Effect of verification core hole on the point bearing capacity of drilled shafts
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For many projects involving drilled shafts, cores are required to be taken below the shaft base for visual identification of the underlying material. For example, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) requires a core length of at least 1.5 m (5 ft) or equal to the shaft diameter, whichever is greater, at the shaft base. Although the verification cores are to be extracted at the shaft base, The Department of Transportation of many states do not provide guidance to eliminate the effect of the verification core on the point bearing capacity. A recent study shows that the verification core hole is either filled with concrete in dry condition or with sand-gravel mixture in wet pour (Raibagkar, 2008). This finding is crucial because the point bearing capacity of drilled shafts with an empty hole at the base should be significantly lower than that of drilled shafts without verification core. Although the materials that fill in the verification core remove the risk of losing large point bearing capacity, the exposure of the core holes to air-drying may have an adverse effect on the point bearing capacity tipped in clay shales, especially when the basal material is susceptible to weathering. Therefore, the effect of the verification core on the point bearing capacity has been thoroughly investigated with emphasis on changes in the material properties of four clay shales (Del Rio Clay, Eagle Ford Shale, Taylor Marl, and Navarro Shale) in central Texas. The effect of verification core on the point bearing capacity of drilled shafts was investigated using finite element method (FEM) software, PLAXIS. The results from laboratory tests were converted to input material parameters for Mohr-Coulomb failure criterion, and the thickness of degraded zone around the core was interpreted from fullscale condition degradation tests. The load-displacement curves at the shaft base were created from PLAXIS analyses, and the point bearing capacities were obtained at 5%D and 10%D displacement from load-displacement curves. These capacities were used to calculate reduction factors that relate the point bearing capacity of the reference model (without a verification core) with that of the “core models” (with a verification core). The reduction factors are good indicators to determine if verification core had a positive or negative effect on the point bearing capacity. It was found that the reduction in point bearing capacity of “core models” is typically within 10% capacity of the reference model, and a maximum reduction of 14% was found for the Taylor Marl that was dried for 48 hours.