Design load of rigid footings on sand

Edgar G. Diaz, Fernando Rodríguez-Roa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Experimental evidence has shown that most current methods are not able to predict design loads of footings on cohesionless soil with an acceptable degree of accuracy. In the present study, a simple and realistic settlement-based method is proposed to estimate the design load of rigid footings on sand subjected to static vertical loading. The design criterion based on restricting the end-of-construction settlement to 16 mm because of the inherent variability of the real soil deposits is herein adopted. A series of finite-element analyses based on an advanced constitutive model were carried out to study the load-settlement response of footings supported on 14 sandy soils. Routine design charts were developed to predict the net allowable soil pressure of footings on normally consolidated and overconsolidated sands. These charts consider footing shape, embedment depth, grain diameters D10 and D60, particle shape, unit weight (or submerged unit weight for saturated sands), and indirect measurements of the shear strength derived from in situ tests, such as relative density, standard penetration test (SPT) or cone penetration test (CPT). As shown, the proposed charts match well with available experimental data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-884
Number of pages13
JournalCanadian Journal of Civil Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Finite-element method
  • Footing design
  • Footing settlement
  • Lade model
  • Sand
  • Shallow foundations


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