Pile Capacity Calculation



    Soil Details
        Unit weight of soil (gamma)
        For undrained soils use phi' = 0
        Angle of friction (phi')
        Adhesion Factor
        Angle of friction between pile and soil
        Depth to Water Table
    Pile Details
        ?=Square, ?=Circular
        Diameter of pile
        Depth to base of pile
        Applied load - includes weight of pile
Pile Capacity
    Bearing Capacity Factors
    Overburden stress
    Base Bearing Capacity
    Shaft skin friction
    Vertical Load
    Base Resistance
    Shaft Resistance
    Total ultimate resistance
    Allowable Load
    Overall factor of safety

Calculation Reference
Pile design
Pile Design and Construction Practice

Pile capacity calculation involves determining the load-carrying capacity of a pile foundation. The capacity of a pile is derived from two main components: the end-bearing capacity at the pile tip (Qb) and the skin friction along the pile shaft (Qs). The total pile capacity (Qt) is the sum of these two components:

Qt = Qb + Qs

Here's an outline of the process for calculating pile capacity:

  1. Determine pile dimensions and properties: Obtain the pile type (e.g., driven, bored, or CFA), its length, diameter or cross-sectional area, and material properties (e.g., concrete or steel).

  2. Conduct a site investigation: Perform a geotechnical investigation to determine the soil properties along the pile length, such as soil type, unit weight, undrained shear strength (cu), angle of internal friction (φ), and soil bearing capacity.

  3. Calculate end-bearing capacity (Qb): The end-bearing capacity depends on the soil properties at the pile tip and the pile's cross-sectional area (Ap). For example, in granular soils, the end-bearing capacity can be calculated using the following formula:

Qb = Ap * Nq * q


  • Nq is the bearing capacity factor, which depends on the soil's friction angle (φ)
  • q is the effective vertical stress at the pile tip

In cohesive soils, the end-bearing capacity can be calculated using the following formula:

Qb = Ap * cu * Nc


  • cu is the undrained shear strength of the soil at the pile tip
  • Nc is the bearing capacity factor, which depends on the pile type and installation method
  1. Calculate skin friction capacity (Qs): The skin friction capacity depends on the soil properties along the pile shaft and the pile's surface area (As). For each soil layer, calculate the skin friction (fs) and multiply it by the pile's surface area in that layer. Then, sum the skin friction capacities of all layers to obtain the total skin friction capacity (Qs).

  2. Calculate the total pile capacity (Qt): Add the end-bearing capacity (Qb) and the skin friction capacity (Qs) to obtain the total pile capacity:

Qt = Qb + Qs

  1. Apply a factor of safety (FS): Divide the total pile capacity (Qt) by a factor of safety to obtain the allowable pile capacity (Qa):

Qa = Qt / FS

The factor of safety typically ranges from 2 to 3, depending on the project requirements, level of uncertainty, and reliability of the pile capacity estimation.

This simplified approach provides a general method for calculating pile capacity. In practice, more advanced methods, such as dynamic or static load tests and numerical modeling, may be required for complex situations or where more accurate predictions are needed. It is always recommended to consult with experienced geotechnical engineers when determining pile capacity.

Calculation Preview

16 Dec 2011
Last Modified
27 Apr 2023
File Size:
21.86 Kb
File Version:
File Author:
Turan Babacan

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Comments: 8
Maycel George 3 years ago
I'm sorry.. I'm new here... want to ask.. how to download this file... Thank u
JohnDoyle[Admin] 5 years ago
I don't have an answer to your first question but we do offer some advice regarding Units.
hendrikjs 5 years ago
I am new to this site. I am looking for help in applying the skin friction on a pile to resist wind uplift. I also work in the US so nin-metric would be prefered.Thanks
muhamadyusa 6 years ago
many thanks
hades3 10 years ago
BABACAN 12 years ago
You're right. I fixed it and uploaded a corrected file.
JohnDoyle[Admin] 12 years ago
I just noticed that cell BH4 says 'Not a valid pile type'. Looking at the formula it seems an easy one to fix.
JohnDoyle[Admin] 12 years ago
Once again a very cleverly executed spreadsheet Turan. I particularly like how your hyperlinked cells are formated to make then look like buttons.