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International Journal of Civil Engineering


Analysis of Negative Skin-Friction on Single Piles by One-Dimensional

Consolidation Model Test
Hyeong‑Joo Kim1 · Jose Leo Mission2   · Tae‑Woong Park3 · Peter Rey Dinoy3

Received: 12 October 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2018 / Accepted: 7 March 2018

© Iran University of Science and Technology 2018

The computer program pile negative skin friction (PileNSF) was developed by the authors to predict the bearing capacity of
a pile embedded in a consolidating ground due to surcharge loading. The program uses a one-dimensional analytical soil-
pile model, which was formulated based on the nonlinear load-transfer method and Mikasa’s generalized one-dimensional
consolidation theory. To investigate the development of negative skin friction on single piles, as well as to validate the com-
puter program (PileNSF), a laboratory model test was performed in this study. The clay layer was subjected to increasing
surcharge loads to simulate actual field conditions. Results showed that as excess pore pressure decreases and as surcharge
load increases, the dragload and downdrag on pile increases. The measured values of soil settlement, excess pore water pres-
sure, and axial force on pile were compared with the predicted values obtained from the computer program. The results of
the computer program (PileNSF) showed to be in good agreement with the measured data. Therefore, negative skin friction
on single piles can be effectively predicted using the computer program, PileNSF, provided that reasonable parameters are
used in the analysis. After validating the program, a parametric study was carried out to study the influence of various pile
design parameters on negative skin friction.

Keywords  Piles · Negative skin friction · Nonlinear load-transfer method · Consolidation theory · Downdrag · Dragload

1 Introduction weak soil layers exist. Over the years, piles have been attract-
ing great attention in geotechnical engineering [1]. Hence,
1.1 Problem Definition piles have been studied diversely through various empiri-
cal, numerical, and machine-learning methods. Examples of
Piles are slender structural elements that transmit the weight empirical methods are the α-method [2], β-method [3], and
of structures and external loads (tension or compression) λ-method [4]. Although these simplified methods are widely
to deeper strata and are usually used when compressible or used in pile design to estimate the pile-load capacity, these
methods may overestimate the mobilized skin friction [5].
* Jose Leo Mission Consequently, numerical methods such as the load-transfer
j.mission@horizon‑ method and finite element method (FEM) were proposed to
Hyeong‑Joo Kim obtain better estimates of the pile-load capacity. The load-transfer method, which was first proposed by
Tae‑Woong Park Coyle and Reese [6], is based on the idea that the load-set- tlement response recorded at the pile head is a direct result
Peter Rey Dinoy of how the reaction forces along the pile body depend on the local displacements [7]. The load-transfer mechanism
in a pile is expressed as the transfer of the axial load to the
Department of Civil Engineering, Kunsan National surrounding soil by shear stresses (skin-friction) along the
University, Gunsan 573‑701, South Korea
lateral soil–pile interface and by end-bearing at the pile tip.
Horizon Survey Company (FZC), P6‑31, SAIF Zone, The rate at which the axial load is transferred to the soil
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
along the pile and the overall deformation of the system are
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Kunsan dependent on numerous factors such as the pile geometry,
National University, Gunsan 573‑701, South Korea

