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COMPARISON OF ULTIMATE BEARING CAPACITY OBTAINED BY

PILE DRIVING ANALYZER AND MAINTAINED LOAD TEST

KAMALENDRAN A/L N. RAJASVARAN

UNIVERSITI TEKNOLOGI MALAYSIA


iv

DEDICATION

To my beloved parents, family and friends


I am where I am because of all of you
Please continue to give me your support and encouragement
My humblest thanks and gratitude to all
v

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Firstly, my salutations and adoration to God for keeping me in good health


and supplying me with the required knowledge and information to complete this
thesis.

There are no words apt enough to describe the amount of patience and love
shown and showered by my parents whilst I was completing this project. They were
always there when I needed their help and advice. My sincere thanks also to family
members and relatives who have given me the strength and encouragement to carry
on when I had almost given up hope.

My friends were instrumental and played important roles in assisting me to


complete my thesis. They include my course mates, seniors who have graduated,
colleagues and my many other friends. My outmost gratitude to all of them.

I especially would like to express and record my gratitude and thanks towards
Dr. Ramli Nazir, for the huge amount of patience shown by him and for all his
guidance in the preparation of this thesis. Without his patience and assistance, this
thesis would never have been completed.
vi

ABSTRACT

In Malaysia, Maintained Load Test (MLT) is the most common static load
test used for testing of driven reinforced concrete (RC) piles, while Pile Driving
Analyzer (PDA) is currently the most popular dynamic test method. MLT provides
relatively accurate information on ultimate pile capacity and settlement but is costly,
time consuming and difficult to carry out. PDA is much more timesaving, less
expensive and can be carried out with relative ease, but the results are subject to
uncertainties and interpretations of wave stress propagation theories. Results of pile
load tests at a hypermarket development were studied and analysed to create a
comparison between MLT and PDA. From the study, ultimate pile capacities derived
from analysis of PDA were consistently higher than results from MLT. Comparison
of pile settlement results for MLT and PDA was observed to be inconsistent. The
study also recognises that Davissons Method is used to obtain ultimate pile capacity
from MLT as it is more conservative compared with other calculation methods. PDA
results were observed to be satisfactory in determining ultimate pile capacity, but a
coefficient of 0.9 or a 10% reduction is suggested to be applied to values derived
from PDA. For future pile testing programs, there is a potential for an increase of
PDA tests to be carried out. However, a limited number of MLT must also be carried
out to determine accuracy of parameters and soil models used in PDA tests.
vii

ABSTRAK

Di Malaysia, Maintained Load Test (MLT) merupakan kaedah ujian


statik yang paling biasa digunakan ke atas cerucuk konkrit bertetulang manakala Pile
Driving Analyzer (PDA) adalah kaedah ujian dinamik yang paling popular. MLT
mampu memberi maklumat yang tepat mengenai keupayaan maksima cerucuk dan
enapan yang dialami, namun ia melibatkan kos dan masa yang banyak, dan sangat
susah dijalankan. PDA lebih senang dijalankan serta melibatkan kos dan masa yang
kurang, namun keputusan ujian dipengaruhi oleh ketidakpastian dan tafsiran
berkaitan teori wave stress propagation. Keputusan ujian bebanan untuk satu
projek pasaraya besar telah dikaji dan dianalisa untuk mendapatkan perbandingan di
antara keputusan MLT dengan PDA. Daripada kajian, didapati keupayaan maksima
cerucuk daripada PDA adalah lebih tinggi berbanding dengan MLT untuk semua
cerucuk yang dianalisa. Bagi perbandingan enapan cerucuk pula, didapati bahawa
keputusan daripada MLT dan PDA adalad tidak tetap. Kajian juga menyokong
kaedah Davisson digunakan untuk mendapatkan keupayaan maksima cerucuk kerana
kaedah ini memberikan hasil yang lebih konservatif berbanding kaedah-kaedah lain.
Keputusan keupayaan maksima cerucuk daripada PDA didapati memuaskan, namun
sedikit pengurangan sebanyak 0.9 atau 10% dicadangkan untuk keputusan PDA .
Untuk program pengujian cerucuk yang bakal dilakukan pada masa hadapan,
terdapat potensi untuk menambahkan bilangan ujian PDA yang dilakukan. Namun,
MLT perlu juga dijalankan pada kadar yang minima untuk mendapatkan kepastian
mengenai parameter and model tanah yang digunakan dalam ujian PDA.
viii

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER TITLE PAGE

DECLARATION ii
DEDICATION iv
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS v
ABSTRACT vi
ABSTRAK vii
TABLE OF CONTENTS viii
LIST OF TABLES xi
LIST OF FIGURES xii
LIST OF SYMBOLS xiv
LIST OF APPENDICES xvi

1 INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Background 1
1.2 Problem Statement 3
1.3 Objectives 3
1.4 Scope and Limitations 4

2 LITERATURE REVIEW 5
2.1 Driven Reinforced Concrete (RC) Piles 5
2.2 Maintained Load Test (MLT) 9
2.2.1 Background 9
2.2.2 Equipment and Test Procedure 10
2.2.3 Measurement of Settlement 12
ix

2.3 Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA) 13


2.3.1 Background 13
2.3.2 Wave Equation Analysis 15
2.4 Advantages and Disadvantages of MLT and PDA 20

3 METHODOLOGY 21
3.1 Background 21
3.2 Data Collection 23
3.3 Data Analysis and Results 23
3.4 Summary 24

4 DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS 25


4.1 Background of Case Study 25
4.2 Soil Condition 28
4.3 Analysis of MLT 29
4.4 Analysis of PDA 35
4.5 Comparison of Analysis on MLT and PDA 36

5 DISCUSSIONS 39
5.1 Quantitative Evaluation of Results 39
5.2 Consistency and Pattern of Results 39
5.2.1 Ultimate Pile Capacity 41
5.2.2 Pile Settlement 42
5.3 Reasons and Factors Affecting the Results 42
5.3.1 Ultimate Pile Capacity 42
5.3.2 Pile Settlement 44
5.4 Usage of Coefficient 45
5.5 Importance of Study and Further Discussions 46

