Within the framework of an European research project focused on the development of safe buckling design rules specific to embedded tubular piles, reduced scale experiments have been planned in order to provide the indispensable experimental basis for consolidating and refining numerical approaches. A large cylindrical test bin (1.7 m in diameter and 3 m high) made of steel was designed to be used as container filled with dry brussellian sand with a vertically embedded tubular pile. This paper describes the objectives of these reduced scale experiments including the design of the test bin, the procedure followed to install the sand and comments on the procedure proposed for the experiments. As a first part of the project, a benchmark test with a partially instrumented tube has been carried out, including a set of measurements (8 strain gages along the tube, below and above the sand surface, 1 displacement transducer). Axial, lateral and torque loading tests were performed with the tube either filled with sand or empty. Results of these tests are also presented.


Since spring 2004, a European research project called ETIB (for Enhanced Economy of Tubular Piles by Improved Buckling Design) has been started. This project involving researchers from different industries (ProfilARBED S.A, Rautaruuki Oyi and RDCS) and universities (Université Catholique de Louvain and University of Karlsruhe) concerns the development of safe buckling design rules specific to embedded tubular piles. The strategy of the project consists in setting several methods in motion whose results will be coordinated in an interactive and synergetic way : numerical modeling and approaches, reduced scale experiments and field data analyses. The laboratory testing program is carried out to consolidate and refine the numerical models and to solidify the factual basis of the proposed improved design method.

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