• 18 Feb 2021
      • News,

Foundation Piles: Load Testing, Sonic Integrity Testing, and Cross-Hole Testing

In previous articles, we highlighted the crucial role of structural monitoring in ensuring the safety of civil infrastructure. Continuing our exploration of non-destructive testing in civil engineering, we will now focus specifically on the behavior verification of a particular structural element: foundation piles. These columnar structural elements form the foundation of a structure, providing containment and stability.

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The testing and monitoring of the structural behavior of foundation piles are regulated by technical regulations for construction, which govern the design, construction, and structural monitoring of both new and existing structures.
In this article, we will delve into the static load test on foundation piles, pile integrity testing (PIT), and the cross-hole ultrasonic test. We will also recommend five Novatest tools to perform these tests efficiently and reliably.

Foundation Piles: Static Load Testing

Static load testing on foundation piles can be divided into two categories:

  • Pilot Tests
  • Load Tests

Pilot tests are conducted during the design phase to project the structural behavior of the foundation system once it is constructed. Load tests, on the other hand, are performed to verify the mechanical characteristics and structural stability of the built foundation piles.

Different methods can be employed for load tests. One commonly used procedure involves hydraulic jacks, an oil hydraulic unit, and electronic transducers affixed to the pile to measure displacements caused by the applied load. Another method employs the application of concrete blocks, simulating the loads the pile will experience during operation.
Both of these methods are non-destructive tests.

Foundation Piles: Pile Integrity Test (PIT)

The Pile Integrity Test, also known as the ecometric test, is another non-destructive test used to verify the integrity of foundation piles, measure their length, detect any defects, and determine their depth by analyzing the wave propagation speed between the head and the base of the pile.

The Pile Integrity Test or PIT is performed by inducing mechanical excitation that propagates through the medium at a speed proportional to its mechanical characteristics. The resulting shockwave reflects back to the surface when it encounters any anomalies within the traversed medium.

Foundation Piles: Cross-Hole Test

In addition to static load testing, there is another non-destructive investigation method that can be conducted on foundation piles utilizing the dynamic ultrasound method through concrete—the cross-hole test.
The cross-hole ultrasonic test allows for the detection of pile integrity, material homogeneity, and the presence of construction defects or degradation phenomena. When anomalies are present in the concrete, the propagation velocity decreases, and the traversal time increases.

Foundation Piles: P8000

Novatest’s P8000, which uses the method of reflected waves, is employed to assess the integrity of cement piles and identify the magnitude and location of any defects. It can be used for both driven and cast-in-place piles and is also employed to test the exposed upper surface.

Would you like to learn more about the technical features and benefits of using the P8000? Request a free consultation now!

In this article, we have explored the main non-destructive testing methods for foundation piles. If you are interested in learning more about Novatest’s products and services for industry professionals, please do not hesitate to contact us through the provided form.

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