Pile driving, a commonly used method for installing deep foundations, has gained prominence as a foundation solution to transfer structural loads to deep competent strata. However, this method of installation can generate noise, ground vibrations, and deformations. These effects pose risks to adjacent structures and buried utilities, jeopardizing the safety and serviceability of urban infrastructure. Researchers and public and private agencies have proposed many vibration limit criteria to avoid damage to infrastructure. However, these criteria for construction vibrations are not linked to the ground densification associated with repetitive and cumulative loadings in sandy soils. This dissertation focuses on developing a prediction semi-empirical model to determine ground deformations and vibrations induced by impact pile driving in granular soil deposits. Field data of ground deformations and vibrations were collected by monitoring 13 project sites in Central Florida during the installation of precast prestressed concrete piles using impact hammers. A continuous pile driving modeling approach, in which the pile is driven without any interruption to a final target depth, was coupled with an Updated Lagrangian approach in the numerical framework. An advanced constitutive soil model (i.e., hypoplasticity for sands enhanced with the intergranular strain concept) capable of reproducing changes in the soil void ratio during pile driving was adopted by computationally matching the nonlinear behavior of the granular layer with published shear modulus degradation curves. A critical highly disturbed zone was defined due to the computed soil liquefaction. The developed prediction model is validated with field data, previously published vibration attenuation curves, and vibration-induced ground surface settlement prediction methods in terms of its ability to estimate ground vibrations and deformations induced by impact pile driving in this study. Semi-empirical equations and charts are proposed using a combination of field measurements and numerical analyses to consider the following variables for the ground response due to impact pile driving operations: (1) rated energy of the hammer, (2) scaled distance from the pile, (3) pre-drilling depth, and (4) soil relative void ratio, which is related to relative density. The findings indicated that large ground deformations can occur even in cases where vibration levels (i.e., peak particle velocities) do not exceed the vibration limits.


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Graduation Date





Arboleda Monsalve, Luis


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering


CFE0009808; DP0027916





Release Date

August 2023

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)