deflection response at any node i as: configurations have been analyzed, although not
ki h4 Ph 3
presented here for the sake of brevity [4].
i 2
y 4 yi 1 (6 ) yi 4 yi2 yi2 i
where, Pi is the computed equivalent nodal load,
and h is the uniform spacing of two nodes.

The above expression is further modified for

appropriate boundary conditions and changes in the
flexural rigidity of the beam and subgrade modulus
of the soil.


ALP models the pile as a series of elastic beam
elements and the soil as a series of non-interactive,
non-linear Winkler springs. The outcome conforms
to the prediction of contact pressures, horizontal
displacements, shear forces and bending moments
induced in a pile when subjected to lateral loads.
The load-deflection behaviour of soil is modelled Fig. 2 General soil-pile interaction model in ALP
either assuming an Elastic-Plastic behaviour, or by
specifying or generating load-deflection (P-Y) data
(depending on whether the soil is clayey or sandy).
The pile is discretized into several nodes, and two
separate stiffness matrices (one for the pile in
bending and one for the adjacent soil) relating
nodal forces to displacements are developed. The
pile stiffness is provide at each node, and remains
constant between successive nodes. The software
allows for incremental load application which aids
to monitor the progressive change in flexural
response. ALP is capable of considering the
presence of water table. Fig. 2 describes the
general schematic of a soil-pile interaction model
in ALP.

Fig. 3 depicts a single pile embedded in a stratified
soil. BEF and ALP have been used to determine
the lateral load capacity for a specified deflection
at its cut-off level (maximum allowable deflection
criterion considered as 10% of the pile diameter),
the length of fixity of the pile and the
corresponding flexural response envelopes at the Fig. 3 Soil-pile configuration of the present study
lateral load capacity of pile. The pile had been

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Lateral load capacity of piles in stratified soil deposit subjected to scour


A linear elastic analysis has been carried out using Finite difference method is subjected to various
BEF, considering the laterally loaded pile as a types of numerical instabilities originating due to
beam resting on elastic foundation (representing either sparse meshing (missing response variations)
the soil stratification with varying subgrade or even very dense meshing (progressive error
modulus). A vertical load is applied at the tip of the accumulation). Both the instabilities result in a
free-headed pile. The bottom of the pile is non-convergent solution. Hence, it is necessary to
considered to be restrained both from translation carry out a sensitivity study and arrive at an
and rotation. BEF does not account for water table optimum number of nodes which results in a stable
in the analysis. and convergent solution which does not vary with
small changes in the number of nodes [8]. In BEF,
Estimation of Model Parameters the sensitivity study was carried with 151, 677 and
For an analysis in BEF, the contributory 1201 nodes and the changes in the flexural
parameters are (a) Pile - the modulus of elasticity responses were investigated. 151 nodes were
of pile material, geometry configuration (length considered to be optimum and have been used in
and cross-section dimensions) and moment of further studies.
inertia, and (b) Soil - modulus of elasticity and
subgrade modulus of soil. Load-Deformation Response and Lateral Load
Depending on the grade of concrete, the elastic Capacity of Pile
modulus of concrete (Es) is estimated (using Indian The lateral load capacity of the free-headed pile is
Standards [5]) as: estimated based on the maximum permissible
Ec 5000 fck 25 kN/mm2 (3) deformation criterion of 10% of the pile diameter
where, fck is the grade of concrete (in kN/mm ) at its cut-off level. For the present study, the load at
the pile head is continually increased till the
Based on standard literature [6], the modulus of the permissible deflection at the pile head or cut-off
clayey and sandy stratum is estimated as: level is reached. Fig. 4a depicts the load-deflection
Es clay 350c 227.5 kg/cm2 (4) response of the pile. Since BEF operates on linear
elastic springs, the response curves have also been
Es sand 400 10.5 N 998.5 kg/cm2 (5) obtained as linear. It is observable that the lateral
load capacity of pile increases with the diameter of
where, c is the cohesion of clayey soil, and N is the the pile due to the enhanced flexural stiffness of
SPT blow count obtained in a sandy soil. the pile.
Considering a 1000 mm diameter of pile, the
moment of inertia is estimated to be 4.9x106 cm4. The lateral load capacity of the pile, as estimated
Using Vesics expression [7], the modulus of above, is further used to determine the flexural
subgrade reaction (ks) (Pile diameter = 1000 mm) response and estimate the maximum bending
is estimated to be 11.76 and 54.88 kN/m2/mm moment, shear force and contact stress generated at
respectively for silty-clayey and sandy strata as the verge of failure. Fig. 4b depicts such a typical
shown in Fig. 3. flexural response as obtained from the software. In
0.65Es E D4
actual practice, the pile needs to be designed based
ks 12 s

