A Quick Look At 3 Uses Of Sheet Piling

A Quick Look At 3 Uses Of Sheet Piling

Outside of the construction industry, sheet piling is something that most people probably do not know very much about, and in fact, most people have probably never even heard of it. But this innovative technique is actually something that we see in the world around us on an everyday basis!


Sheet piling is at the heart of our modern world and is vital to constructing car parks and railways or protecting us from environmental issues such as flooding and erosion.


In this article, we thought we’d take a quick look at three innovative ways that sheet piling is used on a daily basis.


What exactly is sheet piling?

Sheet piling is a method of construction in which large corrugated sheets of material are interlocked and driven into the ground, creating a strong and sustainable barrier. Usually, the sheets are made from steel, plastic, or occasionally wood or concrete.


The interlocking sheets form a strong, rigid structure that can be used to protect structures from soil or water putting force on them and causing them to collapse. The sheets are driven into the ground using vibratory or hydraulic hammers, and the type of hammer used will depend upon environmental factors and other nearby structures.


Sheet piles can either be constructed as a temporary protective structure while the main building work is taking place or as part of the construction itself as a permanent structure.


This post from the Designing Buildings wiki offers a little bit of a more in-depth explanation of sheet piling.


Marine structures and environmental protection

One of the main and most innovative ways in which sheet piling is used is in the marine industry, as well as more general environmental protection applications.


With the ever-growing demand for global shipping, ports and harbours need to change and evolve in order to accommodate larger vessels and therefore more cargo. Sheet piling is a key method for upgrading this marine infrastructure, helping to alter sea walls and create structures that can withstand heavier weights.


Ports and harbours also tend to take a bit of a battering from the weather conditions of the sea, and this can cause erosion. Sheet piling is often used to build structures such as breakwaters which protect against this.


Similarly, sheet piling is often used to protect riverbanks against erosion and provide a secure barrier in areas that are prone to flooding.


This publication offers some further insight into the use of sheet piling in coastal construction.


Underground structures

When constructing underground structures such as basements and underground car parks, protection is needed to enable developers to build safely and effectively. In such cases, sheet piling is often used either as a temporary protective solution or to form the permanent structure itself.


Sheet piles form a strong foundation for the structure to ensure that the huge amounts of surrounding soil are retained, and also to protect against flooding.


Transport links

Sheet piling has revolutionised the construction of transport links, such as motorways and railways. It is ideal for using to dig large banks or hills so that the roads or railway lines can pass through. The sheet piles support the banks on either side to prevent them from collapsing onto the road or railway which makes construction much safer.


These case studies from Sheet Piling UK give you an idea of just how common this use of sheet piling is on an everyday basis.


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