Science
Fact-checked
At AllTheScience, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

What Are the Different Types of Geotechnical Test?

Geotechnical testing is crucial for understanding soil behavior and ensuring construction safety. These tests range from soil sampling and plate load tests to in-situ density and shear strength assessments. Each method provides insights into the earth's capacity to support structures. Intrigued by how these tests shape our built environment? Discover more about the science securing our foundations.
Maggie J. Hall
Maggie J. Hall

Geotechnical tests analyze a number of soil characteristics including density, draining capacity, moisture and particle content. Soil generally consists of dirt, minerals, and rocks, along with water and air. Some areas have soil that contains clay or sand. Environmental engineering services evaluate the soil composition of a particular site before construction begins, which determines the condition of the ground under various circumstances. Environmental and weather conditions that might cause soil expansion and contraction or ground shifting are some of the factors a geotechnical test analyzes.

Before spending millions of dollars and hundreds of man-hours building a structure, landowners need to know whether the ground can support the proposed building. Soft, air-filled ground may cause more structural settling than desired, causing premature cracking throughout a building. Areas with heavy rainfall followed by periods of intense heat might have soil movement that could potentially ruin a building foundation. When developing barriers or walls along a body of water, engineers require a series of evaluations that determine what structures might prevent landslides, soil erosion, or slope instability.

Geotechnical tests analyze characteristics of soil.
Geotechnical tests analyze characteristics of soil.

The geological engineer not only performs testing on visible topsoil but also analyzes the layers below ground level by taking bore samples and digging pits or trenches. Technicians might perform some tests on-site while others require laboratory evaluation. The geotechnical test, called the sieve analysis, examines the size and number of various particles in the soil. The hydrometer analysis determines the amount of silt particles that are too small for sieve testing. These tests might provide information for general soil classifications or be used to determine if soil composition is suitable for use in concrete mixing.

Geotechnical engineering often plays a key role in building tunnels and other civil projects.
Geotechnical engineering often plays a key role in building tunnels and other civil projects.

Many tests determine moisture content and the effects of moisture on soil. A liquid limit geotechnical test analyzes the amount of moisture required before soil becomes liquid while the linear shrinkage test determines the amount of shrinkage wet land exhibits after being exposed to extreme drying conditions. The hydraulic conductivity test evaluates water flow through clay and sandy soils to predict land settling and its possible effects on structures. The moisture content in clay soils when changing from semisolid to plastic is determined by the plastic limit test.

Geotechnical testing is often used during the process of building a new foundation.
Geotechnical testing is often used during the process of building a new foundation.

Some tests evaluate the overall strength of the ground. The compaction geotechnical test, for example, evaluates the density and moisture content of compacted soil to determine whether a location can adequately support heavy structures. The California bearing ratio test analyzes soil density and compaction by using penetrating instruments that apply varying amounts of direct force. The shear test evaluates the strength of sand containing soils where contractors might build levees or retaining walls.

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register:
    • Geotechnical tests analyze characteristics of soil.
      By: ilposeidone
      Geotechnical tests analyze characteristics of soil.
    • Geotechnical engineering often plays a key role in building tunnels and other civil projects.
      By: viappy
      Geotechnical engineering often plays a key role in building tunnels and other civil projects.
    • Geotechnical testing is often used during the process of building a new foundation.
      By: thejimcox
      Geotechnical testing is often used during the process of building a new foundation.