A simplified design method for energy piles

  • Han-long LiuEmail author
  • Cheng-long Wang
  • Gang-qiang Kong
  • Xuan-ming Ding
  • Abdelmalek Bouazza
Short Communication


This paper introduces a simplified method to investigate the influence of thermal loads on the shaft friction and tip resistance of energy piles. The method is based on the influence factors (λ and η) which are back-calculated drawing on a large number of field and model tests. Values for λ and η during heating and cooling are suggested. Moreover, a new equation is proposed to calculate total shaft friction. The equations concerning the relationship between η and temperature difference are recommended to investigate the impacts of the thermal load on the pile tip resistance. The slope of the linear equation of an end-bearing pile is 2.14 times that of a floating pile indicating that the pile tip resistance of an end-bearing pile is much more affected by the same thermal load.


Design method Energy pile Influence factor Shaft friction Tip resistance 



The authors would like to acknowledge the funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51778212) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51622803).


  1. 1.
    Akrouch GA, Sánchez M, Briaud JL (2014) Thermo-mechanical behavior of energy piles in high plasticity clays. Acta Geotech 9(3):399–412Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Amatya BL, Soga K, Bourne-Webb PJ, Amis T, Laloui L (2012) Thermo-mechanical behaviour of energy piles. Géotechnique 62(6):503–519Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bouazza A, Singh RM, Wang B, Barry-Macaulay D, Haberfield C, Chapman G, Baycan S, Carden Y (2011) Harnessing onsite renewable energy through pile foundations. Aust Geomech 46(4):79–90Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bourne-Webb PJ, Amatya B, Soga K, Amis T, Davidson C (2009) Energy pile test at Lambeth College, London: geotechnical and thermodynamic aspects of pile response to heat cycles. Géotechnique 59(3):237–248Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bourne-Webb PJ, Pereira JM, Bowers GA, Mimouni T, Loveridge FA, Burlon S, Sutman M (2014) Design tools for thermoactive geotechnical systems. DFI J 8(2):121–129Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brandl H (2006) Energy foundations and other thermo-active ground structures. Geotechnique 56(2):81–122Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Burlon S, Habert J, Szymkievicz F, Suryatriyastuti M, Mroueh H (2013) Towards a design approach of bearing capacity of thermo-active piles. In: European geothermal congress, pp 1–6Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Faizal M, Bouazza A, Singh RM (2016) An experimental investigation of the influence of intermittent and continuous operating modes on the thermal behaviour of a full scale geothermal energy pile. Geomech Energy Environ 8:8–29Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Faizal M, Bouazza A, Haberfield C, McCartney JS (2018) Axial and radial thermal responses of a field-scale energy pile under monotonic and cyclic temperature changes. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 144(10):04018072Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Goode J III, McCartney JS (2015) Centrifuge modeling of boundary restraint effects in energy foundations. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 141(8):04015034Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kalantidou A, Tang AM, Pereira J, Hassen G (2012) Preliminary study on the mechanical behaviour of heat exchanger pile in physical model. Géotechnique 62(11):1047–1051Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Knellwolf C, Peron H, Laloui L (2011) Geotechnical analysis of heat exchanger piles. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 137(10):890–902Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kong GQ, Wu D, Liu HL, Laloui L, Cheng XH, Zhu X (2019) Performance of a geothermal energy deicing system for bridge deck using a pile heat exchanger. Int J Energy Res 43(1):596–603Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Laloui L, Nuth M, Vulliet L (2006) Experimental and numerical investigations of the behaviour of a heat exchanger pile. Int J Numer Anal Meth Geomech 30(8):763–781Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Liu HL, Wang CL, Kong GQ, Ng CWW (2018) Model tests on thermo-mechanical behavior of an improved energy pile. Eur J Environ Civ Eng 22(10):1257–1272Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Liu HL, Wang CL, Kong GQ, Bouazza A (2019) Ultimate bearing capacity of energy piles in dry and saturated sand. Acta Geotech 14(3):869–879Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lu HW, Jiang G, Wang H, Hong X, Shi CL, Gong HW, Liu WQ (2017) In situ tests and analysis of mechanical-thermo bearing characteristic of