The Mechanisms Underlying Long-Term Shaft Resistance Enhancement of Energy Pile in Clays


Although there are several studies indicating that heating increases the long-term shaft resistance of energy piles, the mechanisms by which heating causes this increase have not been adequately evaluated yet. This article presents a comprehensive analysis and discussion to assess the important factors contributing to this increase by integrating the findings from three recently published papers studying the thermo-mechanical behavior of clay and the clay-pile interface. In these three studies, reconstituted kaolin clay was used, and cyclic and monotonic heat ranging between 24 and 34 °C were applied to the clay and interface. The interface was sheared under two stiffness boundary conditions: constant normal stiffness (CNS) and constant normal load (CNL), where normal stresses varied between 100 and 300 kPa. The analysis presented in this article reveals that the increase in strength of the interface under the CNL condition is primarily attributed to clay stiffening at the interface. However, the increase in shaft resistance under the CNS condition is primarily attributed to the heating-induced increase of effective lateral stress, although clay stiffening at the interface also partially contributes to the total increase of shaft resistance.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


Funding for this research was provided by the National Science Foundation, Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation (CMMI) under award number 1335395.

Keywords and Phrases

Clay-pile Interface; Energy Pile; Heat Cycles; Long-Term Shaft Resistance

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1208-6010; 0008-3674

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type




Language 2



© 2020 The Authors, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

23 Dec 2020