In Situ (Field) Testing

In situ testing (also known as field testing) provides a complementary means of determining ground conditions and material parameters to supplement testing carried out by sampling and laboratory testing.

The approach has advantages where recovery of undisturbed samples is problematic (eg sands and gravels), and where the ground behaviour may be controlled by structure (e.g bedding and discontinuities) on a larger scale than visible in sampling.

In situ testing is also used to obtain information for highways pavement design and for earthworks construction validation.

SOCOTEC offer a wide variety of test types which may be performed within boreholes and installations, and as standalone activities on the surface and intrusively.

Borehole tests

  • Standard penetration test (SPT)
  • Borehole vane strength
  • Permeability
  • Pressuremeter
  • Geophysical – eg P-S suspension logging, crosshole/downhole seismic


  • CPT – including seismic, pressuremeter, etc
  • Dynamic probing
  • Dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP)
  • Mackintosh probing
  • Mexecone

Permeability testing

  • Variable (rising and falling) head test
  • Constant head test
  • Packer (water pressure) test – used primarily for rock
  • Pumping test
  • Soakaway test

Loading tests

  • Plate bearing test
  • Skip test
  • Zone test

Pressuremeter Testing

  • Self boring pressuremeter
  • High pressure dilatometer
  • Full displacement pressuremeter
  • Flat (Marchetti) dilatometer

See Pressuremeter Testing

Highway / earthworks

  • CBR
  • In situ density (sand / water replacement)
  • Nuclear density gauge
  • Falling weight deflectometer

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