Patent application title: Pile Wall System, Pile and Method of Installation
Mathew William Lewis Roberts (Oxfordshire,, GB)
IPC8 Class: AE02D552FI
Class name: Fluid control, treatment, or containment flow control artificial water barrier (e.g., dam, levee, etc.)
Publication date: 2013-01-03
Patent application number: 20130004239
The invention relates to a pile wall system, pile, and method of
installation. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system with at least
one other pile. Hexagonal polygonal tubes assembled from chevron panels
make up the piles. The panels and piles are held together with through
connectors. The pile wall system is easily made by stacking the panels
against each other and bolting them together. It is just as easily taken
1. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system with at least one other
pile comprising a plurality of folded planar panels with a longitudinal
crease, the panels having apertures for a receiving fastener so as to
enable panels to be connected together to form a polygonal tubular pile,
at least one panel has a longitudinal aperture for receiving a connector
so that, in use, the connector passes through an aperture of a first pile
and an aperture of a second pile, so as to connect the piles one to
another, thereby permitting relative longitudinal movement of the first
and second pile with respect to one another.
2. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the piles are provided with stack connectors to enable additional piles to be attached to upper or lower rims of the piles.
3. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 2 wherein the stack connector is in the form of a rim enabling piles to be joined end to end.
4. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the polygon is a hexagon.
5. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the fastener includes a nut and bolt.
6. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system comprising a fastener in accordance with claim 5 which in use permits the panels to slide in the longitudinal direction when the fastener is loose, and when tight presses the panels together to prevent sliding.
7. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein a pile is arranged to connect to at least two other piles to form a cluster.
8. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the wall branches into two or more further walls.
9. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein piles are joined to form an enclosure.
10. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein piles are orientated with longitudinal axis substantially horizontally.
11. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein piles are fixed in the ground and orientated with the longitudinal axis substantially vertical.
12. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein the interior of the polygon of piles is filled with a material.
13. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 12, wherein the material is rubble.
14. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 12, wherein the material is concrete.
15. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, wherein cross braces are provided within the piles.
16. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1, where a pointed end cap is provided on an end of the piles in order to assist driving the piles into the ground.
17. A pile adapted to be used in a wall system in accordance with claim 1 where slot covers are provided to block the unused slots in the piles.
18. A pile adapted for use in the pile wall system described in claim 4 comprising: three, four, five or six planar panels are arranged symmetrically about a longitudinal axis to form the hexagonal tubular structure.
19. A pile for use in a pile wall system described in claim 1 with an end portion slightly tapered, stepped, or necked down, enabling stacked piles to nest inside one another.
20. A pile adapted to be used in a pile system described in claim 1 wherein the folded planar panel cross section is a chevron, comprising: a plate having two panels with transverse and longitudinal edges, said panels joined along a longitudinal edge to form a crease and further comprising slot apertures.
21. A pile adapted to be used in a pile system described in claim 1 comprising a plate having three panels with transverse and longitudinal edges, two of said panels each joined along opposite longitudinal edges of the third panel to form two creases and further comprising slot apertures.
22. A pile for use in pile driving comprises: a plurality of folded planar panels arranged to be connected, one to another, so as to define a pile wall system, at least some of said panels have an aperture extending in a direction parallel to the panel folds, the aperture being dimensioned and arranged whereby, in use, a first panel, is placed against a second panel, so that an aperture in the first pile is placed adjacent an aperture in the second pile; and a fastener passes through adjacent apertures in the first and second piles, so as to permit relative displacement of the first pile with respect to the second pile and panels are connected together, one atop another, by way of a connector.
23. A pile for use in pile driving as claimed in claim 22 wherein connectors lie flush with external faces of the piles.
24. A pile as in claim 22 comprising a folded panel having an aperture and holes which in use receive a connector for connecting another pile, about the same axis, and which arrests relative axial displacement of the two coaxial piles.
25. A pile as in claim 22 comprising a folded panel wherein the aspect ratio of an unfolded panel is at least 5:1, preferably 10:1 most preferably at least 20:1.
26. A pile as in claim 22 comprising an insert interposing between adjacent piles in order to reduce the coefficient of friction between opposing faces of adjacent piles, thereby promoting sliding of one pile with respect to another.
27. A pile for use in pile driving comprises: a polygonal and tubular pile having an aperture in at least one face, which in use receives a fastener so as to permit relative displacement of the pile with respect to an adjacent pile to which the fastener is attached; and holes which in use receive a bolt for connecting another pile, about the same axis, and which arrests axial displacement with respect to the two coaxial piles
28. A method of driving a pile into a piece of ground, comprising the steps of: arranging a series of polygonal piles, one adjacent another, on the surface of the ground; connecting adjacent piles one to another, by way of a fastener that passes through slots in the adjacent piles; driving a first pile into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the fastener in the slot of a pile; and driving the adjacent pile into the ground.
29. A method of driving a pile to form a pile wall system into a piece of ground, comprising the steps of: arranging a series of piles, as defined in any of claim, one adjacent another, on the surface of the ground; securing adjacent piles one to another, using a fastener that passes through slots provided in the piles; driving a pile into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the fastener in the slot defined in said driven pile and the slot defined in an adjacent pile; and driving the adjacent pile into the ground.
30. A method of driving a pile in accordance with claim 28 includes the step of excavating or compacting sub soil below an edge of the pile that is at the lowest point in the soil as the pile is being driven.
31. A method of driving a pile wall system in accordance with claim 28 includes use of impact breaking.
32. A method of driving a pile wall system in accordance with claim 29 includes use of a vibration.
33. A method of driving a pile wall system in accordance with claim 29 includes use of a plate that is shaped so that it is generally hexagonal and sits within the footprint of a pile.
34. A method of driving a pile walling system into the ground comprising the steps of: arranging a plurality of polygonal piles, side by side; connecting the piles together using a fastener passed through slots or apertures provided in first and at least an adjacent second pile; driving the first pile into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the fastener in the aperture; driving the second pile into the ground; attaching a third pile atop the first pile and attaching a fourth pile atop the second pile, connecting the third and fourth piles together using a fastener passed through slots or apertures provided in the third and the adjacent fourth pile; driving the fourth and second piles to a depth limited by the travel of the fasteners in the slots of adjacent piles; driving the first and third piles further into the ground and repeating this process to achieve the desired length of wall or barrier of piles.
