When choosing sheet pile sections, account must be tanken of criteria with respect to both strength and the installation procedure. If the sheet piles are intended to form simply a watertight barrier, i.e without any earth-retaining function, the choice of profiles will be based exclusively on installation and watertightness criteria. If, on the other hand, the sheet pile wall fulfils an earth-retaining function, the choice of profile will be based primarily on its geometrical characteristics. Obviously the designer will take account of other criteria(type of soil, installation procedure,etc.)which will determine the maximunm sheet pile lengths that will not give rise to driving problems.
Together, the cross-section of an embankment and the profile chosen for a sheet pile wall will elicit a number of possible solutions. These will depend on whether the project is for flood defence or bank protection, and on the characteristics of the site. It is therefore impossible to list design methods with universal values here. This chapter serves chiefly to present a series of fundamental principles which design engineers can bring to bear on their project.
The loads to which a sheet pile wall is exposed generally consist of pressures exerted jointly by earth and water. As far as hydraulic pressure is concerned, an analysis restricted to the design flood is generally insufficient. Strength and stability are often governed by rapid drawdown of water after a relatively long period of flooding.
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