Sheet Piling Handbook 3rd Edition

Sheet Piling Handbook 3rd Edition 


The history of sheet piling goes back to the beginning of the last century. The book Ein Produkt
erobert die Welt – 100 Jahre Stahlspundwand aus Dortmund (A product conquers the world –
100 years of sheet pile walls from Dortmund) describes the success story of sheet piling. The
story is closely linked with Tryggve Larssen, government building surveyor in Bremen, who
invented the sheet pile wall made from rolled sections with a channel-shaped cross-section. In
1902 the so-called LARSSEN sheet piles – known as such from this date onwards – were used
as a waterfront structure at Hohentorshafen in Bremen – and are still doing their job to this day!
Since then, LARSSEN sheet piles have been manufactured in the rolling mill of HOESCH
Spundwand und Profil GmbH.
Over the years, ongoing developments in steel grades, section shapes and driving techniques

have led to a wide range of applications for sheet piling. The applications include securing ex-
cavations, waterfront structures, foundations, bridge abutments, noise abatement walls, highway

structures, cuttings, landfill and contaminated ground enclosures, and flood protection schemes.
The main engineering advantages of sheet pile walls over other types of wall are:
• the extremely favourable ratio of steel cross-section to moment of resistance,
• their suitability for almost all soil types,
• their suitability for use in water,
• the fast progress on site,
• the ability to carry loads immediately,
• the option of extracting and reusing the sections,
• their easy combination with other rolled sections,
• the option of staggered embedment depths,
• the low water permeability, if necessary using sealed interlocks, and
• there is no need for excavations.


The driving work calls for a certain amount of play in the interlocks and so these joints be-
tween the sheet piles are not watertight. Owing to their convoluted form, however, water seep-
ing through the joint does have to negotiate a relatively long path. Ultra-fine particles in the

soil accumulate in the interlocks over time, which results in a “self-sealing” effect, which is
augmented by corrosion. According to EAU 2004 section 8.1.20.3 (R 117), in walls standing
in water this natural sealing process can be assisted by installing environmentally compatible
synthetic seals. If a sheet pile wall is required to be especially watertight, the interlocks can be
filled with a permanently plastic compound or fitted with a preformed polyurethane interlock
seal. The materials used exhibit high ageing and weathering resistance plus good resistance to

water, seawater and, if necessary, acids and alkalis. Polyurethane interlock seals are factory-
fitted to the interlocks of multiple piles and the joints threaded on site are sealed with further

preformed polyurethane seals.

Interlocks can be sealed with bituminous materials to achieve a watertight joint. Such mater-
ials can be applied in the works or on site. The watertightness is achieved according to the

displacement principle: excess sealant is forced out of the interlock when threading the next
pile.

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