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Analysis of Piled Raft Foundations

Jayarajan P Dr.Kouzer K.M

Dept. of Civil Engineering Dept. of Civil Engineering
M.Dasan Institute of Technology(M-DIT) Govt.Engineering College
Kozhikode, India Kozhikode, India

AbstractIn a combined piled raft foundation (CPRF) the there is a reduction in the forces and stresses within the raft for
performance of the raft in terms ultimate capacity , total and an optimal arrangement of piles. Nowadays piled raft
differential settlement is enhanced by the addition of a limited foundations have been used to support a variety of critical
number of piles strategically located below the raft. The aim of structures such as high-rise buildings [1,2], bridges etc. and
such a foundation is therefore to reduce the number of piles
are widely recognized as one of the technically competent and
compared with a more conventional piled foundation where the
bearing effect of the pile cap is ignored. The analysis and design economical foundation system. [3] provides detailed
of piled raft foundations shall take into account the pile-soil-pile guidelines for the design and construction of piled raft
and pile-soil-raft interactions. Presently three-dimensional FEM foundations.
commercial programs such as FLAC-3D, PLAXIS-3D and The combined piled raft foundation (CPRF) is a
ABAQUS are used for detailed analysis of CPRF considering the complicated problem involving various types of interactions
sophisticated interaction between various elements. such as pile-soil, pile-soil-pile, raft-soil and pile-soil raft. Many
The design engineers of piled raft foundations still employ methods of analyzing piled rafts have been developed, and a
structural analysis programs in which the raft is represented by a detailed review of these methods is given in [3]. Commercial
plate and the piles as springs. The piles are modelled using spring
programs such as FLAC-3D & PLAXIS-3D provides a good
elements with the stiffness computed for a single isolated pile,
ignoring the effects of pile-soil-pile interaction. It is also common means of solving piled raft foundations taking into account the
for the raft to be modelled using Winkler springs ignoring the interaction between various elements. However analysts of
effects of raft-soil-pile interaction. Such programs without due these foundations do not have access to these programs which
consideration of the interactions involved in the piled raft are generally used in geotechnical offices. The design
system will lead to serious underestimates of settlement and engineers of piled raft foundations still employ structural
inaccurate estimates of raft bending moments and pile loads. commercial programs such as ETABS, STAAD.Pro and
The analysis of a CPRF involves the calculation of the relative SAP2000 which do not have the capability to model the
proportions of load carried by raft and piles and the effect of interactions and arrives at inaccurate estimates of foundation
piles on total and differential settlements. The present paper
settlements, raft bending moments and pile loads.
details the procedure for the analysis of combined piled raft
foundations by means of both simplified methods used in the The paper presents detailed procedure for the analysis of
preliminary analysis stage and finite element analysis used in combined piled raft foundations. The analysis of CPRF
detailed design. To demonstrate the analysis procedures, an involves a preliminary stage to assess the feasibility of using a
example problem of a CPRF is solved using simplified method piled raft and the number of piles to satisfy the design
such as Poulos- Davis-Randolph (PDR) method and also by finite requirements. A detailed calculation is then carried out to
element software-PLAXIS which provides an effective determine the optimum configuration & number of piles and
computational environment to model the complicated also to arrive at the design forces in the raft and piles. To
interactions between various elements of foundation. demonstrate the analysis procedures, an example problem of a
Index TermsPiled raft, foundations, settlement, soil/pile
piles raft is solved. The preliminary calculations are done using
interaction, pile group. Poulos-Davis-Randolph (PDR) method to arrive at the
required number of piles and their arrangement to satisfy the
I. INTRODUCTION design criteria. A detailed analysis is then performed using the
In foundation design, it is common to consider first the use finite element geotechnical software PLAXIS-3D [4].
of shallow foundations such as raft to support structural loads II. INTERACTIONS IN PILED RAFT FOUNDATIONS
and then if this is not adequate in terms of load bearing
capacity or settlements to proceed for a fully piled foundation. The behaviour of a piled raft foundation is determined by
In a piled raft foundation, loads are transferred into the ground the interactions between the piles, raft and soil. In reality,
both by piles and by the contact pressures below the raft with there are two basic interactions, pilesoilpile interaction and
the piles being mainly used as settlement reducers. The use of pilesoilraft interaction, as shown in Fig. 1. The pilesoil
piled raft results in a reduction of the number of piles and pile pile interaction factor is defined as the ratio of additional
length compared to a conventional pile foundation. In addition displacement of a pile caused by a load on adjacent pile to the

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Fig. 2. Piled raft representation in PDR method

