Conventional and centrifuge model studies of the moment carrying capacity of short pier foundations in clay

King G., Laman M.

CANADIAN GEOTECHNICAL JOURNAL, vol.32, no.6, pp.976-988, 1995 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 6
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Doi Number: 10.1139/t95-096
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.976-988


An experimental investigation into the moment carrying capacity of short rigid pier foundations in saturated clay is described. Scale models of square piers with different breadths and depths were used in both conventional and centrifugal studies. The results show that the relationships between moment and rotation are nonlinear but do not exhibit any peak values, and that moment limits, defined by limiting angular rotations, increase with increases in pier depth and breadth. Empirical equations are derived between moment carrying capacity and pier geometry, for a range of limiting rotations, and a very close fit is demonstrated between the moment-rotation relationships obtained using these equations and the actual data obtained from the model tests. It is shown that, at the same pier rotations, the moment carrying capacities observed in the centrifugal model tests are significantly larger than those in the conventional model tests. Numerical analyses of the prototype geometries were also carried out using a three-dimensional nonlinear finite-element computer program. The results are shown to provide satisfactory agreement with the moment-rotation behaviour and working limits observed in the centrifuge model tests. Thus, even though conventional modelling is usually legitimate for determining the immediate bearing capacity of rigid foundations in saturated clay, their rotational stability is shown to be significantly affected by self-weight stresses. Some of the existing methods for designing short piers subjected to moments are examined and compared with the results from the centrifuge model tests.