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Classification of Piles Based on Function and Design

Pile foundation is classified into several types based on their design function and their construction method. Pile foundations are used for large structures where soil is weak and to prevent future excessive settlement of building.

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Classification of Piles Based on Function and Design
Classification of Piles Based on Function and Design


Read More Features on: Pile Foundation

Types of Piles Based on Design


Based on design and function, piles are classified into:

1. End-Bearing Piles

End-bearing pile is a type of pile foundation in which the load-bearing capacity is developed at the toe of pile that is placed on a hard layer like rock or dense or gravel. It develops most friction and bearing to support load at the toe of the pile.

Fig.1. End-Bearing Pile


End-bearing piles transfer the load from the superstructure through soft, compressible soil strata to the hard strata. Hence, end-bearing piles acts similar to column.


2. Friction or Floating Piles

Friction or floating piles develop the load bearing capacity by shear stresses along the sides of the piles. The pile hence transmits the load to the surrounding soil by friction between the surface of the pile and soil. The load is transferred downward and laterally to the soil.

Fig.2. Friction Pile

3. Combination of End-Bearing and Friction Piles

Piles can also carry load by the combination of friction and end bearing action. For example, a pile can pass through the soft soil that provide sufficient frictional resistance and find a form layer that develop load-carrying capacity by end bearing.

Fig.3. Combination of End-Bearing and Friction Piles

4. Anchor or Tension or Uplift Piles

Anchor piles are used to provide anchorage against the horizontal pull.

Fig.4. Anchor or Tension or Uplift Piles

Tension or uplift piles are piles used to anchor the structures that are subjected to uplift due to issues like overturning pressure or overturning moment that are derived due to horizontal forces.

5. Compaction Piles

Compaction piles are used to compact loose granular soils to increase the bearing capacity of soil. Sand pile is used to form as compaction pile, as it need not carry any load.

Fig.5. Compaction Pile

6. Fender Piles

Fender piles are piles constructed to protect waterfront structures against the impact from ships or other floating objects.

Fig.6. Fender Piles


7. Sheet Piles

Sheet piles are steel section piles with interlocking edges that are driven into the ground to provide permanent or temporary earth retention and excavation support.

Fig.7. Sheet Piles

8. Batter Piles

Batter piles are piles that are driven into the soil at an angle with the vertical to achieve higher load carrying capacity for the foundation. It is usually provided at an angle of 14 to 20 degree with vertical. They are mainly used in combination with group piles.

Fig.8. Batter Piles

9. Laterally Loaded Piles

A laterally loaded piles are piles designed to carry lateral loads. When a laterally loaded pile is subjected to lateral load, a part or whole of the pile tries to shift horizontally in the direction of the applied load causing bending, rotation or translation of the pile.

Fig.9. Laterally Loaded Piles


The pile presses against the soil mass lying in the direction of the applied load, generating compressive and shear stresses and strains in the soil. This offers resistance to the pile movement. Laterally loaded piles are used to support retaining walls, bridges, dams or act as fenders in docks and harbors.

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