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# Civil Engineering Interview Questions Part – 22

Feb 13, 2018

Question No. 01
Why nautical mile is different from statute mile?
Answer: One nautical mile is defined by one latitude minute of arc (there are 60 such minutes to adegree). This equals 1852 meters, and roughly (but coincidentally) 2000 yards or 6000 feet. (Edit: actually, a standard nautical mile is 6076 feet, 6000 feet and 2000 yards are commonly used approximations, but produce an error of about 1%).
The statute mile had a little fuzzier definition to start with, as one mile was the same as 1000 roman Paces/steps. The definition has since changed, but one statute mile equals about 1609 meters.

Question No. 02
What is the function of followers in driven H-piles?
Answer: A follower is an extension between the pile head and the hammer that transfers the blow to the pile in which the pile head cannot be reached by the hammer or is under water .For construction of driven piles, the piling frame and hammer are normally erected on existing ground level but not at the base of pile caps. However, H-piles are designed to be terminated near the base of pile caps. If piles are driven at ground level, a certain length of H-piles is wasted and cut when constructing pile caps. In this connection, pile followers are used so as to save the wasted section of H-piles because followers can be removed during subsequent construction of pile caps.

Question No. 03
In deep excavation, adjacent ground water table is drawn down which may affect the settlement of nearby buildings. What is the remedial proposal to rectify the situation?
Answer: One of the methods to control settlement of nearby buildings due to excavation work is by recharging. Water collected in wells in deep excavation is put back to the top of excavation in order to raise the drawn-down water table. The location of recharge should be properly selected to ensure the soil is sufficiently permeable to transfer the pumped water back near the affected buildings.

Question No. 04
Why are the bolts that hold steel rails together in oval holes?
Answer: It has to do with the design of the bolts. The reason that head of the bolt is oval. The head of a bolt fit flush into the bar and set in opposing sets is so that a piece of dragging equipment will not shear off all the bolts in a joint but rather the just the nuts one side. As a result, if the hole were not oval on one side there would be no way to tighten or loose the bolts in a joint.

Question No. 05
What is the difference between capping beams and ground beams for piles?
Answer: Capping beams for piles aim at transferring loads from closely spaced columns or walls into a row of piles. On the other hand, ground beams are beams provided between adjacent pile caps and they perform as compression struts or ties in an attempt to prevent lateral displacement or buckling of piles under uneven distribution of loads on pile caps. Both of them have to be specially designed to cater for differential settlement of piles. Capping beam performs the same functions as pile caps. However, ground beams are structural elements to connect adjacent pile caps to improve the stability of foundation.

Question No. 06
It is not necessary to design nominal reinforcement to piles. Is it true?
Answer: In BS8110 and BS5400 Pt.4, they require the provision of nominal reinforcement for columns. However, for pile design the requirement of nominal reinforcement may not be necessary. Firstly, as piles are located underground, the occurrence of unexpected loads to piles is seldom. Secondly, shear failure of piles is considered not critical to the structure due to severe collision. Moreover, the failure of piles by buckling due to fire is unlikely because fire is rarely ignited underground.
However, the suggestion of provision of nominal reinforcement to cater for seismic effect may be justified. Reference is made to J P Tyson (1995).

Question No. 07
What are the head details of H-piles under compression and subject to bending moment?
Answer: For steel sections referred to in BS5950, universal bearing pile is characterized by having equal flange and web thickness while universal column has different flange and web thickness. Universal columns can also be used as bearing piles.
In the design of the head details of H-piles, there are three typical cases to be considered, namely compression piles, tension piles and piles with bending moment at the head in addition to tension or compression. The design of these piles recommended by G. M. Cornfield (1968) is listed below:
(i) Compression piles: For this type of piles, H-piles should be embedded 150mm in concrete pile caps and it is not necessary to use any dowels and capping plates in their connection.
(ii) Tension piles: A number of hook-ended bars are welded to the top of H-piles.

(iii) Piles with bending moment at their head (tension or compression): The depth of embedment of piles into pile caps is substantially increased and loads are transferred by horizontal bars welded to piles flanges

Question No. 08
What are some facts about concrete?
Answer: Actually, drying is not directly linked to hardness in concrete. After concrete is poured, putting it in a wet environment by spraying it constantly with water will hasten its hardening and its curing. After concrete cures, it is hard.

Question No. 09
What are the problems associated with pre-stressed concrete piles (Daido)?
Answer: The origin of Daido piles comes from Japan where these pre-stressed concrete piles are used as replacement plies. Holes are pre-formed in the ground and Daido piles are placed inside these pre-formed holes with subsequent grouting of void space between the piles and adjacent ground. However, in Hong Kong Daido piles are constructed by driving into ground by hammers instead of the originally designed replacement method. Since the installation method of Daido piles
is changed, construction problems like deformation of pile tip shoes, crushing of concrete at pile tip etc. occur. Reference is made to B. W. Choy (1993).

Question No. 10
Why are vibrators not used in concrete compaction in piling works?
Answer: Concrete for piles should be a high-slump self-compacting mix which is capable of flowing between reinforcement cage with ease. Since concrete is designed to be self-compacting, vibrators are not used for providing further compaction. Moreover, the concrete in piles is compacted by energy derived from free falling. However, if vibrators are used, the vibrated concrete may be compacted to the sides of the concrete casings and hinders the lifting up of casings. Reference is made to GEO (1996).

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