(6) on these maximum magnitudes. Moreover, the
D 1 s2 Ec I p
length of fixity of the laterally-loaded pile has also
where, D is the pile diameter, Es is modulus of been determined from the maximum moment/zero
elasticity of soil, s is the Poissons ratio of soil shear force criterion. The point of fixity is referred
(0.35 for clayey soil and 0.25 for sandy soil), and Ip to as that point above which the pile can be
is moment of inertia of the pile. modelled and analyzed a fixed cantilever beam.
For piles of other diameters, the subgrade modulus Beneath this point, the pile is considered to be
has been similarly calculated. fixed and does not contribute to rotation of the pile.
Table 1 enlists the response of the pile (for various

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A. K. Yadav & A. Dey

diameters) at its lateral load capacity. The table Effect of Scouring

reflects that increase in pile diameter results in Scouring is the removal of sediment such as sand
increment of the lateral load capacity as well as the and rocks from around bridge abutments or piers.
length of fixity of the same. Scour, caused by swiftly moving water, can scoop
out scour holes, compromising the integrity of a
structure. For Indian rivers and river bed
conditions, guidelines are available related to the
estimation of scour depth in accordance to the
Laceys theorem [9, 10, and 11]. For Indian rivers
like Ganga and Brahmaputra, scour depth as high
as 18m have been reported [12]. Fig. 5 depicts the
flow structure and scouring around a bridge pier.
An attempt has been made in this study to
comprehend the effect of scouring on the lateral
load capacity of the pile. A scouring depth of 11 m
has been considered in the present study. The
methodology, as stated earlier for BEF, has been
used to estimate the lateral load capacity with
Fig. 4a Load-deformation and lateral load capacity increasing scour depth by taking into account the
of pile using BEF increase in the cut-off level due to scouring. The
lateral load capacity is estimated based on the
permissible deflection of 10% of pile diameter at
the pile-head. Fig. 6 reveals the degradation in the
lateral load capacity of pile due to increase in the
scour depth. It is clearly understandable that
scouring of softer soil layers result in faster
degradation of the lateral load capacity of the pile.

Fig. 4b Typical flexural response of pile as

obtained from BEF

Table 1 Response of the pile at lateral load

capacity as obtained from BEF
D ycut- Pu Mmax Qmax pmax Lfix
(mm off (kN) (kNm) (kN) (kPa (m)
) (mm )
) Fig. 5 Flow structure and scouring around a bridge
1000 10 222 817 147 115 5.3 pier
1200 12 366 1541 233 147 6.5
1500 15 675 3342 413 197 7.2 OASYS ALP NONLINEAR P-Y ANALYSIS
Note: ycutoff - Deflection at cut-off level, Pu - Unlike BEF, ALP is capable of considering the
Lateral load capacity, Mmax - Maximum moment, effect of water table. The software also facilitates
Qmax - Maximum shear force, pmax - Maximum to determine the flexural response through
contact stress, Lfix - Length of fixity from the automatic load increment, and hence compared to
bottom of the pile.

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Lateral load capacity of piles in stratified soil deposit subjected to scour

the other parameters required as input are: (a) Unit

weight, percentage strain, and cohesion for clayey
soils and (b) unit weight, angle of internal friction
and coefficient of earth pressure at-rest for sandy
soil. The unit weight of soil for all the problems is
considered to be 18 kN/m3, and the strain is
considered to be of magnitude 5% for all soils. The
coefficient of earth pressure at rest is computed
using Jakys expression [13] as follows:

K0 1 sin (7)

The pile has been discretized into nodes with a

uniform spacing of 0.5 m, with required
refinements being made in the intersection with the
Fig. 6 Lateral load capacity degradation with water table and soil strata interface.
increased scouring
Load-Deformation Response and Lateral Load
BEF, utilizes lesser time to estimate the failure Capacity of Pile
load. ALP also considers the passive resistance of The advanced feature of automatic load increment
the soil (not available in BEF) and indicates available in the software OASYS ALP 19.1 has
whenever the passive resistance of the soil is been used to estimate the lateral load capacity of
exceeded. The methodology taking into account of the pile. For the present problem, the load acting at
the generated P-Y curves has been considered in the pile head has been set to a reasonable value
the present study. Fig. 7 depicts a typical sample (e.g. 250 kN) and the number of increments to
output as obtained from ALP. reach the load has been provided (13 increments).
This enables to obtain the cumulative flexural
response of the pile with the load increments. Fig.
8a-8d shows a typical load increment procedure in
terms of the deflection response of the pile (1000
mm diameter).

Fig. 7 Typical flexural response envelopes as

obtained from ALP 19.1

Estimation of Model Parameters

Both elastic and plastic soil properties are required
to be provided in the ALP input model. Apart from
the modulus of subgrade reaction (identical as used
Fig. 8a Deflection envelopes for load increments
in the BEF software), depending on the soil type,
(Pile diameter = 1000mm)

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A. K. Yadav & A. Dey

Fig. 9 Load-deformation curves and lateral load

Fig. 8b Bending moment envelopes for load capacity of piles using OASYS ALP 19.1
increments (Pile diameter = 1000mm)
From the above observation, considering the
deflection criterion as 10% of the pile diameter at
cut-off level, the lateral load capacity of the pile
has been estimated. Fig 9 depicts the lateral load
capacity as estimated from the ALP software. It
can be observed from the plots that, unlike BEF,
the load-deflection curves reveal nonlinear
behavior for higher diameter piles.

