Steel Plate Application: Closed End Pipe Piles

Pipe pile is used to create a strong foundation for large, heavy structures such as buildings, bridges and roads. The piles are made of steel pipe that’s driven or drilled deep into the ground in order to help distribute the weight of a structure down to the stronger soil or rock below.

Closed end pipe pile is a type of pile created by covering the bottom of the pile with a steel plate. The steel plate, called an end cap, is welded onto the end of the pile. In most cases, the piles are filled with concrete, though this feature is sometimes skipped in order to save money. If pipe piles are not filled with concrete, a corrosion protection layer should be applied. This is because without a concrete filling, the piling will be less able to handle corrosion; if a concrete-filled pile is corroded, most of the loadbearing capacity will remain intact and will therefore not be an issue. However, if the pile is not filled with concrete when it corrodes, it will lose a large percent of its loadbearing capacity.

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The Versatility of Steel Plates

Steel plates are large, flat plates most commonly used to cover potholes, excavations, trenches, damaged pedestrian walkways, and roads that are under construction. They are also used along trench boxes during excavation, utility construction and repair, and as flat caps to close the end of pipe piles. Because the plates are made of steel, they are versatile and can be used and recycled in a number of ways.

Closed End Pipe Pile Advantages

The advantage of closed end pipe pile (as opposed to open end pipe pile) is that the pile creates full displacement of the soil, which may be desirable in certain situations; by closing one end, the pile becomes a displacement pile and functions well as a friction pile, particularly in loose sands.

Additional Closed End Pipe Pile Considerations

  • Closed end pile may be filled with a structural shape such as an H-section in addition to the concrete, which is then socketed into bedrock.

  • If bearing capacity from the entire pile toe area is required, the pile toe should be closed with a plate or a conical tip.

  • The structural capacity of pipe piles is calculated based on concrete strength and steel strength.

  • In the case of closed-end driving, soil heave can occur, though this can also happen with open-end piles if the open end of the pile is plugged with soil.

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