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Recent Advances in Pile


Asha N M
Manali Hegde
Ritu Susan Kurien
Recent Advances
• Micropiles
• Soldier Piles
• Suction Piles
• Adfreeze Piles
• Micropiles can be defined as small diameter piles,
typically less than 150mm, where the pile load is carried
structurally predominantly by the pile reinforcement.
Hence micropiling is often relatively heavily reinforced
with a substantial full length central reinforcement bar.
Micropiles are normally grouted due to small volumes.
• Micropiles, also called mini piles, are used for
underpinning. Micropiles are normally made of steel with
diameters of 60 to 200 mm. Installation of micropiles can
be achieved using drilling, impact driving, jacking,
vibrating or screwing machinery.
Micropiling Advantages
• Small lightweight equipment
• Low noise and vibration
• Suitable for tension loads
• Minimal site preparation
• Can be installed successfully into most
ground conditions including rock
• High output - combined drilling and
grouting make high piling outputs
• Limited headroom, restricted access
• Rapid mobilisation and setup
• High loads in restricted access and low
headroom sites
• Suitable for refurbishment projects,
bridgework, tunnel work and basement
Soldier Piles
The soldier pile wall is a temporary or permanent retaining wall
commonly used for excavations in urban areas. The soldier pile
wall is the archetype of quick, inexpensive shoring. It is, however,
only applicable in the absence of groundwater (or with only small
quantities of water) and in cohesive soils. The soldier pile wall
provides first and foremost temporary shoring but can be made
permanent with certain adaptations.
The method consists of :
1. Drilling regularly spaced boreholes in which metal beams are
2. Installing cladding (wood, shotcrete, steel plates) between the
beams as the excavation progresses
The stability of the retaining wall is temporarily provided by struts
or anchors except in shallow excavations where the wall may be
• Construction of a soldier pile wall is practically
• free of ground disturbance. It involves 5 main
• stages :
• 1 • Drilling of large diameter boreholes
• 2 • Sinking of a beam embedded with concrete or
• slurry at the bottom and filling from the top
• 3 • Continuing the excavation in successive layers
• 4 • Installing the cladding, which may consist of
• planks, railway sleepers, shotcrete or concrete
• cast in situ
• 5 • Stabilising of the curtain wall for depths of
• more than 3 m by anchors or struts
This type of wall is used mainly for :
• Shoring of excavations where no
displacement is possible
• Shoring of narrow excavations
(underground railways and sewers) at
varying depths, combined with strut
• Shoring of buildings or structures without
Suction Piles
• Suction piles are used underwater to secure floating platforms. Tubular piles are
driven into the seabed (or more commonly dropped a few metres into a soft seabed)
and then a pump sucks water out the top of the tubular, pulling the pile further down.
• The proportions of the pile (diameter to height) are dependent upon the soil type:
Sand is difficult to penetrate but provides good holding capacity, so the height may be
as short as half the diameter; Clays and muds are easy to penetrate but provide poor
holding capacity, so the height may be as much as eight times the diameter. The
open nature of gravel means that water would flow through the ground during
installation, causing 'piping' flow (where water boils up through weaker paths through
the soil). Therefore suction piles cannot be used in gravel seabeds.
• Once the pile is positioned using suction, the holding capacity is simply a function of
the friction between the pile skin and the soil, along with the self-weight and weight of
soil held within the pile. The suction plays no part in holding capacity because it
relieves over time. The wall friction may increase slightly as pore pressure is relieved.
One notable failure occurred (pullout) because there was poor contact between steel
and soil, due to a combination of internal ring stiffeners and protective painting of the
steel walls.
Adfreeze piles
• In extreme latitudes where the ground is continuously frozen,
adfreeze piles are used as the primary structural foundation method.
• Adfreeze piles derive their strength from the bond of the frozen
ground around them to the surface of the pile. Typically the pile is
installed in a pre-drilled hole 6"-12" larger then the diameter of the
pile. A slurry mixture of sand and water is then pumped into the hole
to fill the space between the pile and the frozen ground. Once this
slurry mixture freezes it is the shear strength between the frozen
ground and the pile, or the adfreeze strength, which support the
applied loads.
• Adfreeze pile foundations are particularly sensitive in conditions
which cause the permafrost to melt. If a building is constructed
improperly, it will heat the ground below resulting in a failure of the
foundation system.
• Another ongoing concern for adfreeze pile foundations is climate
change. As the climate warms, these foundations lose their strength
and will eventually fail.
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