Pile foundations are classified under deep foundations. A pile is a slender column made of wood, concrete or steel. A pile is either driven into the soil or formed in situ by excavating a hole and then filling it with concrete. A group of piles are driven to the required depth and are capped with R.C.C. slab, over which super structure is built. The pile transfer the load to soil by friction or by direct bearing, in the latter case, piles being taken up to hard strata. This type of foundations is used when top soil is not capable of taking the load of the structure even at 3–4 m depth. Pile foundations are classified according to the materials used and also on the nature of load transfer.
CLASSIFICATION OF PILE FOUNDATION BASED ON MATERIALS USED
 TIMBER PILES
Circular seasoned wood can be used as piles. Their diameter may vary from 200 mm to 400 mm. Similarly square piles of sizes 200 mm to 400 mm are also used. The length of timber pile should not be more than 20 times its lateral dimension. The bottom of the pile is sharpened and is provided with iron shoe, so that it can be driven in the ground easily by hammering.
These piles should be always kept below water table; otherwise alternating wet and dry condition cause the decay. These piles are cheap and can be easily driven rapidly. The main disadvantage is their load carrying capacity is low and are likely to be damaged during driving in the soil
 CONCRETE PILES
These piles may be further classified as precast piles and cast in situ piles. Precast piles are reinforced with steel and are manufactured in factories. The cross-section diameter/dimension varies from 200 mm to 500 mm. Square, circular and octagonal sections are commonly used. The length of piles may be up to 20 m. They are provided with steel shoe at the lowest end.
These piles can carry fairly large loads. These piles are highly resistant to biological and chemical actions of the soil. The disadvantage of these piles is they need more time to manufacture and are heavy to handle. Cast in situ concrete piles are formed first by boring the holes in the soil and then concreting them. Concreting is usually made using casing tubes.
If the hole is filled with only plain concrete it is pressure pile. The load carrying capacity of the piles may be increased by providing enlarged base. The reinforcement caging may be inserted in the bored holes and to increase load carrying capacity one or two under reams may be formed. After that concreting may be carried out. Such piles are known as under reamed piles. These piles are provided at regular interval of 2 to 4 m and capping beam is provided over them.
 STEEL PILES
A steel pile may be a rolled steel I sections, tubes or fabricated in the form of box. These piles are mostly used as bearing piles since surface available for friction is less and also the coefficient of friction is less. If tubes are used the soil inside the tube is driven out by compressed air and concrete is filled. These piles are very useful for driving close to existing structures since they disturb the soil least.
 COMPOSITE PILES
Composite piles may be of concrete and timber or of concrete and steel. Wooden piles should not be subjected to alternating wet and dry conditions. Hence they are preferred for the portion below water table. The portion above water table are built with cast in situ concrete piles. If the required length of steel piles is less than the depth of pile, many times upper portions are built with concrete. Thus steel and concrete composite piles are sometimes used.
CLASSIFICATION OF PILE FOUNDATION ACCORDING TO LOADS TRANSFER
 BEARING PILES
Bearing piles rest on hard strata and transfer the load by bearing. Such piles are preferred. These piles are used if the hard strata is available at reasonable depth.
 FRICTION PILES
Friction piles transfer the load to the soil by the friction between soil and the pile. Such piles are used if hard strata is not available to a considerable depth. The friction developed is to be properly assessed before deciding the length of the pile. The surface of such piles is made rough to increase the skin friction so that required length of pile is reduced.
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