Standard Penetration Testing in a virtual calibration chamber

Ningning Zhang (Lead / Corresponding author), Marcos Arroyo, Matteo Ciantia, Antonio Gens, Joanna Butlanska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
363 Downloads (Pure)


The virtual calibration chamber technique, based on the discrete element method, is here applied to study the standard penetration test (SPT). A macro-element approach is used to represent a rod driven with an impact like those applied to perform SPT. The rod is driven into a chamber filled with a scaled discrete analogue of a quartz sand. The contact properties of the discrete analogue are calibrated simulating two low-pressure triaxial tests. The rod is driven changing input energy and controlling initial density and confinement stress. Energy-based blowcount normalization is shown to be effective. Results obtained are in good quantitative agreement with well-accepted experimentally-based relations between blowcount, density and overburden. It is also shown that the tip resistance measured under impact dynamic penetration conditions is close to that under constant velocity conditions, hence supporting recent proposals to relate CPT and SPT results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-289
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
Early online date8 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Blowcount
  • Discrete element method
  • Energy
  • Fontainebleau sand
  • Standard penetration test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Computer Science Applications


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