Efficacy of Design Methods for Predicting the Capacity of Large-Diameter Open-Ended Piles

Andrew Rizk, Antonio Kodsy, Magued Iskander, Nikolaos Machairas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large-diameter open-ended piles (LDOEPs) are increasingly being used for support of infrastructure projects. Yet, many of the methods in current use for predicting their capacity are based on studies involving small-diameter piles. The efficacy of eight commonly used pile design methods was explored using a database of 64 load tests on full-scale LDOEPs. Capacities were computed using eight commonly used design methods based on both the standard penetration test (SPT) and cone penetration test (CPT). The calculated capacities were compared with capacities interpreted from load tests using several failure interpretation criteria. The study demonstrated that cone penetration test (CPT)-based methods are somewhat superior to SPT methods, but all methods exhibited scatter between measured and predicted capacities, with the computed capacity off by a factor of two in many load tests. Several plugging conditions were compared for each of these methods. Seven of the eight design methods better predicted pile capacity considering that the piles are unplugged, ignoring contributions of the soil internal friction on the pile inner diameter. These findings suggest that (1) LDOEPs do not plug during static loading, with little contribution of interior skin friction to pile capacity; and (2) LDOEPs do not develop significant end bearing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04022078
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2022


  • Capacity
  • Comparison
  • Database
  • Load test
  • Nordlund
  • Pile
  • Tomlinson

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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