There is a variety of steel piling plant available on the market to install steel sheet piles. The following tables from the ArcelorMittal Piling Handbook 9th Edition provide useful preliminary guidance on installation methods to consider in predominantly cohesionless and cohesive ground.

Tables 11.2. and 11.3. give guidance on methods to consider for soil types, Table 11.4. takes into account resistance effects from strata thickness. Table 11.5. gives guidance for press-in piling by pitch and drive only. The selection of a suitable pile section for driving into cohesive soil is a complex process and the section choice is often based on previous experience. However it is possible to assess the driving resistance using the surface area of the piling profile and the characteristics of the cohesive strata. The following table may be used for preliminary assessment.

SPT valueVibro driveImpact drivePress-in singles
(with jetting)
0 -10Very easyRunaway problem
=> use vibro method
to grip pile
Stability problem &
insufficient reaction
10 - 20EasyEasySuitable
21 - 30SuitableSuitableSuitable
31 - 40SuitableSuitableDifficult => consider pre-auger
41 - 50Very difficult => consider pre-augerSuitable => consider HYSDifficult => consider pre-auger or
crush piler
50+Very difficult
Pre-auger essential
Suitable => require HYSVery difficult
=> crush piler required

HYS: High Yield Strength Steel
Table 11.2. Driving in coarse soils or predominantly cohesionless ground.

Cᵤ value (kPa)Vibro driveImpact drivePress-in
0 - 15EasyRunaway problem => use vibro method
to grip pile
Possible stability problem
& insufficient reaction
16 - 25SuitableEasyEasy
26 - 50Becoming less effective
with depth
51 - 75Very difficultNormalNormal
76 - 100Not recommendedSuitable => drive in pairsDifficult
100+Not recommendedSuitable => essential to drive
in pairs
Difficult => consider ground
pretreatment or jetting

Table 11.3. Driving in cohesive strata.

It is rare to have a site where the ground is classified as wholly cohesionless or wholly cohesive and hence the selection of plant must be a compromise, choosing plant suited to the dominant soil type but also considering the ability of the plant to penetrate the other soil type. The final selection of driving plant and section size for economical pile installation is often based on previous experience. It is recommended that advice is sort from an experienced steel piling contractor.

Further tables and explanation on driveability are also provided in the ArcelorMittal Piling Handbook 9th Edition.

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