Interpretation of a new generation free fall penetrometer

Interpretation of a new generation free fall penetrometer

Status: Complete


  • Fiona Chow
    Adjunct Professor, Centre for Offshore Foundation System, UWA
  • Shiaohuey Chow
    Research Fellow, Oceans Graduate School, UWA
  • Conleth O'Loughlin
    Associate Professor, Oceans Graduate School, UWA
  • Louisa Nguyan

Project Summary

Free-fall penetrometers are instrumented projectiles that are deployed by allowing them to free fall in water and embed into the target sediment. The use of free-fall penetrometers in offshore geotechnical site investigation has gained increased interest, particularly in characterising the soil strength of shallow seabed. This is crucial for applications such as pipeline design and submarine landslide survey. 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 was developed at the Centre of Offshore Foundation Systems, UWA.  To interpret the FFP test data, an interpretation software was developed to estimate the soil undrained shear strength. This project aimed to validate the applicability of the software to other free-fall penetrometers, and to enhance the capability of the software to include embedment depth prediction.