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Instrumented Bidirectional Test

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results of an instrumented bidirectional-cell

test. Geotechnical Engineering Journal of

the SEAGS & AGSSEA 46(2) 64-67.

.

Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA 46(2) 64-67

Bengt H. Fellenius

Consulting Engineer, Sidney, BC, Canada, V8L 2B9.

E-mail: bengt@fellenius.net

ABSTRACT: The bidirectional-cell test has been around since the early 1970s. The first commercial development came about in the early

1980s in Brazil and about a decade later in the USA. The use of strain-gage instrumented tests was pioneered by the US supplier of the test

method. The results of a bidirectional-cell test on a strain-gage instrumented 1.2 m diameter, 40 m long, bored pile were analyzed to establish

the load distribution in the test pile, the distributions of beta-coefficient along the test pile, and the unit shaft shear resistance versus

movement relative to the soil. The response to the applied load was modeled in an effective stress analysis to determine the t-z and q-z

functions, as fitted to the measured upward and downward curves. The equivalent pile head-down load-distribution was modeled from the

functions, including the separate modeling of the pile response for the pile head, pile shaft, and pile toe. The calculated pile head load-

movement curve was compared to a load-movement curve manually calculated directly from the test data.

KEYWORDS: Bidirectional-cell loading test, effective stress analysis, t-z and q-z functions, equivalent head-down load-movement;

equivalent head-down load-distribution.

INTRODUCTION

Most engineering practices employ the pile-head load-movement 10

curve as the primary means for interpreting the results of a static Pile PC-1 520 mm

loading test. However, this curve provides the least information on 8 June 3, 1981

the soil response to the load applied to the pile. To take full

6

11.0 m

advantage of a static loading test requires instrumenting the pile for

measuring the load distribution. Over the last thirty years, the static 4

MOVEMENT (mm)

which does provide this information. A bidirectional test is a test 2

Upward

method where a hydraulic jack, or an assembly of jacks, is placed

2.0 m

0 E

inside the pile, usually at or near the pile toe, to generate an upward Downward

and downward directed force and movements at the cell level. A -2 Pile Residual

conventional head-down test in its simplest form—no weight Load

instrumentation in the pile—only provides the load and movements -4

measured at the pile head. In contrast, a bidirectional test provides, -6

as a minimum, the load and movement in two places, at the pile

head and at the cell level. Although the load at the pile head is zero, -8 Test at

it is a known load and a key information along with the pile head Banco Europeu

-10

movement. The movement at the cell level is an important part of

0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800

the bidirectional test. It is measured by using a telltale to record the

pile shortening for the applied cell load and obtained as an addition LOAD (kN)

to the movement of the pile head measured conventionally. Fig. 1 Upward and downward load-movement measured in the

Early bidirectional testing was performed by Gibson and bidirectional-cell test (Elisio 1983)

Devenny (1973), Amir (1983), and Horvath et al. (1983). About the

same time, an independent development took place in Brazil (Elisio and, as indicated, the figure shows the presence of a small residual

1983; 1986), which led to an industrial method offered load in the pile at the cell level in addition to the weight of the pile

commercially to the piling industry in Brazil. In the mid-1980s, Dr. above the cell level.

Jorj Osterberg also saw the need for and use of a test employing a

hydraulic jack arrangement placed at or near the pile toe (Osterberg

EXAMPLE OF A BIDIRECTIONAL TEST

1998) and established a US corporation to pursue the bidirectional

technique. On Dr. Osterberg's in 1988 learning about the existence The following presents the results of a bidirectional test and

and availability of the Brazilian device, initially, the US and illustrates how they can be applied in an analysis to display the

Brazilian companies collaborated. Outside Brazil, the bidirectional response of the pile thus establishing a result base for further use in

test is now called the “Osterberg Cell test” or the “O-cell test”. the subsequent design of the piled foundations. A bidirectional-cell

During the about 30 years of commercial application, Loadtest Inc. test was performed on a strain-gage instrumented, 1,200 mm

has pioneered a practice of strain-gage instrumentation in diameter, 40 m long bored pile (Loadtest 2002) for a bridge

conjunction with the bidirectional test, which has vastly contributed foundation. The soil profile consisted of about 10 m of clayey silt,

to the knowledge and state-of-the-art of pile response to load. on about 15 m of sandy silt deposited at about 25 m depth on dense

