Proceedings of the 36th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 2011, Boston, MA, USA, (DFI)
Evaluation of the Originally Published, Meyerhof Empirical Correlations of Shaft Friction and End Bearing Capacity for Driven Piles Using Dynamic Test Data
Karl A. Higgins, III, P.E.
ÄK??976, Prof. G. G. Meyerhof published a famous article in the Journal of Geotechnical Engineering titled “Bearing Capacity and Settlement of Pile Foundations”. This article presents the authors opinions on calculating pile capacities in clays and sands, group capacities and pile settlement. A portion of the article presents correlations of shaft friction and end bearing to the Standard Penetration Test (SPT) N-value. Subsurface exploration via the Standard Penetration Test is the most widely used exploration tool in the United States, so correlations of pile capacity to N-value are significant to the practice of geotechnical engineering. Meyerhof’s SPT-N correlations are relatively simple calculations compared to other pile capacity computation methods presented in the article or found in other text books (such as the a-method, b-method, Nordlund, Vesic, Meyerhof’s semiempirical, others) and therefore are popular amongst practicing geotechnical engineers. At the time these correlations were published by Prof. Meyerhof, utilization of dynamic testing with the Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA) was not widespread in geotechnical engineering practice. Prof. Meyerhof’s correlations appear to be based upon conventional static pile load testing of instrumented piles. Dynamic pile measurements to estimate a pile’s static capacity provides certain advantages over conventional static load testing, namely the determination of unit shaft friction values at discrete intervals along the pile, and the unit end bearing support value. The author has compiled a database of driven, displacement piles tested with dynamic methods (ref. ASTM D4945, Test Method for High-Strain Dynamic Testing of Piles). The data was collected between 2002-2010 and is comprised of displacement piles driven into coastal plain sediments in the mid-Atlantic states of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. In layered soils, dynamic testing in particularly helpful as it reveals the differences in unit shaft friction for varying soil types. One hundred ninety (190) piles are included in the database, with a corresponding 1,373 discrete shaft friction and 190 end (toe) bearing measurements. The pile type typically consisted of 12 and 14 inch square, prestressed, precast concrete piles; however, a significant number of piles were steel HP 12 or 14 inch sections. The database was sorted based upon soil type, and then correlations of shaft friction and end bearing were derived in the same or similar manner as Meyerhof’s original 1976 publication. The new correlations are compared to Meyerhof’s original values.