Enhanced In-Situ Geotechnical Testing

  • Overview
  • Course Content
  • Requirements & Materials

Enhanced In-Situ Geotechnical Testing

Course Description

This 2-day course on enhanced in-situ testing includes a review of available methods for geotechnical site investigation, including soil borings with standard penetration testing (SPT), vane shear testing (VST), flat plate dilatometer (DMT), pressuremeter (PMT), and  cone penetration testing (CPT), as well as geophysics applications, including crosshole (CHT), downhole (DHT), spectral analysis of surface waves (SASW, MASW, CSW).  The emphasis focuses on CPT and her sisters, including piezocone (CPTU), and seismic piezocone (SCPTU) towards the basic evaluations of soil behavior type, geostratigraphy, and the interpretion of geoparameters, including: unit weight, relative density, effective friction angle of sands and clays, yield stress ratio, undrained shear strength, stiffness, elastic modulus, and the use of dissipation tests for assessing the coefficient of consolidation and permeability. Case studies from various geologic settings and applications are presented throughout the course.  The SCPTU is particularly cost-effective and efficient as it provides 5 independent readings on soil behavior with depth: (1) cone tip resistance, qt; (2) sleeve friction, fs; (3) penetration porewater pressure, u2; (4) dissipation readings with time, t50; and (5) shear wave velocity, Vs.  The value of shear wave velocity from SCPTU is featured as it provides the fundamental stiffness of the ground: i.e. Gmax = G0 = small-strain shear modulus. Detailed modules cover the evaluation of both static (flow) and cyclic liquefaction from CPT.  The course addresses direct CPT methods for assessing the capacity and displacement response of both shallow & deep foundations, as well as new developments in penetrometer technology. 

Course Content


  • Geophysics: Seismic refraction, crosshole, downhole, Rayleigh waves, electromagnetics
  • In-situ tests: standard penetration, vane shear, flat dilatometer, pressuremeter, cone penetrometer, piezocone, seismic cone, seismic dilatometer


  • Friction angle of sands via relative density and limit plasticity theory for cone penetration testing. (CPT)
  • Evaluation of effective friction angle of clays via NTH CPTu solution
  • Other tests: standard penetration test (SPT), DMT, and (PMT).


  • SCE-CSSM analytical model for CPTu in clays
  • Large calibration chamber testing of sands
  • Generalized CPT approach for all soils
  • Special considerations for organic soils, sensitive clays, and structured soils


  • Ground motions and cyclic stress ratio (CSR) during earthquakes
  • Cyclic soil liquefaction evaluated by SPT, CPT, DMT, and Vs
  • Flow liquefaction assessment by CPT
  • Critical state soil mechanics and yield stress ratio (YSR) approach


  • Undrained shear strength
  • Dissipation tests for permeability
  • Stiffness of soils and stress-strain-strength behavior


  • Shallow footing evaluation by CPT
  • Axial piling foundation response by SCPTu
Requirements & Materials


  • Hard copy notes of PowerPoint slides
  • PDF versions of:
    •  Manual on Subsurface Investigations: Geotechnical Site Characterization (2002) 
    • Geotech Circular on Interpretation of Soil & Rock Properties (2002) 
    • Synthesis 368 on Cone Penetration Testing (2007) 
    • Manual on Subsurface Investigations (2019), National Academy Press 
    • Additional documents prepared by Georgia Tech 


Session Details

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for civil engineers, especially geotechnical engineers, site planners, foundation designers, tract developers, and construction engineers involved with site investigations, soil studies, building sites, foundation installation, land construction, embankments (dams, tailings)numerical analyses, and real estate development. 

Working professional attending an engineering course

What You Will Learn


  • In-situ testing introduction
  • Geophysical methods
  • Effective stress friction angle of soils from in-situ cone penetration tests
  • Critical state soil mechanics (CSSM) for dummies
  • Profiling overconsolidation ratio in clays by the piezocone test (CPTu) and the flat dilatometer test (DMT)
  • First-order evaluation of the pre-consolidation stress of clays, silts, and sands ed stress evaluation from in-situ testsCPT
  • Undrained shear strength from CPT and CPTU
  • Evaluation of soil potential for flow (static) liquefaction and cyclic liquefaction using the CPTEvaluation of Ko in soils
  • Permeability and coefficientcy of consolidation from piezo-dissipation tests
  • Characterization of Appalachian Piedmont residual soils
  • Equivalent elastic soil modulus from shear wave velocity measurements
  • Stiffness and stress-strain-strength response of soils from CPT
  • Application of CPT for the assessment of to shallow and deep foundations
  • New developments in cone penetration technology
Civil engineers reviewing construction plans on job site

How You Will Benefit

  • Learn various methods to determine soil stratigraphy and subsurface conditions.
  • Evaluate geotechnical design parameters for analytical methods and/or numerical simulation modeling of groundfoundation response from CPT data.
  • Use up-to-date methods for assessing ground conditions and input soil parameters for shallow and 
  • Deep foundation systems from in-situ test SCPTU data.
  • Assessment of liquefaction potential of soils using the CPT.
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The course schedule was well-structured with a mix of lectures, class discussions, and hands-on exercises led by knowledgeable and engaging instructors.

- Abe Kani


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