Journal Published Online: 26 July 2018
Volume 41, Issue 6

Considerations on the Experimental Calibration of the Fall Cone Test



The fall cone test is widely used in soil mechanics to determine the liquid limit of fine-grained soils as an aid to soil classification. The test can also be used to obtain the undrained shear strength of a fine-grained soil, based on the “cone factor,” K. Reports from different authors show K values ranging from 0.4–1.33. Differences are mostly attributed to the cone surface roughness. This article presents a reinterpretation of several experimental observations available in the literature. It is observed that besides the cone roughness, testing methods have a clear influence when calibrating the fall cone for determining the undrained shear strength of materials with low and very low consistency. The results show that existing K reports should be extrapolated with care. Finally, we propose a series of recommendations and good practices for future calibrations.

Author Information

Llano-Serna, Marcelo A.
School of Civil Engineering, Building 49, Advanced Engineering Building, Staff House Road, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia
Farias, Márcio M.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Brasilia, Campus Darcy Ribeiro, Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil
Pedroso, Dorival M.
School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Williams, David J.
School of Civil Engineering, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Sheng, Daichao
School of Engineering, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Pages: 8
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Stock #: GTJ20170205
ISSN: 0149-6115
DOI: 10.1520/GTJ20170205