The process of pile driving has been a commonly used method for the installation of deep foundations in Central Florida due to the soil conditions that consist mainly of medium-dense silty sands. Pile driving can generate large vibration levels that might potentially trigger ground deformations in the surrounding soils and cause damage on nearby structures. Currently, design and construction standards provide guidance in terms of ground vibration levels expected during pile driving and establish vibration thresholds to avoid damage on important infrastructure. However, little insight has been given into the amount of ground deformations that soils experience due to pile driving induced vibrations. This phenomenon becomes important when repetitive and cumulative loading cycles are applied in sandy soils. The main goal of this thesis is to investigate numerical modeling alternatives capable of predicting ground deformations caused by pile driving performed in Central Florida soils. Field data obtained from different construction sites in Central Florida are used to understand the expected ground deformations and their relationships with ground vibration levels. Common construction practices in the area are also analyzed from the reported field data. Two numerical modeling approaches previously used in the literature are compared with data measured in the field to determine the most suitable alternative to numerically analyze and predict ground deformations. Subsequently, a numerical study of the effects of the different variables involved in this problem on expected ground vibrations and deformations is presented. These variables include the type of pile and its dimensions, the driving hammer and its transmitted energy to the pile, and the dynamic properties of the soils in terms of attenuation characteristics and densification potential. It is concluded that in cases where vibration levels comply with the thresholds defined by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) large ground deformations can still occur depending on the above-mentioned site-specific variables. In terms of numerical modeling alternatives, a continuous modeling approach offered a better estimation of the stress field generated by pile driving than a discontinuous approach. This allows for better determination of the strains within the soil continuum leading to better ground deformation predictions.


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Graduation Date





Arboleda Monsalve, Luis


Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering; Structures and Geotechnical Engineering









Release Date

August 2021

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)