Capacity of grillage foundations under horizontal loading

J. A. Knappett, M. J. Brown, M. F. Bransby, P. Hudacsek, N. Morgan, D. Cathie, A. Maconochie, G. Yun, A. G. Ripley, N. Brown, R. Egborge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Grillage foundations are an alternative to solid surface mudmats for supporting seabed infrastructure, offering improved hydrodynamic performance and savings in foundation material. Recent research has demonstrated that grillages can be designed to have similar vertical bearing capacity to a mudmat with the same footprint. This is extended herein by: (a) determining grillage performance under horizontal loading at constant vertical load (V-H); (b) the application and development of existing plasticity-based models for predicting performance; (c) comparing the V-H behaviour with surface mudmats; and (d) discussing the implications for design. Experimental tests were conducted in sands over a range of densities and in two different modes, representing different installation procedures. In over-penetrated tests, the foundations were installed to achieve a vertical bearing capacity V-0, followed by horizontal loading at a constant vertical load with V <V-0. In normally penetrated tests, foundations were installed to V-0 before horizontal loading at constant vertical load with V = V-0. Both normalised V-H yield surfaces and a plasticity-based simulation model are presented for use in design. Laboratory-scale grillages offer improved horizontal capacity in loose and medium-dense sands and similar horizontal capacity in very dense sand, compared with surface mudmats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-823
Number of pages13
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012
Externally publishedYes


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