FAQ#020 – How to obtain better results from pressure cells installed in earthfill?

The measurement of total pressure in geomechanics, even if is one of the most interesting parameters for the designer, is generally considered not reliable. Case histories report more nonsuccessful examples than for all the other types of measurements. Theoretical studies made by many researches have highlighted the critical parameters in the design and manufacturing of pressure cells. If the instruments are accurately designed and manufactured and the choice of the model has been done properly, the problem becomes how to use the cell.

In the paper presented by Mr. D. Bruzzi and Mr. A. Zattoni (SISGEO) and Mr. G. Pezzetti (ISMES) at 5TH International Simposium FMGM/99 in Singapore, the authors discuss the main issues related both to laboratory calibration and field installation problems, and a practical approach is presented in order to improve the quality of the results.

The conclusion is that pressure cells provide relative measures that can become absolute by using simple and practical rules deriving from a good knowledge of the basic problems related to design, manufacturing and installation of total pressure cells.

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