Increasing Lateral Pile Stiffness Through Limited Soil Improvement

Weaver, Thomas J.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2006
Piles extending through soft soil near the ground surface will have a relatively low lateral stiffness. As a result, lateral serviceability limits may control the number of piles required for foundation support. Improving near surface soil properties may significantly increase lateral pile stiffness and thus reduce the number of piles required for the foundation. A series of analyses have been performed to assess the depth and lateral extent of soil improvement required to significantly increase lateral foundation stiffness. Analyses consisted of Winkler type beam on a spring foundation and three-dimensional, linear elastic finite element analyses. Results from the analyses show that lateral pile foundation stiffness can be doubled when soil properties are improved to a depth and lateral extent of 5 pile diameters. In order to achieve this increase in foundation stiffness, the modified/improved soil modulus of elasticity needed to be approximately 5 times greater than adjacent unimproved soil. This magnitude of soil improvement over such a limited lateral extent suggests that limited soil improvement can result in more economical foundation designs at soft soil sites.
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