Dave Bruce

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Helical Piles: New Technology or Just Back In Style?

Posted by Dave Bruce on Jan 28, 2021 7:00:00 AM

The first question we often get is, “are helical piles a new technology?”. Though they are growing each year in use and popularity, many Geotechnical and Structural Engineers are often unfamiliar with the technology. Complicating the matter is that, in many cases, students who will be our future engineers know very little about helical piles and their history. The truth is that helical piles [a.k.a. screws, screw piles, helical piers, helicals] appeared on the scene in the early 1800s. Alexander Mitchell (1780-1868) applied the use of screw piles in 1836 for moorings and, in 1838, for a lighthouse foundation. To put things into perspective, screw piles preceded the advent of Portland Cement [1850’s] and first use of a gasoline-powered automobile [1886]. According to some historians, screw piles were the major foundation technology of the 19th century.

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Topics: Foundations, Helical Pile Benefits, Civil

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