6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 49


5.1 Conclusions 49
5.2 Recommendations 50
x

REFERENCES 51

Appendices A - C 53 - 63
xi

LIST OF TABLES

TABLE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Advantages and Disadvantages of RC Piles 8

2.2 Comparison of MLT and PDA in terms of respective 20


advantages and disadvantages

4.1 Details of analyzed piles 27

4.2 Classification of cohesive soils (Bowles, 2006) 29

4.3 Methods of obtaining pile capacity in static load test 31

4.4 Time lapse of pile tests after pile driving 37

4.5 Ultimate pile capacities obtained through MLT and 38


PDA

4.6 Pile settlement based on MLT and PDA 38

5.1 Estimation of coefficient for PDA test results 40


xii

LIST OF FIGURES

FIGURE NO. TITLE PAGE

2.1 Driving of RC piles 6

2.2 Set up for pile driving 7

2.3 Typical kentledge arrangement for MLT 11

2.4 Typical arrangement for a Maintained Load Test 11


(MLT)

2.5 Set up for measurement of settlement 12

2.6 Testing of pile using PDA 14

2.7 Wave equation theory set-up and parameters 16

2.8 Strain gauges and accelerometers are fixed to RC 17


piles during PDA testing

3.1 Flow Chart for the study 22

4.1 Typical load settlement graphs for pile load tests 30


(Tomlinson, 1994)
xiii

4.2 Derivation of ultimate capacity using Brinch 33


Hansens Method

4.3 Comparison of ultimate pile capacity by Fellenius 34


(1980)
xiv

LIST OF SYMBOLS

A - Cross section Area of the pile

B - Diameter of pile

E - Ratio of impedance before and after section


considered

c - Wave speed

D - Embedment depth of pile

E - Modulus of Elasticity of the pile material

F - Compression force

fcu - Compressive strength of concrete at 28 days age

i - Incident (velocity)

P - Test load

R - Soil resistance

R - Reflected velocity
xv

se - Elastic settlement of the pile

snet - Net settlement

st - Total settlement

v - Velocity

z - Impedance
xvi

LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX TITLE PAGE

A Analysis on MLT Results 53

B Pictures on Case Study During 58


Construction

C Calculations for Pile Set Criteria 61


CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background

The magnitude of activities involving piling in a country normally


corresponds with the development of that particular country. In Malaysia, piling
activities are currently active all around the country due to the numerous
development projects that are ongoing, funded by both the Government and the
private sector. Types of piles used for these development projects can broadly be
divided into displacement and replacement piles. Driven reinforced concrete (RC)
pile is type of displacement pile that transmits loads from structures into the soil
stratum through shaft friction and end bearing capacity of the pile.

Construction of foundations using RC piles is popular and widespread in


Malaysia, especially for buildings that are of limited height. Construction of driven
RC piles foundation is commonly chosen by developers as it is relatively time saving
with a flexible construction schedule, the RC piles are normally readily available and
construction methodology is straightforward and not complicated.
2

However, if driving is not carried out properly, it will result in piles that have
not adequately set. Set criteria for driven RC piles are pre-determined by calculation
before pile-driving activity begins. If the set criterion for a certain pile is not
achieved, excessive settlement of the particular pile may be encountered and this will
eventually affect the stability and integrity of the supported structure or building.

Given the many uncertainties inherent in the design and construction of piles,
it is difficult to predict with accuracy the performance of a pile. In order to mitigate
and prevent such occurrences, and comprehensive pile-testing program must be
incorporated in every project. Loading tests can be carried out on preliminary piles to
confirm the pile design or on working piles as a proof loading tests. Although pile
load tests add to the cost of foundation, the saving can be substantial in the event that
improvement of to the foundation design can be materialized. Pile tests can generally
be divided into two main categories, which are static and dynamic tests. An example
of static testing is the Maintained Load Test (MLT) while Pile Driving Analyzer
(PDA) is a type of dynamic test.

MLT has been traditionally used to test piles in static condition. Most projects
require a certain number of driven RC piles to be selected and tested by the MLT
method. The MLT test method is well known to be cumbersome due to the test set
and testing process. It is a very costly test method and the long duration required for
testing makes it undesirable. Unfortunately, the MLT is one of the most direct
methods of testing driven RC piles and if procedures are strictly followed, the results
are extremely reliable and the settlement of driven RC piles can be accurately
determined.

Testing using PDA has gained popularity in recent years due to it being
relatively cost-efficient, timesaving and easy to perform. Due to its cost which is
much less compared to MLT, PDA can be performed on more driven RC piles thus
providing a bigger sample of tested piles.
3

However, accuracy of data from PDA testing can sometimes be in doubt due
to the uncertainties in the energy transmitted to the pile during testing and wave
stress propagation theories.

As both of the methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, a


combination of data obtained from MLT and PDA testing is proposed to provide a
clear picture of the driven RC pile bearing capacity and expected settlement.

1.2 Problem Statement

At present, not many comparisons have been made between PDA and MLT
testing for driven RC piles, specifically for cohesive soil in Malaysia. Accurate and
detailed studies showing attempted calibration between PDA and MLT in order to
gauge the effectiveness of PDA is not normally carried out. By comparing the results
of ultimate pile capacity using both PDA and MLT, it is envisaged that eventually,
the number of MLT can be reduced and substituted by conducting more PDA tests
instead. Thus, by comparing the results from PDA and MLT, the Engineer will gain
the confidence and reliability of using numerous PDA with limited MLT tests.

