Downdrag measurements on a 160-ft floating pipe test pile in marine clay

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Journal titleCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Pages127136; # of pages: 10
Subjectmarine clay; settlement; friction; tubular piles
AbstractLarge negative skin friction loads were observed on a 160 ft (49 m) steel pipe test pile floating in marine clay. The test pile was driven, open-ended, on the centerline of a 30 ft (9 m) high granular approach fill on the Quebec Autoroute near Berthierville. Since the installation was made in 1966 the fill has settled 21 in. (53 cm), dragging the pile down with it. Negative skin friction acting along the upper surface of the pile was resisted by positive skin friction acting along the lower end as it penetrated the underlying clay. Under these conditions the pile compressed about 3/4 in. (2 cm). Analysis of the axial strains indicated that a peak compressive load of 140 t developed at the inflection point between negative and positive skin friction 73 ft (22 m) below the top of the pile. Negative and positive skin friction acting on the upper surface of the pile exceeded the in situ shear strength and approached the drained strength of the soil where excess pore water pressures had dissipated. At the lower end where the positive excess pore pressures were high and relative movement between the pile and the soil was large, the positive skin friction approached the remoulded strength as measured with the field vane. Skin friction was increasing, however, as positive escess pore pressures dissipated. This paper shows that skin friction loads are related to the combination of (a) in situ horizontal effective stresses, (b) horizontal stresses due to embankment loads, and (c) horizontal stresses due to differential settlement of the fill.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Research in Construction; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC number12375
NPARC number20373847
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Record identifier202e3326-292a-431c-909c-a2cc55aba0a7
Record created2012-07-23
Record modified2016-05-09
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