Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
Urban construction sites require strict control of their environmental impact, which, for vibratory sheet pile driving, can include damage to nearby structures due to ground vibrations. However, the lack of knowledge concerning the generation of soil vibrations makes the prediction of ground vibration levels difficult. This MSc. thesis in particular, focuses on a crucial link in the vibration transfer chain: the sheet pile – soil interface, which is also one of the least documented.
The aim of this thesis is first, to carry out a full-scale field test consisting in the monitoring of sheet pile and ground vibrations during sheet pile vibratory driving. And second, to analyze a selected portion of the collected data with focus on the sheet pile – soil vibration transfer. Both aspects of the thesis work aim, more generally, to contribute to the understanding of ground vibration generation under vibratory sheet pile driving.
The full-scale field study was performed in Solna in May 2013. It consisted in the vibratory driving of seven sheet piles, out of which three were fitted with accelerometers. During the driving, ground vibrations were measured by accelerometers, the closest ones placed only 0.5 m from the sheet pile line. The design and installation of the soil instrumentation was innovative in as much as accelerometers were not only set on the ground surface but also at three different depths (~ 3 m, 5 m and 6 m).
The analysis presented in this thesis is primarily a comparison between sheet pile vibrations and ground vibrations measured 0.5 m from the sheet pile line. The principal aspects considered in the comparison are: the influence of penetration through different soil layers, the sheet pile – soil vibration transfer efficiency, the frequency content of sheet pile and soil vibrations, and differences between toe- and shaft-generated vibrations.
The main conclusions from this study are:
Most of the vibration loss occurs in the near field: 90-99% of the sheet pile vibration magnitude was dispersed within 0.5 m from the driven sheet pile. Moreover, the sheet pile – soil vibration transfer efficiency was reduced for higher sheet pile acceleration levels and higher frequencies.
The soil characteristics strongly influence the sheet pile vibration levels. A clear distinction could be made between "smooth" and "hard" driving, the latter being associated with an impact situation at the sheet pile toe.
The focus of ground vibration studies should not only be the vertical vibrations. Indeed, the ground vibrations’ horizontal component was found to be of the same or even higher magnitude than the vertical component.
Ground vibrations, vibratory driving, sheet pile, full-scale field study, soil instrumentation, sheet pile instrumentation.