A deep foundation derives its support from competent strata at significant depths below the surface or,  alternatively, has a depth to diameter ratio greater than 4.  A deep foundation is used in lieu of a shallow foundation when adequate bearing capacity or tolerable settlements cannot be obtained with a shallow foundation.  The term deep foundation includes piles, piers, or caissons, as well as footings or mats set into a deep excavation.  This part discusses problems of placing footings and mats in deep excavations and
design of drilled piers.  Drilled piers (or caissons) are simply large-diameter piles, but the design process is somewhat different.  An arbitrary distinction between a pile and pier is that the caisson is 30 inches or more in diameter.

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