A novel vibro-penetration test (VPT) for the investigation of cohesionless soils in the field

Roberto Cudmani, Sven Manthey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A novel dynamic penetration testing method for the investigation of cohesionless soils based on the principles of vibratory driving has been developed. During the so-called vibro-penetration test (VPT), a vertical harmonic excitation force drives a rod with a conical tip into the ground. The penetration resistance is defined as the number of excitation cycles Nz10 required for 0.10 m penetration with a reference driving energy. In order to evaluate Nz10, the tip and shaft resistance, the tip acceleration and the depth of the penetrometer tip are recorded during driving and the data are evaluated according to a proposed vibro-penetration model. Experimental and numerical investigations are carried out to investigate the soil response, validate the mechanical model and evaluate the influence of the density, the effective stresses and the machine parameters on the vibro-penetration resistance. The results show that the Nz10 – values are reproducible, correlate unambiguously with the state variables but depend on the machine parameters to some extent. In comparison with the CPT, the VPT shows similar sounding records. However, the required equipment is much lighter, the execution faster and in-situ investigations of medium dense to dense cohesionless soils at large depths are feasible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105760
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Calibration chamber tests
  • Field investigation
  • Finite element analysis
  • Hypoplasticity
  • Vibratory driving
  • Vibro-penetration test


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