SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1999

State of the Art: Automated Laboratory Stress-Strain-Strength Testing of Soils


This paper presents the current state of the art in automated laboratory testing used to evaluate the stress-strain-strength properties of soils. The authors draw on their own experience in automated testing, as well as summarizing the results of a literature search. The paper first presents the basic principles of automating laboratory soils testing, including information concerning approaches to each component of a typical automated system. There is a review of instrumentation and its role in the automated system, as well as principles of data acquisition for the laboratory. This includes a description of hardware and software options and data management techniques. The components used for applying stresses and deformations to the soil specimen are described, including electro-mechanical hardware developments related to automating the device. In addition, fundamental control software algorithms are reviewed and examples given of how algorithms are implemented in different testing device applications. Literature is summarized concerning automation of specific devices. The paper is intended to bring both the practitioner and the researcher up to date on the current state of automated soils testing for determining stress-strain-strength properties. It concludes by discussing future trends in this area, and argues that a new generation of automated equipment is imminent and necessary, as new technologies and a new wave of megaprojects force laboratories to upgrade older systems.

Author Information

Sheahan, TC
Northeastern University, Boston, MA
DeGroot, DJ
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
Mitchell, TJ
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA
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Developed by Committee: D18
Pages: 203–230
DOI: 10.1520/STP13318S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5400-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-2493-6