International Journal of Civil Engineering

pile material, and pile surface roughness; the type of soil and traditional methods. Results of the study demonstrated that
its stress–strain characteristics; the presence or absence of machine-learning models outperform the traditional methods
ground water; the method of pile installation; and the pres- and can accurately predict pile shaft resistance and uplift
ence or absence of residual stresses as a result of installation. pile displacement.
The FEM is an advancement of the original load-transfer Basically, piles have been studied extensively throughout
method because it can model complicated problems such as the years because of its many applications. However, sev-
complex soil layering, geometry, and consolidation. Several eral problems exist with regards to the application of piles.
researchers have used the FEM to model various geotechni- A consolidating soil subjected to surcharge loading experi-
cal engineering problems related to piles. Yuan et al. [1] ences varying effective stresses and shear strength with time
investigated the construction process of a tower having a due to dissipation of excess pore pressure [15]. If a pile is
maximum construction load higher than the bearing capacity driven into the consolidating soil and the settlement of the
of the pile foundation wherein excessive and/or differential pile is greater than that of the soil, the pile is supported by
settlement, failure of pile foundation, as well as toppling fail- the soil and positive friction force is produced. However, if
ure of the superstructure could occur. To solve this problem, the settlement of the soil is greater than that of the pile, the
the mechanical response of the pile foundation during the pile is pulled down by the soil and negative friction force is
construction process was simulated using FLAC3D. Several produced [16]. This downdrag effect is commonly termed as
pile foundation reinforcement methods were proposed and negative skin-friction, which develops from downward shear
the optimal method was selected based on the results of the stresses induced by relative movements along the interface
FEM analyses. Khanmohammadi and Fakharian [8] also of the pile and the consolidating soil [17]. In designing pile
simulated the installation of a mini-pile and the subsequent foundations, neglecting negative skin-friction is unconven-
dissipation of pore water pressure over time using ABAQUS tional and may result in serviceability problems and eventual
to evaluate the changes of stress state in clay and the pile- failures [18]. Hence, it is essential to investigate and under-
bearing capacity. In recent studies, Sharafi and Sojoudi [9] stand the effect of negative skin-friction on piles.
and Hajiazizi et al. [10] investigated the use of piles as rein- Theoretical analysis on negative skin-friction requires
forcement for slopes using FEM and concluded that piles reliable estimates of the soil–pile movement and the soil-pile
located at the middle of the slope provide the optimum rein- interface shear strength [19]. In this study, the load-transfer
forcement of the soil structure. method was applied using a one-dimensional soil–pile model
To compliment various theoretical methods and to further due to its simplicity and its consideration of the nonlinear
examine the behavior of piles, many laboratory and in situ soil–pile response. Alonso et al. [20] applied the load-trans-
tests have been performed in literature. Chung and Yang fer method to predict the negative skin-friction on single
[11] conducted pile-load tests, including the direct shear piles in an uncoupled analysis using the classical assump-
test, interface shear test, and filter paper method to obtain tions of Terzaghi’s [21] one-dimensional consolidation the-
parameters for the FEM analysis using Plaxis 2D. Results ory and an elastoplastic and bilinear load-transfer function
from the numerical analysis and the pile-load test exhibited for the soil–pile interface. Wong and Teh [22] also utilized
good consistence with each other and showed that the matric the load-transfer approach using a hyperbolic criterion for
suction, dilatancy angle, shear strength, and ultimate bearing the soil spring at the pile shaft by applying a known value of
capacity decrease as the water content of the soil increases. soil settlement obtained from Terzaghi’s [21] consolidation
Yin et al. [12] conducted dynamic large-scale model tests theory. However, due to the unrealistic assumptions of the
and FEM analyses to investigate the dynamic behavior and conventional consolidation theory, several authors including
settlement of an X-shaped cross-section (XCC) pile compos- Kim and Mission [15, 19] and Chen et al. [23] have studied
ite foundation of an existing expressway under traffic load. the influence of using a nonlinear consolidation theory on
Results showed that XCC piles can greatly improve the sta- the development of negative skin-friction. In general, the
bility of the composite foundation. In addition, results of load-transfer method has been successfully applied in the
the study revealed the transfer mechanism of dynamic stress analyses of piles under external load and displacements [6,
and the linear relationship between the transferred stress and 20, 24, 25].
traffic load. Baziar et al. [13] and Azizkandi et al. [14] devel- Long-term tests on instrumented piles were first per-
oped machine-learning models using shaft resistance and formed in the 1960s. A few pioneering tests, performed in
load–displacement datasets obtained from real pile-loading Norway, Sweden, Japan, and Canada, found that understand-
tests published in literature and cone penetration test (CPT) ing negative skin-friction is important especially in design-
data to predict the pile shaft resistance and uplift pile dis- ing deep foundations. Several tests on instrumented piles
placement. The influence of the input parameters and its have shown that downdrag forces are time-dependent and are
relative importance were investigated and the performance related to pore water pressures, as discussed by Johannessen
of the machine-learning models were evaluated against and Bjerrum [26], Bjerrum et al. [27], Fellenius and Broms

International Journal of Civil Engineering

[28], and Bozozuk [29]. However, field experiments on and pre-processing and post-processing for OpenSees [30]
negative skin-friction are time consuming and labor inten- in the prediction of load capacity and settlement of single
sive owing to the time required for the consolidation of clay piles subjected to axial load and imposed soil displacements.
and the difficulty to simulate large surcharge loads. For this The flowchart of the negative skin-friction analysis pro-
reason, a laboratory model test was conducted in this study cedure used by the program is shown in Fig. 2. The required
to investigate the development of negative skin-friction input parameters of the program are the properties of the
in single piles. The results of the model test were used to soil profile, the properties of the bearing stratum, the con-
validate the computer program Pile Negative Skin-Friction solidation properties of the compressible clay layer, and the
(PileNSF), which was developed by the authors to predict properties of the pile. Output results from the consolida-
the one-dimensional consolidation of either a homogeneous tion analysis are the total settlement, soil layer settlement
or multilayered soil subjected to a uniform surcharge load profile, and effective stress profile while output results from
and the bearing capacity of piles embedded on the consoli- the negative skin-friction analysis are the shaft shear stress
dating soil. After validating the program, a parametric study profile, pile-shortening profile, and downdrag force profile.
was carried out to study the influence of various pile design Results from consolidation and negative skin-friction analy-
parameters on negative skin-friction. sis are given in graphical form and in text data file format,
both of which can be used for further post-processing and
1.2 Pile Negative Skin‑Friction (PileNSF) Program evaluation.
The consolidation analysis method used by the program
The computer program PileNSF was made to evaluate nega- is based on Mikasa’s [31] generalized theory of one-dimen-
tive skin-friction in piles embedded in a consolidating soil sional consolidation which can consider the change in coef-
profile subjected to surcharge loading due to embankment ficient of consolidation (cv), the change in coefficient of
construction or from soil fill. The soil profile can consist compressibility (mv), finite strains, and multilayered soils.
of a clay layer that may be overlain or underlain by lay- For the consolidation analysis of the model test, constant
ers of sand, as shown in Fig. 1. Furthermore, PileNSF can cv, constant mv, and finite strains were assumed. Consider-
estimate negative skin-friction in pile groups using estab- ing that numerous consolidation tests and field observations
lished interaction factors from a single pile based on spac- have produced data mostly on compression strain (Ɛ) or set-
ing, position, and number of piles in the group. In addition, tlement (S), the consolidation equation used in the model test
the time of installation of the pile can be specified anytime is expressed by Eq. (1) and the settlement occurring in the
from the start of surcharge loading, as well as the output clay layer is expressed by Eq. (2). In Eq. (1), t is time and zc
time at which negative skin-friction is to be evaluated. In is the depth of the clay layer. In Eq. (2), Ho is the total thick-
summary, PileNSF performs the following individual func- ness of the compressible soil layer and Δzco is the thickness
tions: one-dimensional consolidation analysis of a homoge- of the sublayer which is equivalent to Ho divided by num-
neous or multilayered soil; negative skin-friction analysis in ber of sublayers (n). The relationship between the strains
single piles; negative skin-friction analysis in pile groups; (Ɛ), coefficient of volume compressibility (mv), change in

