What is a Cone Test? If you want to know the basics, start here

A Cone Penetration Test (CPT) also referred to more informally as a Cone Test, is a way to get at subsurface information without having to directly sample the subsurface. Many organizations that order drilling services are also using CPT within their operations. CPT testing services is a good support option to well drilling services, since many of the potential customers and skills overlap. What is Cone Penetration Testing? Cone Penetration Testing (CPT) is the practice of using an ASTM standard hardened cone shape that is directly pushed into the ground to substantial depths. The cone is pushed using steel rods that are able to be connected to each other in 1 meter lengths as the depth increases. A powerful hydraulic ram is used to generate a substantial amount of downward force to enable the cone to penetrate soils, sand, clay and sometimes even soft rock. In order to keep the surface equipment (truck) in place and not simply be lifted up by the ram force, the vehicles that the CPT equipment is mounted on or in are typically quite heavy. Also, the use of anchor systems to the ground will increase the ability of any vehicle mounted CPT system to push harder and therefore deeper. There are a couple of different imperative goals to any subsurface investigation. The first one is the nature and sequence of strata or soil,sediments and other geological subsurface features. Using CPT for this is called geo-technical testing. In addition, the groundwater conditions can be established during a sounding. CPT can be used to determine: the composition, strength and distribution of subsurface soils. These can range from clay, sand, bedrock, groundwater table, hydrocarbons, contaminants and more. Advantages of CPT There are many different advantages to Cone Penetration Testing (CPT), including, prompt collection and interpretation of field [...]

Join us at Geo-Congress 2014 – Booth #105

Geo-Congress 2014, Atlanta, Booth 105 Join us at Geo-Congress 2014 in Atlanta starting Sunday, February 23rd and running through Tuesday, February 25th, 2014. We're excited to be a part of this historic gathering, the first Geo-Institute conference focused on sustainability. CPT is an important part of structural design, including sustainably focused projects. It is also a vital technology for ground water monitoring, protection and soil remediation which are essential to sustainable development. Vertek CPT is excited to be sharing the latest breakthrough CPT tools including the new S4 quick attach CPT system! We'll be planning our spring product demo schedule that is kicking off in May. So stop by booth #105 to arrange a time and place to experience these products first hand and see how Vertek CPT can help you to be successful in the CPT business. Hope to see you there!

Soil Electrical Conductivity

In terms of measuring soil contamination, measuring soil electrical conductivity can provide useful information for a more complete site characterization study. Measuring sub-surface soil electrical conductivity is becoming less expensive as well as faster and easier. This form of measurement has most commonly been used for measuring physical and chemical soil properties but the ability to pinpoint contaminants is improving, particularly with software designed for the job. How to Measure Soil Conductivity Measuring soil electrical conductivity is facilitated by two different types of sensors, a contact sensor and a non-contact sensor. Contact sensors work by making contact with soil to measure electrical conductivity directly. These types of instruments are most often used along the surface of a field to characterize the soil for agricultural purposes. Non-Contact Sensors Non-contact sensors, as the name implies, function without having to touch the soil directly. This method is based on the measurement of the change in mutual impedance between a pair of coils passed through the soil. Electricity is applied through the coils, which creates a magnetic field. Much like the way an induction motor operates, this magnetic field induces an electrical current in nearby materials that are magnetic. You can assess the level of current induced by measuring the impedance in the operating coils. Passing non-contact sensors down a borehole has been used effectively to establish geophysical properties such as the presence of clay (which may have highly conductive materials distributed through it) and water table levels. In cases where an area is known to have contamination, the identification of clay layers and groundwater distribution can help to estimate where 'plumes' of contamination might be contained orspread underground. In the case of a borehole test, water samples can be gathered directly from discrete depths to confirm the presence of various types of contaminants. [...]

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 [...]

Converting a Drilling Rig into a CPT Platform

If you're familiar with our CPT University blog then you may have had a chance to take a closer look into what CPT can do for your business. If you're yet to make the switch; it may be because you don't exactly have the means to support the transition into the CPT business. Fortunately, if you're still looking to reap the benefits of CPT rigs, the Vertek CPT Drill Rig Adapter may be the solution that you have been searching for. Read on to learn how you can start growing your drilling business. Converting a drill rig into a CPT platform using a Vertek CPT Drill Rig Adapter Businesses that transition out of SPT or Hollow Stem Auger Drilling are able to become more efficient and obtain a higher daily rate. How Does it Work? The drill rig CPT adapter kit enables drilling service providers to complete CPT testing with their existing equipment. So how does it work exactly? The simple adapter is first screwed onto the drill head. This enables the existing push and pull hydraulic system to advance and retract the CPT equipment to and from the subsurface. This is just a small snippet of what the drill rig CPT adapter kit can do, for even more on it's functionality, visit our drilling conversion page. A CPT Drilling Conversion Rig Kit Consists of: A Peizo-Cone Penetrometer A Data Acquisition System (DAS) and coaxial communication cable A Depth Marker for depth measurement A Drill Head Adapter for advancing and removal Rods or Rod Adapters Wear surface consumables and spares (tips, sleeves, pore pressure filters) Seismic shear wave equipment (optional) Converting a drilling rig can be a cost-effective entry into CPT. By following this route, you can enter the CPT business with a brand that offers exceptional domestic support and [...]

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Geotechnical Boring; Why CPT May be Your Better Option

As we noted in a previous post about Soil Quality, there are a wide range of reasons that soil needs to be tested. For some applications, it is important to get data about soil that is sub-surface, and in many cases getting data from deep under a site can be useful or essential. When most people imagine how you would gather data from soil that is deep underground, they imagine using a drilling rig of some kind. Sure enough, there are special kinds of boring tools that will let you drill deep into the ground and extract a sample of the soil at depth for analysis. Advantages & Disadvantages of Geotechnical Boring Using Geotechnical Boring, whether it be small-diameter or large-diameter equipment allows users to see the solid that is extracted. This can be useful for gaining an understanding of the sub-surface topology if a goal is to create a multi-dimensional map of the subsurface Geological conditions. There are significant disadvantages however to using Geotechnical Boring to obtain soil samples for testing. One disadvantage is that the operation of boring is for obtaining samples only, you can't gather data from the boring activity itself and therefore all of this investment in equipment, labor and time provides value only in that it presents a sample for testing. Another disadvantage is that the soil being sampled then needs to be tested using some type of laboratory equipment. This often means removing a large number of samples from the site, getting them safely in an organized way to a lab facility somewhere, hopefully nearby, and waiting for the lab results to come back. If there are apparent conflicts in data, or a particular part of the site needs more evaluation, the entire process needs to be started up from scratch again. Perhaps the [...]

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 [...]