Sheet piling is a method which is used to retain soil, where huge steel or plastic sheets with interlocking edges are driven into the ground, with a number of practical uses.
These corrugated sheets of steel (or sometimes other materials such as plastic) link together and are then driven partially into the ground.
The piling creates a strong, sustainable barrier and is commonly used to protect building foundations throughout the construction process.
We’re going to take a look at some of the innovative applications of sheet piling, across a range of industry sectors.
Flood Protection/Erosion Barriers
Sheet piling is also ideal for flood protection and erosion walls, as the piles are extremely durable and unlikely to be permeated by water.
Sheet piling is commonly used in the construction of defences such as cofferdams off the coast of the UK, and to protect various harbours, which can undergo a bit of a battering from the tide, especially during extreme weather conditions.
It’s also an economical and quick way to install solution, which makes it particularly useful when it comes to flood protection, where the piles are used to create watertight embankments, which provide stabilisation and support or simply as a barrier themselves.
Special vinyl is often used when it comes to underwater structures, to ensure that the sheet piling won’t erode upon contact with salt water.
Underground structures such as underground car parks, basements and pumping stations can also benefit from sheet piling, particularly when vibration-free driving methods are used.
Such structures require a strong foundation during construction to ensure that the massive amounts of surrounding soil and earth don’t fall away and compromise the build, and this is where sheet piling comes in.
While in an above-ground structure, the sheet piling would usually be removed once the foundations have been built. In an underground structure, the piling becomes a permanent part of the structure, because sheet piling can have an incredibly long life, and is extremely durable.
According to Sheet Piling UK, this method is also beneficial because it offers a simple waterproofing solution, and eliminates the requirement for reinforced concrete lining walls.
The construction of railway lines differs to that of roads and highways, in that where a road may take a bend around a hill or valley, a train will simply go straight through it.
To make this possible, sheet piling is used to dig a trench or tunnel to allow the train to pass through.
The piling is used to support the space on either side of the track, making sure that there aren’t landslides of earth onto the track.
In these instances, sheets which are a bit shorter than usual are used to create a strong retaining wall which will hold any loose ground on either side of the railway.
In these instances, vibration-free methods of driving the piles are usually used, to ensure that no damage is caused to the line itself and the surrounding area.