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RE: Foundation on Expansive Clay

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I think you should give serious consideration to putting these things on
drilled piers.

I'd make a pile cap, maybe 2 feet thick (which will negate any effect of
expansive uplift on the supported equipment) on several drilled piers (may
or may not be belled). I'd get the geotech to tell me the pullout resistance
along with the other data for drilled pier design, design the piers for
gravity and lateral loading, then check for pull-out and adjust as

You'll get a foundation that's a little more expensive, depending on where
you live (in some areas drilled pier installation is so common it's actually
cheaper to do than a bearing foundation), but you'll take care of potential
expansive uplift with no problem.

William L. Polhemus, Jr., P.E.
Polhemus Engineering Company
Katy, Texas
Phone 281-492-2251
Fax 281-492-8203

-----Original Message-----
From: Fountain Conner [mailto:fconner(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, April 04, 2001 6:05 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Foundation on Expansive Clay

I need to put some lightly-loaded foundations on clay "with the potential
for expansion".

These foundations will carry a bark blowline in a paper mill.

If all were normal these foundations would be 7 feet long x 8 feet wide x 3
feet thick.  They each would have a vertical pipe 20 feet tall, carrying a
horizontal blowline.  Maximum soil pressure (max load and wind) would be
about 2000 psf.  Static maximum load is about 650 psf.  The geotechnical
report allows at least 2500 psf, plus 25 percent for short-term live load
(like wind).

Plain vanilla...  Until I factor in the potentially expansive soil.

My thinking is to turn down the outside edge of the footing an additional 6
inches.  If this clay is expansive, it shouldn't be given to capillary
action, and will provide a seal, preventing the soil beneath the foundation
from seeing the varying moisture content.

What do you think?

Item 2:

I had intended to place each "mast" in a sleeve, plumb it and grout it
into position -- cheap, but effective.  I *can* put a mast on a large,
baseplate, and perch it on nuts below the base plate, with double nuts
above.  If I do this, I can allow enough room below the lower nuts to
adjust each mast plumb if there is some movement.  I'm hoping you guys can
convince me that this step is overkill.



Fountain E. Conner, P.E.
Gulf Breeze, Fl. 32561
   Phone 850-932-5547
   Fax      850-934-1916