Bearing capacity terms

The following terms are used in bearing capacity problems. Ultimate bearing capacity

The value of the average contact pressure between the foundation and the soil which will produce shear failure in the soil.

Safe bearing capacity

The maximum value of contact pressure to which the soil can be subjected without risk of shear failure. This is based solely on the strength of the soil and is simply the ultimate bearing capacity divided by a suitable factor of safety.

Allowable bearing pressure

The maximum allowable net loading intensity on the soil allowing for both shear and settlement effects.

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