Geosciences 2020, 10(7), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/geosciences10070269 - 13 Jul 2020
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The present work is concerned with the effect of soil spatial variability on estimating the ultimate soil resistance of floating axially loaded piles from point measurements of soil properties along the pile. The ultimate limit state is considered. In particular, closed form formulae [...] Read more.
The present work is concerned with the effect of soil spatial variability on estimating the ultimate soil resistance of floating axially loaded piles from point measurements of soil properties along the pile. The ultimate limit state is considered. In particular, closed form formulae for (i) determining the optimal sampling depth for minimizing statistical uncertainty and (ii) the optimal—minimum required—safety factor for a desired failure probability level are derived. A dimensionless parameter, the cohesion-to-friction parameter Λ, is introduced which quantifies the weight of soil’s cohesion contribution relative to that of soil’s friction in the linear trend of the ultimate soil strength. The analysis shows that the probability of failure profile with the sampling depth attains a minimum, designating the optimal sampling point. This depends on the scaled spatial correlation length of the soil Θ (i.e., the spatial correlation length of soil over the length of the pile) and the parameter Λ, but not on the coefficient of variance of the ultimate soil strength (covu) or the safety factor. Furthermore, it was found that the optimal depth is always at the lower half of the pile, approaching the mid-point or the bottom end of the pile for Λ>>1 or Λ<<1, respectively. In addition, it was found that for large Θ, the optimal depth tends to be closer to the mid-point of the pile, while for small Θ, the optimal sampling depth arises closer to the bottom end. The practical usefulness of the results is related to a suitable choice of the safety factor. Inverting the probability of failure formula at its minimum value, an optimal safety factor is obtained as a function of the desired (acceptable) probability of failure, and the parameters Θ, Λ and covu. The optimal safety factor is the minimum value required for a desired level of the probability of failure. Full article