Assessment of the Internal Shaft Friction of Tubular Piles in Jointed Weak Rock Using the Discrete-Element Method

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 2019, 33 (6)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 American Society of Civil Engineers. This study focuses on the internal shaft friction of open-ended tubular piles induced by jointed weak rock plugs. To investigate the bearing mechanism of the plug, push-up load tests were carried out on the jointed mudstone inside a tubular pile. The discrete-element method (DEM) was used in order to consider heterogeneity and to reproduce the discrete nature of the rock mass. A flat-joint model was used to reproduce the mechanical behavior of mudstone, and a smooth-joint contact model was used to replicate natural joints. The push-up load tests were carried out using the calibrated properties of a weak mudstone. The effects of joint density and joint dip were examined in detail and, as expected, the push-up force of the rock plug was influenced by the joint properties because joint density and joint dip had to some extent affected the plug resistance. The existing joints reduced the push-up force when the joints were steep, whereas the horizontal joints had a minimal effect on altering the inner shaft friction compared with the intact rock mass. The reduced friction along the pile was amplified with joint density, while the exponential increase of vertical stress from the top of the rock plug to the bottom revealed that the inner shaft resistance was mainly mobilized at the bottom portion of the rock plug. The findings of this study increase our understanding of joint dip and joint density affecting the internal shaft resistance of open-ended tubular piles; this knowledge can be used further to develop a design methodology for open-ended tubular piles in weak rock while assessing plugging effects.
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