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Geomechanics and Engineering
  Volume 3, Number 1, March 2011, pages 1-16

Centrifuge modelling of pile-soil interaction in liquefiable slopes
Stuart K. Haigh and S.P. Gopal Madabhushi

    Piles passing through sloping liquefiable deposits are prone to lateral loading if these deposits liquefy and flow during earthquakes. These lateral loads caused by the relative soil-pile movement will induce bending in the piles and may result in failure of the piles or excessive pile-head displacement. Whilst the weak nature of the flowing liquefied soil would suggest that only small loads would be exerted on the piles, it is known from case histories that piles do fail owing to the influence of laterally spreading soils. It will be shown, based on dynamic centrifuge test data, that dilatant behaviour of soil close to the pile is the major cause of these considerable transient lateral loads which are transferred to the pile. This paper reports the results of geotechnical centrifuge tests in which models of gently sloping liquefiable sand with pile foundations passing through them were subjected to earthquake excitation. The soil close to the pile was instrumented with pore-pressure transducers and contact stress cells in order to monitor the interaction between soil and pile and to track the soil stress state both upslope and downslope of the pile. The presence of instrumentation measuring pore-pressure and lateral stress close to the pile in the research described in this paper gives the opportunity to better study the soil stress state close to the pile and to compare the loads measured as being applied to the piles by the laterally spreading soils with those suggested by the JRA design code. This test data shows that lateral stresses much greater than one might expect from calculations based on the residual strength of liquefied soil may be applied to piles in flowing liquefied slopes owing to the dilative behaviour of the liquefied soil. It is shown at least for the particular geometry studied that the current JRA design code can be un-conservative by a factor of three for these dilation-affected transient lateral loads.
Key Words
    dilation; lateral spreading; pile-soil interaction; centrifuge modelling.
Stuart K. Haigh and S.P. Gopal Madabhushi: Cambridge University, Department of Engineering, Trumpington St, Cambridge, UK

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