Deep foundations such as driven piles are often used to bypass liquefiable layers of soil and bear on more competent strata. When liquefaction occurs, the skin friction around the deep foundation goes to zero in the liquefiable layer. As the pore pressures dissipate, the soil settles. As the soil settles, negative skin friction develops owing to the downward movement of the soil surrounding the pile. To investigate the magnitude of the skin friction along the shaft three driven piles, an H-pile, a closed end pipe pile, and a concrete square pile, were instrumented and used to measure soil induced load at a site near Turrell, Arkansas following blast-induced liquefaction. Measurements were made of the load in the pile, the settlement of the ground and the settlement of piles in each case. Estimates of side friction and end-bearing resistance were obtained from Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA) measurements during driving and embedded O-cell type testing. The H-pile was driven to a depth of 94 feet, the pipe pile 74 feet, and the concrete square pile 72 feet below the ground surface to investigate the influence of pile depth in response to liquefaction. All three piles penetrated the liquefied layer and tipped out in denser sand. The soil surrounding the piles settled 2.5 inches for the H-pile, 2.8 inches for the pipe pile and 3.3 inches for the concrete square pile. The piles themselves settled 0.28 inches for the H-pile, 0.32 inches for the pipe pile, and 0.28 inches for the concrete square pile. During reconsolidation, the skin friction of the liquefied layer was 43% for the H-pile, 41% for the pipe pile, and 49% for the concrete square pile. Due to the magnitude of load felt in the piles from these tests the assumption of 50% skin friction developing in the liquefied zone is reasonable. Reduced side friction in the liquefied zone led to full mobilization of skin friction in the non-liquefied soil, and partial mobilization of end bearing capacity. The neutral plane, defined as the depth where the settlement of the soil equals the settlement of the pile, was outside of the liquefied zone in each scenario. The neutral plane method that uses mobilized end bearing measured during blasting to calculate settlement of the pile post liquefaction proved to be accurate for these three piles.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





Downdrag, Liquefaction, Neutral Plane, Driven Pile, Settlement, Static Load Test, CAPWAP analysis, AFT-Cell test