1.3 Objectives

The main objectives of this research are:

a) To determine the most appropriate calculation method for obtaining pile


capacity from MLT.
b) To determine the ultimate capacity of driven RC piles in cohesive soil
utilizing data from MLT and PDA respectively.
4

c) To compare results and data obtained from MLT and PDA. The
correlation is to be used for future testing programs for cohesive soil
whereby the number of MLT can be reduced and replaced with more
PDA tests

1.4 Scope and Limitations

For the purposes of this research, only driven RC piles in cohesive soil will be
considered. This limitation is necessitated by the available data, which involves
driving of RC piles in mainly cohesive soil.
CHAPTER 2

LITERATURE REVIEW


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2.3 Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA)

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CHAPTER 3

METHODOLOGY

3.1 Background

The study was conducted based on data from a single project site.
Description on the project will be presented in Chapter 4. The data were grouped in
static and dynamic test results. Analysis of the different data was carried out
separately.

High strain dynamic test and CAPWAP analysis results from the each of the
data were reviewed in terms of shaft distribution and pile load-settlement. Similarly
the same procedures were employed to MLT results. The output of the PDA results
and CAPWAP analysis, and MLT analysis were compared to obtain a relationship.
The results were compared based on ultimate pile bearing capacity and settlement.
Discussions on the obtained results are presented and conclusions made based on the
results. Finally, recommendations are provided.
22

The methodology of the study is as presented in Figure 3.1 below.

Driven RC Piles

Stage 1 Data Collection

Data from PDA and pile driving Data from MLT and pile driving
records records

Pile Load - Settlement Pile Load - Settlement

Stage 2 Data Analysis & Results

Shaft Distribution Shaft Distribution

Ultimate Pile Bearing Capacity

Comparison and Discussions

Stage 3 - Summary
Conclusions & Recommendations

Figure 3.1 Flow Chart for the study


23

3.2 Data Collection

The first stage of this study included identification of an appropriate


construction project. The data required was from driven RC piles that were tested
both by MLT and PDA. The results were made sure to be complete for comparison
purposes.

There were many data obtained but data that contained only a particular test
method, either MLT or PDA alone were rejected during this stage of study

3.3 Data Analysis and Results

The second stage of this study was to analysis the data that was obtained from
the construction site. Based on the raw data, pile load vs. settlement data were
tabulated and subsequently plotted.

The PDA data were also analyzed based on shaft distribution. The shaft
distribution was obtained from results of CAPWAP analysis. These results were
tabulated for easier presentation. The percentage of shaft distribution through the
length of the pile in regards to the total capacity obtained was observed.

In the MLT tests, certain pile capacities were obtained. The same also
applies to PDA tests whereby capacities of piles were also obtained. Both the
capacities were compared available methods and plotted to get a comparison for all
of the analyzed piles.
24

3.4 Summary

The third and final stage of the study was to draw a conclusion based on the
results of the analysis. It is understood that from previous studies there has been
good correlations and comparisons between dynamic test and static load test results.

The result that was derived from the analysis were carefully studied based on
the objectives. The closeness and the deviation between the results obtained were
checked.

Reasons and factors that influence test results were identified and presented.
Recommendations were included to for use during future pile load testing programs
and for further research works on similar subjects.
CHAPTER 4

DATA ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Raw data in various forms and sources were organized and compiled, as
previously mentioned in Chapter 3. Subsequently, analysis was carried out on all of
these data in order to obtain results and findings. Analyzed data was only from the
case study. In the following chapter, the results are presented in paragraph and
tabular formats.

4.1 Background of Case Study

The area of interest (case study) that was researched was a hypermarket
development project in Bandar Kinrara, Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan. The
hypermarket development project covers an area of approximately 7.98 acres. The
hypermarket project development area is mostly of cut formation and its elevation is
higher than the surroundings.

Construction of this hypermarket was necessitated due to the amount of


people residing in nearby areas and the purchasing power of local residents,
especially residents of the affluent Bandar Kinrara.
26

Recognizing this potential, the managing company of the hypermarket chain


decided to construct a two and half storey building, and not just a typical single
storey building to house the hypermarket and other tenants. In addition, the
managing company was also determined to provide numerous facilities and
amenities such as the power cart system that is not normally found in most
hypermarkets.

Due to this, loading from the structural and architectural components as well
as mechanical and electrical (M&E) equipment was significant. Type and capacity of
piles, pile groups and the piling layout was designed taking into consideration the
huge loading requirements of the project. At locations with heavy loading such as the
water tank area, pile groups of up to 6P-350 (6 numbers of 350mm x 350mm RC
piles) were required. Dimension of the pile cap for the 6P-350 pile group was
2850mm x 1800mm x 1800mm (height).

Piling was carried out using driven RC piles and all of these piles were driven
until set. A set criterion was pre-determined before commencement of piling activity
by means of calculation using Hileys Formula. The set criteria used was a maximum
of 25mm settlement for 10 blows by the hammer (25mm/10 blows) and this set
criteria was the same for all pile sizes. Sizes of piles used for the project were
250mm x 250mm, 300mm x 300mm and 350mm x 350mm. There were
approximately 998 piling points for the whole development. Piling was carried out
using 7-tonne hydraulic hammers with drop heights of 300mm, 400mm and 600mm
for the different pile sizes. A total of five numbers of driven RC piles were analyzed
for the purposes of this study. Details of the analyzed piles are given in Table 4.1.
27

Table 4.1: Details of analyzed piles


Gridline/Pile Height of Drop Pile Penetration
Pile Size (mm)
Reference Hammer (mm) (m)
14/B 300 x 300 400 18.2

12/C 350 x 350 600 17.4

1/H 350 x 350 600 18.6

8/P 300 x 300 400 14.7

17/H 250 x 250 300 16.8


Note: Gridlines set by project Architect. Gridlines used as convention to
identify piles

During piling, all of the 998 piles points that were driven into the ground
were identified to have fulfilled the set criteria, as shown in the relevant piling
records. Upon completion of the piling activity, a testing program was specified by
the Engineer to identify the capacities, condition and integrity of the driven piles and
also to determine the magnitude of further settlement of the driven piles under
working and test loads.

