Instrumented Pile Load Testing Program for a Coal-Fired Power Plant

15 March 2015


An extensive preproduction probe pile load testing program was conducted for a coal-fired power plant in New Jersey to minimize pile performance uncertainty resulting from variable subsurface conditions, and allow the selection of the most cost effective and technically suitable of three proposed piling systems for the project. Three types of piles were instrumented and tested: Monotube, closed-end pipe, and step-tapered.

This paper includes a general description of the site and its geologic conditions, along with subsurface and groundwater conditions in the vicinity of the pile load test areas.

A summary of the test pile installation, including driving records and dynamic monitoring, is provided, and results are compared with geotechnical data obtained from borings drilled in the pile load test areas. Compressive static pile load test results are presented, and pile instrumentation results are interpreted. Average unit shaft resistance values are calculated and compared to field-measured shearing strength of site soils. Comparison of pile behavior based on the results of the load test program, along with cost and schedule considerations, served as the basis for the selection of the production piles for the facility.

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José LM Clemente, Bechtel
Michael R. Lewis, Bechtel