Assessment of Several Interpretation Criteria for Tensile Axial Load Tests on Deep Foundations

Antonio Kodsy, Baturalp Öztürk, Youssef Bazi, Magued G. Iskander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Axial tensile load tests on deep foundations are increasingly significant because of the expansion in their usage for a myriad of projects requiring support of tensile loads as well as for being a less costly alternative to compression load tests. A variety of interpretation criteria for compression load tests is available, which are often also used for tensile tests, but a few have been proposed specifically for tension load tests. In this study, the performance of seven of the available widely used interpretation criteria was evaluated using a data set of 80 tensile load tests. These criteria are (i) original Davisson, (ii) AASHTO, (iii) New York City building code, (iv) French building code, (v) 5% diameter, (vi) 10% diameter, and (vii) New York University (NYU) compression criteria. Their performance was evaluated for applicability, accuracy, precision, and the diameter and length effects. The AASHTO criterion exhibited the best accuracy and a moderate precision, which is promising. The study also presents efforts to identify a better performing criterion, which yields the introduction of the NYU tension criterion where capacity is defined as that corresponding to the smallest displacement of (i) half the elastic elongation of the pile plus 0.25 in.; (ii) pile head displacement corresponding to the first incidence of pull-out or strain-softening resulting in loss of more than 5% of capacity; and (iii) pile head displacement of 0.5 in., unless modified by the structural engineer of record. The NYU tension criterion achieved a similar accuracy to the AASHTO criterion and a better precision, which is optimal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-572
Number of pages14
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • design
  • drilled shafts
  • foundations of bridges and other structures
  • geology and geoenvironmental engineering
  • in situ testing
  • infrastructure
  • piles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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