SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1984

Design of Laterally Loaded Displacement Piles Using a Driven Pressuremeter


The nonlinear subgrade reaction method is widely used for the design of laterally loaded piles. This method replaces the soil reaction with a series of independent springs. The nonlinear behavior of the soil springs is represented by P-y curves, which relate soil reaction and pile deflection at points along the pile length. Most of the existing methods for obtaining P-y curves are highly empirical. Often little account is taken of the method of pile installation. The pressuremeter offers an almost ideal in-situ modelling tool for determining directly the P-y curves for a pile. As the pressuremeter can either be driven or self-bored into the soil, the results can be used to model either a displacement or a non-displacement pile.

The driven pressuremeter used in the study described in this paper was essentially a standard pressuremeter with a solid 60° cone shoe at the tip. The instrument was pushed into the soil. This paper provides a detailed description of the equipment, testing procedures, and the theory that enables the family of P-y curves for laterally loaded displacement piles to be obtained. A case study, using the driven pressuremeter results to predict and compare the performance of two full-scale field lateral pile load tests, is presented.

Author Information

Robertson, PK
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Hughes, JMO
, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Campanella, RG
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Sy, A
Klohn Leonoff Ltd., Richmond, B.C., Canada
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 229–238
DOI: 10.1520/STP36824S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4901-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0207-1