Modern sheet piling was actually first and initially developed back in 1902 by Tryggve Larssen. Larssen was a Bremen based building surveyor employed by the government and actually invented the first rolled sheet sections which featured channels. A standing testament (no pun intended) to his invention, Larssen’s first sheet walls to be put to permanent use are in fact still going strong today.
Consequently, sheet piling has revolutionised the way buildings and bridges are made and today it can be used both as a temporary measure to fortify and secure walls built into water and the earth in order for supports and permanent structures to be built and placed and as a permanent measure.
To learn more about sheet piling, its types and as well about its most standard uses head over to the website of the UK’s leading nationwide contractor, Sheet Piling UK. Meanwhile, to learn more about three of the less obvious but massively important uses sheet piling has been put to over the years and is still, read on.
Whilst sheet piling is often used as a temporary measure, holding back earth and water in order to permit construction teams to build and place permanent structures, walls and supports, it is also used permanently in a number of ways. One of the first uses modern sheet piling was put to and as touched upon already was in waterfront structures.
Today one of the ways sheet piling is still commonly put to use in separating water from earth and creating submerged manmade walls is not only in ports, bays and the ocean though; it is also used in the construction of our canals and manmade waterways here in the UK. As such, sheet piling is something many of us pass daily and rely upon to ensure the banks of our canals are safe for both those travelling by water and as well those using canal towpaths.
To learn more about how UK canals are made and the vital function permanent sheet piling plays in their construction you can do so via the Canal River Trust website and specifically their Canal and River Structures PDF.
- Archaeological Excavations
Of the many temporary uses sheet piling is put to one of the most exciting is in archaeological digs and the excavations of ancient burial sites across the world.
Put to use by archaeologists, sheet piling holds the earth back and prevents the otherwise potential collapse of manmade trenches and pits. This enables archaeologists and experts to safely and extremely carefully explore sites of archaeological interest. It also enables them to move the soil excavated from a site and return it once the dig is over to ensure they cause the least amount of damage to the site and as well to anything found during ‘the dig’.
This is a then one non-construction based use sheet piling is put to that shows its importance; without it our understanding of history, the world and evolution might not after all be what it is today.
To learn more about how and why sheet piling is used by archaeological teams across the globe, visit the Historic England website where you can also find and read their PDF Guide: Piling and Archaeology: Guidelines and Best Practice. You might also want to visit the Council for British Archaeology website as it features the PDF Guide: Large Burial Grounds: Guidance on Sampling in Archaeological Fieldwork Projects which explains more about the importance of what archaeologists exploring burial grounds are doing , why and as well the importance the techniques (such as piling) used in their projects play.
- Enclosing and Containing Contaminated Ground
Another and arguably even more important use pile sheeting is right this minute fulfilling which does not involve a bridge, dam, building, pier or dock having been subsequently constructed is actually to enclose contaminated ground.
In instances in which soil and earth becomes contaminated it can be imperative to stop the contamination from spreading, not just through soaking through the earth, but as well to prevent the insects and organisms living within the earth o spread contamination.
One very famous and tragic example when sheet piling proved invaluable to stem the harm resulting from such a catastrophe and disaster happened in Japan back in 2011. After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami struck the country, a nuclear power plant in Fukoshima became unstable. Equipment and power failures to the plant resulted in nuclear meltdowns which further resulted in radiation leaking from the plant and into the earth and surrounding town. The disaster was the biggest since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster back in 1986.
As reported via the Modern Power Systems website back in 2012, the decontamination and decommission project to try and return Fukoshima once more to a place which has radiation levels deemed safe has been an ongoing project – and one which has involved the use of sheet piling to enclose and separate ground contaminated by the leaked radiation. To learn more about the Fukoshima nuclear disaster, you can do so via the World Nuclear Organisation website.