Finite-element modelling of laterally loaded piles in a stiff glacial clay till at Cowden

Lidija Zdravkovic, David M.G. Taborda, David M. Potts, David Abadias, Harvey J. Burd, Byron W. Byrne, Kenneth G. Gavin, Guy T. Houlsby, Richard J. Jardine, More Authors

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The PISA project was a combined field testing/numerical modelling study with the aim of developing improved design procedures for large-diameter piles subjected to lateral loading. This paper describes the development of a three-dimensional finite-element model for the medium-scale pile tests that were conducted in Cowden till as part of the PISA work. The paper places particular emphasis on the consistent interpretation of the soil data determined from the available field and laboratory information. An enhanced version of the modified Cam clay model was employed in the numerical analyses, featuring a non-linear Hvorslev surface, a generalised shape for the yield and plastic potential surfaces in the deviatoric plane and a non-linear formulation for the elastic shear modulus. Three-dimensional finite-element analyses were performed prior to the field tests. Excellent agreement between the measured and simulated behaviour for a range of pile geometries was observed, demonstrating the accuracy of the numerical model and the adequacy of the calibration process for the constitutive model. The developed numerical model confirmed the premise of the PISA design method that site-specific ground characterisation and advanced numerical modelling can directly facilitate the development of additional soil reaction curves for use in new design models for laterally loaded piles in a stiff clay till.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1013
Number of pages15
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • full-scale tests
  • model tests
  • offshore engineering
  • piles AND piling
  • soil/structure interaction

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