The behaviour of laterally loaded two-pile groups
The response of piles and two-pile groups to lateral loading has been studied by field tests and computationally. Due to the lack of field test data and because of uncertainty concerning the pile/soil system it has been suggested that further experimental studies of pile groups under lateral loading should be undertaken. The research was conducted through a series of tests on vertical single piles and two-pile groups at various spacing and pile cap overhang heights, to identify the lateral stiffness, bending moment and axial force distribution. Attempts were also made to measure the in-situ total lateral soil pressure on the pile walls. Piles were designed to behave as "long" pile since most piles used in the U.K. are long and flexible. Piles were instrumented with strain gauges for measurement of bending moments and axial forces. Field tests were conducted in a sand trench using 4.0m long piles. A stiff steel pile cap was used to connect head of the two piles firmly together. Linear elastic back analyses of single pile tests were carried out to estimate the soil modulus profile with depth. Thereafter comparisons were made between the field test results on two-pile groups, published analyses and also a three dimensional finite element analysis. Tests results showed that the lateral stiffness of a two-pile groups tends towards a limit as spacing increases. A similar result was found from predictive and finite element analyses. The ratio between the maximum pile shaft bending moment and horizontal force varied between dry and wet season, being greater in the latter. The ratio between maximum reverse bending moment and horizontal load increased as the pile spacing and the overhang increased. Similar results results were found by finite element analysis. One of the main achievements in this research was the measurement of the axial forces in the vertical piles due to lateral loading. It was found that as the pile spacing increased and pile cap overhang height decreasd the peak axial forces per unit load decreased. Similar results were obtained by three dimensional finite element analysis.