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What is the difference between point of virtual fixity and critical length of lateral loading for piles?

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Some engineers may get confused about the difference between the two terms i.e. point of virtual fixity and critical length used for piles for resisting lateral loads. For critical length of lateral loading for piles, it refers to a certain depth from the ground level where the piles behave as if it were infinitely long. As such, beyond the critical length, the change in lateral response of piles with increase in pile length will be negligible.

Point of virtual fixity refers to a certain dept below ground surface where the piles are fixed without movement under loads. The depth to the point of fixity is useful in assessing the buckling loads of piles. It is obvious that the depth to the point of virtual fixity should be smaller than the critical length of piles.

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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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