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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 F

Failure of a Pile Foundation 1. The movement of the pile foundation or any part thereof, either as vertical settlement or laterraly, to such an extent that objectionable damage results to the structure supported by the foundation.
2. Failure of a pile or piles to pass a load test.
Fairlead Block, ring or pulley used to guide a load line and ensure that the line winds smoothly around a drum.
False Pile 1. Temporary piles used to support falsework in construction of cast-in-place concrete bridges or for supporting superstructure units until they are bolted, riveted or welded in place or otherwise self-supporting in the permanent structure.
2. Piles used for temporary bridges, cofferdams, and pile templates. Reusable wood or steel pile is the usual material.
Falsework A system of temporary piles, temporary walers and bracing, or a prefabricated structure to support elements of a permanent structure during construction.
Fascine 1. A long bundle of sticks of wood bound together and used for such purposes as filling ditches and making parapets.
2. Woven willow mattress used alogn river banks and during river pier construction to minimize scour.
Fault A planar fracture in the otherwise continuous rock of the earth's crust.
Fender A protective system built to prevent marine traffic from damaging bridge piers and docks.
Fender Cap A horizontal member resting on and framed to the top or side of fender piles.
Fender Log A floating log or timber used to hold ships away from dock. (aka Camel)
Fender Pile Treated wooden pile and timbers used in a fender system except that untreated piles are often used for ferry slips. Also called Guard Pile.
Fender System Piles and/or timbers used as guides adjacent to a bridge opening or dock and alogn the face of a wharf, seawall or other waterfront structures to absorb shock from impact and minimize damage to both structure and vessel.
Fibre Rope A general term applied to manila, jute, thistle and other similar threads used in making rope.
Fill 1. Soil placed in an excavation or other area to raise the surface elevation or to provide a more stable base. Fill soils are usually selected for low compressability and good stability.
2. Structural earth fill refers to material which is placed and compacted in layers under carefully controlled conditions to achieve a uniform and dense soil mass which is capable of supporting structural loading. See also Backfill.
Filler See Adapter.
Filter Cake A coating of natural soil or bentonite suspension which lines the walls of an excavation, particularly in permeable ground, where bentonite slurry has been used as a stabalizing medium during its construction.
Final Blow Count The number of blows per inch, foot or other unit length of measure at whcih the driving of the pile or soil sampling device was stopped.
Final Set The net penetration a pile moves under one blow or a specified series of blows at the end of driving.(Reciprocal of final blow count.)
Fines or Fine-Grained Refers to silt and clay-sized particles which exist in a soil mixture. See Coarse-Grained Soils.
Fish Plates Steel plates or timbers bolted across a joint to make a splice.
Fish Tail Bit 1. A device shaped like a fish tail to better utilize jetting water.
2. A reaming bit used on the end of a flight auger.
Fish Tails See Pants, Hammer.
Fixed Jaws The fixed jaw is the jaw on the clamp of the vibratory pile driver/extractor that is bolted to the clamp and does not move.
Fixed Leads Pile driving leads attached to the boom point of the crane, with or without a spotter. Can only be moved fore or aft for batter pile.
Floating Pile Driver A barge-mounted pile driver.
Flowline The path of travel traced by moving water as it flows through a soil mass.
Flownet A graphical method used to study the hypothetical flow of water through a soil. It is utilized to indicate the paths of travel followed by moving water and the hydraulic pressures resulting from such water flow.
Fluid Cylinder The cylinder in which steam or air acts upon the piston (the top cylinder in double-acting mechanical-valve and single-acting hammers and the middle cylinder in double-acting fluid-valve hammers).
Fluid Power Steam, air conbustion gases or hydraulic oil used to move the ram of the hammer to drive the pile. Also called Motive Fluid.
Fluid-Valve Hammer A hammer in which the valve is thrown by fluid pressure.
Fly Ash A hard, concrete residue from coal combustion often used as an admixture in concrete.
Flying Forms A system whereby a large section of slab forms is removed with a crane and moved to the next pour location.
Flying Hammer See Free Hanging Hammer.
Follow Block or Cap See Drive Cap.
Follower A member interposed between a pile hammer and a pile to transmit blows when the pile head is below the reach of the hammer. Also called Dolly.
Foot of a Pile The lower end of a driven pile, pile tip.
Foot-Pound Blow The energy in foot-pounds deilvered byper blow by the ram of a pile hammer.
Footer See Footing.
Footing Type of foundation typically installed at a shallow depth and constructed to provide an rea of bearing on the supporting soil or rock.
Fore Batter Batter where the bottom of the pile is inclined away from the pile driver. Also called Positive Batter or Forward Batter.
Foreman, Pile The supervisor of a pile crew.
Form Oil Paraffin oil or other manufactured products applied to a form to prevent adhesion of concrete to the form.
Form Stop See Bulkhead.
Form Tie A wire or metal crosstie used to hold the pressure of wet concrete and maintain the proper wall thickness.
Forward Near or at the fron or bow of the boat or barge.
Foundation Primary support for a structure through which the imposed load is transmitted to the footing or earth.
Foundation Pile A relatively long, slender column installed in the ground to support from friction along its periphery and/or end bearing on firm material.
Framing Square Gauge A device attached to a framing square to secure accuracy when laying out material.
Franki Pile A propietary pile utilizing a compacted concrete expanded base. A Pressure Injected Footing.
Free Pile A pile that is not guided by leads or by a template but is driven freely with either a flying hammer or a vibratory pile driver/extractor not supported by leads. Free piles must be installed with a Pile Safety Line attached. The Pile Safety Line should not be removed until the pile is driven to a point of self support or at least 50% of the length of the pile. Please see Driving Plan and Pile Safety Line and Driving Theater.
Free-Hanging Hammer 1. A pile hammer held by a crane line, without leads and used to drive a supported pile. Also called Flying Hammer, swinging hammer, or wild hammer.
2. Vibratory hammers operate in this manner.
Free-Hanging Leads Pile driver leads hung off of one of the crane lifting lines.
Freeboard The portion of a piling wall that extends above the water line.
Freeze The characteristic of a pile to attain an increase in load-carrying capacity after driving or during interruptions in driving due to soil pore-water pressure changes, soil remolding, stress redistributions in the soil and others. Also called Set-Up.
French Drain Stones placed in a trench to form a space for surplus water while it percolates into the soil.
Fresh Head Squaring the end of the pile with a torch before attaching another length of pile, or to obtain a square driving surface.
Friction Collar/Clamp Two members bolted together around a pile to cary the load by friction. Made of steel or wood.
Friction Pile Pile driven until friction between pile surface and soil are great enough to support loads placed on them. Used when firm bearing is too deep to provide support for a bearing pile.
Friction/End-Bearing Pile A pile that achieves support from the combination of side friction developed between the side surface of the pile and the soils through which it is driven.
Frost Heave See Heave.
Frost Line The depth below the surface to which moisture filled soils may freeze. Foundations must be carried to below the frost line to minimize danger of frost heave. Also called Frost Penetration

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