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The Differences Between the Uses of U-Type, Z-Type, O-Type, and H-Type of Sheet Piles

Close up photo of many sheet piles

What are the differences between Z, U, O, and H Types of Sheet Piles?

  1. Z and U Type Sheet Piles
  2. O Type Sheet Piles
  3. H Type Sheet Piles

Sheet piles are steel sections that have interlocking edges. They are driven into the ground to provide excavation support. These sheet piles are used to support walls, enable land reclamation, create underground structures, and riverbank or coast protection. There are many different types of sheet piles to choose from. All of which have their own uses and depth of purpose. Take a look at the difference between four common types of sheet piles below:

Z and U Type Sheet Piles

These two are arguably the most similar among all sheet piles. Z types are used for deep wall constructions for more durable building support and stronger foundations. Z type sheet piles are the most efficient sheet piles available. Because of this, they are most used for cantilevered and tied-back systems.

U-type sheet piles, on the other hand, have a very similar application to Z-type sheet piles. The only difference is their interlocking mechanism.

U-type sheet piles interlock between adjacent sheet piles. It is found at the edge of each unit. Z-type sheet piles have an extra piece of steel protruding which helps increase its bending resistance. Z-type sheet piles have a better bending resistance when compared to U type sheet piles.

Both the Z-type and U-type sheet piles are primarily used for reinforcing dams and riverbanks. Their strength is enough to help fortify structures that have to face consistent pressure from one or both sides.

They can also be used to create containment barriers for stricter and more concrete protective measure. Another application for these sheet piles is as noise barriers. This can be achieved when you attach a sound absorbent material to the front of the pile.

Z-type sheet piles are used more than U-type sheet piles. Z-type sheet piles have bigger modulus which makes it the better choice for intermediary piles for tubular and HZ combined walls. Z-type sheet pile can also be used to form a web thanks to the specific location of the interlock being symmetrical on both sides of its neutral axis.

U type sheet piles are generally considered to Z-type sheet piles because of their similarity. However, U type sheet piles steel find usage in temporary retaining walls, cutoff walls, embankments, and revetment works!

OZ Type Sheet Pile

Sheet Piles by Regan Steel

The OZ-type sheet pile is a combination of a steel tube and a Z-type sheet pile. This unique sheet pile is mostly used for soil retainment and load transfer. Its interlocks are found on the neutral axis making it as strong as Z-type sheets piles when it comes to bending resistance.

The diverse range of applications for OZ-type sheet piles includes narrow sections that are meant to be suitable for driving conditions and wider constructions and sections than most.

OZ-type Sheet piles are mostly used because of how they enable extremely long and strong foundations, barriers, and walls. Aside from that, OZ-type sheet piles are also known for their cost-effectiveness.

H Type Sheet Pile

Also known as Hat type sheet piles, H Type sheet piles are more rigid than conventional wide sheet piles. It has improved drivability, higher structural reliability, and are more cost-efficient than U-type sheet piles. The joints in H-type sheet piles are found at the utmost part of the wall structure. Because of this, it goes hand-in-hand with the wall that is being framed. This is a small reduction in the number of sheet piles used and it makes it possible to shorten construction time and cut a small portion of the construction cost out.

H type sheet piles are the widest U-type sheet piles. They allow for rapid and stable installation. Because of this, it allows less deformation of the cross-sectional area when a pile is placed. It also helps with higher precision installation where the room for error becomes smaller than usual.

As with the other sheet piles, H-type sheet piles are also used for barriers, walls, and reservoir walls! More notable applications of H-type sheet piles include retaining walls for roads, settlement prevention, and concrete waterways!

Key Takeaway

There are many different types of sheet piles. The four mentioned above are the most commonly used because of supply, efficiency, or reliability. That being said, you can’t just choose any one of them for your project. Bear in mind that a more in-depth look into the applications of these sheet piles will show where they are best used and why that is the case.

Even though many similarities can be found among the sheet piles, their make, size, patterns, and interlock will still differentiate them from the rest. Remember to always consider the small details and precise measurements when choosing the right sheet pile for your job!

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