Diaphragm (Slurry) Walls
Slurry walls are constructed below the ground surface using a slurry (a fluid mixture of water and bentonite or cement) to stabilize the sidewalls of the trench during excavation. Slurry walls can be structural or non-structural, depending on the application.
A Diaphragm Wall is a structural slurry wall that can provide earth retention and load bearing capacity in addition to forming an impervious barrier to lateral groundwater migration. To learn about SBC’s non-structural slurry wall techniques, see Vibrated Beam Slurry Walls.
Diaphragm Walls are constructed by casting successive panels of reinforced concrete into the ground to form a continuous structural wall. Panels are excavated to the design depth which can be up to 100 meters in some cases and are typically 0.5-3.2 meters thick. As the excavation progresses, a slurry mixture is pumped into the trench to keep the sides from caving in. When the desired depth is reached, a steel reinforcing cage is lowered into place before concrete is tremie poured into the trench and the slurry is displaced into storage tanks at the surface. This process is repeated for each successive panel until the wall is complete.
Berminghammmer equips SBC with the necessary trench excavating implements to excavate for Diaphragm Wall installations in a variety different soil types.
- Diaphram Wall structures can simultaneously provide earth retention, load bearing foundation, and waterproofing functions with minimal long-term movement.
- This technique can reach greater depths than Secant/Caisson Wall alternatives and thickness can range from 0.5 to 3.2 metres.
- Diaphragm Walls can be constructed in a wide variety of soil types from soft soils to hard rock.
- These walls can be constructed in any shape in plan. When formed in a circle, Diaphragm Walls allow for unbraced excavation.
- If necessary, this type of wall can be constructed with minimal clearance to adjacent structures.
Diaphragm walls are used as foundation walls, retaining walls and dam cut-off walls. Diaphragm walls are an ideal solution in top-down construction applications.