What does the process of soil testing involve?

April, 30 2021

What is soil testing?

Generally, soil testing is performed to test the bearing capacity. The process reveals the physical and engineering properties of soil to help determine the type of foundation to be laid for construction.   To ensure you understand the process, it's wise to hire ground engineering consultants to guide you on all aspects of soil testing.  

Importance of soil testing for construction

  1. Allows you to determine the suitability of your soil and its ability to accommodate your construction.
  1. Tests your soil for compaction, contamination, strength, organics, density, and sand content and how they can impact your construction.
  1. Ensures you can obtain precise results while observing the soil's development throughout the construction project and guarantees maximum safety and quality.
  1. Allows you to collect and gather technical and safety data reports to support license applications and planning permissions.

The soil testing process

  The soil testing process first begins with sampling and preparation. Your provider uses sampling equipment such as extruder kits, sample tubes, or soil lathes to collect soil samples from different depths.   For tests requiring standard cylindrical specimens like triaxial, sheer, and unconfined compression, specimen trimmers are used, allowing the precise trimming of soil samples. If more tests are required, crushing of soils is minimized or avoided.   After sampling and preparation, various tests are conducted in a laboratory or the field. These tests include:  

1. Moisture content test

  Moisture testing is the most critical soil test and is usually determined by the oven-drying method, which is the most accurate and standard method. It involves placing a weighed sample of soil in the oven and drying it at 110+5oC.   The soil is taken out after 24 hours, and the difference between the two weights is the moisture content of the soil.  

2. Specific gravity test soil

  This test is commonly determined by the density bottle method or pycnometer method, which determines the unit weight of soil solids to that of water. The value should range between 2.65 and 2.85.  

3. Atterberg limits test

  This measures the critical water content of a fine-grained soil, and it provides three limits for calculation – Liquid limit, plastic limit, and shrinkage limit.  

4. Dry density test on soil

  This is the weight of soil particles in a given sample, and it's classified into dense, medium dense, and loose.   Contact G3Soilworks and maximize the productivity and profitability of your projects in Southern California by working with our expert geotechnical and geological experience.   As ground engineering consultants, you can trust us to guide you accordingly.  

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