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The bearing capacity of footings on sand with a weak layer

  • Autori: Valore, C.; Ziccarelli, M.; Muscolino, S.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2017
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
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Minor details of the ground, such as thin weak layers, shear bands and slickensided surfaces, can substantially affect the behaviour of soil–footing and other geotechnical systems, despite their seeming insignificance. In this paper, the influence of the presence of a thin horizontal weak layer on the ultimate bearing capacity of a strip footing on dense sand is investigated by single-gravity tests on small-scale physical models of the soil–footing system. The test results show that the weak layer strongly influences both the failure mechanism and the ultimate bearing capacity if its depth is lower than about four times the footing width. It is found that the presence of a thin weak layer can cause decreases of the ultimate bearing capacity of up to 80%. Numerical simulations, by finite-element analysis, of the behaviour of the reduced-scale models are able to capture the failure mechanism and the ultimate bearing capacity correctly, only if the mean equivalent constant value of the secant angle of shearing resistance used in calculations is selected, taking into account the curvature of the shear strength envelope of the sand within the very low normal stress range existing in the tested models.