Investigation of the end bearing performance of displacement piles in sand

Xiangtao Xu

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    1061 Downloads (Pure)


    [Truncated abstract] The axial performance of piles in sand remains an area of great uncertainty in geotechnical engineering. Over the years, database studies have shown that the existing method for offshore piles (e.g. API 2000) is unreliable. There is therefore a clear need for an improved predictive method, which incorporates the state-ofthe- art understanding of the underlying controlling mechanisms. This Thesis is dedicated to address the factors influencing the end bearing performance of displacement piles in siliceous sand with a view to proposing and justifying an improved design formulation. Firstly, a database of displacement pile load tests in sand with CPT data was compiled in collaboration with James Schneider (Schneider 2007). It features the widest database with also the latest available pile load test data (e.g. Euripides, Ras Tanajib, Drammen etc) in electronic form. Evaluation of the three new CPTbased methods (Fugro-05, ICP-05 & NGI-05) against this database has revealed a broadly similar predictive performance despite their end bearing formulations being remarkably different. This anomaly promoted the author to extend the database to include additional tests with base capacity measurements to form new base capacity databases for driven and jacked piles, which resulted in the UWA- 05 method for end bearing of displacement piles in sand. This method accounts for the pile effective area ratio, differentiates between driven and jacked piles, and employs a rational qc averaging technique. ... Field tests were performed in Shenton Park, Perth to supplement the database study and, in particular, to examine the effect of the incremental filling ratio (IFR). 10 open-ended and 2 closed-ended piles were tested in compression followed by tension. The test results provide strong support for the UWA-05 method for base capacity evaluation employing the CPT qc values and the effective area ratio. A series of jacked pile tests was carried out on the UWA beam centrifuge, to further explore the factors affecting pile base response. In total, four uniform and four layered centrifuge samples were prepared and tested at various stress levels and relative densities using three separate pile diameters. The resistance ratio (qb0.1/qc,avg) is found to be independent of the absolute pile diameter, effective stress and soil relative density. The tests in layered soil enabled quantification of the reduction in penetration resistance when a pile/cone approaches a weak layer and revealed the significant influence on base stiffness of underlying soft clay layers. The stiffness decay curves (G/GIN vs. w/D, where GIN is initial operational shear stiffness) measured in static load tests were found to vary with ratios of GIN/qc, while there was a unique relationship between G/GIN and qb/qc. A detailed parametric study was carried out (using the FE code PLAXIS) by idealising pile penetration using a spherical cavity expansion analogue in layered soil. The numerical predictions compare well with the centrifuge results and their generalization enabled guidelines to be established for end bearing in layered soil.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2007

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