Serviceability and safety in the design of rigid inclusions and combined pile-raft foundations

Abstract : Rigid inclusions represent a further development of combined pile-raft foundations, comprising a load transfer platform between the columns and the structure. Calculation methods and design concepts are available for such combined systems in particular in France, based on measured pressuremeter modulus values and on the French recommendations ASIRI for rigid inclusions (IREX 2012). The conventional pile design consisting only of a bearing capacity check for the individual column cannot be applied to such combined systems. The expected settlements may be larger due to a significant load proportion supported by the soil. The present work contributes to the development of displacement-based calculation methods (advocated by the Eurocode 7, EN 1997-1 2004) and design methods for combined systems under vertical loads, in particular on an international level where in general no in situ soil modulus values are measured. Possible particularities of such systems, like the sensitivity of unreinforced small-diameter columns, also had to be investigated. The load transfer method (LTM) is identified as a straightforward engineering tool for the calculation of combined systems with relatively simple geometries. The soil-column interaction in terms of skin friction and tip resistance is described by deformation-dependent load transfer curves (or “t-z” and “q-z” curves). Continuum methods like the finite element method should be preferred only for complex cases in general. The non-linear load-settlement behaviour of single footings up to failure is analysed based on measurements given in the literature. This yields the proposal of a hyperbolic load-settlement curve for footings. This mobilization curve is defined in a way to match the linear usual method for one third of the footing ultimate load. The behaviour of single piles is investigated based on numerous available instrumented and non-instrumented pile load tests with different pile and soil types. A reliable alternative to the load transfer curves after Frank and Zhao (1982), which are based on the pressuremeter modulus, is sought. Cubic root and hyperbolic axial load transfer curves are proposed for all pile and ground types. The stiffness accuracy of the proposed curves depends on an accurate estimation of the ultimate skin friction and tip resistance values. On the contrary, the initial stiffness of the Frank and Zhao curves is fully described by the pressuremeter modulus, avoiding thus errors in the stiffness. The proposed mobilization curves for the shallow and pile foundation behaviours are combined and extended for all combined systems. The proposed method is implemented as the LTM option into the software KID (Keller company 2015). The prediction with the developed model matches very well the measurements made for 3 different cases from the literature. A parametric study shows a smooth transition between the combined pile-raft foundation case and the rigid inclusion case and a potential for optimisation with a significant reduction of the internal forces in the columns and in the rigid slab when a load transfer platform is used. In addition, a comparison with 3D finite element calculations for a theoretical footing case with columns confirms that the developed load transfer method is very reliable for simple geometries. Sensitivity investigations using the axisymmetric and 3D finite element method with Plaxis (2013, 2014) are performed. Geometrical imperfections impact mainly the structural integrity of small-diameter unreinforced columns. However, these effects are reduced in combined systems compared to the single column case due to the possibility of redistribution of the loads within the system
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Cécilia Bohn. Serviceability and safety in the design of rigid inclusions and combined pile-raft foundations. Civil Engineering. Université Paris-Est, 2015. English. ⟨NNT : 2015PESC1096⟩. ⟨tel-01259962⟩

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