Piles often experience lateral deformations due to multiple sources of horizontal loading, which include earthquakes, wind, vehicle forces, wave impact, ship impact and lateral earth pressures. Depending on the pile geometry, depth and head boundary condition, piles deform with different curvature distributions. The figure below shows the deflection behavior of “long” piles with different head fixity conditions.
Figure1. Curvature distributions for different types of piles (after Coduto)
As the pile displaces laterally, the capacity of the pile and the soil reduces with each displacement cycle. There are two types of nonlinearities in the problem of the laterally loaded piles:
Detailed analysis and successful design of a laterally loaded pile depends principally on the predictions of the response of soil with appropriate accuracy. A computer is necessary to solve the complex problems fast.