EXPERIMENTAL RESPONSE OF A PILE IN SAND UNDER STATIC AND CYCLIC LATERAL LOADS
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Piles are engineering structures which are subjected to axial and lateral loading. In this dissertation, pile load tests were performed on a full-scale fabricated pile to understand lateral pile responses under static and cyclic loading. The experiments were performed on a fabricated test pile at the Geo-Engineering Laboratory at Queen's University. Dry loose Olimag Synthetic Olivine sand was used as the test soil. Instrumentation including axial strain gauges, null sensors (earth pressure sensors) and string potentiometers were used to monitor pile responses throughout the tests. What differentiates the current study from previous investigations is direct measurements of lateral earth pressure on a test pile using those null sensors with conventional measurements of curvature and deformation. The null sensors of Talesnick (2005) have ‘infinite stiffness’ and calibration that is almost independent of the soil type, soil condition and stress history, qualities that make the sensor superior to other commercially available sensors. The initial pile response under static loading was examined. Previous laterally loaded pile test programs have utilized curvature measurements to infer moments, and differentiation of moments to determine lateral forces. Comparisons with the directly measured pressures confirmed the effectiveness of differentiated moments. To understand offshore structures, the behaviour of a pile subjected to cyclic loading is examined and explained by elastic soil response at low load levels and the progressive development of inelastic response at higher load levels. In addition, the loading condition (i.e. two-way versus one-way loading) was found to have a substantial effect on pile responses. The pressure distributions for two-way cyclic loading suggest that the lateral pressure is proportional to displacement with peak pressures near the ground surface during elastic responses. The peak lateral pressures move deeper towards the point of rotation with increasing cyclic loads to generate inelastic responses. However, the lateral pressure response is consistently inelastic for one-way loading.