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Predicting laterally loaded pile behaviour using the Pressuremeter Brown, Peter Thomas


To reliably determine the lateral load-deflection behaviour of a piled foundation, a load test is commonly required. In-situ geotechnical tools, such as the cone penetrometer and the pressuremeter, have been successfully used to predict the lateral capacity of piles without the need for a load test. This research project investigates some of the variables involved in performing a pressuremeter test, and a procedure to predict the load-deflection relationship of laterally loaded piles is developed. For this thesis a total of eighty pressuremeter tests were conducted at five research sites. The variables pertaining to pressuremeter testing which were studied were: the method of installing the probe (self-boring or full-displacement), the effect of repeating a pressuremeter test at the same depth, the effect of rate of membrane inflation, the result of pore pressure dissipation in fine-grained soils, the effect of stress versus strain controlled membrane inflation, the influence of pre-pushing a small diameter pilot hole, and the effect of performing 10 slow cyclic unload-reload cycles during a test. Three laterally loaded pile case histories were documented. A total of 10 piles were laterally loaded in six separate tests. Using the pressuremeter and the program LATPILE, a prediction of the load-deflection behaviour was made for each test. In general, the deflected shape of each pile was predicted to within. 20-30% of the actual measured deflected shape.

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