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Micropiles An Innovative Ground Improvement Tool INTRODUCTION: The problem of provision of pile foundation for very heavily loaded

structures located in densely populated residential areas or congested business areas can be overcome by Micropiles which conceived in Italy in the early 1950s, in response to the demand for innovative techniques for underpinning historic building and monuments. The Micropile systems used today are evolution from basic small diameter cast in situ pile developed by Dr. Fernando Lizzi. A micropile classification system is based on two criteria i) Philosophy of behavior (design) and ii) Method of grouting (construction) CLASSIFICATIONS: Classification Based on Design: The design of an individual or group of micropiles differs greatly from that of a network of closely spaced reticulated micropiles. If micropile elements are loaded directly and the pile reinforcement resists the majority of the applied load as indicated in Figure 1.If micropile elements circumscribes and internally reinforces the soil to make a reinforced soil composite that resists the applied load as in Figure 2.This is referred to as a reticulated pile network.

Classification Based on Method of Grouting: Grout/ground bond capacity varies directly with the grouting method. The method of grouting is generally the most sensitive construction control over grout/ ground bond capacity. The micropile classification is based primarily on the method of placement and pressure. Type A: It indicates that grout is placed under gravity head only. Sand cement mortars, as well as neat cement grouts, can be used because the grout column is not pressurized. Type B: Type B indicates that neat cement grout is placed into the hole under pressure as the temporary steel drill casing is withdrawn. Injection pressures typically range from 0.5 to 1 MPa, are limited to avoid hydro fracturing the surrounding ground or causing excessive grout takes, and to maintain a seal around the casing during its withdrawal. Type C: Type C indicates a two- step process of grouting. Step 1. Neat cement grout is placed under gravity head as with Type A, and Step 2 prior to hardening of the primary grout (after approximately 15 to 25 minutes), similar grout is injected onetime via a sleeved grout pipe without the use of a packer (at the bond zone interface) at a pressure of at least 1 MPa. Type D: Type D indicates a two- step process of grouting similar to Type C with modifications to Step 2. Neat cement grout is placed under gravity head as with Types A and C and may be pressurized as in Type B. after hardening of the initially placed grout, additional grouts injected via a sleeved grout pipe at a pressure of 2 to 8 Mpa. A packer may be used inside the sleeved pipe so that specific horizons can be treated several times, if required. INSTALLATION OF MICROPILE The construction of a micropile involves The construction of a micropile involves a succession of processes, the most significant of which are drilling, placing the reinforcement, and grouting. The materials used in construction of micropile include grout and reinforcement. The main steel component and the grout shaft of the micropile shall be designed to support the external loads and bending to be transmitted to/from the load bearing stratum for endbearing/tension piles. Drilling Method The selected drilling methods are acceptable, provided they can form a stable hole of the required dimensions and within the stated tolerances, and without detriment to their surroundings. Drilling within a congested urban site in close proximity of older buildings or deteriorating foundations has very different constraints than drilling for new foundations on an open field site. The act of drilling and forming the pile hole may disturb the surrounding ground for a certain time and over a certain distance. The drilling method selected should avoid causing an unacceptable level of disturbance to the site and its facilities, while providing for installation of a pile that supports the required capacities in the most cost-effective manner.

Grouting The grouting operations have a major impact on micropile capacity .Grout transfers the imposed loads between the reinforcement and the surrounding ground. And form part of the load-bearing cross section of the pile .It also protects the steel reinforcement from corrosion. The grout, therefore, needs to have adequate properties of fluidity, strength, stability, and durability. APPICATIONS OF MICROPILES Micropiles are currently used in two general applications: for structural support and less frequently in-situ reinforcement. Structural support includes new foundations, underpinning of existing foundations, seismic retrofitting applications and earth retention. In situ reinforcement is used for slope stabilization, ground strengthening and protection, settlement reduction & structural stability Applications of Micropiles as Structural Support New Foundations Underpinning of Existing Foundation Seismic Retrofit

Application of Micropiles in insitu Reinforcement Slope stabilization Earth retention

MICROPILES LIMITATIONS High slenderness ratio (length/diameter) of micropiles limits its applications in structures which require higher factor of safety. Micropiles are not acceptable for conventional seismic retrofitting applications in areas where liquefaction may occur. Use of micropiles for slope stabilization has been applied to limited heights In driven piles, usually its cost exceeds conventional piling system However, under certain combinations of circumstances, micropiles will be the cost- effective option, and occasionally will be the only feasible constructible option. CONCLUSIONS Installation of micropile induces much less vibrations and reduced adverse effects on structure than conventional pile installation.Micropiles can be used if the existing structure has to be expanded or is to be designed for extra lateral, vertical applied loads.They increase bearing capacity and reduce the settlements particularly in strengthening the existing foundations. REFERENCE: International Journal of Earth Sciences and Engineering ISSN 0974-5904, Volume 04,
No 06 SPL, October 2011, pp 11-14