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IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

1

DESIGN OF SHALLOW AND DEEP FOUNDATIONS FOR EARTHQUAKES

Prepared by

Debasis Roy

Department of Civil Engineering

Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur

1. INTRODUCTION

Foundations may undergo severe distress during an earthquake. One such example of

foundation failure involving toppling of apartment blocks due to liquefaction during the 1964

Niigata Earthquake is presented in Figure 1. Earthquake effects on shallow and deep

foundations are accounted for by designing them structurally to provide necessary strength

and ensure serviceability. Strength considerations essentially involves ensuring that the

foundation loads remain well below that dictated by the allowable bearing capacity under

seismic conditions and serviceability is ensured by designing the substructure for the

estimated permanent ground deformation. Simple procedures for estimating bearing capacity

and permanent ground deformation under earthquake conditions are presented in this note.

Figure 1. Tilted apartment buildings

2. STATE OF STRESS WITHIN A SOIL DEPOSIT DURING AN EARTHQUAKE

The states of stress within a soil element in static and earthquake conditions and the

corresponding Mohrs Circles are shown on Figure 2, from which it is apparent that the

Mohrs Circle representing a stable element in static condition (Element A, Figure 2a

represented by Mohrs Circle I, Figure 2c) may expand and translate towards the failure

envelope because of cyclic shear and normal stress imposed during an earthquake (Element B,

Figure 2b represented by Mohrs Circle II, Figure 2c). As the ground motion further

intensifies, Mohrs Circle II may evolve into Mohrs Circle III for which the failure plane is

horizontal. Any further increase in the amplitude of ground motion will lead to the failure of

soil layer without any further increase in resistance. It needs to be emphasized that the

response discussed here can be reached irrespective of earthquake-related pore water pressure

increase or liquefaction.

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

2

Figure 2. Subsurface state of stress

Liquefaction is triggered when earthquake-related increase of pore water pressure causes a

remarkable reduction of effective stress. Liquefaction is often functionally as a state in which

large deformations (say, 5% double amplitude shear strain) develop within the deposit due to

pore water pressure rise. The notion of liquefaction used here is thus not identical to the

classical viewpoint that defines liquefaction as the state of zero effective stress. Saturated

loose to medium dense sands and soft and sensitive clays of low plasticity are susceptible to

liquefaction. The procedures for estimating the ultimate bearing capacities under earthquake

loads at non-liquefied and liquefied sites are discussed below.

3. SHALLOW FOUNDATION DESIGN FOR EARTHQUAKES

3.1. NON-LIQUEFIED SITES

Reduction in bearing capacity is mainly due to the inclination effects resulting from cyclic

earthquake shear and normal loads because of structural inertia. A simple approach to

account for these effects is to reduce the static bearing capacity factors using Figure 3. In

Figure 3 subscripts E and S signify earthquake and static conditions. The ratio of seismic

to static bearing capacity factors depend on the acceleration ratio,

v h

k k 1 , where k

h

and k

v

are the horizontal and vertical seismic coefficients within the failure zone. The seismic

coefficients are often assumed according to

max

5 . 0

h h

a k and

h v

k k 5 . 0 , where a

hmax

is

the average peak ground horizontal acceleration within the failure zone conservatively

assumed to be identical to the peak horizontal ground acceleration at surface if the founding

depth is not substantial. Alternatively, the average acceleration over the zone affected by

shear failure can be estimated from a free-field site-response calculation using, e.g.,

SHAKE91. The usual value of the factor of safety for estimating the allowable seismic

bearing capacity for shallow footings is 2.

3.2. LIQUEFIED SITES

Many sites are underlain by a non-liquefiable crust of variable thickness depending on soil

type and depth of groundwater. If the thickness of non-liquefiable layer below the bottom of

footing is thin, shallow foundations supported within the layer may punch through.

Shallow foundations in a site affected by liquefaction may also fail because of reduction of

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

3

Figure 3. Ratio of seismic to static bearing capacity factors (from Richards et al., 1993)

bearing capacity due to earthquake-related pore water pressure rise. The foundation designer

must ensure adequate factor of safety against such possibilities as indicated below.

Punching

The ultimate resistance for a strip footing against punching can be estimated using:

1

2

u ult

s T q (1)

where T is the thickness of non-liquefiable crust below the footing base and s

u1

is the

undrained shear strength of the non-liquefiable crust. For footings of limited length,

multiplier 2 on the right hand side of Equation 1 should be replaced with the perimeter of the

footing footprint. A factor of safety of safety of 2 should be provided in this regard.

Bearing Capacity

The bearing capacity problem related to liquefaction is essentially an undrained problem.

The problem is conveniently treated using the static bearing capacity factor, N

c

, for layered

soils shown on Figure 4, in which Layer 1 represents the non-liquefiable crust and Layer 2

represents liquefied soil. Since liquefaction of Layer 2 is likely to cause a significant

reduction in the amplitude of ground motion at surface, the static value of N

c

may be used to

estimate the ultimate bearing capacity even under earthquake condition. However, if

triggering of liquefaction fails to damp out the ground motion at surface, N

cE

should be

estimated using the chart on the right side of Figure 4.

