Pile Dynamics completely revamps its Pile Driving Analyzer® system

By Judy Penz Sheluk

Pile Dynamics recently announced the release of the PDA-8G, a complete redesign of its Pile Driving Analyzer® (PDA) system, the most widely employed system for dynamic load tests of any type of deep foundation. Like previous PDAs, of which some 2,000 have been sold around the world over 40 years, this eighth generation model performs the test normalized by the American Society of Testing and Materials standard ASTM D4945.

“The dynamic load test has been accepted for many decades as an alternative for static load tests in more than 100 countries around the world,” said Gina Beim, senior consulting engineer and marketing director for Pile Dynamics. “It takes place either during pile driving or when a substantial mass impacts a non-driven pile. At each impact, the PDA takes data obtained by sensors (accelerometers and strain transducers) attached to the pile and calculates bearing capacity and other quantities.”

PDA history
Attempts to determine pile capacity using dynamic analysis date back to the 19th century, when a dynamic formula that considered the energy of the pile driving hammer and the set of the pile was developed to find bearing capacity. In the early 1940s, the results of a large study on dynamic formulas was published and discussed by prominent engineers. Those scholars concluded that none of the formulas were accurate and recommended instead the use of static loading tests to determine pile capacity.

In 1964, in an effort to develop an alternate technology to the traditional static load test, the Ohio Department of Transportation funded a research project at what is now Case Western Reserve University. The initial effort resulted in an electronic device that would display, for each hammer blow, the bearing capacity of a pile based on fundamental stress wave theory. The PDA system for dynamic foundation testing was born.

Pile Dynamics, Inc. was formed in 1972 to commercialize the PDA and its associated software, now known as CAPWAP® (CAse Pile Wave Analysis Program), a program that estimates total bearing capacity of a pile or shaft, as well as resistance distribution along the shaft and at the toe. Essentially, CAPWAP completes the dynamic load testing procedure and simulates a static load test.

Seven previous generations of PDA software have predated the PDA-8G, with the wireless-enabled PAX as the last update in 2008.


Sign Up

To receive our e-newsletter in your inbox, please provide your e-mail below.

About Us

Piling Canada is the premier national voice for the Canadian deep foundation construction industry. Each issue is dedicated to providing readers with current and informative editorial, including project updates, company profiles, technological advancements, safety news, environmental information, HR advice, pertinent legal issues and more.