Bearing Capacity of Anisotropic Cohesive Soil

by Edward H. Davis, Prof. of Civ. Engrg. (Soil Mech.); Univ. of Sydney, NSW, Australia,
John T. Christian, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; MIT, Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Journal of the Soil Mechanics and Foundations Division, 1971, Vol. 97, Issue 5, Pg. 753-769

Document Type: Journal Paper


A new description of anisotropic cohesive strength provides a simple solution for the bearing capacity of a strip load, based on previous work by Hill. This solution and a survey of published data on anisotropic shear strength indicate that the bearing capacity at worst is 85% of what would be predicted using conventional shear strength data for vertical compression and bearing capacity theory. The bearing capacity is 90% of that predicted by conventional theory and the average of strength from vertical and horizontal compression. When compressive strength is available for three orientations of loading, the shear strength can be represented as an ellipse, and the bearing capacity depends on the shape of the ellipse and on the average of vertical and horizontal compressive strengths.

Subject Headings: Shear strength | Compressive strength | Load bearing capacity | Anisotropy | Compression | Horizontal loads | Vertical loads | Geomatic surveys

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