A micro-scale (DEM) investigation on driven pile cycle behaviour

  Structures such as bridges or wind turbines develop loads that have to be transmitted to the ground.
The loads can be static (self-weight) or dynamic (wind, wave or traffic loads) and may be significantly
large. Long piles are normally used to carry these loads to greater depths where the ground provides
higher capacity.
Predictions of pile capacity are relatively reliable, but problems stills exist with sands. Increases in
capacity with time cannot be predicted accurately. Also, changes in soil stresses induced by pile
installation affect the piles’ ability to sustain large numbers of load cycles (e.g. wave loading). It is
recognised that stress changes around pile shafts and subsequent micro-scale processes such as
crushing, abrasion and creep are critical in controlling driven pile behaviour. Numerical studies using
discrete element methods (DEM) will investigate these micro-scale processes, allowing the design of
piles to be carried out more safely and economically.
The potential research impact is significant. Construction costs in offshore foundations are a limiting
factor on their cost effectiveness. At an institutional level, this award releases the UK based researcher
from teaching and administrative duties for the duration of the exchange. It enables the peer to peer
research working relationship, to produce peer-reviewed publications and will enhance the track record
of both researchers, facilitating future research and joint funding applications. The main objectives of
the project are to (i) calibrate and validate DEM simulations against existing experimental data and (ii)
improve existing driven pile design approaches by considering particle-scale effects.

  • Start Date:

    1 March 2014

  • End Date:

    31 January 2016

  • Activity Type:


  • Funder:

    Royal Academy of Engineering

  • Value:


Project Team