The undrained strength for non-liquefiable crust can be estimated from a field Vane Shear

Test or the CPT if the layer is comprised of fine-grained soils. For coarse grained soils, the

SPT or the CPT data can be used together with Equations 2 and 3 (Olson and Stark, 2003).

For the liquefiable layer, the post-liquefaction undrained shear strength can be estimated

using Equations 4 and 5 (Olson and Stark, 2003).

1 0

0143 . 0 205 . 0

c v u

q s (2)

60 1 0

) ( 0075 . 0 205 . 0 N s

v u

(3)

1 0

0143 . 0 03 . 0

c v u

q s (4)

60 1 0

) ( 0075 . 0 03 . 0 N s

v u

(5)

where

u

s is the undrained shear strength,

0 v

is the free field effective vertical overburden

pressure,

5 . 0

0 1 v a c c

P q q , ER P N N

v a

5 . 0

0 60 1

) ( ,

c

q is the cone tip resistance,

P

a

is the atmospheric pressure and ER is the energy ratio of the SPT hammer. The usual

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

4

value of the factor of safety for estimating the allowable bearing capacity for shallow footings

in a site underlain by liquefiable soils is 2.

Figure 4. Undrained bearing capacity factor, N

c

, for layered soils (NAVFAC 1982)

3.3. DESIGN DISPLACEMENTS

Since the factor of safety for estimating allowable bearing capacity under earthquake loads is

about 50% smaller than that under usual dead load plus live load design conditions, allowable

bearing capacity under earthquake loads may not be smaller than those in dead load plus live

load design cases. However, footings tend to undergo continually increasing permanent

vertical deformation (settlement) with the progress of earthquake-related cyclic moment and

shear loading. Published centrifuge data indicate that total permanent vertical deformation

can be as large as 1% of the footing width in areas not affected by liquefaction (Gajan et al.

2005) or 6% of the thickness of the liquefied layer when liquefaction is triggered.

Consequently, permanent displacements may become the critical consideration in structural

design for earthquake loads instead of bearing capacity.

For sites not affected by liquefaction, Richards et al. (1993) presented a simple framework

for estimating settlements because of earthquake-related unidirectional horizontal ground

motion by extending the Newmark (1965) methodology developed originally for estimating

permanent deformation of earth embankments. A similar simple framework is not available

for multi directional earthquake ground motion.

At liquefiable sites vertical settlement is usually estimated using the correlations presented in

Figure 5. In this figure symbols D

r

, N

1

and q

c1

(expressed in MPa) have been used to denote

relative density, stress normalized SPT blow count and stress normalized cone tip resistance,

respectively. Factor of safety against liquefaction is estimated following the procedures

outlines in Youd et al. (2001). It should be noted that Japanese SPT data, based on which

Ishihara and Yoshimine (1992) originally proposed these correlations, are typically obtained

with hammers that deliver about 30% more energy than those employed in India. Figure 5

has been prepared accounting for this difference. The total permanent ground settlement

related to liquefaction is obtained by multiplying the thicknesses of soil layers by the

appropriate of the volumetric strain read out from Figure 5 and summing up the results for all

individual layers within the soil column underlying a site.

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

5

Figure 5. Volumetric strain due to liquefaction (after Ishihara and Yoshimine, 1992)

Differential settlements rather than total settlements usually govern structural design. The

differential settlement is approximately 50% of the total settlement for isolated footings and

33% of that for mat foundations.

4. PILE FOUNDATION DESIGN FOR EARTHQUAKES

Pile foundation is among the most widely used foundation types in areas affected by

earthquakes. Several case histories involving failure of piles can nevertheless be found in the

literature, two of which are shown on Figure 6. Most earthquake-related failure of pile

foundations is due to permanent ground displacement (e.g., Figure 6a) or because of loss of

lateral support (e.g., Figure 6b)

Figure 6. Earthquake effects on pile foundations

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

6

4.1. QUASI-STATIC DESIGN

Piles are designed for earthquake loads focusing mainly on their bending behavior. The

interaction between the pile and the surrounding soil is approximated by idealizing the soil

resistance to relative movement between pile and soil by the so-called p y, t z, and the

Q z, springs, representing horizontal translation, vertical translation of the pile shaft and

vertical translation of the pile tip, respectively. Symbols p, t and Q have been used here to

represent the horizontal force, vertical force along pile shaft and the vertical force at the pile

tip, respectively, while y and z represent vertical and horizontal displacements, respectively.

A widely used empirical procedure for constructing these nonlinear springs for cyclic loading

conditions like earthquakes can be found in API RP2A (American Petroleum Institute 2000).

