A macroelement framework for shallow foundations including changes in configuration

F Pisanò, L Flessati, C di Prisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
181 Downloads (Pure)


Macroelement plasticity models are being increasingly applied to study non-linear soil–foundation interaction (SFI) problems. Macroelement models are particularly appealing from a computational standpoint, as they can capture the essence of SFI by means of a few degrees of freedom. However, all the macroelement formulations available in the literature suffer from the same limitation, that is the incapability of accounting for changes in both geometry and loading/boundary conditions. Accordingly, macroelement models are usually calibrated to analyse a given boundary value problem, with no chance of handling situations with significant variations in embedment, lateral surcharge and/or phreatic level. The present work shows how standard soil modelling concepts can be exploited to reproduce relevant ‘configurational features’ of non-linear SFI. A macroelement framework is here proposed to simulate the drained load–settlement response of shallow footings on sand in the presence of varying surface/body forces. As a first step, the ideal case of a weightless soil layer is exclusively considered. The macroelement constitutive equations are conceived/calibrated on a minimal set of finite-element results; the satisfactory predictive capabilities of the macroelement model are finally demonstrated by retrospectively simulating selected finite-element tests.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-926
Number of pages17
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • bearing capacity
  • ootings/foundations
  • numerical modelling
  • plasticity
  • settlement
  • soil/structure interaction


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