A series of lateral load tests were performed on a full-scale pile cap with three different backfill conditions, namely: with no backfill present, with densely compacted clean sand in place, and with loosely compacted clean sand in place. In addition to being displaced under a static loading, the pile cap was subjected to low frequency, small displacement loading cycles from load actuators and higher frequency, small displacement, dynamic loading cycles from an eccentric mass shaker. The passive earth pressure from the backfill was found to significantly increase the load capacity of the pile cap. At a displacement of about 46 mm, the loosely and densely compacted backfills increased the total resistance of the pile cap otherwise without backfill by 50% and 245%, respectively. The maximum passive earth pressure for the densely compacted backfill occurred at a displacement of approximately 50 mm, which corresponds to a displacement to pile cap height ratio of 0.03. Contrastingly passive earth pressure for the loosely compacted backfill occurred at a displacement of approximately 40 mm. Under low and high frequency cyclic loadings, the stiffness of the pile cap system increased with the presence of the backfill material. The loosely compacted backfill generally provided double the stiffness of the no backfill case. The densely compacted backfill generally provided double the stiffness of the loosely compacted sand, thus quadrupling the stiffness of the pile cap relative to the case with no backfill present. Under low frequency cyclic loadings, the damping ratio of the pile cap system decreased with cap displacement and with increasing stiffness of backfill material. After about 20 mm of pile cap displacement, the average damping ratio was about 18% with the looser backfill and about 24% for the denser backfill. Under higher frequency cyclic loadings, the damping ratio of the pile cap system was quite variable and appeared to vary with frequency. Damping ratios appear to peak in the vicinity of the natural frequency of the pile cap system for each backfill condition. On the whole, damping ratios tend to range between 10 and 30%, with an average of about 20% for the range of frequencies and displacement amplitudes occurring during the tests. The similar amount of damping for different ranges of frequency suggests that dynamic loadings do not appreciably increase the apparent resistance of the pile cap relative to slowly applied cyclic loadings.
College and Department
Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Cummins, Colin Reuben, "Behavior of a Full-Scale Pile Cap with Loosely and Densely Compacted Clean Sand Backfill under Cyclic and Dynamic Loadings" (2009). Theses and Dissertations. 1684.
cyclic, dynamic, pile cap, clean sand, load-deflection, dynamic displacement amplitude, damping, stiffness, low frequency cyclic loading, passive earth pressure