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In designing the lateral resistance of piles, should engineers only use the earth pressure against pile caps only?

In some design lateral loads are assumed to be resisted by earth pressure exerted against the side of pile caps only. However, it is demonstrated that the soil resistance of pile lengths do contribute a substantial part of lateral resistance. Therefore, in designing lateral resistance of piles, earth pressure exerted on piles should also be taken into consideration.

In analysis of lateral resistance provided by soils, a series of soil springs are adopted with modulus of reaction kept constant or varying with depth. The normal practice of using a constant modulus of reaction for soils is incorrect because it overestimates the maximum reaction force and underestimates the maximum bending moment. To obtain the profile of modulus of subgrade reaction, pressuremeter tests shall be conducted in boreholes in site investigation. Reference is made to Bryan Leach (1980).


This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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