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Last edited 23 Oct 2019
The term 'bearing capacity' refers to the capacity of soil to support applied loads that are acting on it. In the construction industry, this typically relates to the capacity of soil to support building foundations, in which case, the bearing capacity can be calculated from the maximum average contact pressure between the foundation and the soil that would not produce shear failure.
Three modes of failure limit bearing capacity:
The net ultimate bearing capacity (qnu) does not take into consideration the over-burden pressure and can be calculated as:
qnu = qu - Ydf
qns = qnu / F
- F = factor of safety.
Karl von Terzaghi developed a theory for evaluating the ultimate bearing capacity of shallow foundations. His theory states that a shallow foundation is one where the depth is less than or equal to its width.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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