Lateral Resistance of Pipe Piles Near 20-ft Tall MSE Abutment Wall with Strip Reinforcements

Jason James Besendorfer, Brigham Young University - Provo


Full scale lateral load testing was performed on four 12.75x0.375 pipe piles spaced at 3.9, 2.9, 2.8, and 1.7 pile diameters behind an MSE wall which was constructed for this research to determine appropriate reduction factors for lateral pile resistance based on pile spacing behind the back face of the wall. The load induced on eight soil reinforcements located at various transverse distances from the pile and at different depths was monitored to determine the relationship between lateral load on the pile and load induced in the reinforcement. Each pile was loaded towards the wall in 0.25 in. increments to a total deflection of 3.0 in. Additionally, wall panel displacement was also monitored to determine if it remained in acceptable bounds. The results of the research indicate that pile resistance tends to decrease as spacing decreases. P-multipliers for the 3.9, 2.9, 2.8, 1.7D tests were found to be 1.0, 1.0, 1.0, and 0.5, respectively using back-analysis with the computer model LPILE. However, these multipliers are higher than expected based on previous testing and research. Piles spaced further than 3.8D can be assumed to have no interaction with the wall. The resistance of piles spaced closer to the wall than 3.8D can be modeled in LPILE using a p-multiplier less than 1.0. The reinforced backfill can be modeled in LPILE using the API Sand (1982) method with a friction angle of 31º and a modulus of approximately 60 pci when a surcharge of 600 psf is applied. If no surcharge is applied, a friction angle of 39º and modulus of 260 pci is more appropriate. Maximum wall panel displacement was highest for the 2.8D test and was 0.35 in. at 3.0 in. of pile head displacement. For all the other tests, the maximum wall displacement at 3.0 in. of pile head displacement was similar and was approximately 0.15 inches. Induced load in the soil reinforcement increases with depth to the 2nd or 3rd layer of reinforcement after which it decreases. Induced load in the reinforcement increases as pile spacing decreases. Induced load in the reinforcement decreases rapidly with increased transverse distance from the pile. Induced load in the reinforcement can be estimated using a regression equation which considers the influence of pile load, pile spacing behind the wall, reinforcement depth or vertical stress, and transverse spacing of the reinforcement.