How Diesel Hammers Build Skyscrapers Written by Dave Greene

Dave Greene:

A visit to a typical construction site where a pile driver is present results in a sound very familiar to those in or out of the construction industry. Because diesel hammer pile driving equipment "hammers" in the pile, a repetitive and rhythmic bang will be heard until the process of driving piles is complete.

The common misconception about standard pile driving diesel hammers is that the machine operates like a hammer driving a wooden stake into the ground. Many often wonder how the pile remains intact and how its structural integrity is not compromised by the repetitive hammering in the head of the pile. A similar action with a wooden stake and a hammer produces splintering when the stakes encounter a certain threshold of resistance. The truth is that although a heavy weight is stationed above the pile, the pile actually never experiences a direct blow from the weight. Instead, a process involving energy transfer actually occurs; which introduces the pile from physically contacting the piston on the machine responsible for its insertion into the ground.

In modern day a diesel hammer engine "drives" the pile utilizing a process to prevent damage to the pile. The weight of the machine is a piston which functions in the same manner that a car's engine uses a piston; to pressurize air in a chamber. The piston is raised to its maximum predetermined height and then released. The result produces air that is in the chamber to become compressed. The air is then ignited and the burning of the air mixed with diesel fuel creates energy that is transferred to the pile, forcing it into the ground with each repetitive cycle.

Written By Dave Greene