Do you have a building project on the way that needs precast concrete piles, but you’re not too sure what they are? Or maybe the process of making them got you curious?
No need to look any further, here is a quick run-through for both questions. If you’re interested in other pile like structures here is an article about concrete pier foundations.
Installing precast concrete piles
To create your precast concrete piles, we start by using hammering equipment to bury the prefabricated piles into the ground. 40 meters (131.2 feet) is the usual depth of each pile, though your precast-driven piles can be adjusted using a hydraulic or diesel-powered hammer.
The piles we are suggesting you use are great due to their versatility and suitability for nearly every task they face. The piling you are using is usually used on the foundations of almost every type of structure, engineering or not, and facing all soil types fittingly.
This precast concrete pile installation method is generally used when the soils overlaying your earth are rough or dysfunctional. Length of precast concrete piles is determined at the factory it is produced and is modifiable by yourself or at your preference cast in situ piles can be ordered. These lengths usually equate between 3 meters to 15 meters (9.8 to 49.2 feet) with cross-sections and other work possible on-site or from the factory.
The process of your concrete piles
The process of making concrete piles has multiple steps. Here is the simplified version of the process.
Bored piles are piles cast on-site, lazily if even using a mold pre-made you can pour concrete and create as many as needed. Can typically be done for wooden, and steel piles.
Tensioning can include welding weaker parts of steel piles or adding more concrete/thickening the concrete on certain areas of your piles. Simply to reinforce your work underground.
Curing takes part in concrete piles when keeping moisture levels up and strengthening your concrete.
Allowing piles to breathe after construction.
Markups on both steel and concrete beams.
Branding your piles with your markings, either a design, a name, or a word your company chooses to display.
Handling & storage
This step depends on if your homemade casts are being put to use from the get-go or if they’re going to be placed into storage. Storing your piles can save construction at a later date.
What your piles contain
Concrete as a cover for any of the options below.
Formwork, in essence, wooden bones to support your structure from the inside.
Prestressed Steel for larger work, further strengthening your piles.
Reinforcement as in rebar stretched out throughout your cement giving your piles that big boost.
After you understand what is in your piles, we will explain how they’re made. View this picture here to get a grip of the idea:
Types of piles
End bearing piles are piles dropped into the next layer of earth keeping them sturdy and balanced using the thicker layer as a hold. The first layer of the earth keeps your pile balanced and supported keeping the weight of your structure balanced and safe.
Friction Piles are similar in design but are placed lower into the ground, using friction between soft soil and the pile they hold themselves in place. Unlike the end-bearing piles we talked about before, they don’t hit any hard soil often.
The process of constructing your piles
Before you get to anything you need to plan and execute protecting the head of your pile from shattering. The best way to do this is to figure out how toughened you need your piles head by reviewing the end requirements your piles need to reach and the conditions you need to be driving through.
Again, before installation, we need to test our piles to see if they fit the needed strength before work commences.
The next step is figuring out where we need to be with our work. Locating the destination of the pile’s hole is done through blueprints to ensure correct placement.
Using your impact hammer, your next step is burying your pile to the correct depth. This measurement should also be found in the blueprints.
Often, construction workers use synthetic blocks to protect your pieces of machinery components. The specified wooden covering can also be provided.
Your tools use is measured by marking out how deep, on the pile your pile needs to be submerged. Measuring this is significant as your pile not being deep enough means weaker placement.
In conclusion, your piles can be made on-site most of the time, and both uses come in handy at different stages.
Applications (How your piles can be used.)
Your cast piles can be applied in most fields of engineering, particularly in rough or rigid soil conditions.
Piles are also diverse in their work, use involves placement in soil thick and soft, soil with dense with water. A perk of your pile’s construction is that they beat regularly produced piles, bettering your construction process, and ensuring quality.
Your bigger piles are often used in the construction of wind turbines and bridges built to stand over rivers, they can be used to keep the structures of tall buildings supported too using pressure pointed on the underground ends of the piles. These tend to save a lot of hassle with wet ground.
Precast concrete piles advantages & disadvantages
A list of advantages to your piles entail:
- Lack of after-use waste on your site.
- The minimal effect is caused by water beneath the ground.
- A cheap yet effective process for ground foundation.
- Quick and easy setup and installation.
- Fits the needs of any job, large or small.
- Houses both simple and complex loadings.
A list of disadvantages to your piles entail:
- Your piles can be damaged whilst driving them into the ground, due to the fact that it’s hard to determine what’s below your dig site.
- Rocks, hard ground, or anything solid enough can sway the pile’s direction. Meaning you have to keep an eye on angles often.
- Figuring out how long your piles need to be, can be a guessing game, long vs short can become a problem when ground hardens as it may be harder for your shorter piles to bury through.
- More heavy machinery like the hammer we mentioned above and leveling machinery are required to ensure proper placement and proper leveling of said piles.
Zone of influence
Your piles have an organic space of pressure spread out using multiple piles on one structure.
How this works is, for example, a flat concrete slab measuring 20 meters by 20 meters (65.6 by 65.6 feet), every second meter you have a pile supporting more of your slab’s structure supporting the weight more evenly.
The slab in this case is known as a Pile Cap, this cap keeping all piles together and this is generally where the base of your structure begins.
There are different forms of piles too, not yet talked about and reasonably needed these include quieter piles for use in areas that can’t withstand the noise of your concrete piles being pushed into the ground.
These silent piles would be used in expanding schools, shopping centers, hospitals, and areas sensitive to noise. The vibrations can also cause damage to structures so we will talk about those after.
The quieter piles, known as Micro-piles are the quieter piles profound in use in small towns. These piles being easy to use gives you the opportunity to drill your pile into the ground using 150mm-300mm (5.9 to 11.8 inch) threaded or steel cased bars.
Drilling these in can be easier as the machine be moved around and put in places you cannot.
Helical piles although different are a great piece of work. Being screwed into the ground in groups and layered with a slab like with micro-piles they do the heavy lifting by easily being allowed to reach depths of 200ft supporting a lot more weight. These piles can be added on to too, which means when your pile starts to disappear you have the option to bolt on another rod and keep spinning!
I hope this article improved your understanding of what is a precast concrete pile. The process of making them isn’t much different from other concrete casting even when the use is unique.
There are some truly good advantages on using concrete piles, especially on wet ground. They will help with the weight load and prevent sinking of the foundation when the support comes from solid ground.
If you’re interested about concrete foundations, there is article about those in the link.