Date of Award

January 2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Rodrigo Salgado

Second Advisor

Monica Prezzi

Committee Member 1

Ganesh Subbarayan

Committee Member 2

Steve Wereley

Committee Member 3

Arun Prakash


The response of single piles and pile groups to axial and lateral loading and the displacements induced in the soil by it are studied in this work using theoretical and experimental approaches. The theoretical solution for the loading of piles is based on idealized displacement forms, energy principles and calculus of variations. The idealized displacement field is expressed in terms of a group of unknown functions that determine both the vertical profile of the displacement along the axis of the pile, which are obtained using the eigenvalue/eigenvector method, and another that determines the displacement within the soil domain, which are obtained numerically using the finite difference method. The piles can have any cross-sectional shape, and the soil profiles can comprise as many layers as needed. The pile and soil materials are assumed linear elastic. Analysis results are in a good agreement with results from the finite element method (FEM), with the advantage that the results are obtained at a lower computational cost.