Fig. 1  Examples of soil–pile
profile configurations that can
be analyzed by PileNSF

International Journal of Civil Engineering

of consolidation is calculated based on an effective stress

approach. The force–deformation relationships or stiffness
at the soil-pile interface are defined by empirical nonlinear
load-transfer T-z curves while the load-transfer character-
istics of the bearing stratum are either defined as rigid in
the case of a pile bearing into rock, or as deformable by
defining the appropriate stiffness of the bearing stratum as
linear (elastic) or by a nonlinear Q-z curve.

2 Different Methods of Predicting


2.1 Estimating Skin‑Friction Based on Total Stress

and Effective Stress

Reliable predictions of unit skin-friction (f s) using con-

ventional empirical methods such as the α-method [2],
β-method [3], λ-method [4], and ρ-method [32], depend on
various factors such as the short-term and long-term proper-
ties of the soil, the method of pile installation, and the soil
configuration. The α-method is a total stress approach where
the skin-friction (fs) is correlated to the undrained shear
strength (Su) through the adhesion factor (α). The α-method
[2], which assumes that the skin-friction is independent of
the effective stress, is well-suited for short-term skin-friction
calculations. In reality, skin-friction (fs) is dependent on the
effective stress (σ′) and the undrained shear strength (Su).
Moreover, time-dependent changes in the shear strength
property of the soil exist during consolidation since effec-
tive stresses vary with depth and time. Rational methods for
estimating the skin-friction (fs) require that the stresses and
Fig. 2  Flow chart of negative skin-friction analysis procedure used by the properties of the soil surrounding the pile be estimated
throughout the various stages of life of the pile [32]. Hence,
using the effective stress approach (β-method) would be
vertical effective stress (Δσ′), surcharge load (q), and pore more appropriate than the total stress approach (α-method)
pressure (u) is also given in Eq. (3). since skin-friction (fs) is highly influenced by the excess pore
( 2 ) pressures during consolidation. The λ-method is a combina-
𝜕𝜀 𝜕 𝜀
= Cv (1) tion of the total stress and effective stress approach where the
𝜕t 𝜕zc 2
skin-friction (fs) is correlated to the undrained shear strength
(Su) and the vertical effective stress (σ′vo). The method was
S = ∫ 𝜀 ⋅ Δzco (2) developed from pile-load tests and is mainly used in marine
0 construction. Lastly, the ρ-method is a rational and system-
atic method proposed by Azzouz et al. [32] to elucidate and
𝜀 = mv Δ𝜎 � = mv (q − u) (3)
( )
predict the axial capacity of friction piles in moderately
After obtaining the effective soil stresses and soil set- overconsolidated clays (1 ≤ OCR ≤ 4). The skin-friction ratio
tlements, the dragload (negative skin-friction) and down- (ρ) is equivalent to the widely used undrained strength ratio
drag (settlement) are analyzed based on the nonlinear (Su/σ′). The method uses simplified assumptions regarding
load-transfer method using the finite element software drainage during pile penetration and axial loading which are
platform OpenSees [30] as the main processor. The ulti- believed to represent sufficiently realistic conditions leading
mate soil–pile skin-friction at any time during the process to critical values of fs that are of primary design interest.

