Pile Design and Construction Practice, Sixth Edition

Piles are columnar elements in a foundation which have the function of transferring load from the superstructure through weak compressible strata or through water onto stiffer or more compact and less-compressible soils or onto rocks. They may be required to carry uplift loads when used to support tall structures subjected to overturning forces – from winds or waves. Piles used in marine structures are subjected to lateral loads from the impact of berthing ships and from waves. Combinations of vertical and horizontal loads are carried where piles are used to support retaining walls, bridge piers and abutments and machinery foundations.