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Glossary of Piledriving and Foundation Construction Terms

Welcome to the APE Gloassary for piledriving and foundation construction terms. This is a great place to look for terms that you may be unfamiliar with when working with or researching piledriving technologies. This glossary also contains terms unrelated to piledriving, but that are frequently used on and around foundation construction projects. If you have a question or have term that you would like to add and do not know who to call please contact the APE Headquarters in Washington at (800) 248-8498. Business hours are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time. For less immediate inquiries, or if you would like an APE sales representitive to get in contact with you, please visit the APE Contact Request Form.

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Letter A

A-Frame See: brace
A/E or E/A Abbreviation for Architech/Engineer or vice versa.
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.
Abutment A structure supporting the shore end of a bridge; a supporting wall carrying the end of a bridge or span and generally sustaining the pressure of the abutting earth. The abutment of an arch is sometimes called a bench wall.
ACI American Concrete Institute
Adapter Structural fabrication or casting placed in a helmet to adjust to a different type or size of pile
Adsorbed Water Water boind to soil particles because of the attraction between electrical charges existing on soil partical surface and (dipole) water molecules.
Advance Splicer Trade name for a tapered steel unit for connecting pipe piles by driven friction.
Adz/Adze A long-handled cutting tool with a thin arched blade that is perpendicular to the handle. Used for rough dressing timber.
Aft Batter Driving a pile at an angle from the vertical where the bottom of the pile is inclined toward the crane. (same as: Negative Batter.)
Air Port The ports on a diesel hammer which serve as air intake and exhaust ports.
Air/Steam Hammer Impact pile driver powered by compressed air or steam; action of machine may be single, double, differential or compound.
Airlift A pressure method of cleaning loose material out of an open-ended cased pile, caisson or cofferdam cell. Usually compressed air is introduced into the water at the bottom of the casing via a small pipe inside a larger pipe. Air is directed upward out of the larger pipe; this upward flow tends to lift material in the pile.
All Thread Round steel rod threaded from one end to the other. Can be cut to any length needed for making long bolts. Comes in different sizes(diameters).
Allowable Pile Load The load permitted on any vertical or batter pile applied concentrically along its axis. It is the least value determined from the structural capacity of the pile as a structural member; the allowable load based on penetration;the capacity demonstrated by load test divided by a safety factor; or basic maximum load prescribed by the applicable or design standard or code.
Alluvium A fine deposit of earth, sand, gravel and other transported materials which have been washed in and deposited by rivers, floods or other causes to rest on land, not permanently submerged.
Anchor Bolt A bolt anchored to rock or concrete to hold down structures or other objects.
Anchor Pile 1. Piles driven behind retaining walls, and beyond the area where soil may slip, to which tie-back rods or cables are attached. Also called the Deadman.
2. Piles driven near test pile to anchol jacking beam thereto (also called Reaction Pile). See Soil Anchor.
Angle Iron Guides See Side Channels
Anode The positive charged electrode used with CATHODES (the negatively charged electrode) to control electrolysis.
Anvil 1. The part of a pile hammer seated directly under the ram which transmits the blow of the ram to the pile or to the drive cap (also called the Impact Block).
2. Steel plate on top of cushion material in drive cap which impact block strikes. Also called Anvil Block, Penny, Striker Plate or Top Plate.
APE, A.P.E. American Piledriving Equipment, Inc. U.S. manufacturer of pile driving equipment. Specializes in vibratory pile drivers, diesel hammers, drills, pile driving leads and spotters and related deep foundation construction equipment. Largest user of hydraulic vegetable oil in the world. Owns newest and largest rental fleet of deep foundation equipment in the USA.
Apprentice A person learning a trade working in the field with a journeyman and attending classes in an approved apprenticeship program.
Apron See Brace.
Arch Web A type of sheet pile. It is shaped like an arch. (aka, Corner Sheet)
Artesian Water Subsurface water which has sufficient pressure to raise the water in wells above the groundwater table.
ASCE American Society of Civil Engineers.
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials.
Atomization, Impact A type of fuel atomization used in a deisel hammer in which the raw fuel injected and trapped between the ram and the anvil is atomized by impact of the ram on the impact block. The hammer normally will have a time delay between impact and combustion.
Atomization, Injection A type of fuel atomization used in a deisel hammer in which the fuel is atomized by an injector. Combustion will normally occur prior to impact.
Atterberg Limits The Liguid limit, plastic limit, and shrinkage limit for soil. The water content where the soil behavior changes from the liquid to the plastic state is the liquid limit; from the plastic to the semi-solid state is the plastic limit and from the semi-solid state to the solid state is the shrinkage limit. For method of test see: Liquid Limit ASTM D423; Plastic Limit D424; Shrinkage Limit D427.
Auger 1. A helically shaped corkscrew-like tool with a power driving head on top and cutting head on the bottom designed to bore holes in the earth by drilling, either with or without the supplementary use of water.
2. A hand operated soil sampler.
Auger Flights Sections of a continuous flight auger "quick-coupled" together to form a continuous auger. See Continuous Flight Auger.
Auger Grout Pile Pile formed by boring a hole with an auger and placing pressurized grout in the hole through the hollow center of the auger. The auger is withdrawn at a steady rate as the grout is placed. (aka, Auger Cast Pile)
Augercast A proprietary Augered Pile. High strength grout is forced down the center of a flight auger to form a shaft as the auger is with drawn.
Augered Pile Concrete pile cast-in-place in an augered hole, which may be belled at the bottom. Suitable where soil is dry and hole will stand open. Also called Drilled Pier, Drilled Shaft. See Augercast.
AWPA, American Wood-Preservers' Association Primary standards writing body for pressure treatment of wood, including pressure-treated timber piling. American Wood Preservers Institute provides technical assistance and use specifications. American Wood Preservers Bureau is concerned with quality control of pressure treated wood.
AWS American Welding Society.

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