International Journal of Civil Engineering

In this study, the β-method [3] was used to evaluate the and the coefficient αLCPC. As an advancement of the previ-
ultimate skin-friction resistance at the soil–pile interface. ous methods, the Eslami and Fellenius [40] method takes
The β-method [3] is given by the equation into account the classification of the soil by using a CPT
apparatus capable of measuring the pore water pressure.
fs = 𝛽 ⋅ 𝜎 �v (4) Furthermore, the average effective cone resistance (qe) is
where σ′v is the effective vertical stress adjacent to the pile used instead of cone resistance (qc), in which qe is obtained
shaft at the given depth and time when skin-friction (fs) is by subtracting the measured pore pressure behind the cone
to be evaluated. The β-coefficient is expressed by Fellenius from qc. The sleeve friction (fsl) is not directly applied in the
[33] as a function of the effective soil friction angle (ϕ′), method due to its variability. However, the shaft correlation
effective interface friction angle (δ’), and the overconsolida- coefficient (Cs), determined from a soil profiling chart which
tion ratio (OCR), uses both the cone stress and sleeve friction, is used to relate
the average effective cone resistance (qe) to unit skin-friction
𝛽 = M ⋅ tan𝜙� 1 − sin𝜙� (OCR)0.5 (5)
( )
(fs). In recent studies, such as in the works of Baziar et al.
[13] and Azizkandi et al. [14], data obtained from the CPT
where M = tan δ′/tan ϕ′. For sand, β is a function of δ′ and the
can be used to develop machine-learning models for the pre-
lateral earth pressure coefficient (Ks), as shown in Eq. (6).
diction of the unit skin-friction (fs) in piles.
𝛽 = tan 𝛿 � ⋅ Ks (6)
The recommended interface friction angle (δ′) for sand, 2.3 Estimating Skin‑Friction using
given by Kulhawy [34], varies from 0.5 to 1.0 depending on the Load‑Transfer Method
the pile material. In addition, the recommended lateral earth
pressure coefficient (Ks) for sand, given by Poulos and Davis The load-transfer method is a powerful and flexible method
[35], ranges from 0.6 to 2.4 depending on the compactness for analyzing the problem of single piles subjected to
of the sand. external load. The method is particularly useful when the
behavior of the soil is nonlinear and when the soil surround-
ing the pile is stratified or layered. Shown in Fig. 3 is a
2.2 Estimating Skin‑Friction using Cone Penetration soil–pile interface modeled by a zero-length spring whose
Test (CPT) Data load-deformation behavior is defined by skin-friction or the
T-z curve. The load-deformation behavior at the base of the
Several authors such as Schertmann [36], Nottingham [37], pile is modeled by a zero-length spring whose property is
de Ruiter and Beringan [38], Bustamante and Gianeselli defined by end-bearing or the Q-z curve. These soil springs
[39], and Eslami and Fellenius [40], have used direct CPT are nonlinear representations of the soil reaction versus dis-
methods to equate the measured cone resistance (qc) or placement (z). The transfer of load through shear along the
sleeve friction (fsl) to the unit skin-friction (fs). Contrary sides of the shaft is given by the following differential equa-
to the indirect methods, the need for laboratory testing to tion [41],
supplement field data and the need to calculate the earth
pressure coefficient (Ks) and the bearing capacity coefficient d2 zp
EA = P ⋅ fs (7)
(Nq) are eliminated. The Schertmann [36] and Nottingham dz2
[37] method utilizes sleeve friction (fsl) and cone resistance
(qc) to obtain the pile unit skin-friction (fs) in clay and sand. where zp = movement of the pile or shaft at a certain depth,
The pile unit skin-friction (fs) for clay and sand is related to A = cross-sectional area of pile, E = modulus of elasticity of
sleeve friction (fsl) and the dimensionless coefficient (K). the pile material, P = pile perimeter, fs = shear force per unit
Alternatively, for sand, but not in clay, the unit skin-fric- area of load-transfer from the shaft to the soil at a certain
tion (fs) may also be determined using the cone resistance depth. The criteria for T-z load-transfer can be established
(qc) through a dimensionless coefficient (C). The European based on the following:
method, proposed by de Ruiter and Beringan [38], is based
on offshore construction experience gained in the North a. (S > zp), T = negative (drag force)
Sea. The unit skin-friction (fs) in sand is calculated using b. (S < zp), T = positive (upward shaft resistance)
the formulas proposed by Schertmann [36] and Nottingham c. (S = zp), T = 0 (equilibrium, location of neutral plane)
[37]. For clay, the unit skin-friction (fs) is calculated from
the undrained shear strength (Su) and the adhesion factor The shear force per unit area of load transfer (fs) in Eq. (7)
(α). The French method [39] disregards the sleeve friction can also be written in a generalized form as a function of
(fsl) values obtained from the CPT and the unit skin-friction the difference between the pile and soil settlements, zp and
(fs) is obtained from the quotient of the cone resistance (qc) S, respectively.

International Journal of Civil Engineering

Fig. 3  One-dimensional soil–
pile discretization and typical
nonlinear load-transfer curves

(8) The properties of the Gunsan clay and sand are summarized
( )
fs = f zp − S
in Table 1. To obtain particle uniformity, the clay and sand
As an extension of the one-dimensional pile analysis, samples were sieved on a No. 100 and No. 4 mesh, respec-
Kim et al. [42] presented a modified three-dimensional pile tively. The test tank shown in Fig. 4 was fabricated using
model using solid finite elements with nonlinear load-trans- steel plates and steel angle bar framing. For easy placement
fer curves resolved into components mobilized around the and viewing of the soil samples, the front facing of the tank
pile perimeter. In the one-dimensional pile analysis using was made up of a thick and transparent fiber glass. Before
the load-transfer method, pile loads are transferred to the placing the samples in the test tank, the clay sample was
soil through vertical T-z springs and lateral P-y springs rep- mixed with water using an agitator to achieve full saturation.
resenting skin-friction resistance and vertical Q-z springs
representing end-bearing. The limitation of the one-dimen-
sional soil–pile model subjected to combined axial and lat- Table 1  Properties of Gunsan clay and sand
eral load is that it neglects the contribution of the side shear Property Quantity
in the computation of pile bending moments. However, the
three-dimensional pile model proposed by Kim et al. [42]
 Specific gravity, Gs 2.62
can take into account the moment or couple developed by
 Liquid limit, wL (%) 44.6
the side shear around the perimeter, which may be signifi-
 Plasticity index, IP (%) 22.3
cant especially in strong soil material or in the case of large
 Natural Water content, wn (%) 42.1
diameter piles.
 Coefficient of permeability, k (m/s) 1.12 × 10−8
 Soil classification (USCS) CL
3 Experimental Setup and Procedures
 D10 (mm) 0.07
 D60 (mm) 0.31
3.1 Preparation and Properties of Clay and Sand
 D30 (mm) 0.2
 Coefficient of permeability, k (m/s) 1.34 × 10−3
The soil samples were obtained from an estuarine tidal flat in
 Soil classification (USCS) SP
Gunsan city on the coast of the Yellow Sea in South Korea.

