Field investigation of base resistance of pipe piles in clay

Paul Doherty*, Kenneth Gavin, David Gallagher

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents the results of a series of field tests performed to study the effect of soil plugging during installation on the base resistance developed by an openended (pipe) pile in clay. Three instrumented pipe piles were installed in soft clay, and the installation resistance and soil plug development were recorded. The tests revealed that the annular base resistance was equal to the cone penetration test qc resistance and was independent of the soil plug development. In contrast, the soil plug resistance increased from a minimum when the pile was fully coring to a maximum when the pile was fully plugged. A simple expression is proposed that links the plug resistance to the cone penetration test qc value at the specified depth and the incremental filling ratio value developed during installation. This expression is shown to provide reasonable estimates of the plug resistance developed by a large-diameter pipe pile driven into stiff to hard clay in the North Sea. The proposed relationship will be particularly useful for modelling the installation resistance of monopile foundations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Field testing & monitoring
  • Foundations
  • Piles & piling


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