Experimental and Numerical Studies on Push-Up Load Tests for Sand Plugs in a Steel Pipe Pile
This paper focuses on the bearing capacity of soil plugs (internal shaft resistance) through fundamental research on the bearing mechanism of dry silica sand plugs. Push-up load tests on the dry silica sand plugs inside a model pipe pile and DEM simulations were carried out to investigate the plugging behaviour. The influences of the packing state of the soil plugs (the relative density), and the height of the plugs on the bearing capacity were investigated. Prior to the push-up load tests, element tests on the silica sand and DEM analyses were performed to characterise the silica sand and to determine suitable DEM analysis parameters. The experimental and DEM results clearly show that the push-up force increases significantly with the increase in the aspect ratio of the soil plug, H/D, and with the relative density of the soil plug. The DEM analyses show a good agreement with the experimental results when the push-up force is small. Furthermore, the DEM results reveal that only the density of the soil plug in the lower portion, adjacent to the pile tip, increases gradually with the increase in the push-up displacement as well as the increase in H/D. Hence, it is the lower portion of the soil plug that mainly controls the capacity of the soil plug.
Keywords: discrete element method, dry sand, laboratory soil test, open-ended steel pipe pile, plugging, push-up load test, (IGC: E4/E13/E14)