Use of dynamic cone penetrometer to control compaction of granular fill

P. W. Jayawickrama, A. L. Amarasiri, P. E. Regino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Granular material is commonly used as backfill and embedment material for buried structures, including thermoplastic pipe. Proper compaction of this material is crucial to the successful performance of the pipe. However, the commonly used Proctor density approach cannot be used for the field compaction control of these materials because it does not provide a well-defined moisture-density relationship. An alternative method used by the authors for compaction control of such materials is described. This method involves a device known as the dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP). Findings are presented from a series of DCP tests conducted on a range of granular backfill materials that belong to ASTM D 2321 Classes I and II. These materials were compacted using (a) an impact rammer and (b) a vibratory plate compactor. The level of compaction energy was varied by changing the number of passes. The data obtained from these tests are presented in the form of DCP blow count profiles, which are then used as the basis for comparison between different materials, compaction equipment, and levels of compaction energy. A series of full-scale load tests conducted on high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe installations is also described. An overview is provided of how the DCP data may be combined with load-deflection data from full-scale load tests to establish guidelines for compaction control of pipe backfill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-80
Number of pages10
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1736
StatePublished - 2000


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