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Technical Paper: Geotechnical soil sampling and testing in Scotland – Eurocodes: help or hindrance?

by M J Baldwin, technical director, Soil Engineering, Vinci Construction. This paper was first published in GE’s March 2012 issue.

Introduction

The effective sampling and insitu testing of glacial materials in Scotland has long posed a major challenge for site investigation companies. In particular, predominantly cohesive materials containing a variable granular content have been problematic in terms of recovering truly representative undisturbed samples. Equally, the insitu testing of such materials using, for example, the standard penetration test, has also provided questionable data for use in design.

While more homogeneous materials such as alluvium have been successfully sampled and tested insitu, using conventional techniques, this technical note looks at whether the implementation of Eurocodes has helped address the sampling and testing of the majority of cohesive soils that occur in Scotland, which are anything but homogenous.

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