History: The Beginning of Cone Penetration Testing

August 12th, 2011

Friday September 13th, 1918 a very serious railway accident occurred near the city of Weesp, The Netherlands. 41 persons were killed and 42 wounded. The levy the train drove on was completely saturated with water and failed when the train passed due to the dynamic load.

This accident made clear that a reliable and reproducible soil investigation technique was needed. Civil servant Mr. Pieter Barentsen took up this task and developed the first CPT apparatus (1932), the so-called Barentsen-apparatus (patent nr. 43095, May 16th, 1938).

Mr. Barentsen did this by pushing a 10 cm² cone manually into the ground using his own body-weight. It proved to be an accurate way to measure the resistance of the soil reacting on the conical tip. The soil resistance was red out by means of a hydraulic measuring head provided with a pressure gauge.

In the head office of Gouda-Geo we have an original Barentsen CPT device on display (production nr. 180, year of construction believed to be 1941).

For more information on this accident, please visit the following very interesting website http://www.nicospilt.com/index_Weesp1918.htm (in Dutch only).

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