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What are the potential problematic areas in bell-out of bored piles?

Owing to the relatively low presumed bearing value for founding rock (i.e. 5MPa for Grade II rock with total core recovery of 85% and unconfined compressive strength more than 25Mpa), it leads to the necessity to form bell-out in order to spread the pile loads in larger area, thus reducing the bearing stress at pile toes.

Firstly, in Hong Kong most of rock belongs to igneous rocks whose unconfined compressive strength is generally higher than normal concrete (no reinforcement in concrete in bell-out region). Therefore, someone may query the reason of replacement of strong rock by weaker concrete during the formation of bell-out.

When piles are concreted by tremie concrete method, soil sediments at the pile toe inside the bell-out are pushed aside and trapped in the tip of bell-out. Consequently, this would impair the functionality of the bored piles.


To maintain the stability of hanging side slope of bell-out, it requires the bell-out to be formed wholly inside sound rock. However, the rock above bell-out may be weather rock so that the hanging rock is liable to fall down and soil may collapse.

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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Kanwarjot Singh

Kanwarjot Singh is the founder of Civil Engineering Portal, a leading civil engineering website which has been awarded as the best online publication by CIDC. He did his BE civil from Thapar University, Patiala and has been working on this website with his team of Civil Engineers.

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