The analysis of piled raft foundations in layered soils may be performed by 3D finite elements or by approximate procedures. Among the latter, the code NAPRA (Russo, 1998) is based on the method of the interaction factors and accounts for soil layering by the so called Steinbrenner approximation. A comparison between the results of 3D FEM and NAPRA for some reference layered soil profiles shows that the approximation is fully acceptable for engineering purposes, provided the stiffness of the single pile is properly selected. The interest of the conclusion lies in the fact that the amount of work needed to model a practical problem by NAPRA is but a fraction of that needed by FEM modelling.
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