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Field Density Testing

Field Density Testing Equipment for Soil Compaction Tests

A soil compaction test, or density test, involves evaluating and consistently monitoring soil compaction and density characteristics. These tests are vital to construction and engineering sectors, which must determine the soil compaction level before work can begin. By testing the density of a soil sample, you can decide if the backfill material for a construction project has the proper compaction reading needed to support foundations, highways, roads, athletic fields and other earth-retaining structures. Soil testing for agriculture is also important for determining high crop yields and increasing the effectiveness of pesticides. To properly conduct a soil compaction test, you'll need to use field density test equipment (FDT) in both field and laboratory settings. 

Certified MTP provides a variety of field density test equipment designed to meet your specific soil testing needs. Keep reading to learn more about compaction testing and the field density test equipment that can help. 

Field Density Test Methods

Soil compaction tests using field density testing equipment are vital in determining the data needed for engineer recommendations when constructing structures. To conduct a soil compaction test, you must first determine the maximum dry density of the soil in a laboratory setting through what is known as moisture density testing. You can then measure the final compaction in the field based on the relation of the field value and the laboratory value. You can use several different methods for a soil compaction test – two of the most popular options are the sand cone method and balloon density testing. Certified MTP has field density test equipment to allow you to choose which you prefer for your specific application. 

Soil Compaction Test Using Sand 

The sand cone method (also called the sand replacement method) is typically used in-field to know whether your desired compaction has been achieved. To use the sand cone method, you'll need specific field density test equipment. The three most essential pieces are a top-rated sand cone apparatusdensity sand and a density plate

The sand cone apparatus method is a highly accurate and reliable testing method, long celebrated for desirable results and ease of use. To use this method, you can begin by placing a flat base density plate on a clean and level part of the test site surface. You use the density plate as a template to excavate the required amount of compacted soil material. The total volume of soil you remove is determined by the maximum particle size of the soil. You can use field density test equipment accessories such as mallets, chisels and scoops during excavation to make it easier. Carefully collect your excavated material and save it in an airtight container

You'll want to fill your sand cone with a pre-weighed amount of density sand, which you will invert onto the density plate over its opening. You can then open the rotary valve so the density sand will flow into the excavated hole. Afterward, weigh the sand cone with the remaining amount of sand, which will then be calculated using an equation that divides the mass of the sand filling the hole by the initial density of the sand. You will do further calculations to determine the soil's wet density and dry density to verify the moisture content. 

Balloon Density Testing 

Another common type of field density test is the balloon density test. Like the sand cone method, balloon density testing has a long history of accepted use and is highly accurate and reliable. This field density test equipment is easy to operate and cost-effective, and it does not require any extensive training or a special license to use. 

To use balloon field density equipment, you begin by excavating a test hole where the soil is once again carefully collected and set aside. A balloon field density test machine can then be positioned over the hole. Rather than using sand to fill the hole, you calibrate a water vessel to pressurize a rubber balloon forced into the excavation. The gauge on the rubber balloon density apparatus will determine the amount of water displaced so you can easily calculate the entire volume. This field density test equipment is easier to use than the sand cone method, making it a popular option. This type of testing is also suitable for quick, repeated use because the water is retained within the vessel.  

These are simply two of the most popular types of field density test equipment, but Certified MTP offers many other forms that you can use in various methods. 

Shop Certified MTP for Top-Rated Field Density Test Equipment

Certified MTP offers a broad range of high-quality field density test equipment, as part of our larger soil testing equipment selection, to ensure you can complete your agriculture or construction work effectively and safely. If you're interested in placing an order outside of the US, be sure to check out our international orders page. If you still have questions regarding our field density testing equipment, feel free to contact us. A representative is always standing by, ready to help.

View full line of Standard Sand and Silica for ASTM Tests and Ottawa Test Sand for Cube Molds

Browse our selection of Sand Cone Test Equipment from our variety of tools and supplies below.

Certified MTP recommends different types and styles of soil penetrometers for field density tests:

Soil Pocket Penetrometer

Soil Pocket Penetrometer, Chrome-Plated with Engraved Scale

AMS 59032 Pocket Penetrometer

Dial Geotester Pocket Penetrometer Kit

Acme Mortar Penetrometer, Bench-Top

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