35. A method of constructing a pile wall system including the steps of securing one or more tiers of piles to exposed top of previously driven piles in accordance with either of claim 34.
36. A retaining wall comprises contiguous modular containers, which are capable of receiving fluids to prevent floods.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The invention relates to a pile wall system, pile and method of installation. More particularly the invention relates to a pile for use as a retaining wall for example for use in flood defence, soil retention, riverbank, wharf/dockside support, and also in the field of confinement of materials, both on land and in water. The invention particularly relates to retaining walls that are assembled using modular components.
 Retaining walls are used to hold back earth and to prevent down-slope movement to protect structures such as buildings, or to form banks or barriers to confine rivers and flood waters, or to provide an enclosure to contain materials. Cofferdams and bulkheads are structures that hold back water, for instance in dry dock or for flood defences.
 A requirement of retaining walls is that they need to resist the force of a body of material or water they retain as the body attempts to move forward and downward under gravity. Various systems for addressing this problem are known, including gravity walls such as brick and block walls. However, these are costly and time consuming to construct and provide limited strength when large volumes of material are to be retained.
 Sheet piles are well known in the art, and they offer a way of constructing a retaining wall rapidly and economically to provide a continuous barrier. An example of a sheet piling structure is shown in FIG. 1. A retaining wall is assembled from a series of identical sheet pile elements, where successive sheet pile elements are driven into the ground alongside each other. However, sheet piles are essentially two-dimensional and therefore susceptible to bending forces. They are also not load bearing and it is not possible to reinforce them easily.
 Tubular or cylindrical piles are used where resistance to bending stresses are required but they cannot easily form a continuous barrier.
 An example of a modular retaining wall is described in US Patent Application US2007/0217870 (Formtech Enterprises Inc). The retaining wall comprises panels folded into polygonal modules or tubular containers. These tubular containers are connected side by side with mating hooks. In use, the tubular containers are fastened together. Where adjacent tubular members meet there is a large load bearing surface. The tubes may be filled with material to increase the strength of the wall such as concrete. The components are complex and several different profile forms are required in order to produce a wall.
 Another example of a modular retaining wall is described in U.S. Pat. No. 2,002,521 (Borberg) describes a box piling system. U.S. Pat. No. 2,002,521 discloses pairs of standard arched web, half wave sheet metal piles. The piles are made from cast metal and are designed to be driven into the ground. Along the longitudinal ends of the piles are hooks for connecting the panels edge to edge. Thus the piles may be fastened together to form a wall.
 It is possible to assemble the piles in an arrangement that forms tubular structures to form a wall of connected structures.
 U.S. Pat. No. 1,690,499 (Nolte) describes a box piling system in which panels of zo piling are connected. The piles connect end to end with a separate hook connector that binds the hooks on the ends of the panels together.
 U.S. Pat. No. 5,740,648 (Piccone) describes a modular framework for concrete. It comprises panels folded into tubular containers. These tubes are connected side by side with mating hooks. In use the panels are fastened together by engaging connecting elements. The tubes may be filled with material to increase the strength of the structure and the framework is intended to be filled with concrete. This framework is not designed to driven into the ground as a pile. Instead it intended to be put into or placed onto a foundation that will support the concrete filler.
 In US Patent Application US 2006/0005497 (Foell) there is described an insert panel for a concrete fillable framework wall which comprises an extruded form that has relatively stiff and relatively flexible portions enabling a sheet to be folded into an octagonal form and corner portions are adapted to receive male portions from a neighbouring pile.
 International Patent Application WO-A1-95/00724 (Nessa) describes a method for casting an insulated wall and a disposable framework from panels. Along the longitudinal ends of panels are hooks for connecting panels edge to edge. Thus the panels are joined together to form a wall. It is possible to assemble the panels in an arrangement that forms tubular structures so that the wall is effectively a series of connected tubes. This framework is not designed to driven into the ground as a pile. Instead it is designed to be put into or placed onto a foundation that will support the concrete form.
 Published Japanese Patent Application JP 000192447 (Toshihiko) describes a member for an underground row wall. It describes panels with folds along a creased seam. Along the longitudinal ends are hooks for connecting panels edge to edge. The panels may also be placed end to end or end to panel face. It is possible to assemble the panels in an arrangement that forms tubes from the panels so that the wall is a series of connected tubes.
 Significantly, prior art systems generally use hooks to connect panels or piles.
 Disadvantages of using hooks to connect panels are that often heavy panels need to be lifted into position, possibly with a crane, and then lowered along the axis of the hooks. If the hooks get bent or damaged then the panels may become disengaged and if the hooks are damaged the connection of panels may fail. Also debris often gets pushed into cavities defined between the hook male and female members when piles are driven into the ground, making it hard to assemble adjacent panels. Furthermore many of the aforementioned systems are complex to make (and so expensive) and require skilled personnel to assemble and deploy them.
 Another disadvantage is that panels connected by hooks do not generally bear against one another. The load instead tends to be transferred across the male/female connection so placing strain on the connection.
 Also because of their non-uniform or irregular cross section existing systems do not stack easily, nor do all the assembled piles tessellate in a uniform manner.
 The present invention arose to address the aforementioned systems and to provide a pile and piling system that is readily deployable and may transported in non assembled form and assembled at a location for quick and simple installation by non skilled personnel.
 Another aim is to provide a modular piling system that once assembled may be readily dissembled.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 According to a first aspect of the invention there is provided a pile adapted to be used in a wall system with at least one other pile comprising a plurality of folded planar panels with a longitudinal crease, the panels having apertures for receiving fastener so as to enable panels to be connected together to form a polygonal tubular pile, at least one panel has a longitudinal aperture for receiving a connector so that, in use, the connector passes through an aperture of a first pile and an aperture of a second pile, so as to connect the piles one to another thereby permitting relative longitudinal movement of the first and second pile with respect to one another.
