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The timber pile driving process. Photo: Sören Modig, FLA Geoprodukter AB
The timber pile driving process. Photo: Sören Modig, FLA Geoprodukter AB View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Optimising Light Embankment Piling

Published: 1 October 2019

The aim of the project is to optimise the design of geosynthetic-reinforced timber piled embankments, a.k.a. light embankment piling. The project is financed by Branschsamverkan i Grunden.

Climate change means that more environmentally friendly basic technology is needed. Deep foundations with concrete and steel piles require a large supply of finite resources. The Swedish Transport Administration introduced in the national standards TK Geo 13 a standard for embankment piling with wood piles of untreated timber as an alternative to the typical embankment piling. The method is known as light embankment piling. Timber piling is not only more environmentally friendly than concrete and steel piling, but also cheaper and thus a more sustainable solution. However, design criteria still result in a relatively large supply of timber, and the question is raised whether the requirements at the largest pile distance can be increased to reduce resource consumption. The purpose of this study is thus to evaluate and optimise the current standard for light embankment piling with focus on the pile group. Simulations using the finite element method have been carried out of a lightly piled road embankment with friction piles as well as friction piles with slight toe resistance. The pile groups have been modelled with different pile spacing in both square and triangular pile arrangement. According to current standards, a triangular piling pattern must be used. The numerical results have then been compared with the results of a number of analytical methods, including the Carlsson method recommended in TR Geo 13. The factors used in the optimisation have mainly included the embankment settlements and the load distribution in the pile group and the geosynthetic reinforcement, in relation to the resource consumption.

Poster 19th ICSMGE