“Offshore pile driving is a high-risk activity as delays can be financially punitive”

I’ve had experience on both the practical and “academic” sides of offshore pile driving and installation, but I’ve seldom seen a blunter and more accurate summary of the topic in the published literature than what’s above.  Vulcan certainly experienced that during the offshore years.

The entire paper can be obtained here.  The complete abstract is as follows:

Offshore pile driving is a high-risk activity as delays can be financially punitive. Experience of pile driving for offshore jacket structures where pile diameters are typically < 2m has led to the development of empirical pile driveability models with proven predictive capability. The application of these methods to larger diameter piles is uncertain. A major component of driveability models involves estimating the static resistance to driving, SRD, a parameter analogous to pile axial capacity. Recent research on axial capacity design has led to improved models that use Cone Penetration Test, CPT data to estimate pile capacity and include for the effects of friction fatigue and soil plugging. The applicability of these methods to estimating pile driveability for larger diameter piles is of interest. In this paper, recent CPT based axial capacity approaches, modified for mobilised base resistance and ageing, are applied to estimating driveability of 4.2m diameter piles. A database of pile installation records from North sea installations are used to benchmark the methods. Accounting for factors such as pile ageing and the relatively low displacement mobilised during individual hammer blows improves the quality of prediction of pile driveability for the conditions evaluated in this study.

The paper is Byrne, T., Gavin, K., Prendergast, L.J., Cachim, P., Doherty, P., and Chenicheri Pulukul, S. (2018) “Performance of CPT-based methods to assess monopile driveability in North Sea sands.” Ocean Engineering, 166, 76-91.  Emphasis in abstract is mine.


Vulcan 060 and 360 Hammers: Specifications and Information

The success of the 040 was soon left behind by the deeper and deeper water conventional platforms were being installed into.  That in turn called for larger hammers, and Vulcan rose to the occasion with the 060.  The first 060 was built for J. Ray McDermott and delivered in the summer of 1968, a summer memorable for many other things.

First, the specifications:

The 060 had the usual growing pains, although Vulcan applied many of the lessons of the 040.  Nevertheless it became a popular hammer; in addition to McDermott, J.H. Pomeroy, Ingram, Fluor, AGIP, and Movible Offshore purchased and used the hammer.  Some photos are below.

General arrangements are shown below.

Vulcan 360

Like the 040, the 060 “became” the 360, with its conversion from a steel to an iron ram and many other modifications.  The first 360 was sold to Brown and Root and delivered in the summer of 1973.

Soils in Construction (Sixth Edition) Now Available — vulcanhammer.net

It’s here a last: Soils in Construction, the Sixth Edition, now available from Waveland Press. Many of you (and especially those who are familiar with the companion site vulcanhammer.info) are aware that I’ve spent much of my career in geotechnical engineering and deep foundations dealing with contractors. As such I am both sympathetic with their […]

via Soils in Construction (Sixth Edition) Now Available — vulcanhammer.net

STADYN Wave Equation Program 8: Effective Hyperbolic Strain-Softened Shear Modulus for Driven Piles in Clay


It’s been a while, but we hope it’s worth the wait: the monograph Effective Hyperbolic Strain-Softened Shear Modulus for Driven PIles in Clay is now available.  It was presented at the Research Dialogues for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga 9-10 April 2019.  The abstract is as follows:

Abstract: Although it is widely understood that soils are non-linear materials, it is also common practice to treat them as elastic, elastic-plastic, or another combination of states that includes linear elasticity as part of their deformation. Assuming hyperbolic behavior, a common way of relating the two theories is the use of strain-softened hyperbolic shear moduli. Applying this concept, however, must be done with care, especially with geotechnical structures where large stress and strain gradients take place, as is the case with driven piles. In this paper a homogenized value for strain-softened shear moduli is investigated for both shaft and toe resistance in…

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Vulcan #3 Hammer: Specifications and Information

The #3 was one of the early (pre-1900) Warrington-Vulcan hammers, along with the #2 and #1.  A general arrangement is shown above; specifications are below.

Specifications Bulletin 68
Specifications, Vulcan Bulletin 68

The #3 found itself involved in some important projects, including the construction of the original Panama Canal, as evidenced by the memo below.

A memo/drawing of modifications to two (2) #3 hammers for the Panama Canal project. Vulcan was frequently loathe to make modifications to their hammers, but they did so in this case.

The #3 fell out of favour to the larger #2 and #1 hammers (the #2 eventually suffered the same fate) but in 2008 Pile Hammer Equipment brought back the #3 hammer.  They made many changes to the hammer, including increasing the ram weight to 2,100 lbs. (a little more than the Panama Canal hammers,) increasing the stroke to 3′, adding cables and other features.  The PHE/Vulcan #3 is the newest Warrington-Vulcan hammer, and also one where a Warrington was involved in the design.  You can see a general arrangement of the hammer (with specifications) below; more information and availability can be found by contacting Pile Hammer Equipment.


