Technical Aspects And Research In Downdrag

Briaud, Jean-Louis
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 2
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1989
The following is a summary of a very recent report prepared at Texas A&M University for the National Cooperative Highway Research Program and entitled "Downdrag on Bitumen Coated Piles". Anytime the soil settles more than the pile, downdrag or negative skin friction will develop. The load in the pile increases with depth up to a certain point and then decreases down to the pile point. This phenomenon has been quoted as being the number one culprit for deep foundation failures. In Chapter 1, an introduction to downdrag is given. The most common criterion for downdrag is to consider it in design as soon as the settlement of the soil surface after pile driving exceeds 0.5 in. Coating piles with bitumen is an effective way of reducing downdrag forces and therefore allows to use smaller piles for the same load. This results in cost savings. Coating piles with bitumen increase the cost of piles by about 33% and therefore the decision to use bitumen is generally based on economic considerations.
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