Investigation of the Resistance of Pile Caps and Integral Abutments to Lateral Loading
Mokwa, Robert L.
Duncan, J. Michael
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This research provides a means of assessing and quantifying many important aspects of pile group and pile cap behavior under lateral loads. The program of work performed in this study includes developing a full-scale field test facility, conducting approximately 30 lateral load tests on pile groups and pile caps, performing laboratory geotechnical tests on natural soils obtained from the site and on imported backfill materials, and performing analytical studies. A detailed literature review was also conducted to assess the current state of practice in the area of laterally loaded pile groups. A method called the "group-equivalent pile" approach (abbreviated GEP) was developed for creating analytical models of pile groups and pile caps that are compatible with established approaches for analyzing single laterally loaded piles. A method for calculating pile cap resistance-deflection curves (p-y curves) was developed during this study, and has been programmed in the spreadsheet called PYCAP. A practical, rational, and systematic procedure was developed for assessing and quantifying the lateral resistance that pile caps provide to pile groups. Comparisons between measured and calculated load-deflection responses indicate that the analytical approach developed in this study is conservative, reasonably accurate, and suitable for the use in design of pile caps and integral abutments. The results of this research are expected to improve the current state of knowledge and practice regarding pile group and pile cap behavior.