Exploring adding in situ soil testing to your geotechnical operations? Already done in situ and want to find the right tools for the job? Vertek has you covered.
In this post, we will take a deep dive into a few different types of soil tests that can be performed in situ. First, let’s start with “Why do you conduct in situ soil testing?”
In situ soil testing is essential for gaining soil property information, measuring groundwater pressure, gathering moisture content data, and other essential data points, all of which can be safety-critical in many different instances.
In situ soil testing can be accomplished in a variety of different ways. Every soil test has its place and benefit; however, the most accurate and thorough in situ soil testing for determining a wide variety of technical attributes is Cone Penetration Testing (CPT).
Just like everything else, determining what is best for your business requires understanding the pros and cons of every possible solution, in this case, an in situ soil testing solution.
Options for in situ soil testing procedures
Here is a closer look at a few different options for performing an in situ soil test:
Standard Penetration Testing (SPT) and in situ soil testing:
This option is dynamic, low in cost, and has been widely recognized as a simplified solution that provides useful information.
While it’s reasonably consistent with its fine-grained sands results, it’s not as consistent with coarse sands or clays, which can be difficult to gather accurate data and analysis of soil conditions.
Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP) testing:
With a DCP test, the cone is driven by a standard amount of force from a hammer, and how far the cone moves with each blow is used to determine the soil density and properties at that level. It will record the number of mm per hit and gather an estimate of different soil properties.
Since DCP is essentially hand-powered, it is cheaper and more portable than CPT equipment, but the possibility of human error makes it trickier to obtain consistent and accurate data.
Historically, one of the largest difficulties associated with DCP has been obtaining accurate depth difference measurements with a hand rule after each blow of the hammer.
Fortunately, handheld electronics technology has alleviated these issues to a great extent. Vertek’s handheld Smart DCP Kit uses a smartphone app and a laser rangefinder to automatically count blows and measure, record, and plot depth. From the smartphone, this data can be easily graphed in the field and transferred to a computer or client for reporting and analysis.
To further increase the repeatability and efficiency of DCP testing, Vertek offers automatic DCP (ADCP) testing systems. ADCP rigs can be mounted on lightweight trailers, commercially available trucks, or ATVs.
Automated tests are both faster and more consistent than their manual counterparts and also decrease physical labour for the operator.
Cone Penetration Testing (CPT):
Geotechnical engineers have been using Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) for over 40 years to assist in the design and construction of foundations, embankments and other structures.
The data compiled from this testing is valuable for assessing the subsurface stratigraphy associated with soft materials, discontinuous lenses, organic materials, and potentially liquified materials (such as sand, silt and granule gravel), and predicting landslides or ground settling.
This type of testing is not only accurate, but it can collect data at a fast rate and, from there, will interpret the data on the site, enabling you to gain a competitive advantage as an engineer.
Whether you purchase a Vertek CPT truck rig, SmartDCP, drilling rig CPT conversion kit, or CPT cones, you can operate reliably in the most demanding conditions. Contact us to discuss your needs and our solutions.
Have questions about Vertek’s solutions for in situ soil testing?
Click here or give us a call at 1-800-639-6315 to discuss your needs and our solutions.