North American Standard Penetration Test Practice: An Essay

by Charles O. Riggs, Central Mine Equipment Co, St., Louis, MO, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Use of In Situ Tests in Geotechnical Engineering


The Standard Penetration Test (SPT) is the in situ mechanical soil test most used by North American geotechnical practitioners. The equipment and procedures of the test have periodically changed since the 51-mm (2 in. ) OD split barrel sampler and the 63. 5 kg (140 lb) drive weight was first used during the 1920's. There is an apparent need to establish an acceptable base energy for the SPT in North America. It is suggested that the most efficient, and perhaps the largest identifiable, group of drill rig-cathead and rope systems in North America provide rod (stress wave) energies generally in the range of 70 to 85% of 475 J (4200 in. -lb) and that this range of energy should be established as the base energy of the SPT.

Subject Headings: Penetration tests | Stress waves | Material tests | Offshore platforms | Rods | Hydro power | Base course | Equipment and machinery | North America

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