Fig. 10 reveals the difference in the estimated

lateral load estimated obtained from BEF and ALP
considering the permissible deflection criterion as
10% of the pile diameter at the cut-off level of the
pile. It is noticeable that the lateral load capacity
estimated from ALP is lower than that obtained
Fig. 8c Shear force envelopes for load increments
using BEF.
(Pile diameter = 1000mm)

Fig. 8d Contact pressure envelopes for load Fig. 10 Comparison of lateral load capacity of piles
increments (Pile diameter = 1000mm) of varying diameters obtained from BEF and ALP

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Lateral load capacity of piles in stratified soil deposit subjected to scour

This may be attributed to the nonlinear analysis of condition. The sandy layers show mostly bilinear
ALP which inadvertently considers the soil to be behavior and, as indicated in the figure, needs to be
remaining in a softer state at any stress level as subjected to large load values to reach their
compared to the linear elastic analysis, and hence ultimate state. Hence, the linear/nonlinear flexural
shows lower lateral load capacity as the soil offers behavior of the pile will be governed by the
more displacement as compared to the other thickness and location of the clayey or sandy
procedure. Moreover, the consideration of the stratum.
water table results in soil layers remaining in the
submerged condition, which further lowers the Table 2 Response of the pile at lateral load
lateral support of the soil due to the reduction of capacity as obtained from ALP
the effective unit weight of the soil. D ycut-off Pu Mmax Lfix
(mm) (mm) (kN) (kNm) (m)
Using the estimated lateral load capacity, the 1000 10 101 488 7
flexural response of the pile has been determined 1200 12 181 984 7
for various diameters and is represented in Figures 1500 15 388 2370 7.5
11a-11e. Similar to BEF, it is observed that with
the increase in the pile diameter, the maximum
responses (deflection, rotation, bending moment,
shear force, and contact stresses) also reveal
increment in their magnitudes. However, it is
worth noticing that the point of fixity, represented
by the position of maximum bending moment, does
not reveal significant change with the change in the
diameter of the pile. This is dissimilar in
observation to BEF. This may be attributed to the
fact that BEF considers solely the modulus of
subgrade reaction as the support system while
neglecting the passive resistance offered by the
soil. Moreover, the response of soil is generally
nonlinear under high load and especially when the
structures reach the verge of failure. The nonlinear Fig. 11a Deflection envelope of pile as obtained
P-Y curves provide much realistic behavior of the from ALP 19.1
soil under such condition. The deformation
behavior of the soil does not proportionally
increase with the increment in the load, and hence
shows relatively softer behavior in comparison to
the linear elastic medium. Moreover, the load-
deformation behavior of the alternatively placed
sandy and clayey stratum is significantly different.
All this factors might actually result in maintaining
the point of fixity of the pile to be same despite
change in pile diameter. The results are enumerated
in Table 2.

Figs. 12a-12b depicts the P-Y curves that are

generated at the top and bottom of each soil layer.
It is noticeable that the clayey layers (which are
more plastic than the sandy layers) show more non- Fig. 11b Rotation envelope of pile as obtained
linear behavior, and reaches the plastic limit from ALP 19.1

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A. K. Yadav & A. Dey

The properties of the soil remain the same as

discussed earlier. Table 3 enumerates the lateral
load capacity of the pile of various diameters under
the extreme scouring condition. It is observed that
the lateral load capacity increases while the length
of fixity is not significantly increased with the
increase in pile diameter.

Fig. 11c Bending Moment envelope of pile as

obtained from ALP 19.1

Fig. 12a Generated P-Y curves for the clayey soil

Fig. 11d Shear force envelope of pile as obtained

from ALP 19.1

Fig. 12b Generated P-Y curves for the sandy soil

Table 3 Response of the pile at lateral load

capacity under 5 m scouring as obtained from ALP
D ycut-off Pu Mmax Lfix
(mm) (mm) (kN) (kNm) (m)
1000 10 70 491 8.5
Fig. 11e Contact stress envelope of pile as obtained 1200 12 134 964 10
from ALP 19.1 1500 15 278 2323 10

Effect of Scouring CONCLUSIONS

The pile as depicted in Fig.3 has been analyzed for Based on the conducted study, the following
a condition where the maximum scouring was important conclusions can be stated:
observed to be 5 m from the existing ground level Mesh refinement in BEF revealed that 151
(EGL). The rest of the pile passes through 4.5 m of nodes proves to be sufficient to obtain a stable
silty-clay soil underlain by 15.5 m of sandy soil. and convergent solution and can be considered

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Lateral load capacity of piles in stratified soil deposit subjected to scour

as optimal number of nodes for the reported REFERENCES

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