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Pile foundations are commonly used world-wide in the multi-billion dollar foundation industry to provide support for high lateral loads. Substantial research has been conducted in the past on the performance of laterally loaded piles founded in soils and many field tests have been undertaken. However, the same cannot be said for socketed piles in a jointed rock mass. The overall strength and the stiffness of a jointed rock mass are highly variable depending on the joint spacing, orientation, joint persistence, and joint characteristics such as water pressure, joint roughness and infill. All these factors may have significant effect on the lateral load capacity of single piles. Therefore, an understanding of laterally loaded pile behaviour in a jointed rock mass is important in designing foundations for critical infrastructure.
In this paper, a comprehensive review of existing methods of estimating lateral load capacity of single piles in jointed rocks has been undertaken. The current analytical and numerical methods are critically examined against each of the key parameters controlling the behaviour of a jointed rock mass. It is identified that current methods are inadequate in accounting for the complex jointing of rock mass including a number of joint sets and its orientations on the lateral capacity of rock socketed piles. This highlights the need for further research in this area using sophisticated numerical tools or extensive laboratory and field testing.
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