Pile group in clay subjected to cyclic lateral load: Numerical modelling and design recommendation

Publication Name

Marine Georesources and Geotechnology


Major structures like offshore platforms, wind turbines, transport infrastructure, tall buildings, etc., resting on soft compressible clays, are often supported by pile foundations. Apart from usual vertical loading (dead load, live load, etc.), these piles are subjected to significant cyclic loads arising from actions of waves, ship impacts, winds or moving vehicles. Under such circumstances, the lateral mode of cyclic loading is predominant and affects the overall foundation stability. Such repetitive loading leads to stress reversal in adjacent soft clay initiating progressive degradation in soil strength and stiffness, deteriorating the pile capacity with unacceptable displacements. Although several past studies investigated the response of single pile under lateral cyclic loading, a detailed investigation on pile group in clay subjected to cyclic lateral loading, which is of immense practical interest to field engineers, is yet to be carried out. In this paper, in-depth study has been carried out by developing a three-dimensional dynamic finite element model. Comparison of the computed results with available test data validates the numerical model. Extensive parametric studies with field data indicate that both the axial and lateral pile capacities and displacements have been significantly influenced by the cyclic loading parameters. Relevant design curves are also constructed.

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