Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Gray Mullins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Manjriker Gunaratne, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Michael J. Stokes, Ph.D.


Dragload, Load Transfer, Negative Skin Friction, Pile Foundations, Soil Settlement


All soils settle under the weight of newly constructed embankments. In the case of MSE wall-type embankments, piles are driven prior to embankment construction. Under the weight of the newly constructed embankment, the soil surrounding the piles may settle more than the piles themselves. This downward movement potentially drags the piles down and induces a force within the pile known as downdrag. The research on the downdrag phenomenon involving cohesionless granular soils is sparse, thus the focus of this study is to investigate the effects of downdrag on pile performance driven in Florida sandy soils. A site consisting of soil profiles with relatively compressible sands underlain by denser sands was investigated. The field work entailed instrumenting, monitoring, and collecting data from a pile behind the embankment. Collected data was analyzed to find the key parameters that affect pile performance when subjected to downdrag.