A simplified, quasi-static analytical includes the following steps: (a) estimation of the

free field deformation (without considering the existence of the piles), (b) applying these

deformations across the p y, t z, and the Q z, springs to the piles, (c) recalculating

the deformations, (d) applying the recalculated deformations across the p y, t z, and

the Q z, springs to the piles and (e) iterating through steps c and d until the input

deformation field becomes compatible with the pile deformation within an acceptable range

of tolerance.

A very simple method of pile design for earthquake-related permanent ground deformation

used by the Japanese Road Association (JRA 1996) involves consideration of a distributed

load along the pile shaft as shown on Figure 7 along with other structural loads.

Figure 7. Lateral load for pile design for earthquake-related permanent ground deformation

Concerns have been raised over recent years regarding the adequacy of this design procedure

because it neglects the possibility of bucking resulting from the remarkable reduction of

lateral restraint within the liquefied layer (Bhattacharya et al. 2004). However, to take proper

account of liquefaction-related loss of lateral restraint development of an elaborate numerical

model based on finite element or finite difference becomes necessary.

It should be noted that several case histories describing earthquake-related failures of

structures due to loss of lateral restraint for piles in cohesive deposits can also be found in the

literature. Although finite difference computer codes have been developed to account for this

possibility (Matlock and Foo 1980), a simple empirical procedure for estimating gap

formation as a function of soil strength and number of cycles of earthquake load is not yet

available.

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

t

, 2013 D. Roy

7

4.2. DYNAMIC ANALYSIS

An elaborate numerical model based on finite element (based on software package such as

FLUSH, PLAXIS, QUAKE/W, ABAQUS, LSDYNA) or finite difference (FLAC) is also

sometimes used to estimate the pile behavior. A suite of earthquake accelerograms are used

in these analyses. Sourcing information and a brief description of the capabilities of these

packages can be found at www.ggsd.com, www.itascg.com and www.lstc.com.

5. SELECTION OF FOUNDATION TYPE IN EARTHQUAKE-PRONE AREAS

Isolated shallow foundations do not work well during earthquakes particularly because of

differential settlements. However, lightly-loaded structures can be adequately supported

using shallow foundations connected by grade beams and/or structurally designed floor slabs

provided that sufficient depth of non-liquefiable (and/or insensitive) soils are present below

the bottom of the footing. The grade beams are typically designed to carry one tenth of the

maximum column load.

Mat foundation is often considered a viable foundation option under earthquake loading

conditions especially in areas underlain by liquefiable deposits. Uneven permanent ground

deformations in such situations are bridged relatively easily by an appropriately designed mat

foundation.

Pile foundations also perform well under earthquake loads and are therefore commonly used

in seismically active areas. Pile caps are also often interconnected with grade beams and

structurally designed floor slab.

6. SUMMARY

Structural design of foundations involves satisfying two requirements: (a) a factor of safety of

2 or more is available against bearing capacity failure under seismic loading and (b) the

permanent ground deformation can be accommodated by the foundation system and

superstructure. Some of the simple empirical procedures available to account for these issues

for common foundation types have been discussed in this note. Common strategies adopted

by geotechnical engineers in foundation design have also been briefly discussed.

REFERENCES

American Petroleum Institute. 2000. Recommended practice for planning, desigining and

constructing fixed offshore platforms Working stress design. API RP 2A. Washington,

DC, USA.

Bhattacharya S., Madabhushi, S.P.G. and Bolton, M.D. 2004. An alternative mechanism for

pile failure in liquefiable deposits during earthquakes. Gotechnique, 54(3): 2013-213.

Gajan, S., Kutter, B.L., Phalen, J.D., Hutchinson, T.C., and Martin, G.R. 2005. Centrifuge

modeling of load-deformation behavior of rocking shallow foundations. Soil Dynamics

and Earthquake Engineering, 25, 773-783.

Ishihara, K., and Yoshimine, M. 1992. Evaluation of settlements in sand deposits following

liquefaction during earthquakes. Soils and Foundations. 32(1), 173-188.

JRA. 1996. Japanese Road Association Specification for Highway Bridges, Part V, Seismic

Design.

Matlock, H. and Foo, S. 1980. Axial analysis of piles using a hysteretic and degrading soil

model. Proceedings, 1

st

International Conference on Numerical Methods in Offshore

Piling, London, 127-133.

Geotechnical Earthquake Engineering Design of Shallow and Deep Foundations for Earthquakes

IITGn March 4 8

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, 2013 D. Roy

8

Newmark, N.M. 1965. Effects of earthquakes on dams and embankments. Gotechnique,

15, 139-160.

Olson, S.M. and Stark, T.D. 2003. Yield strength ratio and liquefaction analysis of slopes

and embankments. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering.

ASCE. 129(8), 727-737.

Richards, R., Elms, D.G., and Budhu, M. 1993. Seismic bearing capacity and settlements of

foundations. Journal of Geotechnical Engineering. 119(4): 662-674.

Yuminamochi, F. 1999. Air photographs of the Niigata City immediately after the

earthquake of 1964. Japanese Geotechnical Society.

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