A pile foundation is a civil engineering concept that is,at its most basic, a substructure that is supported by piles. This type of foundation allows any type of structure to actually be supported by a layer or layers of soil. The soil is actually built up under the ground surface and the deeper the pile, or support pole, goes, the more stable the structure should be. There are two basic parts to a pile foundation: the pile and the pile cap.
A pile foundation is a civil engineering concept that is, at itsmost basic, a substructure that issupported by piles. This type of foundation allows any type of structure to actually be supported by a layer or layers ofsoil. The soil is actually built up under the ground surface and the deeper the pile, or support pole, goes, the more stable the structure should be. There are two basic parts to a pile foundation: the pile and the pile cap.
The pile cap serves as the base of the structure. It’s similar to a spread foot in this way in that it can support a slab, a wall, or a structural column. However, it is different in that it puts all of the weight on a pile or a group of piles. The pile is the structural stilt that is driven into the ground. The weight load is distributed across all of the piles used in the structure, and this pile cap load is also transferred to the soil that is located around the pile tip, which is the end of the pile that is driven into the soil.
One of the downsides to Pile foundations is that the soil must be hard enough to shore upthe foundation and really keep the pile steady. Locations where the soil is very soft will not provide any support for the pile, which can be disastrous in some cases. However, pile foundations can be used in areas with very poor soil conditions as long as thesoil is hard enough to hold up thepiles and the structure built around them. In fact, this is one of the key uses of pile foundations. The pile and pile cap concept helps create a good, solidfoundations in these types of areas. Because areas with poor soil can be difficult to excavate and may not be capable of supporting heavy structures, traditional foundations are not always an option. These types of areas are usually filled with soft clay, loose soil, boulders, high ground-water levels, and other things that make it difficult to build.
By setting up pile foundations instead of traditional foundations that use spread footing, the poorsoil conditions have almost no impact on the foundation. There isalso no need to drill the piles deep into the soil—a solid foundation can actually be obtained at almost any depth. There is no need to do any deep excavation or draining of the area, nor is there the need to install any sort of bracing or other temporary foundation. Pile foundations are also used in the construction of offshore platforms and other buildings and structures that are situated overwater.
Piles can be found in many different sizes and shapes. Most are constructed out of steel, although concrete and timber canalso be used. Pile foundations are fairly inexpensive and economicallyviable in many locations.
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