Concrete Piles: Definition, Advantages and Disadvantages

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Concrete Piles Definition

Concrete piles are made from prestressed reinforced concrete. Pile-head reinforcement is often used to prevent damage to the head as the pile is being driven into the ground or to transfer the moment from the concrete structure.

Prefabricated piles are the most widely used type of foundations in the Netherlands. Ballast Nedam Funderingstechnieken specialises mainly in the piling of large, heavy prefabricated piles. Lengths over the 30 m and diameters of approximately 45 or 50 cm, respectively.

concrete piles

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Advantages and Disadvantages

  • Prefabricated concrete piles are conventional soil displacement piles: during the driving process, the pile displaces the existing soil for the entire length of the pile.
  • The piles are suitable for every type of soil. The pile head can also be driven below ground level.
  • The piles can be driven obliquely (so-called shore) to resist lateral forces, this is necessary with structures such as bridges and viaducts.
  • The piles are available in lengths of up to 38 metres, a limit determined by the maximum lifting capacity and the space available in the factory where the piles are made.
  • The piles are increasingly driven with hydraulic hammers, which generate lower noise levels than diesel hammers.
  • These piles have a higher load-bearing capacity than wooden piles.
  • Prefabricated piles are relatively cheap and, together with vibro piles, offer the most economical solution when noise and vibration are not an impediment.
  • Anyone opting for prefabricated piles will need to take account of multi-phased and heavy road transport. In addition, the piles occupy a large storage space on the construction site.
  • Road transport can be minimised by transporting the piles by ship.

Concrete Piles Use

Prefabricated concrete piles have been used in foundation works for more than one hundred years, and are suitable for both small and large construction projects. A recent example is the Magnum Civil Works for NUON in Eemshaven. We will begin driving about 5000 prefabricated concrete piles for the foundations of this power station on 1 September 2009.

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