Term of Award

Fall 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science, Civil Engineering

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Civil Engineering and Construction

Committee Chair

Soonkie Nam

Committee Member 1

Xiaoming Yang

Committee Member 2

Junan Shen


Driven piles at project sites get their load bearing capacity from side friction along the driven lengths as well as from end resistance. Pilot holes is a pile driving assistance method used to aid driving displacement piles through hard/ dense layers and rock. These pilot holes can be a size smaller or larger than the pile that is to be installed. The pilot hole is first drilled down to a specific depth. The use of a pilot hole reduces the “end bearing” and “side resistance” within the drilled zone and aids the driving of the pile. This process also complicates the prediction of long-term pile capacity. Two of the major unknowns that accompany the use of the pilot hole is the reduction of end bearings as it pertains to pile driving within the zona and the reduction of side friction. The objective of this project was to identify and document the relationship between the load capacity of piles installed with pilot holes specifically into rock and their design parameters with respect to the pilot hole geometry, rock socket geometry, geological properties, and installation method. As well to develop a reliable LRFD design procedure that incorporates proper resistance factors, and a field verification method for quality assurance of rock. To complete the objectives what was needed to compile best practice methods available on the subject on pilot holes. This included a literature review, a survey with State Highway agencies, some field testing and instrumentation, a review of past projects and testing data, and preparing a final report with recommendations.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material