Side-by-Side Correlation of Texas Cone Penetration and Standard Penetration Test Blowcount Values

William D. Lawson, Earnest O. Terrell, James G. Surles, Rozbeh B. Moghaddam, Hoyoung Seo, Priyantha W. Jayawickrama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper presents side-by-side comparisons of blowcount values for the Texas cone penetration (TCP) test and the standard penetration test (SPT). The comparisons yielded statistically-significant regression models for both coarse-grained soils and fine-grained soils. Consistent with expected trends and published data, the TCP–SPT relationship is nonlinear, with weak to fair correlation strength (R2 = 23–44%). For TCP blowcounts (N60, TCP) varying from 25 to 200 blows/30 cm (1 ft), corresponding SPT blowcounts (N60, SPT) are typically 30–60% lower than N60, TCP in fine-grained soils. Likewise, corresponding N60, SPT blowcounts are 10–70% lower than N60, TCP in coarse-grained soils, all other things being equal. Comparative data were obtained from published sources and from project-specific field research sites used for full-scale deep foundation load tests. The final dataset consisted of 225 test pairs obtained in similar soils and geomaterials, at equivalent depths, with all blowcounts normalized to 30 cm (12 in.) penetration (i.e., blows/30 cm or blows/ft) within the bounds of typical test precision, and corrected to 60% hammer efficiency. The generally weak correlations do not support conversion of N60, TCP to N60, SPT (or vice versa) to compute foundation capacity for final design. But, engineers can certainly get an intuitive feel about site conditions and preliminary foundation capacity by using the correlation equations to translate their knowledge of one test to the other. This study extends previous work by formally comparing and contrasting the similar yet different SPT and TCP test methods in such a way as to make the results useful to users of both tests and to the broader geotechnical engineering community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2769-2787
Number of pages19
JournalGeotechnical and Geological Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Blowcount
  • SPT
  • Side-by-side correlation
  • Standard penetration test
  • TCP
  • Texas cone penetration


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