Residual Axial & Lateral Load Carrying Capacity of Pile Supported Marine Terminal Exhibiting Seismically-induced Local Buckling in Inground Plastic Hinge

The intent of this project is to evaluate the performance of the in-ground hinge of steel pipe piles under lateral cyclic loading and axial loading to verify current strain limits used in performance-based design of marine structures supported by steel pipe piles, such as piers, docks and other waterfront structures, as well as offshore oil and gas platforms.  The large-scale test program will be conducted within the  Soil-Structure Interaction (SSI) Test Facility North Soil Pit at UC San Diego’s Englekirk Structural Engineering Center, home of the large High-Performance Outdoor Shake Table (LHPOST6). The individual piles will be installed in the pit with a vibratory hammer down to 19 feet below the existing grade. The pile will be laterally and axially loaded by way of a loading apparatus placed at the pile top. Detailed nonlinear finite element models will be performed in parallel to the test program. The numerical models will consider main parameters leading to potential loss of gravity load-carrying capacity in piles subjected to lateral loading. The field test results will be used to verify the computational models. 

A blind prediction contest will be initiated at the completion of the first two tests. The goal  of the blind prediction is to determine the state of practice in nonlinear modeling of steel pipe-pile foundation systems. Announcements will follow with more details about the blind prediction contest.

The Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research (PEER) Center provided the funding to develop the numerical models. A marine industry-based technical advisory board has also provided oversight and guidance to the research team.

The assessment of the in-ground hinge performance and overall pile performance will be vital in the development of next generation design codes and standards for marine structures such as the ASCE/COPRI-61.


Soil pit test

PI: Jose Restrepo,

PI: Machel Morrison, 


Primary Sponsor(s)

Secondary Sponsor(s)