Figure 1 shows an example of the basic results of a bidirectional to very dense sand with gravel. The depth to the groundwater table

test (Elisio 1983). The pile was a 13 m long, 520 mm diameter, was 4.0 m. A 540-mm diameter bidirectional cell was placed

bored pile constructed through 7 m of sandy silty clay and 6 m of at 35 m depth, 5 m above the pile toe. The test was terminated at a

sandy clay silt. The groundwater table was at a depth of 11.8 m. The maximum cell load of just about 8,000 kN, when the upward

bidirectional cell was placed 2.0 m above the pile toe. One of the response of the shaft was in an ultimate resistance mode. The

many benefits of the bidirectional-cell test is that the records will maximum upward and downward movements were 100 mm

indicate a presence of residual load in the pile at the cell depth, and 60 mm, respectively. The test procedure was a quick test in

Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA 46(2) 64-67

100 0 4,000 8,000 12,000 16,000 20,000

Simulated

0

curve

80 Clay

5 Silt

60 GL4 ß = 0.20

MOVEMENT (mm)

10

40

15 Sandy

DEPTH (m)

GL3

Silt

20 20

UPWARD ß = 0.30

GL2

0 25

DOWNWARD

GL1

-20 30

Weight of Residual Dense ß = 0.35

Shaft Load Cell Sand

-40 35 with

Simulated

Gravel

curve 40

-60 Pile Toe, rt = 4.5 MPa

ß = 0.40

-80 45

0 2,000 4,000 6,000 8,000 10,000

Fig. 3 Measured load distributions and the equivalent head-down

LOAD (kN) load-distributions for the last increment of load

Fig. 2 Measured load-movement curves (rt = toe resistance)

fourteen increments, each held for 10 minutes. No unloading plus GL1 and GL1 and the cell, the response appears to be increasing

reloading cycles that would have disturbed the test were included. with increasing strain—strain-hardening. However, this is mainly

Figure 2 shows the measured upward and downward curves for the indicated by the data from one gage level (GL2) and could be

applied bidirectional-cell loads, including a simulation of the curves misleading. The upward load-movement of the cell plate does show

as discussed in this paper. continuous increase of movement for the maximum load, which

The loads shown in Figure 2 are the directly measured cell loads: suggests that the shaft resistance response is not strain-hardening.

the upward load curve does not include the weight of the pile above

the cell level and the downward curve does not include the effect of 150

GL1 to Cell GL2 to Cell GL2 to GL1

water force. For the upward curve, as the pore pressure will provide

GL3 to GL2 GL 4 to GL3 Ground to GL4

an uplift force on the pile (developing once the cell opens causing a

125 ( )

UNIT SHAFT RESISTANCE (kPa)

crack in the pile). To establish the shaft resistance along the upper

pile length, the measured load has to be adjusted for the buoyant

weight of the shaft above the cell level, which was 550 kN for the 100

test pile. As the cell load is determined from the fluid pressure

measured by a pressure gage located at the pile head, the actual

pressure in the cell includes the pressure from the height of the 75 ( )

hydraulic fluid—water—between the cell and the pressure gage.

Thus, the water force is equal to the pore pressure acting on the

entire pile cross section at the cell level. This is in analogous to the 50

pore pressure adjustment of the cone stress for the piezocone.

The strain-gage instrumentation was at four levels: 9 m, 17 m,

23 m, and 29 m depths. The strain records were used to determine 25

the pile stiffness relation, EA, and the load distribution in the pile at

the gage levels. The results of the evaluations are shown as load

distributions in Figure 3 for the applied cell loads and the loads 0

0 20 40 60 80 100 120

evaluated from the strain-gage records. The curve to the right is the

equivalent pile-head load-distribution for the final test distribution MOVEMENT (mm)

obtained by “flipping over"—mirroring—the distribution of the

final set of measured loads, thus providing the distribution of an Fig. 4 Unit shaft resistances versus movement

equivalent head-down test encountering the same maximum shaft

shear and toe responses as the cell test. The unit shaft resistance curves were modeled as t-z curves—

An effective stress calculation of the load distribution was fitted also using the UniPile software. It was found that the curves could

to the equivalent head-down distribution and the fit indicated the be closely modeled by the ratio method, which assumes that the

beta-coefficients shown to the right. The effective-stress back- ratio of any two loads is equal to the ratio of the corresponding

calculation of the load distribution applied the UniPile software movements raised to an exponent (Fellenius 2014). A fit to the