 The invention thus overcomes the problem of conventional, circular tubular piles which have been difficult to connect one to another so as to form a barrier against water. However, when piles are arranged in a polygonal hexagonal form, the piles have flat sides that can easily be connected collaterally. The piles may also be connected contiguously:--that is where panel sides touch one another.
 In this way the advantages of piles constructed from sheets are maintained whereby a modular interconnected structure is provided to achieve a continuous barrier, also including the strength advantage of conventional cylindrical tubular piles. The relative movement (sliding ability) of the pile units allows the wall to be driven into the ground as a complete unit or as one pile at a time.
 According to another aspect of the invention a pile for use in pile driving comprises: a plurality of folded elongate panels arranged to be interconnected, one to another, so as to define a pile wall with parallel creases and polygonal tubes, at least some of said panels have an aperture extending in an axial direction, the aperture being dimensioned and arranged whereby, in use, a first pile, is placed against a second pile, so that an aperture in the first pile is placed adjacent an aperture in the second pile; and a connector passes through adjacent apertures in the first and second piles, so as to permit relative displacement of the first pile with respect to the second pile.
 Panels are ideally formed from elongate sheets that are folded and are adapted to be connected by way of connectors or fasteners that do not protrude beyond external faces of the piles. For practical reasons, connectors usually protrude and stand slightly proud of the external face of the pile.
 Ideally at least four folded, tri-planar (that is a panel that has been twice folded) sheet panels, or four, five or six folded, bi-planar sheet panels, are used to define a hexagon.
 Advantageously the aspect ratio (that is the ratio of height to width of a rectangle that defines a panel) of an unfolded panel is at least 3:1, preferably 10:1 most preferably at least 20:1.
 The piles may be provided with stack connectors to enable additional piles to be attached to upper or lower rims or flanges, as shown below in FIG. 12c of the piles. In this way several tiers of piles may be built up to provide a wall that is driven into the ground to a required depth, or built up to provide a wall of a required height.
 The tubular structure may have a hexagonal cross-section so that it is compatible with existing sheet pile structures, for example, corrugated sheet piles. The hexagonal shape has the advantageous features of a large load bearing surface area (between the piles) and the structural strength of a cylinder or solid structure.
 The connecting means ideally is an aperture or slot in at least one panel of the piles, where the long dimension of the slot is orientated in the longitudinal direction of the piles, and located such that when assembled the slots in neighbouring piles are aligned, substantially in register one with an adjacent slot, said aligned slots are provided with a fastener that passes through the aligned slots, permit relative axial displacement of one pile with respect to the adjacent pile.
 The fastener may be a nut and bolt arrangement or any suitable connector that holds adjacent piles together whilst still permitting some displacement--ie sliding. In use the slots and bolts allow neighbouring piles to move relative to each other in a longitudinal direction. It is noted that for water proofing purposes, it is necessary to align slots in one contiguous module side with holes or slots in the adjacent module side. For incremental displacement of contiguous piles, slots may be replaced by rows or lines of apertures arranged at regular intervals.
 Sheets of synthetic plastics material or layers of waterproof material can be interposed between adjacent piles, so as to permit relative sliding and provide a waterproof seal.
 A pile may be arranged to connect to at least three other piles to form a cluster, and thus provide a load bearing surface in the form of a wall. The wall may branch into two or more further walls. The piles may be arranged to form an enclosure for retaining, for example, fluids, leaks, watercourses or contaminants.
 The piles may be orientated with their longitudinal axes substantially horizontally to form a honeycomb structure which can also be arranged to function as a retaining wall. When interconnected in this fashion, such horizontally disposed piles can provide strength to resist torsion. Optionally wedge connectors may be placed between adjacent piles so as to accommodate curvature between piles along vertical and/or horizontal axes. Piles positioned with axes substantially horizontal may be used as beams in parallel, or fixed adjacent to one another, to support floors in existing structures, or when arranged in clusters, they may be used to form a slope or mound in a building or landscape design.
 The interior of the piles may be filled with material, such as rubble or concrete, waterproof materials or any combination thereof. Cross braces may be provided within the piles and an end cap, which may be pointed or conical, may be provided on one end of the piles in order to assist driving the piles into the ground. Although useful, the end is not always necessary as the edges of the piles cut into the ground, giving an internal and external socket to secure the base of a subsequent pile.
 According to another aspect of the invention a pile for use in pile driving comprises: a polygonal and tubular pile having an aperture in at least one face, which in use receives a fastener so as to permit relative displacement (sliding) of the pile with respect to an adjacent pile to which the fastener is attached; and holes which in use receive a bolt for connecting another pile, about the same axis, and which arrests axial displacement with respect to the two coaxial piles.
 Adjacent piles have separate parallel axes. Vertical coaxial piles are typically placed one on top of another. The bolt can be used to fix the coaxial extension and arrest axial displacement in contiguous piles.
 Ideally the aperture extends along the pile in an axial direction and holes are located at, or around, end regions or the rim of a pile.
 Slot covers may also be provided to block the unused slots in the piles as piles are driven into the ground. In a preferred embodiment a pile, for use in the pile wall system is preferably provided comprising: six planar panels arranged symmetrically about a longitudinal axis to form a hexagonal tubular structure, wherein at least two opposing panels are provided with a slot, whereby in use the slot is orientated in the longitudinal direction of the pile. So as to achieve water proofing, it is necessary to align slots and ensure that either some waterproofing material is placed around them (such as mastic) or a waterproof sheet is sandwiched between adjacent piles, thereby surrounding adjacent slots and preventing ingress of water.
 Waterproofing may also be achieved by aligning bolt holes in one side of a module with holes in the adjacent module and placing a rubber gasket or rubber washer. For this reason, it is preferred to have some creased panels with holes only, some with slots only, and some with slots along one face and holes on another face. These panels may be marked or coded so as to enable one to be differentiated from another, for example by colouring different panels or parts of panels using different colours, patterns or other indicia.
 Slots that allow water to pass though the panels can be advantageous so waterproofing may not be needed. By allowing water to pass through the retaining wall, the water pressure behind the wall is relieved. This reduces the force against piles in a retaining wall.
