Gauges and Algorithm to Measure Deep Foundation Construction Conditions in Real-Time

Technology #13653

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing gauges and an algorithm that measure important deep-foundation construction variables in real time. Larger structures, such as bridges or tall buildings, often require foundations that stretch deep into the ground. To create one common kind of deep foundation, builders drive pile (almost like a long pole) into the ground to provide structural support, and to compact and strengthen the soil. They use various monitoring systems to measure and adjust the course of a driven pile and other “in situ” (“on location”) driven instruments. However, these systems do not provide immediate feedback regarding the conditions of the pile at its tip in the ground and often do not measure important variables such as inertia, damping and static-tip resistance. University of Florida researchers have developed a monitoring system that addresses these issues. The system combines algorithms with unobtrusive gauges placed near the tip of a pile or within the pile itself, allowing operators to receive real-time feedback about the conditions of the pile and the ground that it is penetrating.


Gauges and coupled algorithm detect deep foundation conditions in real time


  • Provides immediate feedback about deep-foundation conditions, enabling operators to adjust course as they work and increase efficiency
  • Measures a wide variety of variables including force equilibrium and static tip resistance, providing operators with the most detailed information
  • Compatible with several existing pile designs, allowing for rapid adoption


Once planners determine that a structure will require a deep foundation in construction, a geotechnical engineer may choose among many types of deep foundations including piles, piers and drilled shafts. University of Florida researchers have developed a system that measures important variables such as resistance in methods that are used ‘in situ’, or on location. For example, operators may attach one or more gauges to a pile or embed the gauges within the pile tip. These gauges provide real- time information about conditions near the bottom of the pile, where resistance and force are prime considerations. In one function, the system employs force equilibrium and conservation of energy using a genetic algorithm to determine the static tip resistance in response to a dynamic event such as impact. The received data help operators to decide on the spot whether to stop driving the pile, cut off the pile or splice the pile, as appropriate to the situation.