Conference Paper

Field Measurements of Pipe Ramming-Induced Ground Vibrations

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.


Pipe ramming is an emerging trenchless technique that allows installation of pipes and culverts in soils that can pose difficulty to other trenchless technologies. However, because pipe ramming hammers provide high-frequency impact blows to the pipe, high-magnitude stress waves travel down the pipe and are transmitted to the surrounding soil. This can have a serious adverse effect on adjacent structures and nearby utilities if located sufficiently close to the pipe alignment. The potential effects include differential settlements, densification, and local liquefaction depending on the soil and groundwater conditions. Owing to the lack of field observations in the literature, this study was conducted to observe the ground vibrations that can result from pipe ramming and to provide guidelines for the prediction of pipe ramming-induced vibration. An experimental pipe-ramming project was conducted that consisted of the installation of open-ended steel pipe 1,070 mm in diameter and 36.5 m long rammed with two pneumatic hammers. Observations indicated that the vibrations measured at the ground surface largely comprised surface waves, and that vibrations propagate most intensely from the face of the pipe, but also from the surface area of the embedded casing. Ground vibrations are presented as a function of frequency content, magnitude of peak particle velocity, proximity to the source, and direction of propagation. The information obtained from the experimental evaluation of pipe ramming-induced ground vibrations reported herein can provide the means for a first approximation of vibration-induced damage susceptibility.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Direct measurements were made of ground-vibration-produced structure responses and damage in 76 homes for 219 production blasts. These results were combined with damage data from nine other blasting studies, including the three analyzed previously for Bureau of Mines Bulletin 656. Safe levels of ground vibration from blasting range from 0.5 to 2.0 in/sec peak particle velocity for residential-type structures. The damage threshold values are functions of the frequencies of the vibration transmitted into the residences and the types of construction. Particularly serious are the low-frequency vibrations that exist in soft foundation materials and/or result from long blast-to-residence distances. These vibrations produce not only structure resonances but also excessive levels of displacement and strain. Threshold damage was defined as the occurrence of cosmetic damage; that is, the most superficial interior cracking of the type that develops in all homes independent of blasting. Homes with plastered interior walls are more susceptible to blast-produced cracking than gypsum wallboard. Structure response amplification factors were measured. Typical values were 1.5 for structures as a whole (racking) and 4 for midwalls, at their respective resonance frequencies. For blast vibrations above 40 Hz, all amplification factors for frame residential structures were less than unity. The human response and annoyance problem from ground vibration is aggravated by wall rattling, secondary noises, and the presence of airblast. Approximately 5 to 10% of the neighbors will judge peak particle velocity levels of 0.5 to 0.75 in/sec as less than acceptable (i.e., unacceptable) based on direct reactions to the vibration. Even lower levels cause psychological response problems, and thus social, economic, and public relations factors become critical for continued blasting.
Departments of transportation are increasingly embracing pipe ramming for culvert installation under roadways due to its cost effectiveness and ability to mitigate problems associated with open-cut trenching. Despite the increase in use, little technical guidance is available for the engineering of pipe-ramming installations. This study presents the analysis of the performance of an instrumented 610-mm-diameter steel pipe installed using pipe ramming. Measurements include ground surface movement and dynamic force and velocity waveforms to obtain driving stresses, hammer-pipe energy transfer, and static and dynamic soil resistance during the installation. Ground movements are compared to existing settlement prediction models. Inverted normal probability distribution models commonly used in tunnel engineering were evaluated and were observed to capture the observed settlement close to the center of the pipe but did not accurately predict the observed transverse settlement profiles. The transfer of energy was observed to range from as low as 17-39% of the estimated hammer energy. Compressive stresses were observed to remain relatively constant over the penetration length observed and were well below the yield stress of the pipe. Soil resistance derived from wave equation analyses were compared to four pipe-jacking models to evaluate their accuracy and applicability for planning pipe-ramming installations. The jacking models bracketed the static soil resistance components of the wave analysis, indicating that the models may be adopted for pipe-ramming applications pending empirical modification. (C) 2014 American Society of Civil Engineers.
Installation of new buried pipes and culverts, and replacement of existing ones utilizing trenchless technologies, is increasing in popularity because these methods mitigate many of the surface disturbances associated with conventional open-cut placement. Pipe ramming is an efficient technique that allows installation of casings in soils that can present difficulties for other trenchless technologies. Despite increasing usage, little technical guidance is available to owners and engineers who plan installations with pipe ramming. This paper provides an overview of the pipe ramming technique, possible design procedures, and governing mechanics associated with pipe ramming, with the goal of providing a baseline for engineered installations and identifying areas for further research. Methods to estimate soil resistance to ramming, analysis of ground deformations, and ground vibrations are discussed and compared with measurements observed in field installations. Soil resistance predictions based on conventional jacking methods are shown to underpredict measured resistances inferred from dynamic load testing. Empirical Gaussian settlement models commonly employed in tunnel engineering were shown to result in somewhat inaccurate predictions for an observed pipe ramming installation in cohesionless soils. Field measurements of the ground vibrations resulting from ramming are presented and compared with commonly used safe vibration standards developed for residential structures; the frequencies of vibration generally range from 20-100 Hz, are considerably high for small source-to-site distances, and attenuate rapidly with radial distance. In general, the study lays a basis for planning pipe installation projects with the intent of providing technical advancement in pipe ramming.
Owners of nearby utilities and structures often voice concerns about potential damage to their facilities-particularly during bursting and upsizing of large-diameter pipes in hard rock formations. This paper summarizes analytical and field studies of ground movements and vibrations associated with large-diameter pipe bursting when the pipe trench is in a rock formation. This research involved seven pipe-bursting field experiments in trenches in hard limestone located in Bowling Green, Ohio. Each experiment involved different parameters including trench width, bedding material, bursting system, pipe diameter, and upsize percentage. Ground vibrations and surface and subsurface vertical soil displacements were measured at pre-assigned locations from the pipe centerline. The heave above the pipe centerline turned to settlement as the perpendicular distance increased. The magnitudes of vertical subsurface and surface movements in narrower trenches were higher than were those of wider trenches. The analysis of the ground vibrations indicated that 3.35 m was a safe distance for residential buildings and 2.45 m for nearby buried structures.
Engineering Analysis and Design of Pipe Ramming Applications
  • T Meskele
Meskele, T. (2013) "Engineering Analysis and Design of Pipe Ramming Applications," PhD Thesis, School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
Hammer-pipe Energy Transfer Efficiency for Pipe Ramming
  • T Meskele
  • A W Stuedlein
Meskele, T. and Stuedlein, A.W. (2013b) "Hammer-pipe Energy Transfer Efficiency for Pipe Ramming," Proceedings of No-Dig 2013, NASTT, Paper WM1-T4-02, Sacramento, CA, March 3-7, 2013, 10 pp.
Drivability of an Instrumented 2,440 mm Diameter Rammed Pipe
  • A W Stuedlein
  • T M Meskele
Stuedlein, A.W. and Meskele, T.M. (2014) "Drivability of an Instrumented 2,440 mm Diameter Rammed Pipe," Proceedings of No-Dig 2014, NASTT, Paper TM1-T4-04, Orlando, FL April 13-17, 2014, 9 pp.