Journal Published Online: 18 March 2015
Volume 38, Issue 3

Innovative Data Acquisition for the Fall Cone Test in Teaching and Research



The fall cone device may be preferable to the Casagrande cup for the determination of liquid limits because it is based on a firm theoretical background and maintains a high degree of operator independence. This makes the fall cone device a superior tool for measuring consistency limits for research and for teaching soil mechanics. Two inexpensive data acquisition techniques are developed for the fall cone device that seek to make the fall cone equipment less expensive, better for teaching, and provide unique time-displacement data of cone motion. The first data acquisition technique uses an inexpensive USB camera and image processing to analyze cone motion, and the second method uses a commonly available linearly variable differential transformer (LVDT) to track cone motion. The techniques are validated by comparing measured liquid limit to the liquid limit measured with an unmodified fall cone and the Casagrande cup of several different soils. Details of the data acquisition techniques are presented along with typical time–displacement data of the cone motion.

Author Information

Evans, T.
School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR, US
Simpson, D.
Geosyntec Consultants, Huntington Beach, CA, US School of Civil and Construction Engineering, Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR, US
Pages: 9
Price: $25.00
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Stock #: GTJ20140236
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20140236