 Planar panels are ideally in the form of rectangles that are folded so that they define chevrons, whose subtended internal angle is 120°. These folded panels, in use, are arranged in the form of a hexagon, for use in the pile wall system, whereby at least four folded panels are joined, using connectors such as rivets or bolts, so that faces with slots or apertures are presented on at least two sides of the hexagonal pile. When it is desired to form a straight wall, the apertures are placed in opposite, parallel walls; whereas when corners or bends are required apertures are placed in adjacent panels or in non-parallel panels, so as to permit bends or `dog-legs` to be formed in a run of contiguous piles.
 In another embodiment a method of driving a pile walling system into the ground is provided, comprising the steps of: arranging a plurality of polygonal tubular piles of the type described and claimed herein, side by side; connecting the piles together using a fastener passed through slots or apertures provided in first and at least an adjacent second pile; driving the first pile into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the fastener in the aperture; driving the second pile into the ground; attaching a third pile(s) atop the first pile and attaching a fourth pile atop the second pile, connecting the third and fourth piles together using a fastener passed through slots or apertures provided in the third and the adjacent fourth pile; driving the fourth and second piles to a depth limited by the travel of the fasteners in the slots of adjacent piles; driving the first and third piles further into the ground and repeating this process to achieve the desired length of wall or barrier of piles.
 According to a further embodiment there is provided a method of driving a pile wall system into a piece of ground, comprising the steps of: arranging a series of polygonal piles, one adjacent another, on the surface of the ground; connecting adjacent piles one to another, by way of a fastener that passes through slots in the adjacent piles; driving a first pile into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the fastener in the slots; and driving the adjacent pile into the ground to substantially the same depth as the first pile.
 In one method of driving the pile into the ground, the subsoil below the leading edge of the pile can be compacted using a combination of impact breaking and pile vibration. In another method of placing the pile into the ground subsoil below the leading edge of the pile can excavated. The soil may be excavated by using a combination of impact breaking and vibration.
 A preferred method of installing comprises the steps of: excavating sub soil below a leading edge of the pile that is at the lowest point in the soil and driving a pile into an excavated region so formed. The sub soil can be excavated using a combination of impact breaking and vibration.
 In an alternative embodiment a very high force compactor may be used effectively to squeeze soil downwards and sideways out of the path of the pile being driven. This is particularly well suited for regions of soft soil or locations with marsh and clay.
 Tools exist that act as concrete breaker hammers which, for example, by way of repetitive impacts of a relatively sharp spike, acting through a plate, can also act to break up soil. The plate may be shaped so that it is generally hexagonal and sits within the footprint of a pile and can be configured to extend into the pile, so that the plate contacts the soil, breaking it and so reducing the resistance of soil as the pile is vibrated, driven sides of the pile would be an extension to the breaker head. The method may further include the steps of: securing one or more tiers of piles to the exposed top of the existing piles, driving the second tier into the ground and repeating this process to the achieve the desired depth of piling as well as height of exposed pile.
 In an alternative embodiment there is provided a container comprising: a plurality of folded elongate panels arranged to be interconnected, one to another, so as to define a hexagonal container, the container having a base panel and a closure member. In use, containers are placed one adjacent another and are held together in a bundle by way of a binding. Optionally a valve is provided on an outlet of the container. Alternatively a seal, plug, cap or other sealing means can be inserted or retrofitted into the remaining part of the aperture that is revealed.
 Any suitable material or technology may be used to produce the closed, hexagonal tubular containers, but these are ideally formed from a metal such as aluminium, steel, stainless steel, a steel alloy or a synthetic plastics material.
 Retaining walls are ideally configured as contiguous modular containers, which may be filled with fluids to prevent floods. In this arrangement, should one or more containers fail, leakage is restricted to the volume of the, or each, failed unit(s) only. Thus according to this feature of the invention, rather than a whole container of liquid be lost in the event of a leak or rupture, only a percentage of the liquid is compromised.
 Containment modules may be adapted for the storage and transport of fluid commodities, e.g. oil, soap, juice, liquid foodstuffs, beverages, sludges and even some bulk cargos that behave as liquids, such as grains, soya rice and flour.
 The forgoing objects described herein may be better understood with reference to the following drawings, FIGS. 2 to 13 are intended for example purposes only.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is a schematic view of sheet piling known in the art;
 FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the pile walling system of an embodiment of the invention;
 FIG. 3 is an overall view of a pile unit in the wall system of FIG. 2 and shows vertical slots;
 FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view of an assembled pile walling system and shows connectors connecting adjacent piles;
 FIG. 5 is a projection view of an example of a folded panel in the form of a chevron suitable for use in the pile unit of FIG. 3;
 FIG. 6a is a cross sectional view of the pile unit of FIG. 3 showing the arrangement of chevrons;
 FIG. 6b is a cross sectional view of the pile unit of FIG. 3 showing an alternative arrangement of the chevrons;
 FIG. 7a is a side view of a section of wall prior to being fully driven into the ground;
 FIG. 7b is a side view of a section of wall, after some pile units have been driven into the ground;
 FIG. 8 is a side view of a section of wall where a first tier of pile units have been driven fully into the ground and a second tier is located above the piles (located in the ground) ready to be attached thereto;
 FIG. 9 is a projection view of a first tier pile unit and a second tier pile unit that have been connected together with connectors, such as bolts;
 FIGS. 10 and 11 are projection views of piles that have been connected together by hexagonal braces;
 FIG. 12a is a diagrammatical plan view of piles that have been arranged in a bundle;
 FIG. 12b is an overall view of an insert for use between piles so as to form a waterproof seal between adjacent piles;
 FIG. 12c is a diagrammatical view of a pile with an orthogonal flange or lip; and
 FIG. 13 is a diagrammatical plan view of a closed loop of piles that may be used for example to surround a house or building.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION
 An example of a pile walling system, according to the invention, is shown in FIG. 2. The wall is constructed from a number of folded elongate panels that are interconnected. Advantageously folded elongate panels can be assembled into hexagonal section tubes. The assembled sections of panels are, referred to as piles 201 herein, which are connected together to form a continuous wall. A strong assembly of the piles is where the tubes are aligned vertically next to each other and secured in place. Also shown in FIG. 2 is a short section where sections of hexagonal tube 202 are placed horizontally between two upright pile stacks 203, 204. Not shown are the sections of vertical piles that are buried in the ground which provide the wall with strength.
