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

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

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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 which 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)1-70
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Oct 2020
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

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