American Society of Civil Engineers

Undrained Limit States of Shallow Foundations Acting in Consort

by S. Gourvenec, (Sr. Lect., Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, Univ. of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia. E-mail: and M. Steinepreis, (Geotech. Engr., Coffey Geosciences Pty Ltd., 24 Hasler Rd., Herdsman, Perth WA 6017, Australia; formerly, Student, Univ. of Western Australia. E-mail:

International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 7, No. 3, May/June 2007, pp. 194-205, (doi:

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Document type: Journal Paper
Abstract: There is no established procedure for the calculation of bearing capacity of a shallow foundation system comprising cojoined footings. Ad hoc approaches are relied on and may simply involve summing the ultimate limit states of the individual footings as if they acted independently; neglecting additional capacity of the system available from the kinematic constraint provided by the structural connection between the footings. In this study, the undrained capacity under general loading of rigidly connected two-footing systems at various separations has been investigated with finite-element analyses. Results are presented in terms of ultimate limit states under pure vertical (V), horizontal (H), and moment (M) loading, and failure envelopes defining limiting load states under combined VH, VM, HM, and VHM loads. Kinematic failure mechanisms observed in the finite-element analyses are presented and in cases used to provide the basis for upper bound solutions.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Analytical techniques
Limit states
Load bearing capacity
Numerical analysis
Shallow foundations