Simple energy-based method for nonlinear analysis of incompressible pile groups in clays

Assaf Klar, Yat Fai Leung

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


This note presents a method for predicting nonlinear response of pile groups in clays, subjected to vertical loads. The method is based on mobilizable strength design (MSD) concepts, in which the mobilized strength is associated with the shear strains developed in the soil. The suggested procedure is incremental, and requires evaluation of a displacement field. A simple procedure of superposition of pattern functions is suggested for the construction of a complete displacement field. The incremental procedure allows for the variation of the displacement field throughout the loading process, according to principles of minimum energy and compatibility requirements among the piles. Essentially, the procedure allows consideration of a nonlinear continuum between the piles. The pattern functions are an adaptive form of the logarithmic function suggested by Randolph and Wroth in 1979. Under small load levels, when the soil is essentially elastic, the procedure yields values comparable to those from the elastic solution of Randolph and Wroth. At larger strain levels, nonlinear pile group response is simulated based on the soil constitutive models specified by the practitioner. The method is applicable to cases where shaft loading does not induce volume changes in the soil. The method is compared with three dimensional finite difference simulation of undrained loading of pile groups with a nonlinear soil constitutive model. Fair agreement is observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)960-965
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Clays
  • Energy methods
  • Nonlinear analysis
  • Pile foundations
  • Pile groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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