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3rd International Symposium on Cone Penetration Testing, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - 2014

New in standards for CPT of soils in Russia

O.N. Isaev
NIIOSP, Moscow, Russia

ABSTRACT: Discussed in this paper are primary changes for cone penetration testing (CPT) standards
in Russia. New regulations of Intergovernmental standard GOST 19912-2012 Soils. Field test methods: cone penetration test and dynamic probing are considered. Great deal of attention is paid to a
new section CPT-based analysis of soil mechanical properties and pile bearing capacity in permafrost
soil given in the Set of Rules SP 25.13330.2012 Groundwork and foundations in permafrost soils.
Both documents were developed in N.M. Gersevanov NIIOSP (Moscow).

The CPT, as a method for mechanized soil testing, appeared in Russia in the 20th century, however as a
more simplified version, it had been in use for nearly 200 years. In the book Notes on soil investigation (Volkov, 1836) of a colonel Volkov published in Saint-Petersburg in 1836, one can find description of manual probes which are considered by the author as something that builders of that time were
aware of quite well.
The first CPT standards appeared in Russia in the second half of the 20th century in the former
USSR. The standard SN 448-72 Guidance on CPT of soils for construction appeared in 1972, the State
standard GOST 20069-74 Soils. CPT for field testing in 1974. Single requirements to equipping,
inspecting, setting, testing and data processing were given in these standards. It was determined that a
penetrometer and push rod must be 36 mm in diameter, speed of penetration no more than 1m/min,
cone resistance can be measured in penetrometers total length or in friction sleeve only. These and other developed specifications were included in the revised version of the State standard GOST 20069-81,
and then in the Intergovernmental standard GOST 19912-2001. In accordance with the latter, penetration of soils is to be performed together with other engineering-geological investigations or separately
for the following:
A. Determining engineering-geological elements (thickness of layers and lens, boundaries of different
soil layers).
B. Assessing spatial changeability of soil composition and properties.
C. Determining depth of rock and large fragmental rock roofing.
D. Quantitative assessment of physical-mechanical soil properties (density, modulus of deformation,
angle of internal friction, cohesion of soils, etc.).
E. Determining consolidation and strengthening of soils in time and space.

F. Assessing possibilities for pile driving; determining the depth of pile immersion.
G. Determining data for pile foundation design.
H. Selecting test sites, considering depth for field tests and sites for collecting soil samplers to perform
laboratory experiments.
I. Quality control for geotechnical works.
Building Codes regulating the results of CPT application in assessing geotechnical properties of
soils (strengthening and deformation characteristics of soils, pile bearing capacity, etc.) appeared in Russia approximately at the same time as the first CPT standard. For example, the first document regulating
pile bearing capacity calculation by CPT results was the Building Code introduced by the USSR Gosstroy in 1962 (SNiP II-.5-67*) Pile foundations; Design standards which was replaced by the Building Code (SNiP II-17-77) Pile foundations in 1977. Although Building Codes were improved and
updated, design procedure for pile bearing capacity by CPT results given in SNiP II-17-77 was not
changed considerably.
In 2012-2013 the standards for CPT in Russia were updated again. Firstly, the new revised version
of the Intergovernmental standard GOST 19912-2012 appeared. Secondly, a new section CPTbased analysis of soil mechanical properties and pile foot bearing capacity in permafrost ground appeared in the Set of Rules SP 25.13330.2012 on groundwork and foundation designing.
Both documents were developed in N.M. Gersevanov NIIOSP (Moscow, Russia), the leading geotechnical research institutes and design offices of Russia were also involved.
For many years CPT in the former USSR (and, hence in Russia and CIS) had been developing in
another way than that in Europe or the USA. Various scientific and technical schools were formed. They
offered their own theories, techniques, formulas, diagrams, etc. resulting in Building Codes updating.
Nowadays, in integration of the approaches to CPT, is seems useful to analyze both approaches in order
to reveal their positive aspects.
When analyzing world experience of CPT, Lunne et al. (2004) gives over ten soil properties that can
be determined at CPT (they do not consider Soviet and Russian experience). These properties are usually referred to soil condition assessment, strengthening properties, deformability and filtration properties.
Most of them agree with Russian Building Codes, but some of them deserve particular consideration.
They are as follows:
A. Russian Set of Rules SP 47.13330.2012 (2012) give two strengthening parameters of soil to be determined ( & ), whereas European standards are restricted by one parameter only su shear
strength (without any connection to normal stresses).
B. Unit sleeve friction resistance fs given in European standards is used for determining friction ratio
fs/qc (100%), whereas in Russia fs is used for determining unit pile side bearing capacity (SP
24.13330.2012) and some properties of soil (e.g. liquidity index IL) (SP 47.13330.2012).
The technique for determining & had been checked for many years and resulted in its applicability in Russia and, probably, abroad. Taking into account unit sleeve friction resistance fs when designing
pile capacity has been normal practice in the former USSR and in Russia for over 50 years. At present,
the design procedure are given in the Set of Rules SP 24.13330.2011. It is necessary to point out that in
Russian penetrometers being used up to now, the length of the friction sleeve is 310 mm, i.e. more than
the size specified by International standards (i.e. 133.7 mm). The research carried out in the former
USSR showed that unit soil resistances are unevenly distributed on the friction sleeve, and they tend to
decrease depending upon their distance away from the cone (Ryzhkov & Isaev 2010). Therefore, unit
sleeve friction resistance in European CPT systems (Fugro, Van der Berg and others) can be 10 to 15 %
higher than in Russian cones. Moreover, in the same soils friction ratios fs/qc (100 %) will be 10 to
15 % higher in European systems than in Russian ones equipped with the friction sleeve 310 mm in