 The pile walling system is modular, whereby identical piles 201, also termed pile units 201, are connected together along adjacent faces using means which allows relative longitudinal movement between the piles, so that a pile can be driven into the ground while its neighbour remains static (as shown in greater detail in FIG. 7b). This allows an unbroken wall to be created in the same way that sheet piles are installed, but with the advantage that the components of the wall are tubular and therefore resistant to bending forces and can bear greater vertical loading. The system is also modular, in the sense that further piles 201 may be connected to the top of the buried piles 201. Because piles are formed from folded panels, these may be transported and assembled local to where they are needed, thus offering benefits of saving storage space.
 Adjacent piles may have a seal interposed between opposing faces and if required between overlapping internal components. Ideally the seal is formed from a material with a relatively low coefficient of friction, which permits slipping of the seal with respect to the surfaces of the material from which piles are formed. Alternatively a seal, plug, cap or other sealing means can be inserted or retrofitted into the remaining part of the aperture that is revealed. An example of a seal is shown in FIG. 12b.
 Side walls or panels of modules may be sprayed with a hardenable rubber solution as a coating. At a thickness of approx. 1 mm, in contact with another similar panel, the coating will be approximately 2 mm thick, and at high pressure, this will act as an integral seal between the components. Alternatively, a layer of lubricant can be applied to the surfaces of the components before fixing so as to achieve a watertight seal. An advantage of this is that a waterproof barrier can be constructed
 The wall system is suited for use as a flood defence to provide an unbroken impermeable structure capable of preventing flood waters from reaching property, and thus inhibiting or arresting erosion. Other uses of the wall system are in pollution control. For example an area of water may be enclosed to prevent the spread of an oil slick. Alternatively the wall system may be used to create a pen around a perimeter of contaminated land to stop the further spread of pollutants. If desired, modules can be laterally connected to form a cover of arches.
 Connected tubes can be used as a support frame or structure for walls in structures besides flood defences, e.g. farm buildings, offices, accommodation, civil engineering structures.
 FIG. 3 shows in detail the construction of a pile unit 301. The pile 201 comprises a length of tube having a hexagonal cross-section. The axis of the tube defines a longitudinal axis and the six faces 301 of the hexagonal tube are arranged symmetrically about the axis. The length of the tube is typically 4 m, with a diameter 0.2 m, aspect ratio between 3:1-6:1. However, it will be appreciated that many different lengths and sizes are possible, which may be selected in dependence on particular applications. For instance, a pile of length 1 m and diameter 0.25 m could be used for a domestic retaining wall, or for the banks of a small stream. A pile of length 10 m and diameter 1 m could be used for heavy industrial applications. Likewise the thickness and strength of material are chosen in order to meet the requirements and demands of a particular purpose or application.
 Each face of the pile 201 is provided with a number of apertures. Fixing holes 302 are provided in each of the six faces 301 at both ends of the pile 201. Fixing holes 302 are used to construct the pile 201 and to join piles together. Fixing slots 303 are also provided in each face 301 of the pile, running in a longitudinal direction. The fixing slots enable the pile units 201 to be joined together side-by-side while allowing relative movement in the longitudinal direction between adjacent piles 201.
 FIG. 4 shows a cross-sectional plan view of a wall configuration. The bolts 401 joining adjacent piles 201 can be seen.
 Advantageously bolt through connectors allow the piles to be placed straight against each other and bolted together. It is considerably quicker and less strenuous to push piles against each other and bolt them together than it is to each pile above the adjacent pile and slide it down through a hook connector.
 The modular construction of the system extends to the construction of the pile units 201 themselves, which are assembled from six separate modules, which are also referred to as pile plates or chevrons. FIG. 5 shows a chevron 501 in detail. A chevron 501 is formed from two rectangular panels 502 and 503 divided by a ridge 504.
 Each panel has a long side 505 which corresponds to the longitudinal direction and a short side 506 which will form a face of the pile 201. The panels meet along the ridge, and subtend an angle a to each other, where, in the case of an hexagonal pile, α=120 degrees. For triangular piles α=60 degrees and for square piles α=90 degrees. Each of the panels 502, 503 are provided with four fixing holes 507a to 507d for receiving a bolt, rivet or other permanent fixing. Each panel 502, 503 is also provided with two slots 508a and 508b, which are elongated holes for receiving fasteners. A line of holes may be substituted for the slots 508a, 508b, if incremental fixing is adequate.
 The pile plate may comprise a third panel. The long side of the third panel meets along the long edge of the chevron to form a second ridge parallel to the first. The angle subtended between the third panel and the panel it meets is also 120 degrees. Only four pile plates are needed to construct a hexagonal pile unit with assembled from three panel plates.
 Piles 201 are constructed from the modules or chevrons 501 so that they may be flat-packed for ease of transport and require less space than conventional tubular piles. FIG. 6a shows how a group of six chevrons can be arranged to form a pile with a hexagonal cross section. In order to assemble a pile unit 201 the first chevron 601 and second chevron 602 of a group are selected and co-located so that one of the two panels 502, 503 of each chevron overlap.
 In use, the pile walling system is supplied to the installation site as a set of chevrons 501. The chevrons 501 are grouped into sets of six prior to assembly, and chevron groups laid out along a line that the wall or barrier of piles is to follow. In order to assemble a pile unit 201 the first chevron 601 and second chevron 602 of a group are selected and co-located so that one of the two panels 502, 503 of each chevron overlap. The second chevron 602 is offered to the first chevron 601 so that the outer face of a panel 502 of the second chevron 602 contacts the inner face of a panel 503 of the first chevron 601.
