An elasto-plastic numerical analysis of THM responses of floating energy pile foundations subjected to asymmetrical thermal cycles

Charles W.W. Ng, Xudong Zhao, Shuai Zhang, Junjun Ni, Chao Zhou

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

Abstract

Whereas end-bearing energy pile foundations subjected to symmetrical thermal cycles have been extensively studied in the laboratory and in the field, the mechanisms underlying the thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) interactions in floating energy pile groups and rafts, especially when subjected to asymmetrical thermal loads, are not well understood. In this study, an advanced thermo-mechanical bounding surface model was implemented in finite element (FE) code to investigate the THM interactions of a two-by-two floating energy pile group and pile raft, focusing on asymmetrical thermal cycles. Computed results are compared with published centrifuge model test results in soft clay. It is revealed that the irreversible volumetric contraction of the soil adjacent to the energy piles accumulates with each thermal cycle, resulting in a decrease in the horizontal stress and hence shaft resistance of the floating piles. During thermal cycles, the stress states of the soil around the energy pile shaft and the soil beneath the pile toe approach the critical state line along different paths. The induced temperature in the soil adjacent to the non-energy pile (NEP) is 5°C lower than that in the soil at the energy pile EP1, which is flanked by the other two energy piles EP2 and EP3. Consequently, the induced excess pore pressure in the soil at the NEP is approximately 20% smaller than that in the soil at EP1. The irreversible volumetric soil contraction at the NEP is about half of that at EP1, resulting in approximately 45% less toe settlement. The thermally induced ratcheting settlements of the head and toe of the NEP are less than those of the energy piles, resulting in unacceptable ratcheting tilting of the floating energy pile group. However, the excessive tilting can be reduced by the use of a pile raft.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeotechnique
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • clays
  • Energy geotechnics
  • stress path
  • thermal effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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