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Can down the hole hammer function below water table?

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Down the hole hammer has been used extensively to form pre-bored holes as rock sockets for mini piles and pre-bored H piles. The hammer functions by driving repeatedly a drill bit using compressed air on the rock. However, the use of down the hole hammer is normally limited to hole diameter of 600mm.

In using down the hole hammer, compressed air serves to drive the drill bit and to expel the cuttings which are blown out to the air at ground level. However, for driving the hammer about 30m below ground water level, the air pressure has difficulty in coping with great water pressure. Moreover, blowing of cuttings by compressed air also dewaters the nearby soils. As a result, settlement of nearby ground may occur which is undesirable.

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This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.

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