Seismic bearing capacity with variable shear transfer

  • X. Shi Frederic R. Harris Inc., New York, USA
  • R. Richards SUNY at Buffalo, Buffalo, USA


The seismic degradation of bearing capacity for drained soils is shown to depend primarily on two factors related to earthquake acceleration: (a) the lateral inertial forces in the structure transmitted as shear at the foundation-soil interface and (b) the lateral body forces in the soil itself. Both induce shear stresses using up the reserve strength of the soil to carry the footing load. During those short periods when this reserve strength provided by the static design factor of safety is exhausted, the footing settles and moves laterally. Solutions for this seismic limit state defining the critical acceleration at which it occurs are determined for any value of shear transfer first by the "exact" method of characteristics and then by a simple Coulomb-type approximate mechanism. Expressions for seismic bearing capacity factors that are directly related to their static counterparts are nearly identical by either method. Thus a straightforward sliding block procedure based on the Coulomb mechanism with examples is presented for computing accumulating settlements due to the periodic loss of bearing capacity. Conversely, this approach leads to a modified static design procedure for shallow footings to limit seismic settlements in a prescribed earthquake intensity zone.


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How to Cite
Shi, X., & Richards, R. (1995). Seismic bearing capacity with variable shear transfer. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 28(2), 153-163.