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Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Stanley J Vitton


A significant cost for foundations is the design and installation of piles when they are required due to poor ground conditions. Not only is it important that piles be designed properly, but also that the installation equipment and total cost be evaluated. To assist in the evaluation of piles a number of methods have been developed. In this research three of these methods were investigated, which were developed by the Federal Highway Administration, the US Corps of Engineers and the American Petroleum Institute (API). The results from these methods were entered into the program GRLWEAPTM to assess the pile drivability and to provide a standard base for comparing the three methods.

An additional element of this research was to develop EXCEL spreadsheets to implement these three methods. Currently the Army Corps and API methods do not have publicly available software and must be performed manually, which requires that data is taken off of figures and tables, which can introduce error in the prediction of pile capacities. Following development of the EXCEL spreadsheet, they were validated with both manual calculations and existing data sets to ensure that the data output is correct.

To evaluate the three pile capacity methods data was utilized from four project sites from North America. The data included site geotechnical data along with field determined pile capacities. In order to achieve a standard comparison of the data, the pile capacities and geotechnical data from the three methods were entered into GRLWEAPTM. The sites consisted of both cohesive and cohesionless soils; where one site was primarily cohesive, one was primarily cohesionless, and the other two consisted of inter-bedded cohesive and cohesionless soils. Based on this limited set of data the results indicated that the US Corps of Engineers method more closely compared with the field test data, followed by the API method to a lesser degree. The DRIVEN program compared favorably in cohesive soils, but over predicted in cohesionless material.