City Research Online

Novel experimental technique to model impression piles in centrifuge testing

Lalicata, L. M., Ritchie, E., Stallebrass, S. E. ORCID: 0000-0002-3747-9524 & McNamara, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3452-0800 (2023). Novel experimental technique to model impression piles in centrifuge testing. International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics, 24(2), pp. 78-91. doi: 10.1680/jphmg.22.00065


A novel experimental technology for small-scale centrifuge tests on piled foundations has been investigated. The technology is suitable for bored piles where the pile shaft has been profiled to improve bearing capacity, such as with the impression pile which has an enhanced shaft capacity owing to the small impressions created along the shaft. In previous centrifuge testing, impression piles have been created by pouring resin into a profiled bore. However, in the technique described, a pile made from three-dimensionally (3D)-printed rigid plastic components with a mandrel mechanism is used to create a nodular shaft surface during model making. Once assembled the pile has the same geometry as the cast-in-situ impression pile. 3D-printed plastic piles allow for fast model making and demonstrate excellent repeatability. Because of the ductile behaviour of the soil–plastic interface the impressions improve the performance of a pile over the entire load settlement curve, not just at ultimate capacity. In addition, a greater increase in ultimate capacity was registered for the 3D-printed plastic impression piles compared to similar resin impression piles. At working load, the 3D-printed plastic impression piles outperformed traditional straight-shafted piles by 90%.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published in International Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics by ICE Publishing, available at:
Publisher Keywords: centrifuge modelling, interfaces, piles & piling, stiffness, UN SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Departments: School of Science & Technology
School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of jphmg-PPR-Accepted.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 15 November 2024 due to copyright restrictions.

To request a copy, please use the button below.

Request a copy


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login