Design, Construction, Testing, and Behavior of Driven Precast Concrete Piles Reinforced with GFRP Bars and Spirals

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Marine, coastal structures, and bridges deteriorate prematurely due to corrosion. Numerous failures have occurred in substructure members of these structures, such as piles, leading to very high repair and replacement costs. Problems related to corrosion could be resolved through the use of noncorroding materials such as fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) bars. This paper presents the design, construction details, driving test procedures, and results of the field dynamic driving testing of precast glass-FRP (GFRP) reinforced concrete (RC) piles, as well as laboratory test results, to determine the piles flexural strength. Four piles were longitudinally and transversally reinforced with GFRP bars, spirals, and ties. Two of the piles were 6.0 m (approximately 20 ft) long, were fabricated, instrumented, and were laboratory tested for flexural strength. The other two piles were 18.0 m (approximately 60 ft) in length, were field installed and dynamically monitored. They were driven and monitored at the Arthur Drive Bridge project site in Lynn Haven, Panama City, Florida. Pile driving and testing were performed with a Vulcan 512 single-acting air hammer. The embedded data collectors (EDCs) were used to monitor the piles during driving operations. Field driving observations and results indicate that no pile damage occurred during installation. GFRP spirals successfully confined the concrete core of the piles and prevented cover spalling during driving. The maximum tensile and compressive stresses measured in the piles were well within the allowable design limits. Design aids and recommendations for good driving practices for GFRP-RC piles were presented. The promising results presented for the driven precast GFRP-RC piles represent a further step toward field application.

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Journal of Bridge Engineering





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