The testing program for the driven piles consisted of both static and dynamic
test methods. MLT was chosen for the static load test and dynamic testing was
carried out using PDA. For the data analysis, the number of piles studied and
analyzed was limited to five. All in all, testing by MLT was carried out on six piles
and PDA was carried out on thirty piles. Only five piles were studied due to the
restrictions of available data to be analyzed, as tests on most other piles were carried
out by either static or dynamic means only, and not by both methods.
28

4.2 Soil Condition

For the soil investigation (SI) program, a total of twelve boreholes were
carried out. These boreholes were evenly spaced out and distances between
boreholes were limited to less than 50 meters to maximize data and knowledge of the
sub-soil condition. Sub-surface exploration was carried out using a multi-speed wash
boring rig. Standard Penetration Test (SPT) was carried out at 1.5m intervals until
the termination of the borehole. Termination was determined by either achieving
seven consecutive SPT - N values of 50 or by coring through 2m of rock.

Disturbed soil samples were extruded from the split-spoon sampler.


Undisturbed samples were obtained by jacking thin-walled tubes into soft cohesive
layers and mazier sampler used for stiffer soil layers (SPT N values more than 15).
Measurement of groundwater table was carried out in the borehole using standpipes.

Data from the boreholes were analyzed and a soil profile for the development
was subsequently created from the results of the analysis. As shown in Table 4.1
above, the penetration depths of the driven piles are between 14m to 19m from the
ground level. Analysis results from the soil profile show that the soil layers
corresponding to the pile penetration depths mainly consist of cohesive soils. There
are only traces of cohesionless soil such as sandy soils and gravel in a limited
number of boreholes. Majority content of soil layers corresponding to pile
penetration depths were observed to be silt and clay.

According to Bowles (1996), cohesive soils can be classified according to the


SPT N values. This classification is as shown in Table 4.2 below. Generally, the
SPT N values for soil layers corresponding to pile penetration depths were
observed to range between 11 and 50. Based on the system of classification by
Bowles (2006), the soil strata for the analyzed pile locations in the case study is
mainly made up of stiff, very stiff and hard cohesive soils.
29

Table 4.2: Classification of cohesive soils (Bowles, 2006)


SPT N values (range) Consistency
0-2 Very soft
3-5 Soft
6-9 Medium
10-16 Stiff
17-30 Very stiff
>30 Hard

4.3 Analysis of MLT

Data obtained from the MLT tests included loads imposed upon by the
kentledge system and the settlement of the tested pile due to the corresponding loads.
Applied loads were measured in units of tons and later converted to kilo Newton
(kN) to be used for calculation purposes. Settlement was measured in millimeter
(mm). Data from MLT tests on the five analyzed piles were plotted on load vs.
settlement graphs.

Tomlinson (1994) had plotted many load vs. settlement graphs for different
soil conditions, including cohesive soils, and varying types of piles. Figure 4.1
illustrates some of these graphs.
30

Figure 4.1 Typical load settlement graphs for pile load tests
(Tomlinson, 1994)
31

From the case study, a separate graph was plotted for each of the analyzed
pile. Further analysis was carried out on the graphs to obtain the ultimate pile
capacity for each of the five analyzed piles. Calculations for the settlement of the
tested piles were not required as pile settlement under loading and residual settlement
is readily available from the MLT test reports. However, a review of the test reports
was carried out and the settlement values stated in these reports were checked. Based
on the review results, the settlement values were accurately reported. This conclusion
was made after comparing the settlement values to the actual field records attached
together with the reports, which was verified by the Engineers representative.

According to Fellenius (1980), there are various methods of interpretation


proposed by many authors to obtain ultimate pile capacity from load-deformation
curves in a static load test. Some of these methods are listed in Table 4.3, based on
explanations by Murugan (2006).

Table 4.3: Methods of obtaining pile capacity in static load test


Author(s) and Year Explanation on Method
Davisson (1972) Obtain the load corresponding to the movement,
which exceeds the elastic compression of the pile by
a value of 4mm plus a factor equal to the diameter of
the pile divided by 120. This method was developed
in conjunction with the wave equation analysis.
Fuller and Hoy (1970) Proposed a simple definition that the failure load is
equal to the test load for where the load movement
curve is sloping 0.14mm/kN. This method penalizes
long piles because the larger elastic movements
occurring for a long pile, as opposed to the short pile,
causes the slope 0.14mm/kN to occur sooner.

Butler and Hoy (1977) Developed the above definition defining the failure
load as the load at the intersection of the tangent
32

sloping 0.14mm/kN and the tangent to the inertial


straight portion of the curve, or to a line that is
parallel to the rebound portion of the curve. Butler
and Hoy took into account the elastic deformation,
substantially offsetting the length effect.
Brinch Hansen (1963) Defines failure as the load that gives twice the
movement of the pile head as obtained for 90% of the
load. It is also known as Brinch Hansens 90%
criterion.
De Beer & Wallays Proposed a method, where the load movement values
(1972) are plotted in double logarithmic diagram. When, the
value fall on two approximately straight lines, the
intersection of these defines the failure value.
Mazurkiewicz (1972) Method where a series of equal pile head movement
lines are arbitrarily chosen and the corresponding
load lines are constructed from the intersection of the
movement lines with the load movement curve.
From the intersection of each load line with the load
axis, a 45 line is drawn to intersect with the next
load line. These intersections fall approximately on a
straight line the intersection of which with the load
axis defines the failure load. This method considers
an assumption that the load movement curve is
approximately parabolic.
Chin (1970 and 1971) Proposed a method that assumes that the load
movement curve is of hyperbolic shape when the
load approaches the failure load. In this method,
each load value is divided with its corresponding
movement value and the resulting value is plotted
against the movement. After some variation, the
plotted values will fall on a straight line. The inverse
slope of this line is the failure load.
33

It can be summarized that the load vs. settlement graphs is the basis for all of
the various methods of determining ultimate pile capacity. Each author used the basic
form of the graph and devised their own method of calculation. An example of this is
the Brinch Hansen Method, which is also based on the load vs. settlement graph.
The plot for this method is shown in Figure 4.2.

Figure 4.2 Derivation of ultimate capacity using Brinch Hansens Method


34

Figure 4.3 Comparison of ultimate pile capacity by Fellenius (1980)

According to Coduto (2001), the Davissons method is one of the most


popular methods used for analysis of static load tests. The Davissons method
produces conservative results, especially if slow MLT is carried out. It also takes into
account the elastic compression of a pile that has no side friction.
35

Derivation of ultimate pile capacity using Davissons method can be given as


the following, Coduto (2001):

4mm + B/120 + PD/AE (1)


and
E = 4700 fcu (2)

Where, B = diameter of pile


P = test load
D = embedment depth of pile
A = cross section area of pile
E = modulus of pile material
fcu = compressive strength of concrete at 28 days age

The Davissons method was selected for the analysis of ultimate pile capacity
for the case study as it produces the most conservative results. Calculation using the
Davissons method is also straightforward and is not complicated. This was an
important factor to consider as five graphs were plotted; one graph for each of the
analyzed piles in the case study.

4.4 Analysis of PDA

During dynamic pile testing, PDA provided peak pile forces, which was
converted to pile stresses, under each strike of hammer impact. Analysis of these pile
force measurements indicated that there were no significant damage to the piles
during testing.
36

Case Pile Wave Analysis Program (CAPWAP) software was used for the
analysis of data from PDA field tests. Through CAPWAP, the pile mobilized
capacity, skin friction, end bearing and settlement data at working and test loads
were obtained.

According to Murugan (2006), pile capacity obtained from the CAPWAP


analysis on the PDA test results is considered to be fully mobilized if the net set of
3mm is achieved at the time of testing. Based on this criteria, it was analyzed that all
of the five piles in the case study had achieved the mobilized capacity and the
required test load at the time of testing.

During the analysis using CAPWAP, adjustments and reasonable judgments


had to be made for certain parameters involved in the calculations. These parameters
include the soil resistance distribution, quake and damping factors. Consistent
adjustments of the soil models used had to be made in order to achieve the best fit
with the prevailing ground conditions for each of the five analyzed piles.

4.5 Comparison of Analysis on MLT and PDA

According to Das (2004), the time lapse of testing after end of driving for
piles is stated as EOD. For the case study, the EOD for both MLT and PDA for all
five analyzed piles are presented in Table 4.4.

The time lapse (waiting period) between pile driving and testing enables soil
set-up around the driven piles. The longer the time interval, it is expected that the
shaft friction contribution would be larger towards the pile capacity (Murugan,
2006). From the analysis, the above was confirmed as shaft friction contribution in
piles 17/H, 8/P and 12/C were significant, mostly due to the wider time interval
37

between pile driving and testing. For pile 1/H, the shaft contribution was analyzed as
only 42% and the time interval between driving and testing was only 6 days.

Table 4.4: Time lapse of pile tests after pile driving


MLT PDA
Gridline/ Pile
Shaft Friction % of Pile
Reference Time Lapse Time Lapse
(kN) Capacity
14/B 5 days 17 days 1099 52
12/C 6 days 19 days 1638 58
1/H 12 days 6 days 1158 42
8/P 17 days 19 days 1246 60
17/H 25 days 27 days 1766 88

After completion of the analysis on MLT and PDA tests data, it was observed
that there is a variation between results for settlement and ultimate pile capacity
derived form these two different testing methods. While the results for ultimate pile
capacity was consistent, the results for settlement was not consistent.

Analysis results for ultimate pile capacities are presented in Table 4.5 below.
It is observed that for all analyzed piles, the ultimate pile capacity derived from the
PDA testing method is higher compared to capacity derived through MLT testing.
The consistency of results based on the analysis can be deemed satisfactory.
38

Table 4.5: Ultimate pile capacities obtained through MLT and PDA
Pile Capacity (kN)
Gridline/Pile Reference
MLT PDA
14/B 1850 2011
12/C 2600 2776
1/H 2550 2776
8/P 1800 2070
17/H 1690 2011

However, analysis results from the static and dynamic tests for pile settlement
does not indicate consistency. In fact, it was observed there is no clear pattern of
results in terms of settlement measured by MLT and PDA. For piles 12/C, 1/H and
8/P pile settlement from PDA showed higher values compared to values derived
through MLT. For piles 14/B and 17/H, pile settlement from MLT was higher
compared to settlement derived through PDA. Settlement results of the five piles
obtained through both methods are listed in Table 4.6.

Table 4.6: Pile settlement based on MLT and PDA


Gridline/Pile Test Load Settlement (mm)
Reference (Tons) MLT PDA
14/B 200 16.71 13
12/C 280 11.25 13
1/H 280 14.49 22
8/P 200 10.70 17
17/H 140 9.66 7

Discussions and interpretation of results obtained from the analysis are


presented in the following chapter.
CHAPTER 5

DISCUSSIONS

In Chapter 4, results obtained from the analysis of data were presented in


paragraph and tabular formats. In this chapter, the results are discussed and
commented upon in terms of:

1) Quantitative values (higher, lower, etc.)


2) Explanation and interpretation of the results
3) Reasons and factors affecting the results

5.1 Quantitative Evaluation of Results

Results of the analysis carried out for pile ultimate capacity using both MLT
and PDA was presented in Table 4.5. Subsequently, results of pile settlement
calculated based on MLT and PDA methods were presented in Table 4.6.

The difference in ultimate pile capacities obtained from these two methods is
shown in Table 5.1.
40

Table 5.1: Difference between pile ultimate capacity through MLT and PDA
Gridline/Pile Pile Capacity (kN) Difference between PDA
Reference MLT PDA and MLT Results (kN)
14/B 1850 2011 161
12/C 2600 2776 176
1/H 2550 2776 176
8/P 1800 2070 270
17/H 1690 2011 321
Mean = 221

Generally, analysis of available data showed that ultimate pile capacity


derived from PDA testing is higher when compared to the ultimate pile capacity
derived from MLT using the Davissons method. The highest difference calculated
was 321 kN for pile 17/H. Dimension of this pile is 250mm x 250mm and its design
working load is 700 kN. Therefore, the variation of ultimate pile capacity amounts to
approximately 46% of the design working load for that particular pile. The mean
difference for all five analyzed piles between the two testing methods was calculated
to be 221 kN or approximately 22.5 tonnes.