International Journal of Civil Engineering

The inner sides of the tank were lubricated to minimize soil total vertical stress, a soil pressure gauge (SP) was installed
adhesion at the side walls. The reconstituted soil layers, 50 mm from the bottom of the test tank. In addition, an
which consist of a 400 mm-thick sand layer, 500 mm-thick excess pore water pressure gauge (PP) was installed at the
saturated clay layer, and a 50 mm-thick sand layer, were mid-depth of the clay layer. The pressure gauges were con-
manually placed using buckets in the manner as shown in nected to a data logger which transmits the data readings
Fig. 4. In addition, the test tank was filled with water up to into the computer. A loading plate, which was fabricated
the surface to achieve saturation. Even though a sand layer from a thick steel plate framed by steel angle bar supports,
was underlying the clay layer, the drainage valves at the bot- was placed at the top surface. In addition, openings for piles,
tom were closed such that a one-way drainage condition in for dissipation of water, and for wirings were made on the
the upward direction was considered. Consolidation settle- steel plate. The loading plate was pushed by two hydraulic
ment was also assumed to occur in the clay layer only. cylinders that were pressurized by a hydraulic pump. The
total soil settlement was continually monitored and meas-
3.2 Soil–Pile Model Test and Procedure ured using a linear variable displacement transducer (LVDT)
which was mounted on the loading plate.
Figure 4 shows the soil–pile model test setup. A set of two Before the start of loading, initial readings of the total
70 mm diameter concrete model piles and two 75 mm diam- vertical stress at the bottom, the pore pressure at the mid-
eter closed-end steel piles were driven into the soil profile. depth of the clay layer, and end-bearing pressures at the pile
The piles were independent of each other with free head con- tips were taken. During the different stages of loading, as
ditions. To eliminate group effect, the center spacing of each shown in Fig. 5, the applied surcharge loads at the surface
piles were greater than 5 times their diameter (5D) such that were computed by the difference between the measured total
each pile behaves as a single pile. At spacing larger than 5D, stress and the initial value before loading. For the purpose
there is very little group effect [43]. Prior to installation, the of numerical analysis, the clay layer was assumed to be ini-
pile tips were attached with pressure gauges (SPC and SPS) tially homogeneous. The surcharge loads were also assumed
in order to measure the end-bearing reaction. To measure the constant during the different loading stages.

Fig. 4  Soil–pile model test setup

International Journal of Civil Engineering

4 Test Results and Analysis 4.2 Analysis of Pile Negative Skin‑Friction

4.1 Consolidation Results and Analysis Figure 8 shows the discretization of the soil–pile profile into
a one-dimensional model. The model was used for the analy-
The idealized step-loading in Fig. 5 was used to predict sis and prediction of negative skin-friction. The distribution
the consolidation of the clay layer using Mikasa’s [31] of the total stress (σv) in the soil profile was assumed to be
one-dimensional consolidation theory assuming infini- linear, as shown in Fig. 8b. The effective stress (σ’v = σv – σw
tesimal strains. In order to provide a reliable input for the
numerical analysis, the consolidation parameters were esti-
mated from the measured strains and excess pore pressures
using Eqs. (1) and (3), in which mv = 0.0020 m2/kN and
cv = 18 m2/year. The predicted settlement and excess pore
pressures were calculated from the predicted strains using
Eqs. (2) and (3), respectively. The predicted settlement
was used to define the downward displacements of the
soil relative to the pile to evaluate the sign or direction of
skin-friction. The predicted excess pore pressures were
used to determine the effective stresses in the soil profile
during the different loading stages. After obtaining the
effective stresses, the ultimate skin-friction resistance at
the soil–pile interface was evaluated using the β-method
[3]. A comparison between the measured and predicted
soil settlement is shown in Fig. 6. The measured and pre-
dicted excess pore pressure at the mid-depth of the clay
layer during the different loading stages is also shown in
Fig. 7. As shown in Figs. 6 and 7, results of the numerical
analysis are in good agreement with the measured data.

Fig. 6  Measured and predicted soil settlement

Fig. 7  Development of excess pore water pressure at mid-depth of

Fig. 5  Measured surcharge load (q) and idealized step-loading clay layer

International Journal of Civil Engineering

− u) profile was calculated by subtracting the hydrostatic coefficients (Ks) [35, 44] and interface friction angle (δ′)
pore water pressure (σw) in Fig. 8c and the excess pore pres- [34]. The ultimate end-bearing capacity (qb) of the piles
sure (u) in Fig. 8d from the measured total stress (σv). Since on sand was also determined by multiplying the calculated
soil settlements were assumed to occur only in the clay layer effective stress and bearing capacity factor (Nq). The bearing
as shown in Fig. 8e, the downward vertical displacements capacity factor (Nq) was estimated based on the measured
from soil settlements were imposed on the free ends of the end-bearing pressure and effective stress at the pile tip. The
T-z soil springs in the clay layer, while the free ends of the estimated bearing capacity factor (Nq) initially has a value
T-z springs in the sand layer were fixed, as shown in Fig. 8f. of 1.0. However, with increasing effective stresses and sur-
Thus, the sand layer is assumed to impose positive skin-fric- charge load, the bearing capacity factor increases as shown
tion at any time during the loading and consolidation stages. in Fig. 9. For the calculation of the ultimate end-bearing
The material and geometric properties of the soil–pile capacity (qb) of the piles on sand, a step-wise increasing
model are shown in Table 2. An average β-coefficient of value of Nq was used by applying the average range of values
0.30 was used for the concrete and steel piles in the clay shown in Fig. 9, and as indicated in Table 2.
layer. For the piles in the sand layer, values of β = 0.17 and The 1D soil–pile model shown in Fig. 8 was constructed
β = 0.15 were used for the steel and concrete piles, respec- and analyzed using PileNSF with Opensees [30] as the inte-
tively, considering the recommended lateral earth pressure grated FEM solver. The pile material was modeled using

