A Vulcan View of Hot-Rolled Sheet Piling

In the 1960’s Vulcan put out its Data Manual, which is now (with some improvements) in the vulcanhammer.info Guide to Pile Driving Equipment. Part of that gave dimensions for a wide variety of sheet piling. The purpose of this post is to use some of these illustrations to show various types of hot rolled sheet piling (there are many corresponding sections of cold-rolled sheeting.)

This is the classic Z-shape sheet piling, the ZP-38 section from Bethlehem Steel. Note that the different segments in the sheeting are rolled at right angles to each other. From a moment of inertia standpoint this is the most efficient way to do it, it was difficult to roll.
A more conventional (and contemporary) Z-shape, the ZP-27 section from Bethlehem Steel. The centre segment is at an obtuse angle with the extreme fibre segments, which decreases the moment but makes the sheeting easier to roll and less prone to failure at the corners.
The MZ-27 Section from U.S. Steel Corporation. This diagram shows the location of the neutral axis. Sheet pile is designed like a continuous beam in that the shape has a moment of inertia (and section modulus) and the extreme fibre stress sigma is simply sigma = Mc/I. Note that the neutral axis is slightly different from the centreline of the web; that’s because the interlocks induce a slight lack of symmetry in the section.
One type of European Z-sheeting is the Frodingham sections, from the UK. Here two are shown; this is traditionally how they are driven, two at a time, whether by impact hammers or especially vibratory ones. The interlocks are different than their American counterparts. In earlier times this was a distinguishing difference between American and European sheeting, but now both can be seen on both sides of the Atlantic and elsewhere.
A different type of sheeting is the deep arch sheeting, in this case Larssen sheeting. Originally designed by Tryggve Larssen, It has become popular in many parts of the world. One of the enduring disputes in sheet pile design is the fact that European designers consider the neutral axis at the interlocks, while American ones generally reject this. The difference is significant and explains why Larssen sheeting has not gained the acceptance in the US it has elsewhere.
Related to this are deep arch sections such as this, the DP-2 section from Bethlehem Steel. In addition to the moment of inertia aspects of the design, these sections allowed some angling between the sections, as is shown on the left. This made it possible to use this sheet with curved walls.
A completely different type of sheeting is the straight or flat web sheeting, in this case the MP-101 section from U.S. Steel. These are primarily used in cellular cofferdams. Instead of moment resistance the sheets transmit tension through the web and the interlocks. The fill in the cofferdam puts a hoop stress in the cofferdam wall; these sheets hold the cell together.
Sort of a transition between flat web sheeting and bending type sheeting is the shallow arch section. It can be used in cellular cofferdams and walls where some moment resistance is required, but can also withstand loads along the web and interlocks.

After this was put out the manufacturers made some changes in the nomenclature, which are shown here. Needless to say the changes in who produces sheet piling have been dramatic from this illustration, but in reality the basic shape concepts have not changed very much.


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