A team from Brigham Young University and I performed full-scale lateral load tests on individual and grouped 12.75x0.375 inch pipe piles spaced at varying distances behind an MSE wall. The individually loaded pile which acted as a control was spaced at 4.0 pile diameters from the wall face, and the three grouped piles which were loaded in unison were spaced at 3.0, 2.8, and 1.8 pile diameters from the wall face and transversely spaced at 4.7 pile diameters center-to-center. The purpose of these tests was to determine the extent of group effects on lateral pile resistance, induced loads in soil reinforcements, and MSE wall panel deflections compared to those previously observed in individually laterally loaded piles behind MSE walls. The computer model LPILE was used in my analysis of the measured test data. The p-multipliers back-calculated with LPILE for the grouped piles were 0.25, 0.60, and 0.25 for the grouped piles spaced at 3.0, 2.8, and 1.8 pile diameters from the wall, respectively. These values are lower than that predicted for piles at the same pile-to-wall spacings using the most recent equation for computing p-multipliers. I propose the use of an additional p-multiplier for grouped piles near an MSE wall, a group-effect p-multiplier, to account for discrepancies between individual and grouped pile behaviors. The group effect p-multipliers were 0.35, 0.91, and 0.74 for the grouped piles spaced at 3.0, 2.8, and 1.8 pile diameters from the wall, respectively. The average group-effect p-multiplier was 0.66. Additionally, I used LPILE to analyze test data from Pierson et al. (2009), who had previously performed full-scale lateral load tests of individual and grouped shafts. In said analysis, the group of three 3-foot diameter concrete shafts spaced at 2.0 shaft diameters from the wall face and transversely spaced at 5.0 shaft diameters center-to-center had an average group effect p-multiplier of 0.78. As in previous studies, the induced forces in soil reinforcements in this study were greatest either near the locations of the test piles or at the MSE wall face. The most recent equation for calculating the maximum induced force in a soil reinforcement strip was reasonably effective in predicting the measured maximum loads when superimposed between the test piles, with 65% and 85% of the data points falling within the one and two standard deviation boundaries, respectively, of the original data used to develop the equation. Deflection of the MSE wall panels was greater during the grouped pile test than was previously observed for individually loaded piles under similar pile head deflections--with a maximum wall deflection of 0.31 inch compared to the previous average of 0.10 inch for pile head deflections of about 1.25 inches.



College and Department

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



Date Submitted


Document Type





laterally loaded piles, MSE wall, grouped piles, p-multiplier, soil reinforcement



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Engineering Commons