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What Are Pile-Driving Hammers? How Does Sheet Pile Driving Work?

What Are Pile Driving Hammers?

Pile driving hammers are tools used in demolition and construction. As the name of the tool implies, it used to forcefully drive a pile into the earth. These used to be powered by diesel fuel or air, but now there are many types of hydraulic pile driver hammers on the market.

The types of hammers available include diesel hammers, drop hammers, single and double-acting steam or compressed air hammers and vibratory pile drivers. Regardless of which type of hammer is being used, the tools perform in the same manner. A heavy weight is placed in the pile to be driven. The weight is then raised using air, steam or diesel power. When the weight reaches the highest point, it is released. The weight then smashes into the pile below, driving it into the ground.


Sheet Pile vs. Normal Pile in Construction

The different types of pile drivers are used based on the conditions of the ground and what material is being driven. Hydraulic pile drivers are the most efficient. They work well when driving concrete, steel and timber. A hydraulic press-in is especially useful is there is a concern for vibration. These machines use rams to press the pile into the ground instead of smashing it from above. Vibratory pile drivers are used if there is a desire to lessen the noise. This can be useful if the construction site is located in a residential area. Often times, there is not enough room to use a conventional hammer in these areas. The vibratory pile driver does not need height space because it is inserted directly into the ground instead of using weights from above.

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Sheet pile driving uses this same equipment. The main difference between sheet pile and normal pile is that the sheet pile is temporary. Many times, sheet pile is constructed from steel, but it can also be made from vinyl, wood, fiberglass and recast concrete. The sheet pile is driven into the ground to form a supportive wall. These are used to prevent the softer soil at the surface from collapsing. Sheet piling is commonly used when constructing tunnels, dams, retaining walls and walls for flood protection. Sheet piles are also used for the building of water treatment facilities as well as any structure that is being built on the waterfront

Pile Driving Used in Construction of Retaining Walls

The method of driving sheet pile is different from driving permanent piles. Once the proper pile driver has been selected, place the sheet piles on the location. When the piles are driven into the ground, they may not go all the way in. It is important to drive the pile in as far as it will go. The excessive material will then be cut off. The joints of the sheet pile must be inspected to see that they are interlocking. If they do not interlock, they will need to be removed and replaced.

Remember that the sheet piles will be used as supporting walls, so it is very important that they are installed correctly. When being used to retain water, it is imperative that all joints interlock or the structure will be compromised. Pile driving hammers are the best machines to install the sheet pile. Hydraulic hammers tend to work best, driving the piles deep into the ground the first time around.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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