Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering


Civil and Environmental Engineering


Gregg L. Fiegel


The effectiveness of removing anomalous material from cast-in-drilled-hole (CIDH) piles by water jetting was examined. The primary objectives of this research were to examine how reinforcing steel influences water jetting and to evaluate how jetting pressures and standoff distance from the material surface affect water jetting of concrete type materials and PVC tubing. The experimental work consisted of water blasting submerged test specimens using rotary jets, nozzles, pumping equipment, and testing procedures currently used in construction practice. The concrete test specimens were comprised of ring- and cylinder-shaped samples, containing materials with compressive strengths of approximately 160 and 3,600 psi. Typical PVC tubing used as inspection access holes for non-destructive testing in CIDH piles was utilized for tubing specimens. During testing, erosion depths were measured as a function of standoff distance and jetting pressure. Water jetted specimens containing reinforcing steel were cut apart after testing to permit inspection of the erosion cavity and eroded material surfaces behind the steel reinforcement. Reinforcing steel bars in CIDH piles do interfere with the jet path and will locally influence material erosion and water-jetting effectiveness. For a relatively weak material, water-jetting pressures between 10,000 and 11,000 psi produced erosion up to a radial distance of approximately 12 inches from the water jet. This erosion distance is less than half the typical maximum design spacing of PVC inspection access tubing installed in CIDH piles.