MUD ROTARY DRILLING VS. CPT

Mud Rotary Drilling and Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) both provide reliable options for gaining subsurface information. In fact, the two are even compatible – many organizations that order drilling services, such as mud rotary drilling are also using CPT for their operations. Mud Rotary Drilling Mud rotary drilling is a versatile and dependable method for geological drilling operations. It is most commonly used to create a hole that will then be used for water well, seismic testing and commercial drilling operations. The mud rotary drilling functions with a drill-bit that is attached to a drill-rod that rotates into a borehole. This is done while pumping a drill mud that contains bentonite or polymer slurry into the borehole. Once this operation is complete, the drilling mud will circulate into a mud pit where the remaining residue in the borehole caused by drilling will then come out and be reused. This process is done without any effort from the drilling operators, and speeds up the drilling by removing any potential obstacles. Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is the use of a hardened cone shape that is pushed into the ground to substantial depths. The cone is pushed using steel rods that are able to be connected to each other as the depth increases. A dominant hydraulic ram is used to produce a considerable amount of downward force to facilitate the cone to penetrate soft soils, sand and clay. Though both provide suitable options for obtaining subsurface information, there are many benefits to using CPT over drilling. First off, CPT is a faster, less expensive option that also provides immediate results on site. CPT can also point to where rotary mud drilling will be required which is typically because of subsurface conditions or where more sampling should be done. CPT [...]

4 Types of Geotechnical Testing: What is the Best Option for You?

Geo-technical tests are performed by geo-technical engineers, geo-technical technicians or engineering geologists to understand the characteristics such as the physical properties that exist underneath a work site. Geo-technical testing will include a walk around of the surface conditions as well as one or more of a variety of tests. Tests generally fall into 4 categories, test pits, trenching, boring and in-situ testing. Test Pits Test pits are much like you would expect, a pit is dug either manually or with an excavator in order to reveal the sub-surface conditions to the depth desired. Trenching Trenching is similar to Test pits except that in this case, the pit is elongated over some distance in order to establish how the sub-surface conditions change over various parts of the work site. A range of soil samplers can be used to extract test samples including shovels, hand-driven augers, split-spoon samplers, modified California samplers and Shelby tube samplers. Boring Borings, usually small-diameter borings, provide the opportunity to physically remove soil or rock samples for testing. Borings provide the advantage of letting you ‘see’ the actual materials, but for certain types of soils, the very act of boring can disturb the soil conditions and the samples extracted may not represent what the conditions will actually be for building and supporting structures since it is unscientific and void of actionable data. Generally, soil samples from the above tests are taken to a lab where they are evaluated. In-Situ Testing In-situ (in the situation, or at site) testing methods include penetration tests such as Standard Penetration Tests (SPT), which penetrate via drilling, and various Cone Penetration Tests, which penetrate via direct push . These tests measure the physical properties of the subsurface soil directly, without removal. This provides the advantages of generating a more accurate reflection of conditions [...]

Standard Penetration Test (SPT) a Basic Soil Testing Procedure

A widely used soil testing procedure is the Standard Penetration Test (SPT). This test is still used because of it's simplicity and low cost. It can provide useful information in very specific types of soil conditions, but is not as accurate as a Cone Penetration Test. Here's more information about this basic soil testing procedure. For this test, a sample tube, which is thick walled to endure the test environment is placed at the bottom of a borehole. A heavy slide hammer (140 lbs) is dropped repeatedly 30 inches onto the top of the sample tube, driving it into the soil being tested. The operation entails the operator counting the number of hammer strikes it takes to drive the sample tube 6 inches at a time. Each test drives the sample tube up to 18 inches deep. It is then extracted and if desired a sample of the soil is pulled from the tube. The borehole is drilled deeper and the test is repeated. Often soil recovery is poor and counting errors per interval may occur. The number of hammer strikes it takes for the tube to penetrate the second and third 6 inch depth is called the 'standard penetration resistance', or otherwise called the 'N-value'. The standard penetration resistance offers a gauge of the soil density of soils which are hard to pull up with simply a borehole sampling approach. You can imagine pushing a sample tube into gravel, sand or silt and struggling to recover samples that are useful for analysis. Coupling the standard penetration test with borehole drilling and sampling can be an improvement for understanding certain soil types underground. This basic soil testing procedure gives reasonably consistent results in fine-grained sands and is not as consistent in coarse sands or clays. It can be useful in [...]

See the Vertek CPT Lightweight Portable CPT Push System in Action!

