High And Low Strain Testing Of Bouncing Piles

Murrell, Kyle L.
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
Along the southeast United States coast, clayey silt and silty clay marine formations may cause pile installation and integrity problems. More specifically, excess pore pressures which develop in these soils during driving can cause high displacement piles to rebound or ?bounce?. Bounce is defined as a large (¾-in. to more than 1-in.) downward pile displacement during the hammer blow with little to no net displacement at the end of the blow. Pile bounce can generate damaging tension stresses and result in inefficient pile installation. A case history is presented where pile bounce was observed during the installation of 20-in. square ?high displacement? prestressed concrete piles which support a new ferry terminal in coastal North Carolina. High-strain dynamic pile testing was performed during test pile installation to evaluate driving stresses, pile capacities, and hammer performance. During and after installation of numerous production piles, circumferential cracking was observed on some of the piles. Additional high-strain dynamic pile testing was performed on two piles installed with a hammer having a heavier ram than the initial hammer. The new driving system generated lower tension stresses and installed the 20-in. piles more efficiently. Low-strain integrity testing was performed on the piles to qualitatively assess the cracks and locate any unidentified cracks. The low-strain testing was performed on piles installed at least a week prior to testing and on piles installed immediately prior to testing. When low-strain testing was performed immediately after pile installation before dissipation of excess pore pressures, pile integrity could be evaluated to depths of at least 12 pile diameters deeper than when performed weeks after installation.
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