Fig. 8  Discretization of soil–pile profile. a Soil–pile profile under surcharge load, b total stress (σv) profile, c hydrostatic pore water pressure
(σw) profile, d excess pore pressure (u) profile, e settlement profile, f one-dimensional soil–pile model for analysis

Table 2  Soil–pile properties Property Steel pile Concrete pile

Diameter, Dp (mm) 75 70
Length, Lp (m) 1.5 1.5
Embedment length, Le (m) 0.90 0.90
Pile modulus of elasticity, Ep (MPa) 200,000 20,000
Clay layer thickness, hc (m) 0.50 0.50
Sand layer thickness, hs (m) 0.35 0.35
Ultimate soil–pile skin-friction, fs (kPa) β∙σ′ β∙σ′
β-coefficient in clay 0.30 0.30
β-coefficient in sand (ϕ′ = 20°; Ks = 0.6) 0.15 (δ’/ϕ′ = 0.70) 0.17 (δ’/ϕ′ = 0.80)
Ultimate pile end-bearing in sand, qb (kPa) σ′·Nq σ′·Nq
Bearing capacity factor, Nq 1.0–5.0 1.0–3.0

International Journal of Civil Engineering

elastic beam-column elements having modulus properties Figure 10 shows the predicted axial force on the concrete
shown in Table 2. The nonlinear load–displacement proper- pile and steel pile at different loading stages. In Fig. 10, ze
ties of the soil springs in skin-friction were based on Reese is the depth of pile embedment. It can be seen from Fig. 10
and O’Neill’s [41] T-z curve relation for piles in clay and that when the surcharge load increases, the maximum value
Mosher’s [45] T-z curve relation for piles in sand. The non- of dragload increases. At time = 40, 60, 80, 100, and 120 h,
linear load–displacement property of the soil spring in end- the maximum dragload values of the concrete pile increased
bearing was based on Vijayvergiya’s [46] Q-z curve relation by 128, 174, 197, 212, and 237%, respectively. Similarly,
for piles on sand. the maximum dragload values for the steel pile increased
by 134, 178, 212, 235, and 283%, respectively. As soil con-
solidation developed and as excess pore pressures decreased,
the dragload and downdrag on the piles increased along with
the increase in the effective stress of the soil and the pile
interface shear stress. Also, the values of the axial forces in
Fig. 10b compared to Fig. 10a are larger due to the differ-
ence of pile diameters and the soil–pile properties.
In the model, there is no applied compressive force on top
of the pile. The only downward force on the pile is negative
skin friction which increases up to the neutral plane when
the soil settlement is larger than the downward movement
of the pile. The neutral plane is known as the location of
zero skin friction and the maximum axial force wherein the
soil–pile relative displacement is zero. The constant axial
force located at the interface between the clay and sand (ze/Le
= 0.55) down to the pile tip in Fig. 10 is the end bearing at
the pile tip from where skin friction does not occur. This is
because the sand layer was assumed to have zero settlement.
Shown in Fig. 11 is a comparison between the measured
and predicted axial forces at the pile tip. The measured end-
bearing pressures at the pile tip were multiplied by the pile’s
Fig. 9  Calculated pile-bearing capacity factor (Nq) on sand based on respective cross-sectional areas to obtain the end-bearing
measured average end-bearing pressure (qb) and effective stress (σ′) reaction at the base. As shown in Fig. 11, results of the

Fig. 10  Predicted axial force on pile at different loading stages. a Concrete pile, b steel pile

International Journal of Civil Engineering

numerical analysis are in good agreement with the measured bound for rock. Different bearing layers were used in the
data. In Fig. 10, it can also be observed that the neutral plane analysis to study the influence of the bearing layer stiffness
of the steel pile is located closer to the interface between on negative skin-friction. Since the clay layer is underlain
the clay and sand layer. This is because the steel pile has a by very stiff or very cohesive soil, the drainage condition
larger toe resistance compared to the concrete pile, as shown of the clay layer is one way in the upper direction. Results
in Fig. 11. The larger the end-bearing resistance, the deeper from the consolidation analysis showed that the clay layer
the elevation of the neutral plane into the soil [47]. Addition- reached 90% degree of consolidation and settled to about
ally, the position of the neutral plane can also influenced by 263.91 mm in 5.65 years assuming finite strains, constant
the soil stiffness at the pile base. The neutral plane depth cv, and constant mv. Three different piles were used to study
increases as the soil stiffness at the pile base increases [48]. the influence of the pile diameter on negative skin friction.
In summary, the results of the computer program PileNSF Other factors affecting the results of the analysis such as
showed to be in good agreement with the measured soil set- applied axial load (P) at pile head, delayed pile installation,
tlements, excess pore pressures, and axial force on pile. and the pile material were also studied.
Hence, negative skin friction in single piles can be effec-
tively predicted using the computer program PileNSF, pro- 5.1 Effect of the Consolidation Characteristics
vided that reasonable parameters are used in the analysis. of the Soil

