In marine piles, the tubular piles are sometimes purposely designed to be open-ended to facilitate deeper penetration. In this mode of pile formation, soil plug is formed inside the piles.
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During initial driving process, open-ended steel piles are driven through the soils at their bases. However, shaft friction will gradually develop between the steel piles and soils inside piles at some time after pile driving. The hitting action of driving hammers induces forces to the soil and later it comes to a stage when the inertial forces of inside soils, together with the internal frictional forces exceeding the bearing capacity of soils at pile toes. Consequently, the soil plug formed is brought down by the piles. Reference is made to M. J. Tomlinson (1977).
In marine structures where piles are constantly subject to significant lateral and uplift forces induced by berthing operation and wave action, it is necessary to drive the piles to much greater depth. To avoid premature refusal so that insufficient soil cover may develop which is incapable of providing the required lateral and uplift resistance, tubular piles are normally driven open-ended so that they are driving to greater depths than piles with closed ends.
In the design of marine piles of steel tubular piles with concrete infill, loads from pier deck are taken up by steel tubular piles before the occurrence of corrosion of steel piles above seabed. In fact, it is assumed that steel piles above seabed level will all be corroded after a certain year. The load transfer mechanism after complete corrosion of steel pile above seabed is as follows: loads from pier deck are taken up by concrete infill above the seabed level. Below the seabed level, loads would be transferred to steel piles through frictional forces between concrete infill and steel casings.
The purpose of minimum toe level is two-fold:
(i) In detailed design stage, ground investigation should be conducted and the approximate level of rockhead is known. Therefore, to avoid the marine piles to be founded prematurely on boulders, minimum toe levels of marine driven piles are specified in contract.