Analysis of barrette foundations subjected to mechanical and thermal loads

Alessandro F. Rotta Loria*, Nicolas Richard, Lyesse Laloui

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, there has been increasing interest in the use of rectangular barrette foundations for the structural support and energy supply of tall buildings when circular piles become inefficient or uneconomical. In such applications, so-called energy barrettes are equipped with pipe heat exchangers to harvest shallow geothermal energy and thus undergo both mechanical and thermal loads while they structurally support the building. The mechanics of energy barrettes is currently poorly characterized, and analyses and designs of such foundations typically require time-consuming numerical simulations. This paper has a twofold objective: (1) provide a fundamental understanding of the mechanics of energy barrettes subjected to mechanical and thermal loads and (2) describe an analytical approach that can expediently model the vertical deformation of such foundations. This study indicates that the mechanics of rectangular barrettes under both semi-floating and end-bearing conditions is similar to that of circular piles with an equivalent diameter. From this perspective, an analysis approach is proposed to expediently address the vertical deformation of rectangular barrettes by modeling them as equivalent circular piles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100333
JournalGeomechanics for Energy and the Environment
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Analytical modeling
  • Barrette foundations
  • Design charts
  • Interaction factor
  • Mechanical loads
  • Thermal loads

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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