 A fixing hole in a panel 503 of the first chevron 601 is aligned with the corresponding fixing hole in a panel of the second chevron and a bolt passed through the aperture created by the aligned holes and a nut screwed onto the bolt and tightened to prevent movement between the two plates. Only the fixing holes at one end of the chevrons are used for assembling the pile unit 201. The assembly now comprises two secured overlapping chevrons, where a panel of each of the chevrons is fastened to the other, and the other panel of each of the chevrons is available for connection to a further chevron in the set.
 The third chevron 603 from the group is then selected and placed with an outer face of a panel in contact with the available inner face of a panel of the second chevron 602, and arranged so that the fixing holes in each panel are aligned. A bolt is passed through the aligned fixing holes and a nut threaded onto the bolt. The third chevron 603 has a panel secured to the second chevron 602 and a panel available for connection to another chevron.
 The fourth chevron 604 is then attached to the assembly by overlapping a panel of the fourth chevron 604 with the available panel of the third chevron 603, such that the outer face of a panel of the fourth chevron 604 is in contact with the inner face of a panel of the third chevron 603. The fixing holes of each panel are aligned, and then a nut and bolt is used to secure the chevrons together.
 The fifth chevron 605 is connected to the assembly in a similar way, whereby the outer face of a panel of the fifth chevron 605 is overlapped with the inner face of the available panel of the fourth chevron 604 and loosely secured with a nut and bolt. When the fifth chevron 605 is installed, the longitudinal edges of the first and fifth pile plates should be adjacent to each other.
 Finally the sixth chevron 606 of the group is placed in position to complete the pile unit. The sixth chevron 606 is located within the periphery of the hexagonal pile unit, whereby the outer faces of its panels are in contact with the inner faces of the first 601 and fifth 605 chevrons respectively. The fixing holes are then aligned and a nut and bolt is inserted between the fifth 605 and sixth 606, chevrons and tightened. The fixing holes of the first and sixth chevrons will be aligned, but the aperture is left without a bolt.
 In summary, the outer face of a panel of a subsequent chevron is secured to an available inner face of a panel of the preceding chevron, except the final pile chevron where the outer faces of both panels are located against the inner faces of the last two available panels. It is also possible to place chevron 601 inside chevron 606 as in FIG. 6b. It will be evident to the reader that variations in the pattern of overlap are possible to still form a hexagonal shape.
 In an alternative embodiment one set of three chevrons is placed outside an inner set of three chevrons. In this configuration one set of 3 chevrons is an inner sheath, and a second set of 3 chevrons is an outer sheath, all outer faces on the inner chevrons are in contact with inner faces contiguous with the outer chevrons, and all inner chevron ridges aligned with gaps between outer chevrons.
 Advantageously the outer and inner sheaths are coaxial and the inner sheath can then support axial extension of the outer sheath. Similarly the outer sheath can support axial extension of the inner sheath. Advantageously the inner and outer sheaths can be extended indefinitely. This form of axial extension of pile(s) may not require any other component additions, such as plate 900.
 All groups of chevrons are assembled as described above and laid in proximity to a line along which the wall structure is to be installed. The aim is to provide a line of vertical pile units which have been driven into the ground to a required depth to form a wall, and to connect each pile unit in the wall to its neighbour along their adjacent is longitudinal faces. The pile units are driven into the ground side-by-side such that the outer face of a chevron of one pile unit is aligned with and in contact across substantially its whole face with the outer face of a chevron of its neighbour. Adjacent chevron faces are connected via fixing slots with a nut and bolt.
 To erect a wall structure along the given line, the first pile unit is lifted to an upright position, with its rim containing the connecting means--such as fixing bolts--at the lower end, i.e. the end to be driven into the ground first. The pile is then partially driven into the ground, one pile at a time, so that the wall is free standing. The face of this first hexagonal pile unit, wherein securing bolts have been omitted, is aligned perpendicular to the intended line of the wall structure. This is the face that will be connected to a neighbouring pile unit.
 Wall sections may be assembled by connecting contiguous faces of several adjacent piles through their aligned slots, which may then be positioned along the intended line of the wall.
 Any suitable driving means for driving the pile units into the ground can be used. Conventional drivers include hammer post drivers, hydraulic press or vibration drivers. Alternatively, piles could simply be driven into the ground manually with a sledge hammer and a block placed on the top of the pile to protect the pile rim.
 Preferably a static cap is used in conjunction with the driver in order to gather the chevrons and prevent them from deforming outwards under the blows from a driver. A shoe (not shown) may be used to spread driving load from a hammer or pile driver (not shown) around the hexagonal rim of a pile and in order to protect the pile from damage by the hammer.
 Referring to FIGS. 7a and 7b, a second pile 702 is then brought alongside the first pile unit 701, ready for the two pile units to be connected together. The rotational orientation of the second unit is selected so that the plane of the bolt-less face is perpendicular to the intended line of the wall structure and facing away from the first pile unit. This is so that there is a face ready to receive a third pile unit when it is installed along the intended wall line, next to the second unit.
 For the construction of a wall in a straight line, the bolt-less face will be directly opposite the face that connects to the preceding pile unit. At the point where the wall changes direction, (that is not along a straight line), the bolt-less face will be the face to the left or right of the opposite face to that connected to the preceding pile unit. The orientation of each pile 201 in the wall is shown in diagrammatical form in FIG. 4.
 The retaining bolt in the face of the second pile unit adjacent to the first pile unit is then removed. Care should be taken at this stage to support the second pile unit because, in some embodiments, it can comprise two unconnected panels or portions. With the bolt removed, the second pile unit is then positioned in close contact with the first pile unit, where the adjacent faces of the pile units are contacting, and the longitudinal edges of the chevron panels are aligned. Where a waterproof barrier is required an insert 500, shown in FIG. 12b, can be interposed between adjacent piles 701 and 702.
 The insert 500 is typically formed from a synthetic plastics material and is either coated with a layer of `PTFE` or has a self lubricating polymer which enables adjacent piles to slide over one another.
 Pile 702 is then driven partially into the ground to the depth of the first pile unit, ensuring that the adjacent faces of the piles remain in contact and aligned. The second pile unit is then driven further into the ground to the point where the fixing slots in the panels of the adjacent faces of the chevrons of the two pile units are aligned to form a slot aperture. This slot aperture is shown on the insert 500 as item 502.