Fig. 1. Various interactions in a piled raft
The pile-soil-raft interaction factor cp can be estimated as
displacement of the adjacent pile due to the same load. The follows:
pilesoilraft interaction coefficient is obtained as the ratio of rc
cp = 1 ln / (4)
additional displacement of raft caused by a single pile to the r0

displacement of unpiled raft . It shall be noted that in the

above definition for pile-soil-raft interaction coefficient, the where rc = average radius of pile cap; (corresponding to an
applied load for the unpiled raft model shall be equal to the area equal to the raft area divided by number of piles) ; r0 =
transmitted load for the raft in pile raft model. Both these radius of pile; = ln( 0) ; = Poissons ratio of the
interactions depends on various parameters such as pile soil; = 0.25 + [2.5 1 0.25] ; = /
spacing to diameter (S/d) ratio, pile length to diameter (L/d) = /; L = pile length; Esl = soil Youngs modulus
ratio and relative density of soil. at level of pile tip; Esb = soil Youngs modulus of bearing
stratum below pile tip; Esav = average soil Youngs modulus
The analysis methods for piled raft foundations can be
broadly classified into a) simplified analysis methods A tri-linear loadsettlement curve developed using above
b) rigorous computer methods. Though many methods are equations is shown in Fig. 3.
available in literature [3], only one method is discussed in the
paper under each category of preliminary & detailed analysis B. Finite Element Method(FEM)Detailed Analysis
as described below.
If the calculations done in the preliminary stage shows that
A. Poulos-Davis-Randolph(PDR)MethodSimplified Method a piled raft is feasible with the likely piling requirements,, a
detailed analysis shall be done to refine the piling requirements
The simplified representation of piled raft as used in this obtained and also to obtain the design forces in piles & raft. [3]
method is shown in Fig. 2. As per this method, the stiffness of provides a detailed review of various computer programs
the piled raft foundation can be estimated as: available to perform detailed analysis of piled raft foundations.
Finite element techniques are popular in the field of
geotechnical engineering with a variety of computer programs
((K P +Kr 1cp )
= Kr (1) (FLAC-3D, PLAXIS-3D, MIDAS GTS) developed to suit
(1cp 2 )

Where Kpr = stiffness of piled raft; Kp = stiffness of the pile

group; Kr = stiffness of raft alone; cp = raft-soil-pile
interaction factor.
The proportion of the total load carried by the raft is

Pr Kr (1cp )
= X = Kp +Kr (1cp ) (2)

Where Pr = load carried by the raft; Pt = total applied load.

If Pup is the ultimate load capacity of piles in the group,total

load on the foundation at which the pile yiels is given by
Fig. 3. Simplified load-settlement curve for piled raft
P1 = Pup/(1 X) (3)

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different purposes. The behaviour of soil is incorporated with

appropriate stress-strain laws as applied to discrete elements.
The finite element method provides a valuable analytical tool
for the analysis and design of piled raft foundations.
In the present study the analysis of a piled raft foundation is
illustrated through a square raft of 12mx12m in plan and 0.5m
thickness supported by four different types of pile
configurations as shown in Fig. 4. Pile configuration-1 has four
piles placed in the central area of raft and twelve piles placed
along the edge. In pile configuration-2 four piles placed in the
central area and eight piles along the edge. Pile configuration-
3 has four piles placed in the central area but at a large spacing
and four piles on each corner of the raft. In pile configuration-
4 four piles are placed in the central area only. The applied
superstructure load is 28800 kN equivalent to an applied
uniformly distributed load of 200 kN/m2.The elastic modulus
and Poissons ratio of the raft/pile are 30,000 MPa and 0.20
respectively. All piles are of length 15 m and of diameter 0.75
m and the raft thickness is kept 0.50m.
The soil profile used in the analysis consists of a uniform
soil deposit of 20m deep supported by a rock stratum. The
summary of soil properties is presented in Table.1.The main
objective of the analysis to assess the number of piles and their
location to achieve the desired performance criteria.

A. Simplified Analysis

The method based on the solutions of Randolph (1994) and

Poulos (2001) is used. In this approach, the stiffness of the raft
and pile group are first calculated to compute the stiffness of
piled raft and to obtain its load-settlement response. The
stiffness of raft is computed from elastic theory, assuming the
raft to be an equivalent circular footing and considering the
centre of flexible raft. A detailed description of various
methods for settlement computation of shallow & deep
foundations can be found in [5,6]. The stiffness of single piles
was computed from the closed form approximate solutions of
Randolph and Wroth (1978). The group settlement ratio used
for computing the pile group stiffness was approximated by
Rs=n0.5 ,where n=number of piles in the group. The capacity of
pile group can be obtained from various efficiency formula
available in literature and [7] provides a brief review of
methods for computation of pile group efficiency. The
calculations for different pile configurations of piled raft are
performed in a mathematical program MATHCAD.

