At its most basic, sheet piling is a construction material used to retain wall structures such as graving docks, foundation and for pier protection cells. It is very durable, and therefore can be used both as a temporary wall to aid construction work, or as a permanent fixture.
How Does It work?
Designed in a hot-rolled structural shape, each sheet has interlocks on its ends, known as flange tips. These interlocks allow individual sheets to be linked together to form a continuous wall. The most common is steel sheet piling, and this is because it is both very stable and water resistant. It is regularly made in two shapes, either in a recurring U shape or a recurring V shape. Installers can inform you which is the most appropriate for your particular construction job.
The placement of interlocks and the recurrence of the Z or U profiled on each sheet determine the strength of a sheet pile. This also means any installation generally can’t vary between different sheet sizes and profile counts as this would result in an uneven structure. Commonly piles will be two thirds underground, one third above ground. They are also then anchored from the ground side to further stabilise the structure.
What Is It Used For?
Sheet piling is used across a wide spectrum of construction jobs and as previously mentioned this includes both permanent and temporary structures. Permanent examples include retaining walls, bridge abutments, graving docks and the most interestingly named morning dolphins (which if you do not know, is the technical term of a type of marine structure).
Temporary purposes include deep trenches, installing lock and dams on inland river systems, building excavations (digging foundations) and cofferdams. Because of Sheets pilings excellent durability, at the end of temporary use, the sheets can be extracted and reused accordingly. Its ability to be reused also makes sheet piling largely environmentally friendly.
What Is It Made From?
Sheet piling comes in a number of materials, designed to cope in different conditions. Steel is the most common material because of its strength and durability, however others are available. For example plastic, composite and vinyl sheet piles are a great alternative to steel and can be used for jobs both on and offshore.
Whilst steel sheet piling is economical due to its ability to be reused, plastic, vinyl and composite piles go a step further. In fact nationwide sheet piling contractors Sheet Piling UK specify that overall, using these alternative materials can reduce your carbon footprint on each job, something which obviously has become more important to contractors. This is because they say they are manufactured from 100% recycled materials.
How Long Can It Last?
If used for a permanent structure, one of the most frequent questions asked by a contractor or commissioner will concern the lifespan of sheet piling. Because every piece of steel sheet piling has to abide by ATSM (American Society for Testing and Materials) specifications, you can bank on them being extremely durable. Top end piling can be quoted as having over a 100 year lifespan.
Hopefully this explanation of sheet piling has either given you a basic understanding of what it is and how it is used, or it has further informed you on the construction material. If you have found this informative please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and say what you found helpful about this blog post.2015-09-13