Axial Load Capacity of Pipe Piles in Sands

by Roy E. Olson, L. P. Gilvin Professor of Civil Engineering; The University of Texas at Austin, ECJ 9.227, Austin, TX 78712,
Magued G. Iskanderl, Graduate Research Assistant; The University of Texas at Austin, ECJ 9.227, Austin, TX 78712,

Part of: From Soil Behavior Fundamentals to Innovations in Geotechnical Engineering: Honoring Roy E. Olson


The axial load capacity of driven, open-ended, steel pipe piles in cohesionless soils, is often estimated using a method such as the American Petroleum Institute Recommended Practice 2A (API RP 2A). This method is empirical and is used mainly as a scheme for applying the results of pile load tests to new design problems. Unfortunately, the database upon which it is based is sparse and thus the uncertainties are large. In this paper, an expanded database is used to compare capacity predictions based on API RP 2A (1993) and Olson (1990) methods with measured values. A new method that utilizes continuous functions to represent design parameters is also presented and compared with measured values. It is found that the Olson (1990) and the continuous parameter methods are both superior to the API RP 2A (1993) method but that all of the methods overpredict capacities of long piles of the sizes used to support offshore structures.

Copyright holder: Previously published in Advanced Technology in Civil Engineering, ASCE-Saudi Arabian Section, Manama, Bahrain, 1994, 383-394

Subject Headings: Pipe piles | Load bearing capacity | Axial loads | Steel pipes | Steel piles | Load tests | Cohesionless soils


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