F. Schnaid

Doctor of Philosophy, Magdalen College, Oxford University, Trinity Term 1990

A Study of the Cone-Pressuremeter Test in Sand

Summary

The cone-pressuremeter is a new site investigation device which incorporates a pressuremeter behind a standard cone penetrometer tip. This dissertation is concerned with an understanding of the new device, and in particular the establishment of a detailed procedure to allow the test to be used to determine the engineering properties of cohesionless soils.

A series of 34 calibration tests was performed, in which three cone-pressuremeter prototypes with cross-sectional areas corresponding to 15cm², 10cm² and 5cm² were used. The tests were carried out on cylindrical samples, enclosed in a chamber 1.0 m in diameter and 1.5 m in height. Stress controlled boundaries allowed independent control of vertical and horizontal stress in the range of 50 kPa to 300 kPa. A raining deposition technique was used to produce three sand densities, corresponding to loose, medium and dense samples.

A programme of calibration was designed to provide an examination of the influence of relative density, stress level and stress ratio on cone-pressuremeter test data. Soil properties were related to the values of the limit pressure obtained from the pressuremeter test and the cone resistance values from the cone test. Empirical relationships were proposed for deriving density, friction angle and horizontal stress.

Cone-pressuremeter tests were used for assessing directly the shear stiffness of the soil. A series of calibrations was needed to obtain the best possible estimation of the unload-reload shear modulus. Interpretation of the measured modulus was made by examining appropriate methods of calculating the modulus from unload-reload loops. Strain arm measurements and volume change measurements were compared. A method has been presented that allows the shear modulus values to be correlated to the relevant stress level acting around the pressuremeter during the test. The values of shear modulus obtained with the cone- pressuremeter were compatible with those obtained from the self-boring pressuremeter.

An assessment of chamber size effects yielded useful information regarding the applicability of test correlations derived from calibration chambers to field problems. An additional study identified experimentally the influence of length to diameter ratio on the pressuremeter pressure-expansion curve.

Thesis (6.69MB, pdf)

This thesis can also be downloaded from the ORA website