Efficient reliability-based design of drilled shafts in sand considering spatial variability

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This paper presents an efficient approach for reliability-based design (RBD) of drilled shafts considering the effect of spatial variability of soil property. The spatial averaging technique is employed herein to simplify the modeling of soil spatial variability for practical application. Specifically, the effect of the spatial correlation of soil property between the tip resistance zone and the side resistance zone on the results of RBD of drilled shafts is investigated. The reliability analysis is realized herein using the first-order reliability method (FORM) that is implemented in a spreadsheet. The developed approach is illustrated in a design of drilled shafts under drained compression in loose sand. The reliability analysis shows that neglecting the spatial effect overestimates the probability of failure for both ultimate limit state and serviceability limit state requirements and canyield unduly conservative design. This efficient approach may be adapted for other loading conditionsand is applicable to RBD of other geotechnical structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of GeoEngineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


  • Drilled shafts
  • First-order reliability method
  • Reliability-based design
  • Serviceability limit state
  • Spatial correlation
  • Spatial variability
  • Ultimate limit state


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