The typical load- settlement response obtained through this

method for pile configuration-1 is given in Fig. 5. The
settlement corresponding to the working load of 28800 kN is
calculated to be 64.30 mm. The settlement calculated shall be
basis of feasibility of piled raft foundation to meet the design

Fig. 4. Pile configurations used in the example

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As the main objective of the study was to use the piles as
criteria under working loads. settlement reducers, the load- settlement behaviour of the piled
raft was obtained for various configuration & nos. of piles. The
distribution of vertical displacement obtained for pile
configuration-1 is shown in the Fig. 7.

Fig. 5. Load-settlement response for pile configuration 1

Table 1. Summary of soil properties

Thickness (m) 5
Unit Weight (kN/m ) 18
Drained Cohesion (kN/m ) 6.5

Friction angle (deg) 35

Youngs Modulus (MN/m ) 2
20 Fig. 7. Distribution of vertical displacement for pile configuration-1
Poissons ratio 0.30
The load settlement curve of piled raft obtained for
different pile configurations is shown in Fig. 8. The normalized
B. Finite Element Method(FEM)Detailed Analysis load indicates loads normalized with respect to the applied load
of 28.8 MN. Figure 9 shows a comparison between the load-
To have better understanding of load sharing between the settlement response of pile configuration-1 computed by both
raft and pile group of piled raft, three dimensional finite simplified method (PDR Method) and detailed FEM analysis
element analysis was carried out using PLAXIS-3D by PLAXIS-3D. It shall be noted that the load-settlement curve
geotechnical software. Only quarter model of the piled raft was obtained by PDR method is plotted only up to the applied load
analyzed taking advantage of the symmetry (Fig. 6). Mohr- level of 28.8 MN for easy comparison. The variation of piled
coulomb material model was used for the soil .The soil model raft settlement with number of piles is plotted in Fig. 10.
was built using 10- node tetrahedral elements .The piled raft
was modeled using plate elements and the piles by beam From Fig. 8 and 10, it is clear that the settlement of piled
elements. The boundaries of the model were set at a distance of raft decreases with increasing number of piles. The addition of
1.5B (where B is raft width) measured from the edge of the even a relatively small number of piles can lead to a
raft. considerable reduction in the maximum settlement of the
foundation. However, increasing the number of piles does not
always produce the best foundation performance, and there is
an upper limit to the number of piles, beyond which very little
additional benefit is obtained. Fig. 9 shows that the settlement

Fig. 6. Finite element mesh of piled raft.

Fig. 8. Load settlement curve different pile configurations

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Fig. 9. Load settlement curve for pile configuration-1 by both methods

Fig. 12. Distribution of bending moment (M11) in the raft for pile

Fig. 10. Settlement Vs. no. of piles

predictions by the PDR method agree very well with results

obtained from finite element program PLAXIS-3D. Hence
PDR method can be effectively used in the preliminary
analysis of piled raft foundations to assess the feasibility.

The variation of percentage load taken by the piles with the

number of piles is given in Fig. 11. It is found that the
percentage of load carried by the piles increases with
Fig. 13. Distribution of bending moment (M22) in the raft for pile
increasing pile numbers, but for more than about 16 piles the configuration-1
rate of increase is small.
presence of piles introduces significant negative moments at
The distribution of bending moments in the raft shown in the top side of raft around the pile locations.
Fig. 12&13 indicates a significant increase in moments at the
location of piles. In cases where no piles are provided, the raft V. CONCLUSIONS
bends with curvatures in two directions and the bending Combined piled raft foundations provide a skillful
moment develops tension only on underside of the raft. The geotechnical concept for the design of foundations. It
represents an economical foundation system with optimum
number of piles placed at strategic locations below the raft to
meet various design criteria such as ultimate load and
settlement. An economic solution meeting a specified design
criterion can be achieved only after a number of trials
performed through simplified methods such as PDR method
which is further refined through detailed compute programs
based on finite element method.

The paper demonstrates the PDR method for preliminary

design and the finite element method for detailed analysis of
piled raft foundations. The parametrical study of piled raft is
performed through PLAXIS-3D software by considering four
Fig. 11. Effect of pile numbers on the percentage load by piles different pile configurations. The load-settlement response

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obtained through PDR method agrees very well with the conference on case histories in Geotechnical engineering,
response calculated through PLAXIS software and hence it can Arlington,VA.
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increases with increase in number of piles provided below the International society of soil mechanics and geotechnical
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the settlement and capacity of piled raft. The addition of piles Delft, The Netherlands.
also causes a significant increase in the bending moments in [5] Joseph E.Bowles, Foundation analysis and design, Fifth
the raft especially at pile locations. edition,The Mc-Graw-Hill Companies,Inc.
[6] Shamsher Prakash and Hari D.Sharma, Pile foundations in
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