Publication Abstract




Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference on Deep Foundations, 2012, Houston, TX, USA, (DFI)

Analysis and Performance of Sheet Pile Cofferdam under Demolition Blast Loads
Michael Oakland, John Mould, Gordon Chen, William McElwee

This paper will discuss the design analysis of sheet pile cofferdams for static and dynamic blast loads. Following construction of the new Willis Avenue Bridge across the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan, in-river piers No. 9 and No. 10 from the former bridge were demolished, partially by explosive charges. The blast at Pier 10 was conducted first and though the demolition charge was relatively small, it gave confidence that the sheeting could be designed to resist the blast load. This paper primarily summarizes our analysis and performance of a sheet pile cofferdam at Pier 9 used to withstand the larger blast loads, contain the blast debris, and allow excavation of the pier below the existing river bed mudline. The program NLFlex was used to predict stresses and deformations of the cofferdams under dynamic blast loads, using simplified equations to estimate the underwater blast pressures. Specifically, the analysis focused on the stresses in the struts, waler beam, sheet pile interlocks and connection of the sheeting to the waler beam. Design included allowing plastic deformations and limited rupture of the sheet pile interlocks under the blast loading. Comparisons are made between stresses assessed by the dynamic finite element modeling and empirical relationships used within the industry. The performance of the system after the actual blast is discussed as well as details of the performance of welded vs. bolted connections within the system.


 article #1856; publication #99 (AM-2012)