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Prediction and experimental validation of dynamic soil-structure interaction of an end-bearing pile foundation in soft clay

Time: Mon 2021-03-29 13.00

Location: Videolänk, Du som saknar dator /datorvana kontakta Jean-Marc Battini / Use the e-mail address if you need technical assistance., Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Civil and Architectural Engineering, Structural Engineering and Bridges

Doctoral student: Freddie Theland , Bro- och stålbyggnad

Opponent: Professor Amir Kaynia, NTNU

Supervisor: Professor Jean-Marc Battini, Bro- och stålbyggnad


In the built environment, human activities such as railway and road traffic, constructionworks or industrial manufacturing can give rise to ground borne vibrations. Such vibrations become a concern in urban areas as they can cause human discomfort or disruption of vibration sensitive equipment in buildings. In Sweden, geological formations of soft clay soils overlying till and a high quality bedrock are encountered in densely populated areas, which are soil conditions that are prone to high levels of ground borne vibrations. Under such soil conditions, end-bearing piles are often used in the design of building foundations. The dynamic response of a building is governed by the interaction between the soil and the foundation. It is therefore essential that models used for vibration predictions are able to capture the dynamic soil-structure interaction of pile foundations.

The purpose of this thesis is to experimentally and numerically investigate dynamic soil-structure interaction of an end-bearing pile group in clay by constructing a test foundation of realistic dimensions. The small-strain properties in a shallow clay deposit are estimated using different site investigation and laboratory methods. The results are synthesised into a representative soil model to compute the free-field surface response, which is validated with vibration measurements performed at the site. It is found that detailed information regarding material damping in the clay and the topmost soil layer both have a profound influence on the predicted surface response, especially with an increasing distance from the source.

Dynamic impedances of four end-bearing concrete piles driven at the site are measured. Pile-soil-pile interaction is investigated by measuring the response of the neighbour piles when one of the piles in the group is excited. The square pile group is subsequently joined in a concrete cap and measurements of the impedances of the pilegroup and acceleration measurements within the piles at depth are performed. A numerical model based on the identified soil properties is implemented and validated by the measurements. A good agreement between the predicted and measured responses and impedances of the pile group foundation is found, establishing confidence in the ability to predict the dynamic characteristics of end-bearing pile foundations under the studied soil conditions.