In-situ Strength Testing :
Plate Load Testing

EMS Geotech have experienced engineers able to undertake plate load testing as well as other types of in-situ strength testing

What Is Plate Load Testing

Plate Load Testing is a form of field test that records the force, deformation and time taken for a plate to penetrate the ground. This sort of testing is usually recommended or required during project planning, road or highway construction,  temporary works or earthworks verification. The plate bearing test is carried out in accordance with BS 1377 Part 9: 1990.

EMS Geotech have experienced engineers able to undertake plate load testing as well as other types of in-situ strength testing.

How Does A Plate Load Test Work?

Plate bearing tests are normally carried out at foundation level, either on the surface or in a shallow pit. Plates of varying sizes up to 600mm diameter are available.

A counterweight or kentledge often in the form of a mechanical excavator is used to apply an increasing load upon a specified diameter circular plate to induce settlement. The vertical deformation is recorded by settlement gauges.  The test load is increased gradually until the plate starts to settle at a rapid rate.

The total value of load on the plate divided by the area of the steel plate gives the value of the ultimate bearing capacity of soil. A factor of safety is applied to give the safe bearing capacity of soil. Ultimate bearing strength of the soil may be determined from plate load test data. It is also possible to calculate an equivalent CBR value by using the modulus of sub grade reaction. The plate bearing test is normally carried out at foundation level. This can be either on the surface or in a shallow pit.

When do you need a Plate Load Test?

Plate load testing is a method typically used to test the strength of various layers including formation or subgrade, placed capping layers and sub-base. This test method is widely used when establishing the strength of crane bases, piling pads or crane outriggers, testing compacted stones on roads, as well as foundations for building slabs or commercial building stanchion bases, to ensure the required loading can be achieved.

Plate Load Tests may be used when a CBR value is required but the maximum particle size of soil exceeds 20mm. Plate load test by CBR method may also be more suitable when a deeper loading profile is appropriate.

How Can EMS Geotech Help?

EMS Geotech’s experienced engineers provide Plate Load testing in accordance with BS 1377-9:1990. Our engineers will advise on the plate diameter required to match the anticipated design load and reaction load required (i.e. size of excavator) to be made available for us on site.

EMS Geotech will typically complete 10-15 tests in a day subject to site conditions and can provide you with the results the following day. Please contact us to discuss your site investigation requirements or book at test.

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