Slurry Method of Construction - Drilled Pier Foundations.

The slurry method of construction involves the use of a prepared slurry to keep the bore hole stable for the entire depth of excavation. The soil conditions for which the slurry displacement method is applicable could be any of the conditions described for the casing method. The slurry method is a viable option at any site where there is a caving soil, and it could be the only feasible option in a permeable, water bearing soil if it is impossible to set a casing into a stratum of soil or rock with low permeability. The various steps in the construction process are shown in Fig. 17.9. It is essential in this method that a sufficient slurry head be available so that the inside pressure is greater than that from the GWT or from the tendency of the soil to cave.

Bentonite is most commonly used with water to produce the slurry. Polymer slurry is also employed. Some experimentation may be required to obtain an optimum percentage for a site, but amounts in the range of 4 to 6 percent by weight of admixture are usually adequate.

The bentonite should be well mixed with water so that the mixture is not lumpy. The slurry should be capable of forming a filter cake on the side of the bore hole. The bore hole is generally not underreamed for a bell since this procedure leaves unconsolidated cuttings on the base and creates a possibility of trapping slurry between the concrete base and the bell roof.

If reinforcing steel is to be used, the rebar cage is placed in the slurry as shown in Fig 17.9(b).

After the rebar cage has been placed, concrete is placed with a tremie either by gravity feed or by pumping. If a gravity feed is used, the bottom end of the tremie pipe should be closed with a closure plate until the base of the tremie reaches the bottom of the bore hole, in order to prevent contamination of the concrete by the slurry. Filling of the tremie with concrete, followed by subsequent slight lifting of the tremie, will then open the plate, and concreting proceeds. Care must be taken that the bottom of the tremie is buried in concrete at least for a depth of 1.5 m (5 ft). The sequence of operations is shown in Fig 17.9(a) to (d).

Figure 17.9 Slurry method of construction (a) drilling to full depth with slurry;
(b) placing rebar cage; (c) placing concrete; (d) completed shaft (O'Neill and
Reese, 1999)

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