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Gregg Drilling & Testing, Inc.

Site Investigation Experts

Introduction to
Penetration Testing
Peter K. Robertson

DFI-CSCE
Spring Workshop 2014

Ground Investigation
To investigate ground and groundwater
conditions
di i in
i andd aroundd site
i consistent
i with
ih
project requirements
Nature
Nature, sequence and variability of strata
Groundwater conditions
Physical,
y , chemical and mechanical characteristics of strata

Field work designed to test and evaluate


geologic model
Flexibility
Ground conditions often complex
Site investigation should be conducted as
operations
i off discovery
di (geologic
( l i framework)
f k)
Work should be varied in light of new
information
pp
Observational approach needed

Communication
Communication important for flexible ground
investigation
Modern tele
tele-communications
communications have improved
links between field and office
Important
I to give
i field
fi ld personnell adequate
d
background information
Major areas of uncertainty
Natural variability
Complex soil behavior
Limitations
i i i off in-situ
i i testing
i
Difficulties obtaining truly undisturbed
samples
Limitations of laboratoryy testing
g

In situ Testing
In-situ
ADVANTAGES LIMITATIONS
Large volume of tested Complex and poorly
soil controlled boundary
Layering, fabric, spatial conditions
variability maintained Uncontrolled drainage
Testingg of difficult to conditions
sample soils Soil disturbance
Testing of soils in natural Non-uniform strain fields
environment Deformation and failure
Reduced costs and time modes different than
design problem
Limited
Li it d identification
id tifi ti off
soil nature
Applicability of major in-situ tests
(first published by Mitchell et al, 1978)

After Robertson 2012

Requirements
q ffor a Good Penetration
Test
Reliable, operator independent measurements
Examples: CPT, CPTu, SCPT, DMT, SDMT
Repeatable disturbance of surrounding soil
Examples: CPT, CPTu, SCPT, DMT, SDMT
Measurement of more than one independent
variable
Example: CPTu, SCPT, SDMT

Wheres the SPT?


Standard Penetration Test (SPT)
ADVANTAGES:
Simple and rugged equipment
Low equipment cost
Easily available
Soil sample obtained

LIMITATIONS:
Disturbed sample
p (index
( tests only)
y)
High variability and uncertainty
Crude number (N value)
Di
Discontinuous
ti

SPT Corrections
(N1)60 = N CER CN CR CB CS

N = Measured SPT
CER = Energy correction (0.4 to 1.4)
CN = Overburden correction (vo)-0.5
CR = Rod length
g correction ((0.7 to 1.0))
CB = Borehole diameter correction (1.0 to 1.2)
CS = Sampler
p correction ((1.0 to 1.2))
Borehole disturbance also a major factor
Influence of Energy on SPT

Measured SPT N = 12

If ERi = 40% N60 = 8

If ERi = 80% N60 = 16

If SPT measured at depth of 4m


ERi could be as low as 20%
Then N60 = 4 Hence, 4 or 16?

Stop using the SPT?


Mayne
y et al (2009)
( )
false sense of reality in the geot. engineers
ability to assess each and every soil parameter
from the single N-value

Geot. engineers in the 21st century should


pprogressively
g y abandon this crude,, unreliable
in-situ test
Common reasons given to do SPT
Other ((better)) tests are not locallyy available
demand/require better tests, then contractors will
make the investment
SPT gives soil sample
take samples with direct push equipment
SPT is less expensive
SPT very expensive based on a per data point
CPT not possible in local soils
Push CPT with drill-rig & drill out hard layers

History of CPT
First developed in 1930
1930ss as mechanical cone
Electric cones developed in 1960s
Primary device for off-shore
off shore investigations since
1970s
Major advancements since 1970:
Pore pressure measurements
More reliable load cells & electronics
Addition of seismic for shear wave velocity
Additional sensors for environmental applications
Significant increase in documented case histories
Cone Penetration Test (CPT)
ADVANTAGES:
Fastt and
F d continuous
ti profiling
fili
Repeatable and reliable data
Economical and productive
Strong theoretical basis for interpretation
Additional sensors

LIMITATIONS:
High capital investment
Skilled operators
No soil sample (during CPT)
Penetration restricted in gravels/cemented
g
layers

Discrete CPT Soil Sampling


Direct-Push Piston-Type Sampler
Single-Tube System
300mm long x 28mm diameter sample
Small
S ll disturbed
di t b d sample
l (index
(i d testing
t ti only)
l )
Basic Cone Parameters

Sleeve Friction
fs = load/2rh

Pore Pressure
u2

Tip Resistance
qc = load/ r 2

Robertson, 2013

Get SPT N60 from CPT


JJefferies
ff i andd Davies
D i (1993)
The best way to obtain an SPT N value is to do
CPT and convert
convert

qc/N60 = 8.5 (1 Ic/4.6)

Ic = ((3.47 l Qt)2 + (log


((3 47 - log 1 22)2)0.5
(l Fr + 1.22) 05
SPT-CPT Correlations

SBT Ic

Example
p SPT-CPT comparison
p

SPT

Zero values

Tailings deposit
What level of sophistication is
appropriate
i forf site
i investigation
i i i
& analyses?
GOOD Precedent & local experience POOR
SIMPLE Design objectives COMPLEX
LOW Level of geotechnical risk HIGH
LOW Potential for cost savings HIGH

Traditional Methods Advanced Methods


Simplified Complex
CONVENTIONAL DRILLING DIRECT-PUSH
& SAMPLING TECHNOLOGY
Lab

Oscilloscope
UD Drop
tube Hammer

Cased SCPT
Boreholes
qt
FIRM
CHT: fs
u2
Vs, Vp
SAND t50
Vs
SPT: N60
SOFT
VST: su, St CLAY
PMT: E
Packer: kvh old After Mayne, 2010
new

Safety
Improved safety using push
push-in
in methods
No hammer or rotating parts
Similar safety precautions compared to direct push
equipment (pinch points, clamps)
No cuttings for disposal
Significant cost savings
Reduced contact with possible contamination
Lower visibility and public exposure with
enclosed
l d trucks
t k
Summary
CPT can be a fast
fast, reliable and cost effective
means to evaluate soil profile, geotechnical
parameters groundwater conditions and
parameters,
preliminary geotechnical design.

Suitable for a wide range of soils, except for


dense gravels and hard rock.

The Geotechnical Eng.


Eng Dilemma

Much of what we do in geotechnical


engineering is not strictly correct the
art is to get the
h CORRECT answer

Site investigation is a key first step to


understand when traditional techniques
will/will
ll/ ll not give the
h correct answer