In piling works, normally founding levels of bored piles are defined by using total core recovery or rock quality designation RQD. Are there any problems with such specification?

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The use of total core recovery to determine the founding level may not be able to indicate the quality of rock foundation for piles because it depends on the drilling technique and drilling equipment (GEO (1996)). For instance, if standard core barrels are used to collect samples, it may indicate sufficient core recovery for samples full of rock joints and weathered rock. On the other hand, if triple tube barrels are used for obtaining soil samples, samples with joints and weathered rock can also achieve the requirements of total core recovery.

In case RQD is adopted for determining founding levels, it may also result in incorrect results. For instance RQD does not indicate the joints and infilling materials. Moreover, as it only measures rock segments exceeding 100mm, rock segments exceeding 100mm is considered to be of good quality rock without due consideration of its strength and joint spacing.


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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  • Lula berihu January 4, 2011 at 8:21 am

    What are the limitations to rock quality designation?

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