What Causes Piles To Penetrate - Introduction
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Jan 1, 1995
In the middle of the nineteenth century, the dynamic formula appeared as a description of pile penetration during impact driving. The simplicity of use of the formula combined with the power of the energy concepts behind the formula caused it to be quickly accepted and integrated into practice. Dynamic formula had been in use for 100 years when the Wave Equation computer programs first appeared. With that long experience it is not surprising that the formula continued to be used and were only slowly abandoned. The Wave Equation offers many advantages over the various formula but it does not offer a clear sense of physical understanding of pile driving that is available with the formula. Large amounts of numbers are generated but often it is difficult or impossible to gain a physical understanding of the results or a feeling for the importance of the various parameters. The question that the Wave Equation user has is, "What will happen if I use a larger drive cap (or change any other item of equipment)?" In this paper, I will attempt to explain pile driving using elementary wave propagation theory. However, the presentation will not depend on any higher mathematics. With the use of wave mechanics, it is possible to explain driving characteristics that cannot be handled with the energy formula.