Thermo-mechanical performance of energy pile groups

Employing geostructures as structural supports and geomaterials as reservoirs for the extraction and storage of heat represent effective means to meet human activity needs since ancient times. This doctoral thesis focuses on the thermo-mechanical behaviour and performance of an innovative, multifunctional technology that couples the aforementioned roles for the structural support and energy supply of any type of built environment, i.e., energy piles. The multifunctional role of energy piles involves mechanical and thermal loads applied to such geostructures. These loads pose unprecedented challenges to engineers because they cause variations in the temperature, stress, deformation and displacement in the subsurface that need to be considered during analysis and design. Prior to this work, a substantial amount of research had been made available to address the thermo-mechanical performance of single energy piles. Design guidance has also been proposed to advise in the geotechnical and structural design of such geostructures. However, energy pile foundations do not consist of a single energy pile but of a group of energy piles. In this framework, (i) limited knowledge, if available, was present to address the thermo-mechanical behaviour and performance of energy pile groups subjected to thermal and mechanical loads; (ii) no simplified models and methods were accessible to perform the analysis and design of energy pile groups against the action of such loads; and (iii) no comprehensive framework for the effect of thermal (and mechanical) loads on the performance and the related design of both single and groups of energy piles was avail-able. To address such challenges, this doctoral research was performed to (i) investigate the thermo-mechanical behaviour and performance of energy pile groups over typical time-scales of practical applications via the first available in situ tests and coupled numerical analyses of such geostructures; (ii) provide the only simplified analytical models and methods for predicting the vertical deformation of energy pile groups subjected to thermal and mechanical loads; and (iii) propose a comprehensive framework for the effect of thermal and mechanical loads on the performance and related performance-based design (e.g., geotechnical and structural) of single and groups of energy piles. The results presented in this thesis suggest the conclusion that (a) the thermo-mechanical behaviour and performance of energy pile groups are critically different from those of single energy piles; (b) thermal loads, applied alone or in conjunction to mechanical loads, represent a serviceability and not an ultimate limit state problem; and (c) no energy pile analysis and design can be considered complete without addressing the behaviour of piles as both isolated elements and in a group.


Advisor(s):
Laloui, Lyesse
Year:
2018
Publisher:
Lausanne, EPFL
Keywords:
Laboratories:
LMS


Note: The status of this file is: EPFL only


 Record created 2018-02-28, last modified 2019-12-05

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