In terms of pile settlement, the difference observed from both testing methods
is as shown in Table 5.2.
41

Table 5.2: Difference in pile settlement based on MLT and PDA


Gridline/Pile Test Load Settlement (mm) Difference in settlement
Reference (Tons) MLT PDA (mm)
14/B 200 16.71 13 -3.71
12/C 280 11.25 13 1.75
1/H 280 14.49 22 7.51
8/P 200 10.70 17 6.30
17/H 140 9.66 7 -2.66
Note: + sign denotes settlement calculated by PDA is higher while -
denotes that settlement calculated by PDA is lower than by MLT

From Table 5.2, it is shown that for the majority of analyzed piles, settlement
derived by PDA is higher than the settlement values derived from MLT. The
difference in values of pile settlement calculated by PDA compared to MLT ranges
from between 1.75mm to 7.51mm. However, for two of the analyzed piles, results of
pile settlement from PDA were lower than the results from MLT. Overall, settlement
of piles obtained from both methods were within the tolerances allowed by the
Project Specifications, which is a maximum settlement of 25mm when tested at the
Test Load (twice Working Load).

5.2 Consistency and Pattern of Results

5.2.1 Ultimate Pile Capacity

In terms of consistency, the results for comparison of ultimate pile capacity


derived from both MLT and PDA methods were satisfactory. It was observed that in
all cases of analysis, the values obtained through PDA were higher than values from
MLT. There was a variation in the percentage of difference between results from
PDA and MLT for each analyzed pile, when compared to the test load.
42

As an example, the test load for pile 14/B is 1962 kN (200 tonnes) therefore
the percentage of difference is 8% whereas for pile 17/H the test load is 1373 kN
(140 tonnes) and the percentage of difference is 23%. However, the variation in
difference is not an important factor in analyzing the piles and therefore it was not
considered in the analysis and presentation of results. In summary, results for
analysis of ultimate pile capacity were observed to be consistent and were
satisfactory, without any significant deviations.

5.2.2 Pile Settlement

Unlike the analysis for ultimate pile capacity, results of pile settlement
obtained from both PDA and MLT were not consistent and did not display a clear
pattern. Due to this, it was not possible to produce a coefficient or correlation for
predicting settlement based on results of the analysis. When only PDA is used in a
testing program, the accuracy of pile settlement obtained is perpetually in doubt.
Therefore, MLT must also be carried out in any testing program in order for
calibration and checking to be carried out on values of pile settlement from PDA.

5.3 Reasons and Factors Affecting the Results

5.3.1 Ultimate Pile Capacity

Analysis of PDA tests carried out on five samples of piles had yielded higher
values of ultimate pile capacity when compared with analysis results from MLT. As
MLT is acknowledged to be one of the most reliable and accurate pile load testing
methods, identification of factors affecting the results of this study is concentrated on
analysis carried out for PDA. Two main factors that may have brought about this set
of results are the parameters and soil model used in the CAPWAP analysis.
43

In CAPWAP analysis, the software will iteratively modify the soil model
until a best-fit match is obtained. Then, a test engineer will use his knowledge and
judgment to manually fine-tune the soil model parameters until he is satisfied that an
acceptable and reasonable result is obtained (Sam, 2006). Therefore, the accuracy of
test results are subjective and depend to a large extend on the competency of the
personnel conducting the testing at site and carrying out the software analysis in the
office.

Besides this, the method of conducting PDA tests itself may influence the
results of the analysis. In most cases, in order to obtain a proper soil model and
parameters, a particular pile under test is struck several times by the hydraulic drop
hammer. This process will be repeated until the tester is satisfied with the results.
Sometimes, even before the tester fine tunes the soil model parameters, the operator
of the crane will strike the pile under test a few times in order to achieve the required
drop height. The dynamic force repeatedly being transmitted to the pile prior and
during testing will affect the accuracy and results of PDA analysis.

According to Fleming et al. (1994), capacity of a driven pile increases with


time following installation, especially in cohesive soils such as clay and silt. This is
due to set-up, attributed to dissipation of excess pore water pressure generated during
installation. Excess pore water pressure generated during pile driving will influence
the values of pile capacity during testing. The excess pore water pressure will
dissipate over time, which will result in greater pile capacity (Das, 2004). . For
nearly all analyzed piles, there was a larger time interval between piling and testing
by PDA, when compared to testing by MLT. Higher ultimate pile capacity values
from PDA may to some extend be attributed to this factor.
44

When piles are driven into soft clay, a zone surrounding the clay becomes
remolded or compressed. This results in a reduction of undrained shear strength.
With time, the loss of undrained shear strength is partially or fully regained (Das,
2004). In addition to this, thixotropic effect (hardening of disturbed cohesive soil
layers) and consolidation will increase pile capacity with advancement of time.
These factors are important in analyzing the higher results obtained through pile
testing by PDA method.

However, it must also be noted that the Davissons method was used for the
analysis of MLT results. As previously mentioned in Chapter 4, the ultimate pile
capacities derived from the Davissons method is more conservative and less than
ultimate pile capacity values derived from other methods. Davissons method was
selected for this study as it provides a higher degree of safety as it assumes lower
capacities of piles compared with other methods. In this connection, the lower values
of ultimate pile capacity obtained through analysis of MLT are significantly affected
by the application of Davissons method. Most probably, if another method was
applied, the difference between ultimate pile capacity from PDA and MLT would not
be as high. It is also possible that for some of the analyzed piles, the values obtained
from MLT might even be higher compared to values from PDA, if other calculation
methods were used. Further studies should be carried out to examine this hypothesis.

