Pile foundation analysis and design using experimental data and 3-D numerical analysis
Capacity based design of pile foundations limits the soil-structure interaction mechanism to group bearing capacity estimation, neglecting, in most cases, the contribution of the raft. on the other hand, a straightforward, nonlinear, 3-D analysis, accounting for soil and structural nonlinearities and the effects arising from pile-soil-pile interaction, would be extremely high CPU-time demanding and will necessitate the use of exceptionally powerful numerical tools. With the aim of investigating the most efficient, precise, and economical design for a bridge foundation, a hybrid method, compatible with the notion of sub-structuring is proposed. It is based on both experimental data and nonlinear 3-D analysis. The first step to achieve these targets is a back-analysis of a static pile load test, fitting values for soil shear strength, deformation modulus, and shear strength mobilization at the soil-pile interface. Subsequently, the response of 2 x 2 and 3 x 3 pile group configurations is numerically established and the distribution of the applied load to the raft and the characteristic piles is discussed. Finally, a design strategy for an optimized design of pile raft foundations subjected to non-uniform vertical loading is proposed. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.