At Vertek CPT we love to develop innovative, yet practical CPT solutions with real ROI. There are many situations where an ultra-mobile, yet reliable CPT push system makes a lot of sense. In areas where it is difficult to get rig-based CPT equipment into place, maybe due to the terrain, soil conditions or distance from the nearest road, a CPT system that can be carried and operated by a small crew makes sense. Maximize Your Soil Testing Service Vertek's 10 Ton Portable Cone Penetrometer Test (CPT) hydraulic load frame is the lightest, smallest, most portable hydraulic CPT unit available. The hydraulic power pack and the hydraulic cylinders are independent and coupled by hydraulic quick-disconnects. The aluminum twin cylinders and power pack weigh only 195 kg (430 lbs) and 160 kg (355 lbs) respectively. Even within this lightweight form-factor, the unit still pushes up to 10 tons, meaning that you can reach the depths necessary for many types of tests. After setting 4 sturdy augers with the included drive unit and hand tools as simple as a tape measure, you are ready to mount the unit and start pushing. You can see how easy transportation, set-up, operation and tear-down are here: [/fusion_youtube]

Cone Penetration Test (CPT) Overview 101

Are you new to the Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) business? Or maybe you're looking to convert your operation to CPT? Wherever your interest is surfacing from, we have everything you need to know about expanding into the CPT business with confidence. What do I get from a Cone Penetration Test (CPT)? In case you're new to the Cone Penetration Testing business, CPT will collect important subsurface information from standard tests and then from there determine important business factors, such as, how to design foundations for structures or the composition of subsurface soils. The difference between this type of data collection and other competitors is the benefit CPT has for businesses. CPT can provide immediate, onsite information that is quick and accurate. Above all, onsite results can improve your business productivity; ultimately leading to a more efficient business process. If you had the chance to take a look at our Solutions Brief: Enter the Cone Penetration Business with Confidence, then you may have already taken a deep dive into the advantages of collecting subsurface information with a process that is more quick and efficient than other options. Businesses are choosing to use a CPT solution for many different reasons; whether for construction or government purposes, they all benefit from the same advantage: speedy collection and interpretation of data, a safe solution for operators and the environment, and the ability to adapt to different weather and soil conditions. We understand how intimidating it can be to enter a new business; large or small. That's why we are focused on delivering educational content that addresses all of your CPT needs and concerns. From topics on 'What is a Cone Test' to 'Mud Rotary Drilling vs. CPT,' it's important to consider pros and cons and different scenarios in order to make the right choice [...]

In-Situ Soil Testing 101: The Different Types of Tests

In-situ soil testing is essential for gaining soil property information, measuring groundwater pressure, gathering moisture content data and other important data points, all in which can be safety-critical in a number of different instances. In today's post we are going to take a deep dive into a few different types of soil tests that can be performed in-situ. In-situ soil testing can be accomplished in a variety of different ways. Every soil test has its own place and benefit; however, the most accurate and thorough in-situ soil testing for determining a wide variety of technical attributes is Cone Penetration Testing (CPT). Just like everything else, determining what is best for your business is more efficient and effective once you have determined the pros and cons for every possible solution; in this case a testing solution. Options for In-Situ Soil Testing Procedures Here is a closer look at a few different options for performing an in-situ soil test: Standard Penetration Testing (SPT): This option is dynamic, low in cost and has been widely recognized as a simplified solution that provides useful information. While it's reasonably consistent with it's results in fine-grained sands it's not as consistent with coarse sands or clays; which can be difficult for gathering accurate data and analysis of soil conditions. For even more on Standard Penetration Testing, visit one of our previous posts that takes a closer look at SPT for your business. Dynamic Cone Penetrometer (DCP): A DCP manually lifts it's weight and drops into a cone that will then penetrate into the ground. It will record the number of mm per hit as well as gather an estimate of different soil properties, however it doesn't have as many capabilities as the CPT, and can only estimate certain properties. Cone Penetration Testing (CPT): This option collects [...]