5.3.2 Pile Settlement

For pile settlement, the results of analysis were inconsistent. The


inconsistency may be due to testing of piles being carried out without sufficient time
interval between driving and testing. According to Bowles (1996), piles in cohesive
soils should be tested after sufficient lapse for excess pore water pressures to
dissipate.
45

Derivation of pile settlement under controlled loading through MLT is


accepted to be accurate. This condition is true if the test set-up, especially the
monitoring frame (reference beam) is properly installed and is kept free from
disturbances. Dial gauges must also be calibrated prior to use and protected from
vibration, movement or shock. For all of the analyzed piles, the above conditions
were practiced during testing, as verified by the Engineers Representative.
Therefore, it is safe to deduce that the settlement results obtained from MLT are
accurate.

In view of the above, the inconsistency of results and the difference of pile
settlement values are brought about by the PDA analysis. As previously mentioned in
Section 5.3.1, soil model parameters, competency of tester and disturbance to pile by
application of dynamic force will also result in discrepancies in pile settlement
values.

5.4 Usage of Coefficient

A comparison of results of ultimate pile capacity by PDA and MLT methods


can be categorized as shown in Table 5.1. The column for Coefficient / Reduction
Factor is derived by dividing the values from MLT with the ultimate pile capacity
values obtained from PDA.
46

Table 5.1: Estimation of coefficient for PDA test results

Pile Capacity (kN) Coefficient/


Gridline/Pile Reduction
Reference MLT PDA Factor
14/B 1850 2011 0.92

12/C 2600 2776 0.94

1/H 2550 2776 0.92

8/P 1800 2070 0.87

17/H 1690 2011 0.84

Mean = 0.90

From Table 5.1, an average coefficient or reduction factor of 0.9 is obtained.


Therefore, test results for ultimate pile capacity derived from PDA tests, may be
multiplied by the value of 0.9 or a reduction of 10% applied, if piling and testing are
carried out in similar conditions to the case study. However, there are numerous
limitations to the application of the coefficient due to the huge number of variables
involved in load tests and due to differing site conditions.

5.5 Importance of Study and Further Discussions

According to Likins (2004), after correlating static and dynamic tests, the Pile
Driving Contractors Association (PDCA) code allows substitution of three dynamic
tests for one static test, in determining the quantity of further testing. Thus, with at
least one successful correlation, the PDCA suggests that 5% static testing can be
translated into testing 15% of the piles dynamically, for the same suggested global
safety factor of 1.65. It is probably implicitly assumed that the large number of tests
allows site variability to be properly assessed and hammer performance to be
evaluated periodically throughout the project duration.
47

The PDA is a very useful tool in evaluating the ability of pile driving
equipment to install piles to the desired depth without damage. It can be used to
show the variability of likely pile capacity across the site by using the PDA on
several test piles installed across the site. It can be calibrated to be more site specific
by calculating input factors from static compressive load tests, such as the MLT.

Once the output data correlates with the load test results, confidence can be
gained in other PDA predictions. It can be used to change the length of piles when
test results indicate a savings can be made. This is usually of value on large projects
when a small reduction in pile length can result in big savings because of the large
number of piles driven.

The PDA is perceived as less costly than a traditional static load test such as
the MLT. A value analysis should be performed on the net savings when longer or
more piles are used. The value in PDA testing is in the ability to test a large number
of piles instead of just a few, as in the case of MLT. The variability in load capacity
across a site can be evaluated with the goal of lowering the safety factor used for the
project.

An important point to consider in pile load test program is that piles are
normally designed to be in pile groups. Regardless of how individual pile capacity is
analysed, piles are usually in groups. Therefore, a significant amount of research
must be carried out to analyse ultimate pile capacities and settlement in pile groups
when tested using both MLT and PDA.
48

This study has successfully analysed driven RC piles in cohesive soils and
presented the results, also providing interpretation and discussions on these results. It
can be summarized that the number of tests involving PDA in a testing program
should be increased to obtain a bigger sampling proportion. From the study, a
coefficient or reduction factor was calculated. A similar coefficient or factor should
be applied to PDA results for future projects due to the numerous variables that are
involved in PDA tests. The magnitude of the coefficient or reduction factor will
depend on many contributing points such as type of soil, site condition, parameters
that are used, among other considerations. MLT should be carried out in order to
calibrate the PDA tests. However, the number of MLT should be limited due to its
many constraints.
CHAPTER 6

CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Conclusions

In this study, an attempt was undertaken to compare the ultimate bearing


capacity results derived from MLT and PDA tests. The comparison was carried out
based on data obtained for the piling and load test programs carried out for a
hypermarket development in Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan. Findings of the study
were presented in Chapter 4 and discussions on the findings were made in Chapter 5.

In summary, the following conclusions can be made based of results of the study:

1) In terms of ultimate pile bearing capacity, results from the analysis were
observed to be consistent and there was a clear pattern in terms of the method
of testing that provided higher values. It was observed that ultimate pile
bearing capacity obtained from PDA were higher than results derived from
MLT, for all analyzed piles;
2) For pile settlement, there was no clear pattern or consistency in results
derived from both testing methods. In some cases, it was observed that
settlement shown in PDA results were higher, while in other cases settlement
results in MLT were higher;
50

3) A coefficient of 0.9 or 10% reduction was obtained from the study to be


applied to results from PDA tests. However, there are numerous limitations to
the application of the coefficient due to the huge number of variables
involved in load tests and due to differing site conditions;
4) Even though the number of MLT tests may be reduced and substituted with
more PDA tests, a limited number of MLT must still be carried out in order to
gauge the accuracy and consistency of PDA test results. MLT also provides
more conservative results, which can be used for design purposes if testing is
carried out on test piles and not working piles.

