Chellis, Robert D. Formerly, Structural Engineer, Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:November 2019
- Open caisson
- Pneumatic caisson
- Floating caisson
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A permanent substructure that, while being sunk into position, permits excavation to proceed inside and also provides protection for the workers against water pressure and collapse of soil. The term caisson covers a wide range of foundation structures. Caissons may be open, pneumatic, or floating type; deep or shallow; large or small; and of circular, square, or rectangular cross section. The walls may consist of timber, temporary or permanent steel shells, or thin or massive concrete. Large caissons are used as foundations for bridge piers, deep-water wharves, and other structures. Small caissons are used singly or in groups to carry such loads as building columns. Caissons are used where they provide the most feasible method of passing obstructions, where soil cannot otherwise be kept out of the bottom or where cofferdams cannot be used. See also: Bridge; Pile foundation
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