Determining Soil Moisture Content and Material Properties with Dynamic Cone Penetrometer

Juha Latvala, Heikki Luomala, Pauli Kolisoja


This study utilised static triaxial and dynamic cone penetration tests to examine the identification of changes in strength in soil materials as a result of an increase in moisture content. The applicability of a light dynamic cone penetrometer device in railway environments was also studied. On a broader scale, the aim was to find an investigation method suited to field locations that identify low-quality or persistently moist materials directly from the structure. The triaxial tests found an apparent increase in shear strength when the water content dropped below 7%. Based on the series of laboratory tests, the dynamic cone penetrometer reacted strongly to material density, but the impact of moisture content was also evident. Furthermore, the results showed that dynamic cone resistance is a reasonably unfeasible metric for assessing the structural quality of materials consisting primarily of sand, due to the number of factors affecting the resistance. In the laboratory tests, the lowest dynamic cone resistances were measured in the material with the highest structural quality.


dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP); Panda2; railway embankments; soil moisture; soil shear strength; substructure; triaxial test

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DOI: 10.7250/bjrbe.2020-15.511


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