Effects of screw pile installation on installation requirements and in-service performance using the Discrete Element Method

Yaseen Umar Sharif, Michael John Brown, Benjamin Cerfontaine, Craig Davidson, Matteo Oryem Ciantia, Jonathan Adam Knappett, Andrew Brennan, Jonathan David Ball, Charles Augarde, William M. Coombs, Anthony Blake, David Richards, David White, Marco Huisman, Marius Ottolini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
464 Downloads (Pure)


Existing guidance on the installation of screw piles suggest that they should be installed in a pitch-matched manner to avoid disturbance to the soil that may have a detrimental effect on the in-service performance of the pile. Recent insights from centrifuge modelling have shown that installing screw piles in this way requires large vertical compressive (or crowd) forces, which is inconsistent with the common assumption that screw piles pull themselves into the ground requiring minimal vertical compressive force. In this paper, through the use of the discrete element method (DEM), the effects of advancement ratio, i.e., the ratio between the vertical displacement per rotation to the geometric pitch of the helix of the screw pile helix, on the installation resistance and in-service capacity of a screw pile is investigated. The findings are further used to assess the applicability of empirical torque capacity correlation factors for large diameter screw piles. The results of the investigation show that it is possible to reduce the required vertical compressive installation force by 96% by reducing the advancement ratio and that although over-flighting a screw pile can decrease the subsequent compressive capacity, it appears to increase the tensile capacity significantly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1334-1350
Number of pages17
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number9
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021
Event1st International Symposium on Screw Piles for Energy Applications - University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 27 May 201928 May 2019


  • Installation Effects
  • Screw Piles
  • Discrete element method
  • Silent Piling
  • Installation effects
  • Discrete element method (DEM)
  • Screw piles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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