How does a Plate Bearing Test work?

by | Jan 31, 2023

One of the most common geotechnical investigative techniques used today is a plate bearing test. They’re used to determine the ground’s bearing capacity and composition by applying an increasing load via a steel plate.

For projects where temporary construction works are required, you need to be certain that the ground offers the required structural stability. Amongst the range of geotechnical services that Borehole Solutions offer, you will also find plate bearing tests. Continue reading to find out more information about this popular investigative method.

What is involved in a plate bearing test?

This test is typically carried out at the level of the foundation, which could be the ground surface itself or in a shallow pit. During this in-situ test, a circular steel plate is loaded with weight or ‘load’ in increments. As the plate moves, the results are measured in regular intervals until no more movement can be recorded.

In accordance with the British Standard 1377 1990: Part 9, a counter-ballast is often necessary due to the size of the steel plate. Usually, a digger or excavator is used as the kentledge. The minimum weight required is approximately 8 tonnes, however heavier machinery will be required to achieve higher loading pressures.

What do the results show?

A plate bearing test demonstrates the soil bearing capacity as well as the modulus of sub-grade reaction. Furthermore, it can also indicate the likely settlement. Ultimately, the results are used to determine whether the ground is strong enough to support the planned temporary works.

Some people may not think this is very important. However, we can assure you that it is! If you’ve not calculated whether the conditions are suitable for your project, then this can lead to huge problems down the line. Aside from irritating interruptions, you will also be putting your workers’ safety at risk.

How does a plate bearing test compare to CRB testing?

Whilst plate bearing testing and CBR testing share many similarities, they also have a few differences. Unlike plate bearing testing, CBR testing is commonly used to access the structure of the ground where particle sizes are no more than 20 mm. In comparison to plate bearing tests that are used for larger particles and soils with a hard texture. In addition, plate bearing testing involves applying pressure whereas CBR testing relies on a penetrative motion.

Our other services

Borehole Solutions are a leading geotechnical drilling company in the UK. With over two decades’ worth of experience, we will provide the bespoke and tailored service that you require.

Aside from plate bearing testing, we also provide the following services:

  • Sonic drilling
  • Rotary drilling
  • Window sampling
  • Restricted access drilling
  • Cable percussion drilling
  • Drilling rig hire

Contact Borehole Solutions

If you’d like to find out more information about the plate bearing test or any of our other drilling services, get in touch! Give us a call on 01733 200501 or click here to contact us directly. We look forward to hearing from you!