Publication Abstract

DFI - PFSF Piling & Ground Improvement Conference 2022 Proceedings, (DFI and PFSF)

Construction and Stability Risks for Fluid Supported Deep Excavations and Their Effects on Design Parameters
Martin D. Larisch

The construction of diaphragm walls and most large-diameter bored piles (piers) is often carried out under drilling support fluids to temporarily stabilise the excavation prior to concrete placement. In most cases such fluids are either mineral-based slurries (bentonite) or polymer support fluids. The working mechanisms of these two fluid types are fundamentally different. Designers need to consider possible fluid-related impacts on the permanent design performance of the project-specific deep foundations as well as for the temporary excavation stage during construction. Robust design methods for bentonite slurry-supported excavations have been developed in the last few decades and the working principles and associated risks of such mineral-based slurries are understood reasonably well. However, such methods have not been developed in detail for polymer-based drilling fluids. This document provides a brief overview of the main characteristics of bentonite- and polymer-based drilling fluids as a guide for construction practitioners and design engineers alike. The paper also highlights some common construction risks related to casing installation and the selection of suitable fluid systems for different ground conditions. Typical defects caused by the incorrect application of drilling support fluids, and their pro-active mitigation, are discussed, too. In addition, the basic concepts of stability calculations for bentonite fluid-supported deep excavations are briefly introduced and their applicability for other fluid types such as polymer-based support fluids or water are reviewed.

 article #3835; publication #1076 (IC-2021)