The soil-structure interaction models associated with laterally loaded deep foundations have typically been based on load tests involving relatively small diameter foundations. The lateral soil resistance for larger diameter foundations has been assumed to increase linearly with diameter; however, few, if any load tests have been performed to confirm this relationship. To better understand the lateral resistance of large diameter deep foundations in sand, a series of full scale, cyclic, lateral load tests were performed on two 1.2 m diameter drilled shafts and a 0.324 m diameter steel pipe pile in sand. Although the tests involve two different foundation types, the upper 2.4 m of the profile, which provides the majority of the lateral resistance, consists of sand compacted around both foundation types. Therefore, these test results make it possible to evaluate the effect of foundation diameter on lateral soil resistance. The drilled shafts were first loaded in one direction by reacting against a fifteen-pile group. Subsequently a load test was performed in the opposite direction by reacting against a 9-pile group. The soil profile below the 2.4 m-thick layer of compacted sand consisted of interbedded layers of sand and fine-grained soil. For the drilled shaft load tests, pile head deflection and applied load were measured by string potentiometers and load cells, respectively. Tilt was also measured as a function of depth with an inclinometer which was then used to calculate deflection and bending moment as a function of depth. For the pipe pile, deflection and applied load were also measured; however, bending moment was computed based on strain gauges readings along the length of the pile. The lateral response of the drilled shafts and pipe pile were modeled using the computer programs LPILE (Reese et al., 2000), SWM6.0 (Ashour et al., 2002), and FB-MultiPier Version 4.06 (Hoit et al., 2000). Comparisons were made between the measured and computed load-deflection curves as well as bending moment versus depth curves. Soil parameters in the computer programs were iteratively adjusted until a good match between measured and computed response of the 0.324 m pipe pile was obtained. This refined soil profile was then used to model the drilled shaft response. User-defined p-multipliers were selected to match the measured results with the calculated results. On average very good agreement was obtained between measured and computed response without resorting to p-multipliers greater than 1.0. These results suggest that a linear increase in lateral resistance with foundation diameter is appropriate. LPILE typically produced the best agreement with measured response although the other programs usually gave reasonable results as well. Cyclic loading generally reduced the lateral resistance of the drilled shafts and pile foundation by about 20%.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





sand, lateral loads, drilled shafts, piles, pile groups, diameter scale effects