Mechanistic Modeling of Dynamic Cone Penetrometer Test

Principal Investigator(s):

Kimberly Hill, Associate Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering


Project summary:

The dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) was recently implemented within Mn/DOT as an important tool for evaluating the condition of soil and aggregate bases. The 2002 Pavement Design Guide for New and Rehabilitated Pavement Structures identified the results of DCP testing as possible design input through the characterization of unbound materials. However, the Guide required conversion of results from DCP measurements into the resilient modulus, and the empirical relationship provided by the Guide was not sufficiently reliable. The objective of this research was to develop a theoretically sound and practical mechanistic model of the DCP test, which provided correlation of DCP test results with the results from other tests of unbound materials. This new model was built on a computational (Discrete Element Method) model developed under sponsorship of NASA, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. The model was adapted for three tests of unbound materials: the DCP, the resilient modulus, and the California Bearing Ratio (CBR) tests. The analytical predictions from this model were compared with the results of the corresponding field and laboratory tests, and it was anticipated that the study would allow for the DCP test to provide a more complete and reliable input into the 2002 Design Guide.

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