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concrete piles. This article will briefly discuss the concept
behind the technique, and review applications and limita-tions
of the test.
What does integrity mean?
In the context of testing piles and deep foundations, integrity
refers to qualitative evaluation of the physical dimensions,
continuity of a pile and consistency of the pile material. Figure
1 shows some of the most common integrity issues in piles.
Figure 1 – integrity of piles and deep foundations
How to evaluate pile integrity?
ASTM D 5882 describes the standard test procedure for test-ing
piles and deep foundations using low-strain impact.
This standard covers the procedure for determining the
integrity of both vertical and inclined piles by measuring
and analyzing acoustic wave velocity travel through the
pile, reflected off borders and defections and recorder by a
transducer attached to the pile head. The pile head is hit by
a hand-held hammer usually applied axially and perpendicu-larly
to the pile head surface. This test method can be used
for slender structural members like concrete columns, poles,
driven concrete piles, cast-in-place concrete piles, concrete
filled steel pipe piles, timber piles, etc.
What type of deficiencies can be identified?
A pile integrity test provides acceleration or velocity informa-tion
to identify potential defects in the piles. A prior knowledge
about possible sources of deficiencies will be helpful in analy-sis
and data interpretation. Like other non-destructive testing
methods, the resolution of pile testing results significantly
increases when site observations (e.g. soil profile, design
length of pile, concrete quality, etc.) are available. The follow-ing
defects can be studied using pile integrity testing:
These defects can affect the quality and reliability of piles.
Cracks might be a result of poor construction or can be a
result of damages during transportation and installation.
Pile integrity can provide valuable information about the
presence of such cracks in the pile. Acoustic waves are fully
reflected off major crack boundaries because of high acous-tic
impedance between concrete and empty space. Therefore,
acoustic waves provide no information regarding lower levels.
58 Q3 2018 www.pilingcanada.ca