Which Materials and Equipment are Used in Marine Pile Driving?
In marine construction, the creation of deep foundations is often necessary to ensure that structures are properly supported. This is especially the case in areas where the surface level of the floor of a lake or an ocean isn’t strong enough to provide support to heavy loads. Pile driving is used as a way to engineer a deep foundation. Piles are driven several feet below the surface of the floor or ground to help create rock-like, sturdy platforms.
Sheet piles are often made of steel, concrete, or timber. Composite sheet piles are made of a mixture of concrete and steel. This type of pile can be used to create capped columns or to build wall-like foundations underground. Sheet piles either have to be forcefully driven into the ground, or they are driven into holes that are drilled prior to their placement. The depth of a foundation created using the driving of sheet piles is determined by how far below it takes to reach stable, solid ground.
In addition to sheet piling, structural pipe piling is often used in areas of marine construction. Pipe piling creates a tremendous amount of frictional load resistance in deep foundations and boasts excellent point bearing capabilities.
Materials Used in Pile Driving for Marine Construction
Sheet pile (steel, concrete, timber, composite, or other types)
Wide flange beams
*An H-pile differs from a wide flange beam because its flanges are as deep as they are wide, and its flange and its web have the same amount of thickness. It’s made up of three connected square components that form the shape of an “H.” This “H” design offers added weight distribution and ultimately greater support for many bigger and weightier structures. H-piles are very useful in dense soils and in rocky areas.
Equipment Used in Pile Driving for Marine Construction
Piling hammers (hydraulic hammers, drop hammers, air/steam hammers, diesel hammers, etc.)
Piling winches, which are hand-controlled, high-speed winches that help hoist piles up and down
Piling rigs mounted on pontoons or barges
Hanging leaders (hanged from the jib of a crane)
Deck, sectional, or similar functioning barges for safe use of piling equipment
As mentioned, pile driving plays an important role in marine construction, especially in areas like bridge construction and cofferdam construction. Below is some information about how pile driving contributes in these arenas:
For bridge construction, pile driving is employed where scour protection is needed or where other foundation materials won’t provide adequate support for direct bearing footings. Steel beams (h-piles and wide flange beams) or concrete sheet piles are common in the building of bridges. The type of hammer used to drive piles for bridge applications is most often one with the heaviest amount of ram that can be applied without damage to the pile itself. Hydraulic, air/steam, gravity, and diesel hammers are common.
A cofferdam is a temporary enclosure built within a body of water that allows water to be pumped out of the area to create a dry surface on which to build. Pile driving is instrumental in the creation of cofferdams. Typically, sheet piles and pipe piles are driven during the construction of a cofferdam. Sheet piles, along with a steel bracing system, help create the overall structure of the cofferdam. Pipe piles are essential to the successful construction of a cofferdam’s foundation, and they are ordinarily driven using hydraulic hammers or diesel hammers, unless another type of hammer is better suited to the project.
In addition to being useful in cofferdam and bridge construction, pile driving is also widely employed in the construction of marinas, harbors, quay walls, bulkheads, and wharfs. Wherever a stronger foundation is needed, pile driving can be of service.
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