5.2 Recommendations

From this study, a few recommendations can be made, as listed below:

1) Increase the number of PDA tests in a pile load-testing program in order to


achieve a greater sampling ratio for driven piles. It is more practical to
increase the number of PDA instead of MLT due to considerations involving
cost, time and effort;
2) A coefficient or a reduction in terms of percentage is recommended to be
applied to results of ultimate pile bearing capacity obtained from PDA;
3) Further research must be carried out to analyze ultimate pile capacities and
settlement in pile groups when tested using both MLT and PDA;
4) Further research is suggested to test the applicability of the coefficient
derived from this study in other areas/locations, with mainly cohesive soil
and using only driven RC piles.
51

REFERENCES

Aarsleff Piling, et al. (2006). Handbook on Pile Load Testing. Kent, England.
Federation of Piling Specialist.

Atkinson, J. (1993). An Introduction to the Mechanics of Soils and Foundations:


Through Critical State Soil Mechanics. Berkshire, England. McGraw Hill.
pp. 74-86.

Bowles, J.E. (1996). Foundation Analysis and Design 5th Edition. Illinois,
USA. McGraw Hill.

Craig, R.F. (2001). Soil Mechanics 6th Edition. London, UK. Spon Press.

Cudoto, D.P. (2001). Foundation Design: Principles and Practices 2nd Edition.
New Jersey, USA. Prentice Hall.

Das, B.M. (2004). Principles of Foundation Engineering 5th Edition.


California, USA. Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning.

England, M. (1992). Pile Settlement Behaviour: An Accurate Model. Proceedings


of the Fourth International Conference on the Application of Stress Wave
Theory to Piles. The Hague, Netherlands. pp. 91
52

Fleming, W.K., Weltman, A.J., Randolph, M.F., Elson W.V. (1994). Piling
Engineering 2nd Edition. Glasgow. UK. Blackie Academic & Professional.

Geotechnical Engineering Office (2006). Foundation Design and Construction.


Kowloon, Hong Kong. Civil Engineering and Development Department,
Government of Hong Kong. pp. 264-292

Gravare, C.J., Hermansson, I., Svensson, T. (1992). Dynamic Testing on Piles in


Cohesive Soil. Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on the
Application of Stress Wave Theory to Piles. The Hague, Netherlands. pp.
409-411.

Sam, M.T. (2006). Understanding Dynamic Pile Testing and Driveability.


Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Monthly Bulletin of the Institution of Engineers,
Malaysia. pp. 8-15.

Wakiya, Y., Hashimoto, O., Fukuwaka, M., Oki, T., Shinomiya, H., Ozeki, F.
(1992). Ability of Dynamic Testing and Evaluation of Bearing Capacity
Recovery from Excess Pore Pressure Measured in the Field. Proceedings of
the Fourth International Conference on the Application of Stress Wave
Theory to Piles. The Hague, Netherlands. pp. 665-670.
53

APPENDIX A

Pile 14/B

250

200

150
Load (Tons)

100

50

0
0 5 10 15 20
Settlement (mm)
54

Pile 1/H

300

250

200
Load (Tons)

150

100

50

0
0 5 10 15 20
Settlement (mm)
55

Pile 8/P

250

200

150
Load (Tons)

100

50

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Settlement (mm)
56

Pile 12/C

300

250

200
Load (Tons)

150

100

50

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Settlement (mm)
57

Pile 17/H

160

140

120

100
Load (Tons)

80

60

40

20

0
0 2 4 6 8 10 12
Settlement (mm)
58

APPENDIX B

Pictures on Case Study During Construction

Driving of RC piles using 7 tonne hydraulic hammer


59

Piling being carried out according to gridlines

Jointing of RC piles by welding


60

Kentledge arrangement that was used for MLT

Instrumentation used for the MLT


61

APPENDIX C

Calculations for Pile Set Criteria

Calculations were carried out using Hileys Formula and the following parameters
were used for analysis of all pile sizes:

Type of hammer used = 7 tonnes hydraulic hammer


Penetration depth = 24m
Weight of driving assembly (external and internal helmet), P2 = 9.90 kN
Coefficient of restitution, e = 0.25 0.50
Hammer efficiency, A = 0.80
Temporary compression, C = 0.012m (12mm)

C.1 Set Criteria for 250mm x 250mm RC pile

Bearing Capacity of pile, fL = 700 x 2


= 1400 kN
Weight of Hammer, W = 70 kN
Hammer drop, h = 310 mm
Weight of pile, P1 = 1.5 kN/m x 24m
= 36 kN
P = P1 + P2 = 45.90 kN

fL = A x W x h x W + P x e2
S + 0.5C W+P
1400 = 0.80 x 70 x 310 x 70 + 46 x 0.452
S + 0.5 x 12 70 + 46
S = 2.48 per blow
= 25mm per 10 blows (25mm/10 blows)
Therefore, set criteria not more than 25mm per 10 blows
62

C.2 Set Criteria for 300mm x 300mm RC pile

Bearing Capacity of pile, fL = 1000 x 2


= 2000 kN

Weight of Hammer, W = 70 kN

Hammer drop, h = 480 mm

Weight of pile, P1 = 2.16 kN/m x 24m


= 51.84 kN

P = P1 + P2 = 61.74 kN

fL = A x W x h x W + P x e2
S + 0.5C W+P

2000 = 0.80 x 70 x 480 x 70 + 62 x 0.452


S + 0.5 x 12 70 + 62

S = 2.42 per blow


= 24mm per 10 blows (24mm/10 blows)

Therefore, set criteria not more than 24mm per 10 blows


63

C.3 Set Criteria for 350mm x 350mm RC pile

Bearing Capacity of pile, fL = 1400 x 2


= 2800 kN

Weight of Hammer, W = 70 kN

Hammer drop, h = 750 mm

Weight of pile, P1 = 2.94 kN/m x 24m


= 70.56 kN

P = P1 + P2 = 80.46 kN

fL = A x W x h x W + P x e2
S + 0.5C W+P

2800 = 0.80 x 70 x 750 x 70 + 80 x 0.452


S + 0.5 x 12 70 + 80

S = 2.60 per blow


= 26mm per 10 blows (26mm/10 blows)

Therefore, set criteria not more than 26mm per 10 blows