Volume 46, N. 1

January-March 2023

Numerical simulations of displacement piles in a tropical soil


Volume 46, N. 1, January-March 2023 | PDF (37 downloads)


The behavior of pile foundations under axial loading is directly influenced by the effects that its installation process induces in the surrounding soil. Consequently, the consideration of these effects is essential for the correct numerical modeling of these geotechnical structures. In the present study, numerical simulations of driven cast-in-situ piles under axial loading have been carried out using finite element analysis. Three 3.5 m long piles with diameters ranging from 114.3 to 219.1 mm were analyzed. The pile installation effects have been considered indirectly by employing two distinct approaches, both based on the concepts of cylindrical cavity expansion. The behavior of the tropical soil profile is described with the Hardening Soil constitutive model. The load-displacement response and load distribution along the pile obtained with the numerical simulations have been analyzed and compared with in-situ load tests results. In the failure conditions, both approaches accurately predicted the bearing capacity of the piles, with an average error of only 2% compared to the measured values. The results in terms of load distribution over depth were also satisfactory. The difference between measured and numerical ultimate base resistance values ranged from 0% to 30%. The good agreement between the numerical and experimental results indicates that the proposed numerical approaches have been effective in simulating the piles installation process and reinforces the importance of considering the installation effects in the numerical modeling of these geotechnical structures. Both approaches can also be used to predict the bearing capacity of displacement piles.

Keywords: Full-displacement piles, Finite element method, Installation effects of piles, Tropical soils, Lateritic soil, Deep foundations,

Submitted on May 03, 2022.
Final Acceptance on December 06, 2022.
Discussion open until May 31, 2023.
DOI: 10.28927/SR.2023.004522