STADYN Wave Equation Program 11: Application of the STADYN Program to Analyze Piles Driven Into Sand —

The newest update for the STADYN research project is available: Download Application of the STADYN Program to Analyze Piles Driven Into Sand The abstract is as follows: Abstract: The STADYN program was developed for the analysis of driven piles both during installation and in axial loading. Up until now the test cases used were in […]

via STADYN Wave Equation Program 11: Application of the STADYN Program to Analyze Piles Driven Into Sand —


Pile Buck Ads 3: Nilens Diesel Hammer Driving Sheet Piles —

The third in our series of ads for Pile Buck include this one, showing a Nilens diesel hammer driving sheet piling using a “spud” or “rail” type leader in the back. Nilens was one of Vulcan’s more interesting adventures in pile driving equipment. The method used is a typically European practice that has found […]

via Pile Buck Ads 3: Nilens Diesel Hammer Driving Sheet Piles —

Hand drafting – TECHNICAL INK PENS — Construction and architecture

From the first time it produced drawings (the oldest on this site goes back to the 1870’s) until the late 1950’s, Vulcan produced all of its drawings using pen and ink, as described below (although I’ll bet that many weren’t drawn using the Rapidograph type pen shown below!)  Many of these were drawn on linen.  Above is an example of one, the general arrangement for the Vulcan 18C, from 1939.  There are many more examples of these on the site.

More about Vulcan engineering is here.

via Hand drafting – TECHNICAL INK PENS — Construction and architecture

The Art of William H. Warrington

William-H-WarringtonThis post is something of a departure, in that it features the pencil sketch art of my great uncle, William H. Warrington (right, from his carte de visite.) But first some background is in order.

William H. Warrington was born 17 September 1846, grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He became the manager of the Vulcan Iron Works, the family business. Although he was very prosperous in business, he had an artistic side to him, and here we’ll present some of his pencil sketches. As is frequently the case in my family, I don’t have much “backstory” narrative for these, but what I do know I will share.

As best I can tell, most of these date from the 1860’s, when he was in his late teens. Some have an English or Scottish settings, and this may be from travels in the British Isles. His father Henry was an immigrant from Manchester, England, and his mother Isabella McArthur Warrington came from Scotland. Both made return trips to their native land; Henry in fact did not become a U.S. citizen until 1870, almost thirty years after he first came to the U.S.

Signature card for the seniors of the Chicago High School, 1864. William H.’s is at the lower right.

Above: Two studies of young women.

Below: large house plans, 1860’s style. The various rooms of the house are as follows:
1. Kitchen
2. Scullery
3. Store Room
4. Breakfast Room
5. Stairs
6. Lobby
7. Hall
8.Dining Room
9. Library
10. Drawing Room
Alloway Kirk, Scotland.
Winter Quarters. A reminder of the great Civil War that was going on to the south. William H.’s father was busy producing cannons and cannon balls for the Union, while his uncle, Union general John McArthur, was leading the “boys in blue” at places like Shiloh and Vicksburg. His nephew Chet married the daughter and granddaughter of Confederate veterans, who had an entirely different view of Mr. Warrington’s products and relatives!
Sketch from Nature? An odd title, but it’s a nice view of the plank sidewalks that were current in his day.
Rowing has come a long way from this bucolic view.
Although it’s tempting at first to place this in Europe, the American flag gives away which side of the Atlantic it’s on.
Looks to me like something out of Lord of the Rings, but being nostalgic about English country life (and, indirectly, that over here) was one of the reasons J.R.R. Tolkien wrote his masterpiece.
Another rural house scene.
The house where William H. actually grew up, in Chicago. Note in the lower right hand corner the unusual way the artist “signs” his work.

William H. Warrington died 11 August 1921.