Pile 3 was used to study the effect of the consolidation char-

5 Parametric Study acteristics of the soil on negative skin friction. The bearing
layer was assumed elastic with a modulus of elasticity (Eb)
A parametric study was conducted to study the influence of 100 MPa. To amplify the effect of negative skin fric-
of several factors on the development of negative skin fric- tion on pile shortening, the pile material used in the analy-
tion in piles. The soil–pile profile used for the parametric sis was concrete. Negative skin friction was evaluated at
study is shown in Fig. 12 and the soil and pile properties are t = 0.5 years, 1 year, 2 years, and 3 years after the start of
summarized in Tables 3 and 4, respectively. As shown in consolidation.
Fig. 12, a 10 m thick clay layer is overlain by a 3.0 m-thick
sand fill which resulted in the consolidation of the clay layer.
The clay layer is underlain by a very stiff or very dense-
bearing layer with modulus of elasticities ranging from 50
to 300 MPa only. 50 MPa is the typical lower bound for very
stiff cohesive or very dense soil, while 300 MPa is the upper

Fig. 12  Soil–pile profile

Table 3  Soil properties used in the parametric study

Properties Quantity

Unit weight of fill, γfill (kN/m3) 19.62

Fill layer thickness, Hfill (m) 3.0
Unit weight of clay, γclay (kN/m3) 15.7
Clay layer thickness, Hclay (m) 10.0
Coefficient of compressibility of clay layer, mv ­(m2/kN) 0.0005
Coefficient of consolidation of clay layer, cv ­(m2/year) 15.0
Bearing layer modulus of elasticity, Eb (MPa) 50–300
Fig. 11  Development of total end-bearing reaction on pile

International Journal of Civil Engineering

Table 4  Pile properties used in Properties Pile 1 Pile 2 Pile 3

the parametric study
Diameter, D (m) 0.4 0.8 1.2
Area, A ­(m2) 0.13 0.50 1.13
Moment of inertia, I ­(m4) 0.0013 0.0201 0.1018
Steel pile modulus of elasticity, Eps (MPa) 200,000 200,000 200,000
Concrete pile modulus of elasticity, Epc (MPa) 30,000 30,000 30,000
Embedment length, Le (m) 13.0 13.0 13.0
β-coefficient in sand 0.22 0.22 0.22
β-coefficient in clay 0.39 0.39 0.39

Fig. 14  Settlement at pile head and pile shortening with respect to

Fig. 13  Variation of dragload on pile with time

As shown in Fig. 13, the dragload on pile increased with to about 27 and 0.16 mm, respectively, 3 years after the start
time due to the increase of soil settlement and effective stress of consolidation.
which resulted from the dissipation of excess pore pressure.
In addition, the elevation of the neutral plane increased and 5.2 Effect of Bearing Layer
the rate of pile settlement decreased due to the increase of the
soil effective stress or end-bearing resistance with time. It is To study the effect of the bearing layer on negative skin fric-
known that as the end-bearing resistance increases, the dra- tion, different modulus of elasticities of the bearing layer (Eb)
gload on pile and the elevation of the neutral plane increases. were used. The stiffness at the pile tips (ke) were obtained
Furthermore, based on the results of PileNSF, it can also be using Eq. (9) with Eb values of 50 Mpa, 100, MPa, 200, MPa,
concluded that the magnitude of the dragload and the end- and infinity (rigid). Pile 3 was used in the analysis with a cross-
bearing resistance govern the settlement of the pile at the sectional area (A) of 1.13 m2 and a diameter (D) of 1.2 m. The
initial stages of consolidation. Therefore, piles having con- stiffness at the pile tips (ke) obtained from Eq. (9) are 24,000,
siderably larger dragload values at the initial stages of consoli- 47,000, 94,000 kN/m, and infinity (rigid). The chosen time
dation have larger pile settlements, with the exception of piles at which dragload is to be evaluated in the analysis was at
bearing into rigid-bearing layers. Nevertheless, for piles with t = 2 years after the start of consolidation. Concrete pile was
larger end-bearing resistance, the magnitude of the dragload also used in the analysis to amplify the effect of negative skin-
is larger but the magnitude of the pile settlement is smaller. friction on pile shortening.
The settlement of the pile head and pile shortening with time
Eb ⋅ A
are shown in Fig. 14. As shown, the pile settled and shortened ke =

International Journal of Civil Engineering

Results of the analysis are shown in Figs. 15 and 16. In

Fig. 15, it can be observed that as the end-bearing resist-
ance increases, the dragload on pile and the elevation of the
neutral plane increases. As discussed in the previous section,
piles with larger end-bearing resistance have smaller pile set-
tlements (sP) as compared to piles with smaller end-bearing
resistance. As shown in Fig. 16, the pile bearing into a rigid
layer has the least pile settlement which is equivalent to the
pile shortening (dP). Since the dragload on pile is larger
in piles with larger end-bearing resistance, pile shortening
was largest on the pile with ke = infinity (rigid), as shown
in Fig. 16.

