Applications of Geotechnical Instrumentation and Instruments Used!

by Brad Muller Marketing

Geotechnical instrumentation plays a significant role in the field of construction engineering. It helps engineers in each and every stage of the project.  This includes Investigation of site, verification of design, construction surveillance, quality check, safety and security. Here is a rundown about the role geotechnical instrumentation plays at every level of the project.

Investigation of Site – Assessment of the site where the project has to be implemented is done and site conditions are characterized. Parameters like stability of slope, soil permeability and pore-water pressure is checked.

Verification of Design – With the help of instrumentation, designs are verified and the performance is checked. If required the design is suitably modified based on the reports derived from geotechnical instrument.

Construction control - Instrumentation is used to ensure that the work process is on schedule. If required it suggests necessary changes in the schedule and helps in speeding up the process, to complete it before time without affecting the quality of construction.

Quality check – Instrumentation is useful in maintaining high quality of workmanship as it keeps a check if the process of construction is going on as per specifications mentioned.

Security check – One of the most important criteria is the safety of the project, the people and adjacent properties. Instrumentation alerts the engineers in advance if there is any potential hazard or any damage so that emergency preventive measures could be taken and if necessary evacuation of the area could be done so that there is no loss of lives.

Legal Issues – At times there are owners of adjacent properties who file a case against the ongoing project wherein they state that the construction is harming their property. But, with the help of geotechnical instrumentation a solid defense case could be made, as the reports of geotechnical instrumentation are considered to be valid by the court of law.

Similarly geotechnical instrumentation is also used in monitoring the safety of mega structures like dams and bridges also.  The instruments that are used for geotechnical instrumentation are the inclinometer, extensometers, settlement gauges, tilt sensors and the piezometers.

Inclinometer – This instrument measures the slope angle, depression or elevation of any object in reference to gravity. Inclinometers are also known as slope alerts, gradiometer, level meter, declinometers, etc. Positive as well as negative slopes are measured by inclinometers.

Piezometer – This instrument is used to measure the pore pressure or say pressure head of ground water at a particular point. The groundwater is measured by pushing the piezometers which are safely kept in durable casings into the ground and the pressure of the ground at the point of installation is measured with the same.

Extensometers - The changes in an object’s length are measured with an extensometer. It is highly useful in tensile testing as well as measurement of stress and strain. The two main types of extensometers are non-contact extensometer and contact extensometer. The more recent type of extensometer is the laser extensometer and is used where there is a possibility of materials damaging the clip-on of a conventional extensometer. Video extensometers are also available.

Tilt Sensor – Tilt sensors are used for detecting inclination or orientation. It makes use of an optical system for providing positional feed back in all the four directions. 

Settlement Gauges – They are used for assessing the settlement in between two different points. This instrument is made up plate and measuring rods. This plate is connected to the rods and then it is placed at a depth where the measurement of the settlement is to be done. The rods connected to the plate do the recording of the elevation of the plate.

Thus, geotechnical instrumentation is carried out with help of the instruments mentioned above and is of a great use to mankind.

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