Journal Published Online: 19 April 2016
Volume 39, Issue 5

Optimization Technique to Determine the Curves of Laterally Loaded Stiff Piles in Dense Sand



Lateral loading is often the governing design criteria for piles supporting offshore wind turbines and with the recent growth of this sector, the reliability of traditional design approaches is receiving renewed interest. To accurately assess the behavior of a laterally loaded pile requires a detailed understanding of the soil reaction that is mobilized as the lateral deflection of the pile occurs. Currently, the p-y curve method is widely adopted to model the response of laterally loaded piles. The limitations of existing p-y formulations are widely known, and there is acceptance that load tests on large-diameter stiff monopiles are urgently required to formulate appropriate design methods. However, interpretation of the data from instrumentation placed on stiff monopiles is not straightforward. This paper proposes an optimization technique to derive the soil reaction profile along the shaft of instrumented piles, from which the correlated p-y curves can then be obtained. The method considers force equilibrium, pile deflection, and additional boundary conditions. A set of fourth-order polynomial equations are assumed to model the soil reaction profile under each load step during a monotonic load test. By minimizing the difference between the measured and calculated bending moment and considering equilibrium of the shear forces acting on the pile, the soil reaction profile and the concentrated tip resistance can be obtained simultaneously. A stiff instrumented test pile installed in over-consolidated sand was load tested and the results were used to test the performance of the proposed method. The results are compared with other methods used in literature and practice. The method provides a consistent framework to derive p-y curves from measured strain data. The results of the field test and derived p-y curves confirmed that existing design methods do not accurately capture the lateral loading response of piles in dense sand.

Author Information

Xue, J.
School of Engineering and Information Technology, Federation Univ., Churchill, AT
Gavin, K.
School of Civil Engineering, Univ. College Dublin, Dublin, IE
Murphy, G.
Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions, Dublin, IE
Doherty, P.
Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions, Dublin, IE
Igoe, D.
Gavin and Doherty Geosolutions, Dublin, IE
Pages: 13
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: GTJ20140257
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20140257