Shaft End Bearing Capacity In Cavernous Limestone

Oweis, Issa S.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed primarily of calcite (calcium carbonate). In the presence of an aqueous solution of carbon dioxide (carbonic acid) bicarbonate radicals (2HCO3)- are produced that are highly soluble. The same type of reactions occur in terrains where dolomite (calcium magnesium bicarbonate) reacts with carbonic acid to produce highly soluble bicarbonates (4HCO3)-. The source of carbon dioxide is the small content in rainfall but to a large extent from the organics in the soil. The solution activity depends on many factors including the content of carbon in the rock, acidity of soil water, groundwater velocity and other factors. The resulting features are referred to in literature as sinkholes, solution channels, caves, karstic topography, and cavernous limestone. The presence of solution features affect the shafts in several ways: (a) the shaft resistance is affected by voids along the shaft, (b) concreting of the shaft should consider the presence of voids along the shaft, and (c) the shaft base may be in close proximity to a solution feature that may cause future collapse under structural loads. Methods to mitigate such effects include verification of rock to below the base (vertically and laterally). Cavities are stable by virtue of arching in the rock. Under the action of end bearing from a shaft, the arch may collapse depending on its proximity to the base of the shaft and the strength of the rock. This paper focuses on this issue. Finite Element analyses are conducted to relate shaft end load and bearing area that will produce failure based on given rock properties, size and location of cavity. Failure is defined as settlement of the base equivalent to 5% of shaft socket diameter. The software Plaxis is used for analysis. The rock is considered as c-f material derived based on Hoek-Brown failure criteria (2002 edition) that is based on Geological Strength Index (GSI).
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