The Pile Buck Ads 2: Vulcan #1 Hammer in Action —

On this, the twenty-second anniversary of the beginning of this site, we present another of the ads which Pile Buck allowed us to run in their books. It shows the Vulcan #1 hammer on the South Side of Chicago. It also features the URL of the site, which is dedicated to Vulcan hammers and […]

via The Pile Buck Ads 2: Vulcan #1 Hammer in Action —

The Pile Buck Ads 1: Vulcan 3100 Assembled —

This site has never had an “advertising budget” but in the last decade the publisher Pile Buck gave it the opportunity to advertise itself in its books Sheet Pile Design by Pile Buck and Pile Driving by Pile Buck. There were five in the series, and this is the first, using the assembly of the […]

via The Pile Buck Ads 1: Vulcan 3100 Assembled —

Picking Up Concrete Piles for Driving

One of the concepts students in geotechnical engineering courses seem to have the most trouble with is estimating stresses in concrete piles during pick-up and setting them in place to drive.  The basic problem is that it’s sometimes hard to get our heads around the analytical simplification of the actual situation.  Let’s start by looking at the operation itself.  These first photos come from a job in Delaware in 1998, using a Vulcan 530 to drive cylinder piles.

The pile starts on the ground. What we have here is “one-point pickup” where only one line is used to pick up the pile. It’s put in a certain place (more about that later) in this case using a “choker.” (Some piles have pickup lifting eyes, they are best cast into the pile at the time of manufacture.) In this position the pile is horizontal. Once the crane operator lifts the choker, the pile is supported at two points: the choker and the far end of the pile. This is the most severe case of loading during pick-up.
The pile is being lifted into position. As the pile rotates, more of the load is shifted to the choker, but that load is more and more axial in the pile and not bending.
The pile is now vertical, almost all the load is on the choker and the stresses in the pile are now axial.
The pile is set into a template (shown in previous photograph) and the hammer is set on top of it, preparing to drive it. The template keeps the pile vertical until enough of the pile is in the ground to support it.
Vulcan 530 Delaware 1998 7
The pile is nearly down to the desired elevation due to the blows of the impact hammer.

Depending upon the configuration of the pile, it’s also possible to have two- and three-point pickup, as we can see from these photos, taken at the construction of a terminal in Portsmouth, VA, in 2005-6.  The contractor is Weeks Marine, the same contractor that got Sully’s plane out of the Hudson after his famous “landing” in the river.

A two-point pickup of a cylinder pile. The pile is off the ground and horizontal; it is simply supported at the chokers. Behind the pile is Weeks Marine’s Raymond 60X hammer.
The pile is being lifted up at one end for driving. As this happens more and more of the load is shifted to the left (top) choker, just as is the case with one-point pickup. Note Weeks Marine’s large barge which they use to do this kind of work.
The pile is almost vertical, almost all of the load is on the upper choker, suspended in turn from Weeks Marine’s crane.
The pile is now vertical. Weeks Marine’s Raymond 60X is now atop the pile, ready to begin driving. Note the grips on the pile at the bottom of the photo. This is called a “pile monkey” and is very useful for pile alignment in the leaders (guides.)

So how to we solve problems like this?  Basically we assume that the pile is a horizontal beam, simply supported at the pickup points (or in the case of one-point pickup, at the pickup point and at the furthest end from the pick-up point) with the weight of the pile as the only load.  One thing that can be done is to raise the distributed load of the weight by a factor for inertial effects during handling.  An example of this is a 60′ long 12″ square concrete pile with a 50% increase for inertial effects with single point pick-up.  We used the CFRAME program from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to analyse the beam, although most any beam software (or in some cases tables or hand calculation) can be used for this computation.

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In this case we are displaying the output of CFRAME which shows each section of the beam/pile (i.e., one one side of the pick-up point and the other.)

According to the Prestressed Concrete Institute’s Recommended Practice for
Design, Manufacture and Installation of Prestressed Concrete Piling (1993), the maximum permissible stress (tension) for transient loads such as handling loads is as follows

F_b = 6 \sqrt {f'_c} (US Units, psi for both variables)

For SI units, this works out to

F_b = \frac {1}{2} \sqrt {f'_c} (SI Units, MPa for both variables)

Some specifications allow the prestress of the pile f_{pc} to be added to F_b , with the same units as the other variables.  Obviously with precast concrete piles (rare in the US but used elsewhere) the prestress does not apply.

