Using Dynamic Pile Testing To Overcome Surprising Soil Variations

Salem, H. (Sam)
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
A site investigation for a wide and tall hotel building, in the San Juan Bay area, Puerto Rico, indicated a soil profile of silty clay on sand, soft and loose enough to require piled foundations. The apparent uniformity of the soil profile across the site indicated that a single pile driving and termination criterion could be applied to the installation of the piles ? driven precast concrete piles. Because of the size of the site and importance of the project, the project also included a static and dynamic testing programme. The dynamic monitoring using the Pile Driving Analyzer (PDA) verified a consistent hammer operation. However, the results of the static loading tests showed significant and inconsistent variation in pile capacity between locations and little correlation between end-of-driving and restrike penetration resistances (blow-counts) and pile capacity. Therefore, it was not possible to rely on a simple depth and blow-count termination criterion for the site. In contrast, pile driving response in terms of measured reflected force and mobilized resistance coupled with CAPWAP analysis gave a reliable correlation to the results of the static loading tests. As presented in the paper, the dynamic testing programme was enlarged and used to develop and verify a complex set of termination criteria tailored for the multitude of conditions encountered across the site to achieve and ensure economical and safe pile installation.
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