Development of a FreeFall Cone Penetrometer for Offsore Site Investigation

Development of a Free Fall Cone Penetrometer for Offshore Site Investigation

Status: Complete



  • Vepulan Siritharan

Project Description

This project aimed to unlock the potential of free-fall penetrometers as cost effective offshore site investigation tools. Free-fall penetrometers are instrumented projectiles that are deployed by allowing them to free fall and embed into the target sediment. Compared to the conventional approach of using a large survey vessel and a mechanical system for pushing a penetrometer into the seabed, free-fall penetrometers offer a cheaper and quicker way to survey the seabed, with potentially equal accuracy if the tools are designed and interpreted correctly.  A prototype free-fall cone penetrometer (FFP) has been developed at the Centre of Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA.  This project optimised the design of the FFP, upgraded the instrumentation of the FFP, assessed the performance of the new FFP, and validate dthe FFP interpretation method by conducting field trials in the Swan River. 


Figure 1(a) Free-fall cone penetrometer (FFP) developed at UWA

Figure 1(b) field deployment of FFP at Swan River