Use Of Installation Effort To Evaluate And Design Drilled Displacement Piles In Fine-Grained Soils

NeSmith, W. Morgan
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 12
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
A drilled displacement pile program was utilized for the expansion of an existing power plant in Cohasset MN adjacent to the Mississippi River. The drilled displacement (DD) pile is an innovative foundation type that provides exceptional value in some geologies. In the U.S., DD piles have typically been used in coarse-grained soils due to the large friction capacities that can be generated by the piles in these conditions. This project was the first large scale experience for the project team where it was anticipated that significant portions of the DD pile capacity would be developed in primarily fine-grained soils. The project site consisted primarily of variable amounts of fill overlying predominantly low plasticity alluvial silts. In some cases, alluvial silty sand layers were encountered within the expected pile installation depths. Alluvial sands were typically encountered below the silts, in some cases within the expected pile installation depths. The project team developed a probe and pile load test program to address the variable subsurface conditions across the site. The program included monitoring various parameters (including applied torque and tool penetration rate) during the drilling portion of the pile installation using recently developed data acquisition techniques. This data was used to estimate the rig energy, or Installation Effort (IE), required for pile installation. IE profiles from the test and indicator piles were compared with subsurface data available from a number of previous site characterizations. Additionally, Cumulative IE values were compared to an in-house database of IE vs. DD Pile Capacity. Final production pile toe levels were based primarily on IE values selected from this comparison. The IE data collected during production was also used to address large variations in pile-cutoff elevation (relative to a fairly uniform ground surface elevation).
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