Application of FLAC in bearing capacity analyses of layered clays

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Bhardwaj, Vivek
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Understanding the bearing response of the footings on layered soils has always been a challenge for researchers. Due to the limitations of analytical and empirical solutions it had been difficult to understand the true bearing behavior. Some researchers have tried solving this problem by numerical analysis and have found some success. In this study the numerical analysis approach has been applied using a commercial tool FLAC (Fast Lagrangian Analysis of Continua) to study the bearing response of surface footings on layered clays. First, small deformation analyses were taken up to study the undrained bearing response of strip and circular footings resting on a horizontally layered strong over a soft clay foundation, and then over soft over strong clay foundation. In the end application of large strain mode of FLAC was explored to investigate the large deformation behavior of the strip footing resting on the surface of a strong over soft clay foundation. All models were run by applying velocity loading and a elastic-perfectly plastic Tresca yield criterion has been used. The results are compared with published Finite Element Method (FEM) results, and with analytical, empirical and semi-empirical solutions. It was found that bearing capacity results from the present small-strain FLAC analyses agree well with the FEM results. However, these results in most of the cases tend to differ (as much as 49% for certain layered clay foundations) from those predicted with analytical, empirical and semi-empirical solutions, mainly due to the assumptions made in these solutions. Since no such assumptions are made in the present FLAC analyses, the results and the methodology of this thesis can be applied to predict the bearing capacity of the practical problems. Application of the large-strain mode of FLAC to study the large deformation of shallow foundations has pointed out a limitation of FLAC in completing such analyses. However, it is observed from the early trends of these analyses that whereas the small deformation analysis may under estimate the ultimate bearing capacity for certain cases of layered foundations where the upper clay is moderately stiffer than the lower clay layer, it might also over predict the ultimate bearing capacity for other cases when the upper clay is very stiff in comparison to the lower clay layer.
FLAC, bearing, capacity, layered, clays, strip, circular, footing, rigid, smooth, strong, stiff, soft, large, deformation, influence, shear, strength, failure, modes, general, local, punching, small