drilled friction geothermal energy pile. Chin J Geotech Eng 39(2):334–342Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    McCartney JS, Murphy KD (2012) Strain distributions in full-scale energy foundation. DFI J 6(2):26–38Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Mimouni T, Laloui L (2014) Towards a secure basis for the design of geothermal piles. Acta Geotech 9(3):355–366Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Murphy KD, McCartney JS, Henry KS (2015) Evaluation of thermo-mechanical and thermal behavior of full-scale energy foundations. Acta Geotech 10(2):1–17Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Murphy KD, McCartney JS (2015) Seasonal response of energy foundations during building operation. Geotech Geol Eng 33(2):343–356Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Ng CWW, Shi C, Gunawan A, Laloui L (2014) Centrifuge modelling of energy piles subjected to heating and cooling cycles in clay. Géotech Lett 4(3):310–316Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ng CWW, Shi C, Gunawan A, Laloui L, Liu HL (2015) Centrifuge modelling of heating effects on energy pile performance in saturated sand. Can Geotech J 52(8):1045–1057Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Nguyen VT, Tang AM, Pereira JM (2017) Long-term thermo-mechanical behavior of energy pile in dry sand. Acta Geotech 12(4):729–737Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Olgun CG, McCartney JS, Loveridge FA, Bowers GA, Coccia CJ, Bouazza A et al (2014) Building codes, green certification and implementation issues, market challenges. DFI J 8(2):84–92Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Rotta Loria AF, Gunawan A, Shi C, Laloui L, Ng CWW (2015) Numerical modelling of energy piles in saturated sand subjected to thermo-mechanical loads. Geomech Energy Environ 1(1):1–15Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Salciarini D, Ronchi F, Tamagnini C (2017) Thermo-hydro-mechanical response of a large piled raft equipped with energy piles: a parametric study. Acta Geotech 12(4):703–728Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stewart MA, McCartney JS (2013) Centrifuge modeling of soil–structure interaction in energy foundations. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 140(4):04013044Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sutman M, Olgun C, Brettmann T (2015) Full-scale field testing of energy piles. In: Iskander M, Suleiman MT, Anderson JB, Laefer DF (eds) Proceedings of IFCEE 2015, San Antonio, TX, USA, vol 1. American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Reston, pp 1638–1647Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Wang B, Bouazza A, Haberfield C (2011) Preliminary observations from laboratory scale model geothermal pile subjected to thermo-mechanical loading. In: Han J, Alzamora DE (eds) Proceedings of Geo-Frontiers 2011: Advances in Geotechnical Engineering. ASCE, Reston, pp 430–439Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wang B, Bouazza A, Singh RM, Haberfield C, Barry-Macaulay D, Baycan S (2015) Posttemperature effects on shaft capacity of a full-scale geothermal energy pile. J Geotech Geoenviron Eng 141(4):04014125Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wang CL, Liu HL, Kong GQ, Ng CWW (2016) Model tests of energy piles with and without a vertical load. Environ Geotech 3(4):203–213Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Wang CL, Liu HL, Kong GQ, Ng CWW (2017) Different types of energy piles with heating–cooling cycles. Proc Inst Civ Eng Geotech Eng 170(3):220–231Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Wu D, Liu HL, Kong GQ, Li C (2018) Thermo-mechanical behavior of energy pile under different climatic conditions. Acta Geotech. Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Yavari N, Tang AM, Pereira J, Hassen G (2014) Experimental study on the mechanical behaviour of a heat exchanger pile using physical modelling. Acta Geotech 9(3):385–398Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    You S, Cheng XH, Guo HX (2016) Experimental study on structural response of CFG energy piles. Appl Therm Eng 96(1):640–651Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Zhou H, Kong GQ, Liu HL, Laloui L (2018) Similarity solution for cavity expansion in thermoplastic soil. Int J Numer Anal Meth Geomech 42(2):274–294Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Han-long Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cheng-long Wang
    • 1
  • Gang-qiang Kong
    • 2
  • Xuan-ming Ding
    • 1
  • Abdelmalek Bouazza
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Civil EngineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Civil and Transportation EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Civil EngineeringMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

Personalised recommendations