Estimate for bearing capacity of a prismatic pillar

Max W. Giger*, Raymond J. Krizek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Estimate for Bearing Capacity of a Prismatic Pillar: The upper bound theorem of the generalized theory of perfect plasticity is applied in conjunction with a simple curve fitting scheme to estimate the average vertical bearing capacity of a rectangular pillar with variable width-to-height and width-to-length ratios. The general solutions for the two collapse mechanisms that were found to yield the most critical bearing pressures are presented in a dimensionless form whereby the pillar bearing pressure is normalized with respect to the unconfined compressive strength of the pillar rock. In general, it was found that the pillar bearing pressure depends linearly on the pillar width-to-length ratio. Accordingly, it was possible to develop design charts for various ratios of the unconfined compressive strength to the uniaxial tensile strength by plotting the normalized average bearing pressure versus the pillar width-to-height ratio for the two limiting values of zero and one for the pillar width-to-length ratio. For the infinitely long pillar, the bearing pressures obtained by this approach are compared with those obtained by the Sokolovskii slip line solution, and the latter are generally found to be higher, although results depend on the pillar width-to-height ratio.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-211
Number of pages23
JournalRock Mechanics Felsmechanik Mécanique des Roches
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1977
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Engineering
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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