Enhancement of bearing capacity from consolidation: due to changing strength or failure mechanism?

S. A. Stanier, D. J. White

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Bearing capacity of shallow foundations is higher following preload (or self-weight)-induced consolidation because the soil strength changes, and perhaps because the failure mechanism changes. Previous studies have illustrated this effect by plotting or predicting changes in either bearing capacity factor or strength. In this study, the relative contribution of these two effects is explored. This is achieved by formalising a definition of bearing capacity factor, which is described in terms of the average strength mobilised in the deformation mechanism at failure. Using the alternative definition of bearing capacity factor, the gain in foundation capacity is shown to be almost entirely due to changes in soil strength, rather than bearing capacity factor, which remains largely unaffected by the strength gains. This observation should encourage future studies into consolidated bearing capacity to present gains in capacity in terms of changes in mobilised strength rather than changes in bearing capacity factors, and supports the use of prediction methods that focus on defining the change in soil strength.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)166-173
    Number of pages8
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


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