Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Engineering (Research)


Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

Kieran Ruane


Driven precast concrete segmental piles are a popular foundation solution. Segmental pile systems incorporate connections into the pile, therefore it is important to be confident that the strength of the pile joints is comparable to that of the pile cross-section.

The primary objective of the research was to examine the behaviour of connections in segmental precast concrete pile systems. This was achieved by undertaking a literature review, laboratory testing and Finite Element Analysis (FEA).

The uses of segmental concrete pile systems are described and a review of the available pile joints is given. A review of the relevant design codes was undertaken. The literature review highlighted that the structural competence of connections in precast segmental pile connection is an issue for concern. There was a limited amount of scientific literature found on the topic. A programme of laboratory testing was developed to test a common pile joint under combined axial load and bending moment. The laboratory programme comprised the testing of a number of joints under constant axial load and increasing the bending moment until failure. A 3D non-linear FEA of the joint was undertaken and the results compared to the laboratory testing. Failure of the test specimen was attributed to the concrete cross section in both the laboratory test and the FEA. It was found that the joint was structurally sound and did not deform plastically in either the FEA or the laboratory testing. However, it was observed in the laboratory testing that the effect of the bending moment on the connection caused exposure of the reinforcing steel at the joint. This may be a cause for concern for the long term durability of the pile joint.

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