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Seismic response of piles in layered soils: Performance of pseudostatic Winkler models against centrifuge data

Tott-Buswell, J.; Garala, T.K.; Prendergast, L.J.; Madabhushi, S.P.G.; Rovithis, E.

Seismic response of piles in layered soils: Performance of pseudostatic Winkler models against centrifuge data Thumbnail


T.K. Garala

S.P.G. Madabhushi

E. Rovithis


In this study, the suitability of the pseudostatic approach for the seismic analysis of pile foundations in layered soils is explored by means of experimental data from centrifuge tests performed at 60g. A free-head single pile and a capped (1 × 3) pile group, embedded in a two-layered soil comprising a soft clay layer underlain by dense sand, are tested in the centrifuge under sinusoidal and earthquake excitations. For the pseudostatic analysis, a one-dimensional Winkler model is developed using hyperbolic p-y curves from design codes. The kinematic and inertial loads on the pile foundations are derived using the experimentally measured free-field soil displacements and accelerations, respectively. Different approaches of modifying the p-y relationship to account for soil layering are compared. The importance of considering peak spectral acceleration in lieu of peak ground acceleration at the soil surface to compute the inertial force for the pseudostatic analysis is highlighted. Pile group effects are investigated by considering p-multipliers from literature to account for pile-soil-pile interaction. Results reveal that: (i) for low-intensity seismic motions, the pseudostatic approach with inertial pile-head loading stemming from peak ground acceleration (PGA) at soil surface led to a reasonable agreement of the maximum bending moment with experimental data for both single pile and pile group, (ii) for high-intensity base excitations, the use of the peak spectral acceleration, instead of PGA, at soil surface with suitable damping considerations to derive the inertial load in the pseudostatic model provided a maximum bending moment prediction that was acceptable for the single pile but conservative for the piles in the group compared to the centrifuge records.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 30, 2021
Online Publication Date Dec 14, 2021
Publication Date 2022-02
Deposit Date Dec 1, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 15, 2022
Journal Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Print ISSN 0267-7261
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 153
Article Number 107110
Keywords Soil Science; Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology; Civil and Structural Engineering
Public URL
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