The mechanics of the Gentle Driving of Piles

Athanasios Tsetas*, Apostolos Tsouvalas, Andrei V. Metrikine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Gentle Driving of Piles (GDP) is a new vibratory installation technology for tubular (mono)piles. It is characterized by the simultaneous application of low-frequency axial and high-frequency torsional vibrations, envisaged to achieve both high installation performance and reduced underwater noise emissions. The concept of GDP has been demonstrated experimentally in a medium-scale onshore field campaign, showcasing the potential of the method in terms of installation and post-installation performances. To further comprehend the mechanics of the GDP method, the driving process is studied by means of a novel pile–soil model; this framework has been recently developed and successfully applied to the problem of axial vibratory driving. In particular, the pile is treated as a thin cylindrical shell via a Semi-analytical Finite Element (SAFE) approach and a linear elastic layered soil half-space is considered via the Thin-Layer Method (TLM) coupled with Perfectly Matched Layers (PMLs). The pile–soil coupling is realized through a hereditary frictional interface and an elasto-plastic tip formulation, both characterized by standard geotechnical in-situ measurements. The comparison of numerical results with field data is favourable for drivability purposes, showcasing the potential of the numerical framework for the analysis of GDP. Conclusively, the mechanics of the installation process are deciphered and the redirection of the friction force vector – induced by high-frequency torsion – is identified as the main driving mechanism of GDP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112466
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Solids and Structures
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Field tests
  • Friction redirection
  • Gentle Driving of Piles
  • Green's functions
  • Harmonic Balance Method
  • Pile driving
  • Soil–structure interaction
  • Thin-Layer Method
  • Vibrations of shells


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