Pile foundations are underground structures that support a building. Piles are long pillars that extend downwards into the ground to keep the building above them stable. They are typically used in situations where the top layer of soil is weak and unable to hold the weight of the building. In this case, the pillars reach down to the harder layer of rock or soil beneath, to support the building. They are also commonly used in high rise buildings where all the weight is very concentrated to one spot. Pile foundations can support heavier weights than spread footing foundations.
Traditional Types of Pile Foundation
In terms of traditional piles, there are two different types. Both are typically made from concrete or steel and are hammered into the ground as part of a significant construction process.
End bearing piles
End bearing piles are the type mentioned earlier that are used with weak upper-level soil. The end of the pile rests on the harder layer deeper in the ground, effectively bypassing the weaker top layer and using the lower layer to support the building.
Friction piles work by using sideways force to support the building. The deeper they are inserted into the ground, the more embedded they are and the more they transfer the load of the building to the ground through their sides.
PowerPile Geopolymer Pillars
This is a modern and extremely effective type of pile foundation. This unique structural support technology is patented by Geobear (formerly Uretek). PowerPile geo-polymer pillars are suitable both for treating subsidence and for strengthening very weak ground. They offer the full support required for pile foundations while being a more efficient and less disruptive process than traditional piles.
To create the geopolymer pillars, narrow diameter piles incorporating an expandable casing are inserted underground via small, up to 50mm, drill holes. A highly expansive geo-polymer is injected inside the casing creating a pile of up to 400 mm in diameter, which hardens almost immediately. PowerPile geo-polymer pillars eliminate the need for costly and disruptive traditional piling, resulting in minimal mess and disruption.
Geobear structural support solutions consolidate the underlying ground and increase its bearing strength, resulting in long-term foundation support. A unique and patented process, it is a fast and non-disruptive alternative to piling and underpinning and strengthens the ground. Our geo-polymer can be used to inject at depths up to 9m beneath strips, pads and raft foundation types and can be used to remediate failed piling/ground improvement systems.
Our structural support (originally Uretek PowerPile) method uses geo-polymer pillars which can be injected directly beneath concrete floor slabs and building foundations. Geo-polymer pillars are ideal for difficult access locations as installation does not require large piling rigs or load transfer structures. Geobear structural support creates minimal disruption, noise, dust, or mess.
Geo-polymer is injected into a flexible and expanding PowerPile sleeve, through a small 30-50 mm wide hole, creating a pillar. This method slows down or stops the sag completely and the PowerPile geo-polymer pillars compact the surrounding soil.
If you would like to learn more about Geobear’s innovative geopolymer structural support solutions then give us a call on 0800 084 3503 or fill out our contact form today.