 A bolt is then inserted and a nut loosely secured to keep the two pile units in union. The nut and bolt arrangement is allowed to slide to the bottom of the aligned fixing slots. For waterproofing purposes, slots in one module are aligned with a fixing hole in the adjacent or contiguous pile or module. The internal overlapping chevrons can also be used to extend the modules in an axial direction. In this case the chevrons are fixed together in the order described above, but are fixed in-situ directly to sunken first tier of pile units. This may require the use of a fixing plate module. A waterproof insert 500, as shown in FIG. 12b, may be interposed between adjacent piles (not shown), so that the interconnector passes from an interior of a first pile to the other, thereby sandwiching the insert 500 between the two piles and so ensuring liquids cannot pass from an interior of the first pile to the second as the aperture in each is effectively sealed.
 Separate sheets, inserts or waterproof membranes 500 may be secured by bolts through fixing holes, or with adhesive to the internal and external faces of tubular piles. In composite piles, the membranes may be used as gaskets, fixed between overlapping tube side components. Alternatively a hardenable waterproof gel, eg silicon may also be applied before assembly between overlapping components, and after assembly to the outside of the joints between components.
 Third and subsequent pile units are joined to the existing line of pile units in a similar way to create a wall of upright pile units that are partially submerged in the ground. A section of wall is shown in FIG. 7a, where repeating pile units 701 can be seen, the dotted line indicating the portion 701a which is underground. Retaining bolts 712 are shown joining adjacent piles and a mark 713 is shown indicating the upper extent of the fixing slots.
 The partially submerged pile units are then driven fully into the ground to provide a resilient defensive or supportive structure, in the way illustrated in FIG. 7b: the first pile unit 701 is driven into the ground. It moves downwards with respect to the second pile unit 702 which remains static, while the adjacent faces of the first and second piles remain in contact because of the bolt 712, which slides up the fixing slot in the first pile unit 701. The first pile unit 701 may be driven into the ground to a level where the bolt reaches the top of the fixing slot in the chevron. At this point the second pile unit 702 may be driven to an equal depth as the first 701, as it moves relative to its adjacent third pile unit 703, until the bolt connecting the second and third units reaches the top of the fixing slot.
 Each subsequent pile may be driven into the ground to similar depths, limited by the travel available for the bolt in the fixing slots of the chevrons. It will be appreciated that each pile unit need not be driven to exactly the same depth as its neighbour as the fixing slots allow for variations in depth. This is beneficial if the ground has an uneven rocky substrate
 When the line of pile units is driven to the slot-limited depth, the driver returns to the beginning of the wall to drive piles into the ground through a further distance equal to the length of the fixing slots in the chevrons. Alternatively, a second and third pile driver may follow the first. As the third pile unit 703 is sunk to its slot-limited depth, the second pile unit 702 may be further driven, and as the second is further driven, the first 701 may again be driven to its new depth into the ground.
 Driving continues until the top rim of the pile units project above the ground leaving the uppermost fixing holes 507b and 507c in each chevron exposed.
 FIG. 8 illustrates how a second tier of pile units 801 etc may then be added to the projecting first tier 701 etc if desired using the exposed stack fixing holes, or orthogonal flanges (as shown diagrammatically in FIG. 12c). The internal overlapping chevrons can also be used to extend the modules in an axial direction. In this case the chevrons are fixed together in the order described above, but are fixed in-situ directly to sunken first tier of pile units. This may require the use of fixing plates. Alternatively bolts could be used. Inner and outer sheaths of chevrons may be fixed in place with these bolts.
 A pile(s) that is placed atop another pile may be connected thereto by way of a fixing plate 901 which (have) has a pair of holes 901a and 901b; the first hole aligns with the upper stack fixing holes in the first tier pile unit, while the second hole is aligned with the lower fixing holes in the second tier pile unit.
 Connectors, in the form of bolts 902, 903 are passed through these holes and nuts threaded and tightened. Fixing plates 900 are only used on the faces of the pile units that are not adjacent to their neighbour in the wall structure. Instead, for the faces which will slide against each other, bolts are inserted in the aligned fixing slots (not shown). These bolts are provided with nuts which are loosely secured to the bolt so that the adjacent pile unit faces are held closely together but allow relative movement between the faces.
 The resulting two-tier wall may be adequate as a flood defence or retaining wall. If greater depth into the ground is required then the driving process may be repeated, whereby pile units are driven into the ground to a depth limited by the travel of the bolts in the fixing slots, and the process repeated until the pile units are fully driven, and then a third tier added. This can be repeated and fourth, fifth and more tiers can be added, without limit. If a higher wall is required then tiers can be added without driving the lower tiers into the ground.
 A plastic membrane may be placed over the piles so that it hangs down from the top of the flood defence wall. The membrane can hang down and rest on the ground or it can enter the ground between the pile wall and the earth. This way the flood defences are improved. Advantageously the nuts and bolts holding the pile plates can be removed and the flood defence wall unassembled and removed.
 In order to strengthen the wall the void in the centre of each pile may be backfilled with rubble or cement, or a water resistant composition if the wall is to be used as a flood defence. Walls of modules in direct contact with flood water may be provided with valves, to allow water into piles, thus contributing to the ballast, and strength of the structure. Caps may be provided to fit over the empty slots in the side of the pile units that are not being used for joining adjacent piles. Furthermore, a pointed end-piece may be attached to the lower end of the first tier piles in order to assist driving of the piles into the ground and to prevent the interior of the piles from becoming clogged with debris.
 The piles need not be inserted into the ground, but may be driven at an oblique angle. This may be required for lining drainage channels where a vertical side is not desirable.
 A single pile may be connected to up to six other piles in order to form a cluster, for example to provide an extended load bearing surface. A pile may be connected to three other piles for example if branches in the wall are desired.
 A pile plate may be joined to a hexagonal pile so that the pile plate branches off from the hexagonal pile. Wall sections may be extended in several directions branching away from a central hexagonal pile.
