Investigation of Cyclic Loading of Aged Piles in Sand

David Igoe*, Kenneth Gavin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
75 Downloads (Pure)


In recent years, there has been a significant push to develop optimized pile designs in the offshore industry, driven by the growth of offshore wind. One of the largest remaining uncertainties governing axial pile design in sands is the influence of ageing effects and how an aged pile responds under axial cyclic loading. This paper presents results from a long-term campaign of field tests on pile ageing and axial cyclic loading in sands, undertaken at the Blessington geotechnical test site in Ireland. Five open-ended driven steel piles were subjected to a total of 33 static and cyclic tension pile load tests undertaken over a 3-year period. The tests were planned and coordinated in order to accurately quantify the effects of ageing and cyclic loading on the pile shaft capacity over time. The tests showed that significant gains in pile shaft capacity occurred over time as a result of pile ageing, in line with results presented by other researchers. Piles subjected to cyclic tension loading remained stable under cyclic loading at load levels much larger than their 1-day capacity. The 1-day capacity appears to offer a lower bound for the degraded pile capacity following tension cyclic loading to failure. The reduction in capacity caused by cyclic loading to failure was related to the pretest increase in capacity caused by ageing. The findings from these field tests in addition to reinterpretation of previous testing indicated that previously published cyclic interaction boundaries may be overly conservative.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02451
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Axial pile capacity
  • Cyclic loading
  • Offshore piles
  • Pile ageing
  • Sand


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