Pressuremeter Testing

Various types of pressuremeter equipment are available to suit different soil and rock formations.

Pressuremeter testing is used primarily to obtain strength, stiffness and in situ stress information of the ground.

The pressuremeter instruments comprise cylindrical expanding devices, used either in a borehole, or drilled or pushed directly into the ground. These are inflated, hydraulically or pneumatically, while monitoring the pressure and radial displacement via internal transducers.

A range of pressuremeter testing equipment is available to suit a variety of ground conditions, including:

High Pressure Dilatometer (HPD)
  • Borehole test suitable for rock and higher strength fine soils
  • Operated in conjunction with a rotary drilling rig that is used to drill the test pocket, lower the probe into the borehole on drill rods and advance the borehole between test locations
  • Download HPD information sheet
Self Boring Pressuremeter (SBP)
  • Minimal insertion disturbance device suitable for lower strength finer soils
  • Drilled in using a rotary drilling rig to form its own test pocket as it is advanced into the ground, allowing direct measurement of in situ horizontal stress
  • Download SBP information sheet
Cone Pressuremeter (CPM)
  • Push-in device used in conjunction with CPT rig
  • Testing can be carried out either from ground level or through base of a borehole, depending on ground conditions and testing requirements.
  • Download CPM information sheet
Flat (Marchetti) Dilatometer (DMT)


Test duration varies from a few minutes up to two or three hours, depending on the type of test. Preliminary field records can be provided on site following test completion, and initial interpretation within 24 hours. The test data is provided in AGS4 format.

Obtaining high quality data from pressuremeter testing is highly dependent on the skill of the field crew. SOCOTEC’s pressuremeter operators and in-house drilling crews are highly experienced, with access to a wide range of drilling equipment to undertake a successful pressuremeter testing programme. Plus, SOCOTEC is one of the few ground investigation companies in the UK that own and operate pressuremeter testing equipment together with in-house drilling services.


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