Stephen Morgan

Stephen Morgan

2017 PhD - Civil Engineering - Massachusettes Institute of Technology

University of New Hampshire

Civil Engineering


Mentor: Dr. Jean Benoît, UNH Department of Civil Engineering

A New Method of Determining Soil Consistency Limits – The Portable Limit Device

In the field of Geotechnical Engineering, determining subsurface soil condition is an integral part of designing and implementing stable structures and fills. The difference between over or under designing these construction sites, due to a lack of knowledge of soil conditions, could amount to millions of dollars in unnecessary costs. The current methods for determining soil consistency require a laboratory setting for accurate results; where soil samples can become disturbed from being removed off-site. The creation of a new device to determine soil consistency limits at the location of the sample’s extraction called a Portable Limit Device (PLD) will enable quicker results of subsurface conditions and profiles to be analyzed on-site. By using compressed air to force the soil sample out of the PLD tube, while varying the extraction hole’s size and shape, the soil consistency limits can be related to the flow of soil at a constant pressure.



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