AbstractEarthquake-induced soil liquefaction can cause settlement around piles, which can translate to negative skin friction and the development of drag load and settlement of the piles. A series of centrifuge model tests were performed to assess liquefaction-induced downdrag and understand the interplay and effects of (1) pile embedment and pile-head load, (2) excess pore pressure generation and dissipation, and (3) reconsolidation and ground settlement on pile response during and postshaking. The model included a layered soil profile (clay, liquefiable sand, and dense sand) with two 635-mm-diameter instrumented piles. One pile was placed with its tip at the bottom of the liquefiable deposit; the other pile was embedded five diameters into the dense sand layer. The model was shaken with multiple earthquake motions with their peak horizontal accelerations ranging from 0.025 to 0.4  g. For each shaking event, the drag load on the piles first decreased during shaking and then increased during reconsolidation, exceeding its preshaking value. With multiple shaking events, the net drag load on the piles increased. The maximum observed drag load was found equal to the drained interface shear strength calculated from the interface friction angle of δ=30° and a lateral stress coefficient of K=1. Larger drag loads and smaller settlements were observed for the pile embedded deep in the dense sand layer. Most of the pile settlements occurred during shaking; postshaking pile settlement was less than 2% of the pile’s diameter. The mechanisms behind the development of liquefaction-induced drag load on piles and settlements are described. Select ramifications concerning the design of piles in liquefiable soils are also described.

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