 In an alternative embodiment hexagonal section tubes may be provided of the type described above, but installed in a horizontal orientation to provide a honeycomb wall. An example section of such a wall is shown in FIG. 10. The units are connected in the same way as for vertical piles, i.e. using bolts in the apertures. In this configuration the other elements may be fixed to the fixing slots of vertical piles. Fixing to vertical piles is not necessary in some situations and piles, subject of the present invention, may be fixed to existing conventional piles as shown in FIG. 11 or be free standing. Typically the length of the tubular section is shorter for the horizontal walling elements than for the pile units.
 Horizontal wall elements may use internal cross bracing for added strength, which could take the form of a composite star-shaped insert, connecting the axis of the module to its vertices, or separate transverse tubes connecting parallel sides of the module, or a hexagonal shaped disc. The disc insert also forms a cap to retain any infill such as rubble or concrete within the unit.
 The chevrons are typically made from cold rolled steel or sheet aluminium of a thickness suitable to provide structural strength to the pile units. Alternatively the chevrons could be formed of injection moulded plastic. The pile units could also be extruded as a single piece from aluminium or a plastics material. Joining means are conventional bolts or rivets or a suitable adhesive
 FIG. 12c is a diagrammatical view of an alternative embodiment of pile with an orthogonal flange or lip 120 that is dimensioned and arranged around end rims or edges of piles. The flange or lip 120 is disposed to abut a pile, with a similar flange or lip 120, placed above (or below) the pile so as to provide a larger abutment surface area, thereby transmitting axial compressive forces, as well as reducing the risk of misalignment of edges, which could lead to uneven force transmission loading. The flange or lip is shown externally, but can be equally effective if used internally. This gives a smoother finish to the walls of the pile. Alternatively end portions of the piles may have a reduced profile so as to be slightly, tapered, stepped or necked, thereby permitting stacked piles, sitting atop one another, to nest inside one another.
 External flanges may be provided with apertures, and these flanges may extend around bases of the modules of piles, and are ideally adapted to accommodate bolts for fixing the modules directly onto hard surfaces such as concrete, bricks or tarmac.
 It will be appreciated that the cross section of the piles need not be hexagonal, but may be square, rectangular, pentagonal or any other polygonal shape. A longitudinal planar surface is required to provide a bearing surface for the piles to react against each other. A hexagonal cross section is selected because of its compatibility with existing sheet pile profiles.
 Components and configurations described may be used to construct structures besides flood barriers and defences. Modified variants of the components may be used to construct walls, floors, and roofs of any required structure.
 It is to be understood that various modifications to the preferred embodiment and the generic principles and features described herein will be readily apparent to those skilled in the art. Thus, the present invention is not intended to be limited to the embodiment shown and such modifications and variations also fall within the spirit and scope of the appended claims.
 Further variation may be made, for example when installing the polygonal piles into soft ground, by using a sucking or vacuum device that is arranged to remove debris, earth, mud and water from within the pile, specifically the lower region of the pile, thus easing its downward passage into the ground. The downward passage of the pile may be further eased by providing a jet of liquid, such as water directed at or around the peripheral region of the leading edge of the pile. If applied at a suitably high pressure, and evenly around the inner of the pile, this liquid jetting action washes away compact soil, sand and stones, enabling this debris to be sucked away and clearing a passage for the pile.
 In an alternative embodiment, shown in FIG. 12a, there is shown a diagrammatical, plan view of containers 400, formed from panels of rigid plastics, wax coated paper, stainless steel or some continuous folded sheet of material; and having closure members at each end which seal the containers so as to define airtight containment vessels. Containers 400 have been arranged in a bundle with each container 400 retaining liquid, such as water, petroleum oil, sludge, chemicals, edible foodstuffs, fruit juice or olive oil.
 Any suitable process of manufacture may be used to make the containers 400 in large volumes. Processes may include moulding, extrusion or punching in plastic or metal.
 Containers 400 are arranged in a matrix, optionally with half hexagonal packing members 420 filling spaces around at least one edge and triangular cross sectional inserts 440 filling spaces around at least one other edge. One or more straps or webbing 450 pass around the outer periphery of the bundle of containers 400 so as to hold them as a single bulk. A ratchet 460 is optionally provided to tighten the bundle and ensure that containers are urged and held together so as to behave as a single bulk. An advantage of this method of storing and transporting bulk liquids is that in the event of a leak of liquid contents from one or more of the containers, the whole load is not compromised. Furthermore as each container is independent of the other, modular loads can be prepared according to what are available, needs of end users and available carrying capacity.
 In a yet further arrangement retaining walls, formed from a plurality of contiguous piles, are configured as a modular container, which may be used to contain liquids, for example to prevent floods or retain spillages and leaks.
 Another advantage of the invention is that it can be deployed so that one or more runs of piles are buried in a semi-permanent manner, revealing only a portion of their upper rims. Such part buried piles may be placed in areas prone to flooding or in locations of high risk erosion in readiness to receive pile sections so as to create a waterproof barrier. One such example is shown in diagrammatic form in FIG. 13, wherein a wall of piles 1060 surrounds a house 1050. It being understood that one or two further piles can be quickly and relatively easily fitted to the rigid rim that protrudes above ground level, thereby providing a semi-permanent flood barrier that can be removed for example in summer time when there is less risk of flooding, but can be redeployed for example when there is a risk of impending flood. Such an arrangement includes the use of conventional corrugated sheet piles whose profile is capable of abutting against the hexagonal edges of the piles herein described. It is also to be appreciated that such corrugated sheet piling, with suitably formed bolt holes, could be quickly fitted to an external perimeter of a profile of hexagonal piles, by way of bolts.
 Suitable support struts may be provided to act in a similar manner as flying buttress as to ensure that the combined hexagonal and sheet piling is able to withstand the amount of hydrostatic loading applied by a head of flood water.
 The invention has been described by way of example only and variation may be made to the embodiments described without departing from the scope of the claims.
Patent applications in class Artificial water barrier (e.g., dam, levee, etc.)
Patent applications in all subclasses Artificial water barrier (e.g., dam, levee, etc.)