Allowable bearing capacity


In geotechnical engineering, bearing capacity is the capacity of soil to support the loads applied to the ground. The bearing capacity of soil is the maximum average contact pressure between the foundation and the soil which should not produce shear failure in the soil. Ultimate bearing capacity is the theoretical maximum pressure which can be supported without failure; allowable bearing capacity is the ultimate bearing capacity divided by a factor of safety. Sometimes, on soft soil sites, large settlements may occur under loaded foundations without actual shear failure occurring; in such cases, the allowable bearing capacity is based on the maximum allowable settlement.

Calculating the gross allowable-load bearing capacity of shallow foundations requires the application of a factor of safety (FS) to the gross ultimate bearing capacity.

Related formulas


qallallowable bearing capacity (dimensionless)
qultultimate bearing capacity (dimensionless)
FSfactor of safety (dimensionless)