FL DOT Concrete Pile Pickup
For several sizes of concrete piles, the Florida Department of Transportation recommends these permissible configurations and pick-up point locations.  The pickup locations relative to the length are fairly standard with concrete piles.

Other piles sizes and lengths can be computed using the methods described above.

Vulcan 014 and 016 Valve Gear Assembly

Above is a valve gear diagram for the Vulcan 014 and 016 hammers.  It shows the workings of the valve, its positioning during operation and other details.  Although Vulcan made improvements after this drawing (valve liners and Vari-Cycle, for example) it shows the basics of the valve which has done well in Vulcan hammers for more than a century.

More details on the 014 and 016 hammers are here.

Vulcan Sheave and Cylinder Head Assembly

Above is a Vulcan diagram of the sheave and cylinder head assembly for Vulcan #2, #1 and #0 series hammers, which include the 06, 505, 506, 0R, 08, 010, 012, 508, 510 and 512 hammers.  It includes the factory intended wire rope sizes for these hammers.  Some additional notes are as follows:

  1. Sheave and sheave head assembly safety is VERY IMPORTANT; see Vulcan Tip #65 for more details.
  2. The grease fitting is there for a reason; the sheaves need to be greased periodically.  See the Vulcan field service manuals for more information.
  3. Watch for wire rope and sheave wear, and replace when wear is excessive.
  4. Older Vulcan hammers will feature two sheaves where one is shown above; this can still be done if necessary if the hammer is in factory configuration with the proper sheaves.
  5. Vulcan traditionally assumed the “dead end” of the wire rope was on the leaders, while Raymond put it on the hammer, adding a dead end to the cylinder head to make this a reality.

From “Deal Yourself a Winner” to “A Pile Driver Talks About God”

The ad above is another Offshore Technology Conference ad from the early 1970’s.  It was aimed at its industry: the oilfield was well endowed with hard-drinking, card-playing people, a simple fact that doesn’t fit into some peoples’ idealisation of the past.  The onshore construction industry wasn’t much different, although the higher risks–and rewards–of the oilfield made everything more intense.

Contrast this with the following forty years later from Rusty Signor, then President of the Pile Driving Contractors Association and President of TX Pile, LLC, in an issue of Pile Driver:

In my last message, I ended with a different, more positive view on the news in our current world situation. This time, I am going to do another first: a book review. The book is Seven Men and The Secrets of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.

Certainly advice on engineering techniques, safety practices and legal tips are very important for our pile driving business; however, personal character development is also something to consider for most. You may or may not know of all the seven men in this book, but the ones you thought you knew are viewed from a very different standpoint than how you probably learned about them in school. The book focuses on their complete reliance on their spiritual calling. Since this is not a government publication, I can use the word God.

For instance, everyone knows about George Washington and the story of the cherry tree. However, did you know that he was a deeply religious man and that he relied on his faith in helping him make  decisions? He prayed on his knees several times a day with a Bible before him. Washington believed that God had a special purpose for his life and that providence saved him from being killed. In one battle alone, three horses were shot out from under him and he had bullet holes through his hat and clothing. He empowered his men with God-filled inspiration and they would follow him anywhere. I bet you never read that in grade school.

Another man mentioned is Jackie Robinson, who broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball. I recently watched the movie about his story, 42. Again, the movie didn’t really focus on Robinson’s critical reliance on his faith in God to be able put up with and finally put down all the Jim Crow nonsense. He had extraordinary athletic talent in basketball, football, baseball, tennis and track and field. Robinson also had a tendency for anger explosions dealing with racial injustices. His mother and preacher led to a deeper faith that controlled his anger and justice allowed would him only to be see won that with the restraint path to and love. The manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers was an extremely religious person who was looking for this sort of man: someone talented in baseball, but who also had a strong, Bible-based character. Everyone knows the rest of the story, but generally not the one centered on God.

In the business world, sometimes we get too caught up in our challenges with competition, problems with equipment, governmental codes, etc. We just need to stop and look up like these men did – to result in your success and happiness.