In numerous geotechnical reports that address the lateral capacity of relatively short (5-15 ft) drilled piers I have seen a statement indicating that lateral resistance can be calculated by assuming the passive earth pressure acts against the projected area of the pier times 1.5. Can anyone shed some light on the physics behind this? I can't find any literature that indicates this is acceptable. I don't understand why a cylindrical pier should have some increased lateral capacity over a non-cylindrical pier or pile.
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