Dynamic load testing on hardwood piles in Guyana.

Testconsult were recently invited to dynamic load test greenheart hardwood piles on a power station project in the capital of Guyana, South America. The project utilised the abundant local timber resource to form the foundations for a power station which is expected to improve the intermittent supply of electricity to the outlying coastal regions and the interior of the country.

Guyana is one of the only places in the world to grow the greenheart timber used as piles and its physical properties are exceptional. With densities approaching that of water at 970 kg/mit barely floats!

Site and environmental conditions were certainly very different to UK standards and pile testing engineer Alex Whittaker was assured by the project manager that the site would be cleared of Caymans prior to his arrival!

Continuous heavy tropical rainfall was the norm on the visit and the site was often flooded, requiring excavations to be pumped out continuously. The SIMBAT equipment, although designed for use on concrete piles, was specially adapted for the project using steel back plates for the strain gauges which were then fixed to the timber pile. Pile load bearing capacity on the 22m timber piles was found to be similar to concrete piles although with a slightly higher elastic displacement as would be expected.

For further information on SIMBAT dynamic pile testing contact one of our offices.