(Goudreault and Fellenius 2013). An adjustment to the small upward curve was found for assigning a pile element t-z response to

residual load was made; it did not affect the second decimal of the the ratio function with an exponent of 0.15 and setting the

beta-coefficients. The cell loads and the head-down distribution are movement for the maximum load to 70 mm (a strain-hardening

adjusted for the pile buoyant weight and the downward water response). The ratio function was also used for the shaft resistance

pressure. below the cell level and the toe resistance. Here, the ratio exponents

The difference in loads measured at the gage levels was divided were 0.8 and 0.9, respectively, and the movement at the maximum

by the pile circumference and the distance between gage levels to load was set to 60 mm. The beta-coefficients obtained from the

produce the average unit shear resistance between the gage levels fitting of the calculated load distribution to the measured were used

(GL), as plotted in Figure 4. The curves show that the shaft to simulate of the upward and downward load-movement curves.

resistance is elasto-plastic to GL2 at 23 m depth. Between GL2 and Figure 2 shows the results of fitting the measured load-movement

curves to calculated using the t-z and q-z functions.

Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA 46(2) 64-67

and downward load-movement curves to produce an equivalent

pile-head load-movement curve. The principle for producing this Fitted

Upward

curve is first, Step 1, to add the upward and downward loads for

equal movements. However, while the measured downward load 8,000 ( )

provides the movement response directly, in a head-down test, the

toe load has to be conveyed through the pile, which causes

additional pile ‘elastic’ shortening equal to the shortening of a free- 6,000

As in a

standing column load by that same load. Thus, Step 2 involves Head-down

LOAD (kN)

Test

calculating and the pile shortenings for each load and adding the Measured

values to the movements determined in Step 1. The principle for Upward

adding this component is described by Loadtest (2002). Other direct 4,000

The direct approach disregards that the fact that the upward

movement starts by mobilizing the stiffer shaft resistance at the 2,000

depth of the cell, whereas the head-down test starts by mobilizing

the less stiff load-movement response near the pile head. This

problem can be avoided by first back-calculating the resistance in an

effective stress analysis and fitting separately the measured upward 0

0 25 50 75 100 125

and downward curves to curves obtained in a modeling of the pile,

MOVEMENT (mm)

soil, and cell load-movements using t-z and q-z functions as

demonstrated in Figure 2. This done, calculations of the head-down Fig. 6 Load-movement curves for the length of pile above the

load-movement curves engaging of the upper soil layers first are bidirectional-cell comparing the measured cell upward

easily carried out using the UniPile software with the parameters curve to the equivalent head-down curve for the section

resulting from the fit to the measured load-movements. Figure 5 above the cell level

shows the resulting distributions for the pile head, the piles shaft,

and the pile toe. The dashed portions of the curves identify the The pile-head load-movement curve is what the profession

extrapolation beyond the measured values. usually employs to determine the working load to be placed on a

20,000

pile. Because of this, it is important to establish this curve. There is

Pile Maximum

Shortening Curve Downward HEAD little other reason for this, however, as there is not much of value of

constructed Movement at the head-down curve for the design of piled foundations. The main

directly from the Cell Level value of a static loading test is the results shown in Figure 3,

measured

curves; First because those results can be combined with intended or desirable

15,000 two steps working load for the long-term conditions and be decisive for

determining the settlement of the piled foundations (Fellenius 2014).

In short, determining that a working load has an adequate factor of

LOAD (kN)

SHAFT safety (or resistance factor) on some capacity value determined from

10,000 the pile-head load-movement curve does not at all ensure that the

long-term settlement of the piled foundations will be within an

TOE

acceptable limit. In contrast, when a piled foundation has been

designed to be within the acceptable settlement limits, it will always

5,000 have an adequate capacity.

