Designing Piled Foundations with a Full 3D Model

V. D. Barbosa*, N. S. Galgoul
Department of Civil Engineering, Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi, Brazil

Article Metrics

CrossRef Citations:
Total Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 6431
Abstract HTML Views: 3385
PDF Downloads: 1329
ePub Downloads: 1293
Total Views/Downloads: 12438
Unique Statistics:

Full-Text HTML Views: 3296
Abstract HTML Views: 1326
PDF Downloads: 895
ePub Downloads: 634
Total Views/Downloads: 6151

Creative Commons License
© 2018 Barbosa and Galgoul.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Fluminense Federal University, Niteroi, Brazil; Tel: (21)2629-5410; Fax: +55(21)2629-5400; E-mail:



The analysis of piled foundations, where horizontal environmental loads play a very important role, has taken foundation design a step further in the 1970s and 80s. Nonlinear analyses considering P-y, T-z and Q-z curves became the state-of-the-art which also included group effect calculations thanks to an approximation proposed by [1] on the [2] equations. For some reason, however, foundation design continued to be refined using finite element calculations, but the corresponding developments never made their way into the main offshore platform design codes such as [3,4].


Considering the enormous advantage that this brings for topics such as group effect and negative friction, it is obvious that opening the offshore market to this enhancement is totally desirable. This is exactly what this paper is trying to achieve.


In order to increase the accuracy of the prediction of piled foundations lateral displacements when group effect is considerable, a complete 3D model will be proposed using the finite element method and compared to the codes’ model and also experimental data.


The model in DIANA showed good performance in comparison to the codes’ model and experimental data for the single pile. When the pile group model, when the codes’ have known deficiencies, was tested, both efforts on each pile and mean displacement of the pile group fit the experimental data. However, the behavior of each pile of the group, if separately analyzed, didn’t fit many experimental data, which was attributed to the soil model utilized.


This improved modeling procedure has been proven to improve the lateral displacement prediction of a piled foundation when group effect is considerable, when compared to codes [3,4] proposed models. However, the study of more accurate soil models could help on achieving more realistic results.

Keywords: Pile-soil interaction, Group effect, Offshore piled foundation, Piled foundation design, Mohr-Coulomb model, Pile raft foundation, Foundation, Finite element method.