CPT-based design method for helical piles in sand

E Bittar, BM Lehane, A Blake, D Richards, D White, S Mahdavi, B Cerfontaine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Helical piles are used extensively for low and medium rise developments and are a popular foundation solution in cases where resistance to significant uplift loads is required. The ability to re-use helical piles and recent interest in their use as foundations in offshore wind and solar energy applications has renewed interest in improving existing design methods. This paper presents the results from field investigations in medium dense and dense sand that examine effects on the axial tension and compression capacity of varying the helix pitch, shaft diameter, advancement ratio and shaft tip geometry. The results from the 20 pile tests conducted (many of which included instrumentation) indicate low sensitivity to a range of the investigated parameters and a strong correlation of the capacity to the cone penetration test resistance. A design method based on these findings is proposed for typical helical pile geometries and is shown to provide predictions that are generally within 10 to 15% of the axial capacities reported for 30 other well documented pile tests reported in the literature. The method, referred to as UWASP-22, incorporates a simple means of estimating the load-displacement response of a helical pile as well as a formulation enabling prediction of the installation torque which is a common quality control measure for helical piles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-117
Number of pages16
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date8 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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