Piping the highway to success

What is Piling?

What is piling? It is a method of establishing the foundation of an edifice. More specifically, it means digging deep into the ground to set up the supporting structure. Other buildings may have their foundations made through shallow digging, but in numerous locations the quality of the soil below a certain depth is too poor to permit such methods; or there may be one or more property lines in the vicinity; or the design loads may simply be so large as to require a deep pit.

 

What is piling?

1) Introduction: What is piling?

What is piling? It is a method of establishing the foundation of an edifice. More specifically, it means digging deep into the ground to set up the supporting structure. Other buildings may have their foundations made through shallow digging, but in numerous locations the quality of the soil below a certain depth is too poor to permit such methods; or there may be one or more property lines in the vicinity; or the design loads may simply be so large as to require a deep pit.

2) Pile driving

Pile driving is one of a number of deep foundation digging methods. It is unique among them in that it is done in situ—that is, by using nothing more than the raw materials that are available on the construction site, as opposed to using excavators and other earthmoving machinery. A foundation may be monopile, consisting of nothing more than a single piece upon which the entire structure rests. Or it may be more complex, with a whole group of piles whose tops are embedded in a concrete block known as a pile cap and tied to one another with grade beams; either may bear the weight of the building, depending on how great it is.

A machine called a pile driver is used to drive the piles into the ground in order to provide the building support. It typically consists of a crane mounted on treads, like a crawler tractor or an excavator, and runs on a two- stroke piston diesel engine. A cylinder connects the top of the pile to the piston, which serves as a weight. A cable raises the weight and then drops it via quick release. The resulting compression of air causes it to become heated, at which point the cylinder receives an injection of diesel fuel, igniting the air. The ignition causes the energy of the falling weight to be shifted to the pile head, and the weight goes back up, drawing fresh in. Then the cycle repeats itself.

Other pile drivers use hydraulic power, either a hammer or a press- in. The latter system is in common use especially where vibration will be a major problem.

Pile driving is a very ancient method of building construction, and naturally so is the equipment used to do that kind of work. A replica of a Roman pile driver that was used in the construction of the Rhine bridges overseen by Cæsar in 55 B.C.E. has been made.


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