01 July 1997
Table 4-2. Indicators of pile damage.
General Indicators of Damage
A sudden increase, decrease, or
Pile breakage if the soil formation has
not changed from that when previous
piles had been driven.
Drifting of the pile off location as
observed at the ground surface.
A sudden lateral snap of the
Pile breakage from bending.
Damage observed at the head.
Similar damage may occur at the tip.
Two or more cycles of decreasing
Progressive crushing of the tip.
and increasing penetration
Vibration and/or noise of
Previously driven piles.
Types of Observed Damage
Type of Pile
Brooming at the tip or head, splintering, or
Spalling, transverse cracks
Bending, reduction in cross-section.
b. Prevention of Damage. Overstressing the pile can be prevented by determining how much driving
the pile can tolerate. This is accomplished by completing a wave equation analysis to determine driving
stresses. These stresses and corresponding penetration resistances will be avoided during pile installation.
Experience on how hard the pile can be driven in the field without damage can also assist in avoiding
(1) Wave Equation Analysis. The wave equation analysis calculates driving stresses which, when
compared with allowable stresses, can determine when overstressing will occur for the selected pile driving
system and the pile.