Design, Construction, And Testing Of A Precast UHPC Pile

Voort, Thomas L. Vande
Organization: Deep Foundations Institute
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2008
The strategic plan for bridge engineering issued by AASHTO in 2005 identified extending the service life and optimizing structural systems of bridges in the United States as two grand challenges in bridge engineering, with the objective of producing safer bridges that have a minimum service life of 75 years and reduced maintenance cost. Material deterioration was identified as one of the primary challenges to achieving the objective of extended life. In substructural applications (e.g., deep foundations), construction materials such as timber, steel, and concrete are subjected to deterioration due to environmental impacts. Using innovative and new materials for foundation applications makes the AASHTO objective of 75 years service life achievable. Ultra High Performance Concrete (UHPC) with compressive strength of 26,000 psi (180 MPa) and excellent durability has been used in superstructural applications but not in geotechnical and substructural applications. This paper explores the possibility of using precast, prestressed UHPC piles in future bridges. An H-shaped UHPC section, which is 10-in. (250-mm) deep with weight similar to that of an HP10×57 steel pile, was designed for constructability and economical reasons. Instrumented UHPC elements were cast to conduct large-scale field tests. In the field, two UHPC piles have been successfully driven in glacial till clay soil and load tested vertically. Test results, durability, drivability, and other material advantages over normal concrete and steel indicate that UHPC piles are a viable alternative to extend the life of bridge structures.
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