Finite Element Modeling of the Bearing Capacity for Transmission Tower Foundations on Expansive Soil

  • Zheng Su
  • Xilin LüEmail author
  • Jiangu Qian
  • Daokun Qi
Conference paper


To satisfy the increasing power demands, lots of transmission lines are constructed in the middle-west of China. Expansive soil widely distributes in these areas, and the safety of foundation for transmission line tower needs to be evaluated. Based on consolidated drained triaxial tests, the cohesion and internal friction angle of unsaturated expansive soil were obtained. The compressive and uplift bearing capacities of the plate foundation for transmission line tower foundation were analyzed by 3D finite element modeling. The failure mode of the plate foundation under compressive load shows a local shear mode. For the uplift bearing capacity, the failure mode shows an annular apophysis mode around the plate foundation at the surface. The influence of the saturation of soil on the bearing capacity is more obvious than the uplift bearing capacity of a plate foundation.


Expansive soil Shear strength Transmission line tower Bearing capacity Numerical simulation 



The work was financially supported by the State Grid Corporation of China (through Grant No. 5217L0160001) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, these support are gratefully acknowledged.


  1. 1.
    Fredlund, D.G. (ed.): Engineering Approach to Soil Continua. Transportation and Geotechnical Group, University of Saskatchewan (1974)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barden, L., Madedor, A.O., Sides, G.R.: Volume change characteristics of unsaturated clay. ASCE J. Soil Mech. Found. Div. 95, 33–51 (1969)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Burland, J.B. (ed.): Some Aspects of the Mechanical Behavior of Partly Saturated Soils. Butterworth and Company (Australia) Ltd., Sydney (1965)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bishop, A.W., Blight, G.E.: Some aspects of effective stress in saturated and unsaturated soils. Geotechnique 13, 177–197 (1963)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Coleman, J.D.: Stress/strain relations for partly saturated soil. Geotechnique 12(4), 348–350 (1962)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Fredlund, D.G., Rahardjo, H. (eds.): Soil Mechanics for Unsaturated Soils. Wiley, New York (1993)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Fredlund, D.G., Morgenstern, N.R., Widger, R.A.: The shear strength of unsaturated soils. Can. Geotech. J. 15(3), 313–321 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Miao, L., Liu, S., Lai, Y.: Research of soil–water characteristics and shear strength features of Nanyang expansive soil. Eng. Geol. 65, 261–267 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sheng, D., Zhou, A., Fredlund, D.G.: Shear strength criteria for unsaturated soils. Geotech. Geol. Eng. 29, 145–159 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Xu, Y.: Bearing capacity of unsaturated expansive soils. Geotech. Geol. Eng. 22, 611–625 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pacheco, M.P., Danziger, F.A.B., Pereira, P.C.: Design of shallow foundations under tensile loading for transmission line towers: an overview. Eng. Geol. 101(3–4), 226–235 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zheng Su
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xilin Lü
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jiangu Qian
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daokun Qi
    • 3
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Geotechnical and Underground Engineering of Ministry of EducationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Geotechnical EngineeringTongji UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.State Grid Henan Economic Research InstituteZhengzhouChina

Personalised recommendations