5.3 Effect of Pile Diameter or Pile Cross‑Section

Piles with different diameters were used to study the influ-

ence of the pile diameter on negative skin friction. Piles 1, 2,
and 3, having diameters of 0.4, 0.8, and 1.2 m, respectively,
were used. The modulus of elasticity of the bearing layer
(Eb) used in the analysis is 150 MPa. Since the piles have
different diameters and areas, the stiffness at the pile tips
(ke) obtained from Eq. (9) varied. The ke values for Piles Fig. 16  Variation of pile settlement (sP) and pile shortening (dP)
with end-bearing stiffness
1, 2, 3 are 23,562 kN/m, 47,124 kN/m, and 70,686 kN/m,
respectively. Similar to previous analyses, concrete pile was
used and the time at which negative skin friction is to be the end-bearing resistance increases which results to
evaluated was at t = 2 years. larger dragload values and smaller pile settlement val-
Results of the analysis show that as the pile diameter ues. In addition, shown in Fig. 18 is the variation of pile
increases, the dragload on the pile increases, as shown shortening with pile diameter. As the diameter of the pile
in Fig. 17. Furthermore, the pile with the largest diam- increased, the effect of negative skin friction on pile-short-
eter exhibited the smallest pile settlement, as shown in ening decreased.
Fig. 18. This is because as the pile diameter increases,

5.4 Effect of Axial Load

To understand the effect of axial load (P) on the behavior

of the pile, axial loads of 500 and 1500 kN were applied
at the pile head. Pile 2 and concrete pile material were
used for the analysis. The bearing layer has a modulus of
elasticity (Eb) of 150 MPa and negative skin friction was
evaluated at t = 2 years.
As shown in Fig.  19, the dragload on pile and the
elevation of the neutral plane decreases as the axial load
(P) increases. However, the axial load (P) and dragload
together produced a greater downward force which caused
the piles to greatly settle and shorten, as shown in Fig. 20.
The settlement at the pile head of piles with axial loads
500 kN and 1500 kN increased to about 152 and 264%,
respectively, as compared to the pile without applied axial
load. In addition, pile shortening also increased to about
289 and 667%, respectively, as compared to the pile with-
out applied axial load.

Fig. 15  Variation of dragload on pile with end-bearing stiffness

International Journal of Civil Engineering

Fig. 17  Variation of dragload on pile with pile diameter Fig. 19  Variation of dragload on pile with applied axial load (P) at
pile head

Fig. 18  Variation of pile settlement (sP) and pile shortening (dP)

with pile diameter Fig. 20  Variation of pile settlement (sP) and pile shortening (dP)
with applied axial load (P) at pile head

5.5 Effect of Pile Installation Time

time of installation of the pile from the start of consolida-
In cases where clay soils have already been consolidating tion and the output time at which negative skin friction is to
and where clay soils are predicted to consolidate slowly, be evaluated can be specified. For the analysis, Pile 3 and
it would be unpromising to wait for the clay soil to fully concrete pile material were used. Negative skin friction was
consolidate before construction can start. With PileNSF, the evaluated at t = 6 years and the modulus of elasticity of the

International Journal of Civil Engineering

bearing layer (Eb) was 100 MPa. The installation time (ti)

of the piles after the start of consolidation were at 0, 2, 4,
and 5 years.
As shown in Fig. 21, the dragload on the pile as well as
the elevation of the neutral plane decreases as the installation
time of the pile is delayed. This is because the soil settlement
decreases as the installation time of the pile is delayed. Due
to the decrease of the dragload with delayed pile installation,
pile settlement and pile shortening decreased, as shown in
Fig. 22.

5.6 Negative Skin‑Friction on Steel and Concrete


The behavior of concrete and steel piles experiencing nega-

tive skin friction are shown in Fig. 23. Pile 1 was used in
the analysis. The modulus of elasticity of the bearing layer
(Eb) was 150 MPa and negative skin friction was evaluated
at t = 2 years. Similar stiffness values at the pile tips (ke)
were used in the analysis which resulted in similar dragload
values. However, pile settlement and pile shortening was
smaller in the steel pile due to its higher material stiffness Fig. 22  Variation of pile settlement (sP) and pile shortening (dP)
and ability to resist deformation as compared to the concrete with installation time

was performed in this study. In the laboratory test, the clay

6 Conclusions layer was subjected to increasing surcharge loads to simulate
actual field conditions such as when subjected to fill from
To investigate the development of negative skin friction on
single piles, as well as to validate the computer program
(PileNSF) developed by the authors, a laboratory model test

Fig. 23  Variation of pile settlement (sP) and pile shortening (dP)

Fig. 21  Variation of dragload on pile with installation time between steel and concrete piles

International Journal of Civil Engineering

reclamation. The measured values of soil settlement, excess at pile tip) and the end-bearing resistance govern the set-
pore water pressure, axial force on pile, and pile-bearing tlement of the pile. The magnitude of pile shortening
capacity were compared with the predicted values obtained depends on the magnitude of the downward forces, as
from the computer program, and the results showed to be in well as the stiffness of the pile material.
good agreement with each other. Therefore, negative skin
friction on single piles can be effectively predicted using
PileNSF, provided that reasonable parameters are used in the Acknowledgements  This research was supported by the Basic
Science Research Program through the National Research Foun-
analysis. After validating the program, a parametric study dation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education
was carried out to study the influence of selected soil and (NRF-2017R1D1A3B03034189).
pile design parameters on negative skin-friction, such as
effects of the consolidation characteristics of the soil, stiff- Funding  Funder: National Research Foundation of Korea.Award Num-
ness of bearing layer, pile diameter, magnitude of axial load, ber: NRF-2017R1D1A3B03034189.Grant Recipients: Dr. Hyeong Joo-
Kim, Mr. Tae-Woong Park, and Mr. Peter Rey Dinoy
pile installation time, and pile material stiffness. Based on
the laboratory test and parametric study, the following con-
clusions are drawn:

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