We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Consolidation Test?

By Paul Reed
Updated Feb 07, 2024
Our promise to you
AllTheScience is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At AllTheScience, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A consolidation test, also called an oedometer test, is a measurement of how soils compress when saturated with water and exposed to varying amounts of load, or varying weights of the soil. Saturated conditions exist when water is added until no more can be absorbed by the soil. Soil testing is performed both for understanding of existing soil conditions and for determining acceptable load factors when building foundations are being built.

The test uses a saturated soil sample placed in a metal ring open at the top and bottom. Samples are compressed between two porous stones with increasing weights, with the height of the sample measured as the weight changes. Porous stones allow water to pass through them while maintaining strength to resist the testing load. Water is added to the soil during the test to maintain a fully saturated soil.

As the soil is placed under a load, the water is forced out of voids or gaps in the soil structure. The consolidation test measures how the soil compacts as the water is forced out. This test is important because building foundations may not be deep enough to reach bedrock, or rock layers may not be present where construction will take place. Architects and building engineers need to understand how the soil will respond to compression, or the weight of the building structure pressing down.

A soil consolidation test is considered one-dimensional, because the sample is placed in a metal ring that prevents soil movement to the sides. The load compression is axial, or from the top direction and moving down in a straight line, so there are soil characteristics not determined by this test. One factor not tested by this method is shear strength, which is a measurement of soil resistance to a side-to-side or tearing load.

Measuring soil characteristics can also provide data for geologists to study soil history. A consolidation test will show different results for newly deposited soils versus older soils. Land will compress naturally over time, and effects from glaciers or lakes no longer present can create further soil compression.

Another factor when reviewing consolidation test data is the amount of swelling or rebound that can occur if the load is removed. If construction occurs on soils containing a great deal of water, and the loads change such as occurs on bridges or other structures, the soil can swell if the load has not fully compressed the soil. These changing soil conditions could damage foundations and structures, so it is important to understand the soil behavior if loads are added or removed.

AllTheScience is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon355469 — On Nov 16, 2013

AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

AllTheScience, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.