Most bidirectional-cell tests on long piles include a strain-gage

instrumentation. However, even a cell test without instrumentation

will provide the load in the pile at two points: at the pile head and at

the cell level. Although such a test would be rather crude for long

0

0 25 50 75 100 125 piles, the equivalent head-down load distribution, such as it would

MOVEMENT (mm)

be, would still provide some information on the distribution of

resistance with depth and be helpful for the design of the piled

Fig. 5 Equivalent head-down load-movement curves constructed foundations.

from the bidirectional-cell data and by simulation from

fitted soil parameters CONCLUSIONS

The figure also shows the equivalent pile-head load-movement The subject case is a quite simple routine bidirectional-cell test on a

curve according to Steps 1 and 2 produced manually from the pile with four gage levels. The data were used to establish the load

upward and downward measured curves. The curve does include the distribution for the pile, which enabled determining the distribution

effect of the larger pile compression occurring in the head-down test. of the effective-stress beta-coefficients for the pile response.

However, it does not include the effect of the larger stiffness The differentiation of loads between the gage levels established

response of the upward load-movement of the bidirectional test, as the unit shaft resistance versus movement, that is, the t-z and q-z

opposed to the softer initial response of the head-down test, the functions of the pile response.

curve marked "Head". The difference between the two curves The t-z and q-z functions were used to fit the soil parameters to

represents the effect of the larger stiffness at the beginning of the simulation of the measured upward and downward load-movement

bidirectional test as opposed to the smaller stiffness at the beginning curves and, then, to calculate the equivalent pile-head load-

of the head-down test. movement curve, as well as that for the pile shaft and the pile toe.

The difference between load-movement curves determined from The equivalent pile-head load-movement curve produced

pushing-up from below and pushing down from the pile head is manually from the measured load-movements appeared stiffer than

further demonstrated in Figure 6 which presents the measured the simulated curve (and an actual pile-head load-movement curve)

upward load-movement curve for the length of pile above the cell because of the fact that the bidirectional-cell test activates the

and the head-down curve calculated using the fitted parameters. deeper down soils first, which have a stiffer response than the soil at

shallow depth.

Geotechnical Engineering Journal of the SEAGS & AGSSEA 46(2) 64-67

REFERENCES

Amir, J.M., 1983. Interpretation of load tests on piles in rock. Proc.

of the 7th Asian Regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and

Foundation Engineering, Haifa, August 14-19, pp. 235-238.

Elisio, P.C.A.F., 1983. Celula Expansiva Hidrodinamica – Uma

nova maneira de executar provas de carga (Hydrodynamic

expansive cell. A new way to perform loading tests).

Independent publisher, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais State,

Brazil, 106 p.

Elisio, P.C.A.F., 1986. Celula expansiva hidrodinamica; uma nova

maneira de ecutar provas de carga (Hydrodynamic expansion

cell; a new way of performing loading tests). Proc. of VIII

Congresso Brasileiro de Mecânica dos Solos e Engenharia de

Fundações, VIII COBRAMSEF, Porto .Alegre, Brazil,

October 12-16, 1986, Vol. 6, pp. 223-241.

Fellenius, B.H., 2014. Basics of foundation design, a text book.

Revised Electronic Edition, [www.Fellenius.net], 410 p.

Fellenius, B.H. and Tan, S.A., 2012. Analysis of cell tests for Icon

Condominiums, Singapore. Proceedings of the 9th Inter-

national Conference on Testing and Design Methods for

Deep Foundations, Kanazawa, Japan, September 18-20, 201,

pp. 725-734.

Gibson, G.L. and Devenny, D.W., 1973. Concrete to bedrock

testing by jacking from the bottom of a borehole. Canadian

Geotechnical Journal 10(2) 304-306.

Goudreault, P.A. and Fellenius, B.H., 2013. UniPile5 User Manual,

Tutorial, and Examples, UniSoft Ltd., Ottawa,

[www.UnisoftLtd.com] 75 p.

Horvath, R.G., Kenney, T.C., and Kozicki, P., 1973. Methods of

improving the performance of drilled piers in weak rock.

Canadian Geotechnical Journal 20(4) 758-772.

Kim, H. and Mission, J. (2011). Improved evaluation of equivalent

top-down load-displacement curve from a bottom-up pile

load test. ASCE, Journal of Geotechnical and Geo-

environmental Engineering, 137(6), 568–578.

Loadtest 2002. Report on drilled shaft test, Osterberg method at

US82 over Mississippi River, Washington County, Missouri.

Project LT-8800-1, 61 p.

Osterberg, J.O. 1998. The Osterberg load test method for drilled

shaft and driven piles—The first ten years. Deep Foundation

Institute, 7th International Conference and. Exhibition on

Piling and Deep Foundations, Vienna, Austria, June 15-17,

1998, 17 p..

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