Analyzing CPT Data

As we've noted in other posts, CPT provides a number of benefits over traditional methods of subsurface soil characterization. These benefits include: Traceability Reports from a specific sounding are easily traced back to the source data, and because CPT is a continuous process, data points in between those reported can be evaluated post-test. This is in contrast to geotechnical boring where individual samples need to be tracked and accounted for from the busy worksite to a remote lab and through to reports and documentation. This can be cumbersome and prone to errors. Immediacy Reports can be generated in near-real-time. This enables customers such as site owners or civil engineers to have visibility to the tests as they are occuring. Having immediacy means that as data is reported and interpreted, any retesting that should be done or any additional soundings that would be useful to clarify or validate data can be called for on the spot. Accuracy Because of the very large volume of soundings that have been done, important factors and relationships have been established that enable the raw CPT data to be translated into useful information. Additionally, as we've noted elsewhere, CPT leaves the soil being tested 'undisturbed' and therefore provides a more accurate assessment than other methods of soil characterization. CPT Data analysis and interpretation can be aided through the use of specialized software Two that our customers have had success with include DataForensics & Datagel. Using software to log, analyze and report your data provides a number of advantages. Traceability, immediacy and accuracy are improved. Additionally, efficiency and therefore your cost structure, benefit as well. With the right software you are able to accelerate your ability to serve customers both more quickly and more accurately. If you are entering or have recently started out in the CPT [...]

An Introduction to Soil Compaction Testing

In the construction of high load structures such as dams, paved roadways and construction projects that rely on the stability of embankments; soil compaction is used to increase soil strength. Loose soil can be compacted by using mechanical equipment to remove air-voids, thereby densifying the soil and increasing it's dry unit weight. There are a variety of different benefits to soil compaction, including: prevention of soil settlement and frost damage, increased ground stability, reduced hydraulic conductivity and mitigating undesirable settlement of structures, such as paved roads, foundations and piping. Below you will find a few different examples of how a soil compaction test can be performed. Standard Proctor Compaction Test: Standard Proctor Compaction Testing can be performed in a lab. The testing first determines the maximum density achievable for the soil and uses it as a reference for field testing. It also is effective for testing the effects of moisture on the soil's density. For soil with higher densities a Modified Proctor Compaction Test which uses higher values will be necessary. Materials Needed: 1/30 cubic ft. mold 5.5 lb. hammer 12" drop 3 layers of soil 25 blows Obtain layered soil sample (via our VTK Soil Sampler if equipped) Determine the weight of the Proctor mold with the base and the collar extension Assemble the compaction tool Place soil in the mold in 3 layers Compact the soil with 25 well distributed blows of the hammer Carefully detach the collar extension and base without distributing the soil Determine the weight of the Proctor mold and the soil Oven dry the soil for 12 hours to determine the moisture content Compaction energy can be calculated with this test by using this formula: ((#blows) x (#layers of soil) x (weight of hammer) x (height drop)) / mold volume Field Tests: Field Tests [...]

Building a CPT Truck in Less Than 3 Minutes (Video)

This short video compresses about a month of construction time on a 20 Ton CPT Truck built by Vertek CPT at our Vermont facility during the summer of 2014. CPT Trucks are popular for those looking for maximum push force and all-in-one mobility. This truck will be delivered to the customer upon completion of the internal components. Large trucks provide greater push force and improved working environs while smaller trucks provide greater mobility in tight spaces. Contact us to see which is best for you. Our new S4 Push System also provides a path to entering the CPT market with limited investment. [/fusion_youtube]

What is a CPT DataPack?

Your average Cone Penetration Testing Rig is a fairly complex piece of machinery, but it can’t do its job alone. Indeed, every CPT Rig needs a DataPack, or data acquisition and analysis package (DAS), to properly measure and document soil information gathered from digital CPT cones and other sensors. But what exactly is a DataPack? Typically, CPT DataPacks like the VTK DataPack offer a simple “all-in-one” solution to commercial CPT service providers. The DataPack is most often designed to be field portable as it operates onsite during the CPT Testing process. As such, most DataPacks are best used with any commercial, off-the-shelf laptop for optimal portability. The Benefits of Automated Data Collection While sensor-specific data, such as calibration factors, serial numbers and sensor type, are in fact stored in each sensor module in the cone, that data is also automatically transmitted to the DataPack with each penetration. This automated collection of data offers a number of advantages. For starters, with the DataPack handling all the data collection, even a technician with minimal training can operate the system with relative ease. Automated data collection and analysis also reduces operator error or bias, while further speeding up the CPT Testing process as reporting is instant. This in turn allows for increased productivity and profit for the operator as many more soundings can be performed in a shift. Perhaps most importantly, the DataPack can also present information immediately in the form of a client-ready visual report. Again, this saves field engineers time as they don’t have to crunch the data manually. Since CPT is still a fairly new field, this makes it easier for technicians to make the shift to CPT from related vocations. The added confidence the DataPack offers technicians in turn helps ease the way for new entrants into the CPT [...]