Vulcan 305 and 306 Hammers: Specifications and Information

No history of the Warrington-Vulcan hammers would be complete without mentioning the 305 and 306 hammers.  The primary purposes of these designations was to harmonise them with the way Vulcan had numbered its larger hammers for many years, although these hammers incorporated changes such as cables and the possibility of Vari-Cycle II.


The most important example of these hammers was the 306 built by the new Vulcan Foundation Equipment (which was owned by the Dutch company IHC) in the early 2000’s, shown below.  The 306 incorporated the long ram which was used by the later 06 hammers and the 506.

vulcan 306 7
The Vulcan 306 ready for shipment in Vulcan Foundation Equipment’s Chattanooga facility (which was down the street from the Vulcan Iron Works’ old plant.) From left to right, Doug Scaggs, Ernie Artrip and Linda Grant.

The 305 was supposed to supersede the #1, but in reality it was never built.  Nothing can supersede the #1.  The general arrangement for that hammer is below.  Specifications for both of these hammers are on the general arrangements.


Vulcan 010 Hammer: Specifications and Information

The 010 is one of Vulcan’s more popular hammers.  For many years it was the largest Warrington-Vulcan hammer in the line until the 012.  It was an upgrade from the 0R hammer, raising the ram weight from 9,300 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.  Another general arrangement of the 010 with the steam belt are shown below.


One interesting variant of the 010 is the so-called “front loader.”  An attempt to get away from the steam belt (and the manufacturing difficulties that went with it) it placed the air inlet right at the valve chest.  Although this made sense from several standpoints, it placed the inlet too close to the ram for many contractors, and so was not pursued.  Some of those hammers are shown below.

An important front loader is the 010 with cables to the bottom of the cylinder, as opposed to those to the head.  These cables had the “button” type lower fitting.  This cable configuration became the standard for the Warrington-Vulcan hammers in the 1980’s.


Specifications for the onshore 010 are shown below.

Although it may seem strange, the 010 was also used by offshore contractors as well.  Ingram Contractors (the subsidiary of the book distribution company, and an early offshore contractor in the Gulf) purchased one with special 42 1/2″ x 11 1/4″ jaws in 1965, and another two years later.

It remained for Fluor to purchase in 1970 the first “true” offshore 010 hammer with the male jaws and outside cables.  That 010 also has the distinction of being Vulcan’s smallest offshore hammer.  By that time it was too small for virtually any offshore work.  Below is a general arrangement and the specifications for this hammer.

Like the 06, the 010 has two ram configurations: the short (steel) ram and the long (iron) ram.  The latter was also adapted to the 510. Below are two general arrangements for the 010 with the long ram and cables, which was the final configuration Vulcan produced.

Driving Speed That Makes Footage Records

Above, an ad for the Warrington-Vulcan hammer, as featured in Engineering News-Record, 1926.  Note that there are two distributors listed: one in California and the venerable Woodard Wight in New Orleans, which (with its salesman Herman Hasenkampf) went on to represent Vulcan in the Gulf during the offshore years.

Note also that Vulcan even at this date already had a “half century of experience in the design and manufacture of pile-driving equipment.”  It also touted (before the advent of diesel hammers) the advantage of “heavy ram-low velocity” which still has its advantages today.

Vulcan 0R Hammer: Specifications and Information

The Vulcan 0R hammer was the same as the #0 except that it had a heavier ram.  It was relatively short-lived, its place was taken by the 010 hammer.

Vulcan 0R hammer sporting a Vari-Cycle, an unlikely combination.

Specifications for the hammer are shown below.

Specifications Bulletin 68
Specifications, Vulcan Bulletin 68

Vulcan #0 Hammer: Specifications and Information

First produced in 1912, the #0 hammer, although not the first Warrington-Vulcan hammer, is probably, in its own way, the most pervasive in its influence on the development of Vulcan’s–and other–product line.

The main Chicago general arrangement is above: others are below:


Both the design, frame and accessory configuration of the #0 hammer were an upsize from the #1 series, and the configuration was widely applied to other hammers, such as:

  • The other Vulcan 3.25′ stroke “#0” type hammers, including the 0R, 08, 010 and 012.
  • The 5′ stroke hammers such as the 508, 510 and 512.
  • The Raymond “0” series, including the 2/0, 3/0, 4/0, 5/0 and 8/0.  Raymond made many detail changes to the design, not the least of which was a larger cylinder.  It was many years before Vulcan produced a single-acting hammer larger than the #0, and when it did it modelled them after the Super-Vulcan hammers, which made them heavier.
  • The Conmaco hammers such as the 80, 100, 125, and 125E5.

Specifications are below.

Specifications Bulletin 68
Specifications, Vulcan Bulletin 68

In the 1950’s the #0 was superseded by the 08, as specifications required a heavier ram.  The 08 became the smallest of this venerable series of hammers.

Other information: