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
Original paper
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Abstract

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 (R 2  = 23–44%). For TCP blowcounts (N 60, TCP ) varying from 25 to 200 blows/30 cm (1 ft), corresponding SPT blowcounts (N 60, SPT ) are typically 30–60% lower than N 60, TCP in fine-grained soils. Likewise, corresponding N 60, SPT blowcounts are 10–70% lower than N 60, 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 N 60, TCP to N 60, 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.

Keywords

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

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for their sponsorship of Project No. 0-6788, the TCP Reliability research study. The authors also thank the many engineers and researchers who provided data associated with this study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • William D. Lawson
    • 1
  • Earnest O. Terrell
    • 2
  • James G. Surles
    • 3
  • Rozbeh B. Moghaddam
    • 4
  • Hoyoung Seo
    • 1
  • Priyantha W. Jayawickrama
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil Environmental and Construction EngineeringTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  2. 2.Fugro Consultants, IncHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  4. 4.GRL Engineers, IncSolonUSA

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