Soil reaction to lateral harmonic pile motion

George Anoyatis, George Mylonakis, Anne Lemnitzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


The analytical representation of dynamic soil reaction to a laterally-loaded pile using 3D continuum modeling is revisited. The governing elastodynamic Navier equations are simplified by setting the dynamic vertical normal stresses in the soil equal to zero, which uncouples the equilibrium in vertical and horizontal directions and allows a closed-form solution to be obtained. This physically motivated approximation, correctly conforming to the existence of a free surface, was not exploited in earlier studies by Tajimi, Nogami and Novak and leads to a weaker dependence of soil response to Poisson's ratio which is in agreement with numerical solutions found in literature. The stress and displacement fields in the soil and the associated reaction to an arbitrary harmonic pile displacement are derived analytically using pertinent displacement potentials and eigenvalue expansions over the vertical coordinate. Both infinitely long piles and piles of finite length are considered. Results are presented in terms of dimensionless parameters and graphs that highlight salient aspects of the problem. A detailed discussion on wave propagation and cutoff frequencies based on the analytical findings is provided. A new dimensionless frequency parameter is introduced to demonstrate that the popular plane-strain model yields realistic values for soil reaction only at high frequencies and low Poisson's ratios.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)164-179
Number of pages16
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Analytical modeling
  • Dynamics
  • Elasticity
  • Lateral loading
  • Piles


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