The purpose of the paper is to outline the key changes in the Russian standards for CPT of soils for
the past few years, to show foreign experts trends and particular qualities of development of CPT in
GOST 19912-2012 regulates field testing techniques for static sounding and dynamic probing in soil investigation for design and building purposes. This paper discusses modifications applied to CPT only.
The following modifications in the standard compared to its previous version have been made.
CPT application area have been expanded CPT can be used to assess soil condition. For example,
having obtained CPT results, one can estimate if permafrost soil is thawed or frozen or determine the
depth of frozen soils.
The names of penetrometer types for CPT have been corrected the terms type I penetrometer
and type II penetrometer have been replaced by mechanical penetrometer and electrical penetrometer, respectively. The introduced terms are generally accepted in world geotechnical practice, and are
The term special penetrometer has been introduced. It embraces the group of penetrometers capable to measure, besides soil resistance to penetration, some additional characteristics of soil and/or
control CPT procedure. Pore water pressure, temperature, radiation, electrical resistivity, seismic, inclinometer and other sensors may be used as additional measuring devices. Introduction of the new term is
caused by Russian surveyors preference for these penetrometers, particularly in specific soil conditions.
Also introduced has been the regulation on application of special cone penetrometers equipped with
inclinometers. They need to be used in soil testing more than 10 m in depth. Inclinometer readings must
be used to determine the correct depth of penetration and prevent the penetrometer from breaking. The
regulation depends on increased penetration depths under present-day conditions (especially in high-rise
and underground construction) that enhances measurement errors due to penetrometer deviation from
the vertical and increases the hazard of penetrometer damage.
Also introduced has been the regulation on the fact that with CPT with electrical penetrometers,
electronic memory device for record keeping of parameters is needed regardless of other record keeping
techniques. This is due to a great deal of information recorded by the CPT, the necessity to reduce errors
and inaccuracies of measurements caused by the human factor (including dishonest surveyors) and the
necessity of CPT data processing which at present is used everywhere.
Introduced is the possibility to apply the complementary CPT techniques. Alongside with the standard technique of continuous constant speed penetrometer pushing, non-continuous CPT has gained popularity in Russia and abroad. The penetrometer stops at depth with given intervals when complementary
tests in non-standard techniques (e.g. dissipation, relaxation-creep and quasi-static tests) are performed.
In dissipation test when the special penetrometer stops at the given depth, pore pressure dissipation
in the neighboring soil is measured with the sensor mounted in the penetrometer cone. The length of the
test is in accord with the initial pore pressure parameter reduced to 50 %.
In relaxation-creep test when the penetrometer stops at the given depth, the load acting on it and the
speed of its immersion gradually decrease with reduced intensity due to neighboring soil relaxation and
creep. The test is carried out by oil supply shutdown to penetrometer pushing hydro-jacks. During the
test one can measure penetrometer setting, temperature, pore pressure, etc. As a rule, the length of the
test is about 5-10 min. It is determined by the specified conditional stabilization criterion for one of the
measured parameters or specified stabilization time.
In quasi-static test when the special penetrometer stops at the given depth, a series of short immersions in well-controlled stepwise-accelerated speeds is performed.
Introduced is the regulation that in order to overcome penetrometer damage in hard soils, it is allowed to push the penetrometer at a reduced speed of 0.5 m/min. In practice one can fail to push the
penetrometer into solid soils at a speed of 1.2 m/min, i.e. the tests are performed at slower speeds. Unfortunately, this fact is often ignored in applying CPT data and is not mentioned in field log books.

Introduced is the notion inclined penetration and its feasibility in investigating and controlling
excavation and tunnels.
Introduced is combined penetration feasibility. If it is difficult to attain the specified depth of
penetration (e.g., due to solid soil band), the test is possible to be performed from the drilled bottom well
which, if necessary, may be cased within a pipe 5-10mm larger in the inside diameter.
The section Terms and definitions has been corrected and expanded. This is due to the lack of a
number of important terms and definitions and their coordination with International standards.
Written is the new appendix Terms and definitions used in CPT standards considering basic notions and definitions of International standards (IRTP for CPT, 1989; IRTP for CPT and CPTU, 2001;
ISO 22476-1; ISO 22476-12) and the standards of American Society of Civil Engineers (ASTM D344198, ASTM D5778-07). The appendix was necessitated by wider application of imported penetrometers,
foreign techniques for CPT procedures used by Russian surveyors and incorrect translation of terms that
led to incorrect application of the data obtained.
A new section CPT-based analysis of soil mechanical properties and pile foot bearing capacity in
permafrost ground appeared in the new version of the Building Codes SP 25.13330.2012 Groundwork and foundations on permafrost soils regulating equipment specification, techniques and CPT data
application in designing groundwork and foundations in permafrost soils.
Equipment specification. An electrical penetrometer equipped with a cone, friction sleeve and a
temperature sensor located inside the penetrometer cone tip is to be used. In world practice this test is
usually called Cone penetration test with temperature measurement (TCPT)
A mechanical penetrometer is ignored in the document because of a number of its disadvantages
that make it obsolescent. Due to its design features it is difficult to equip the mechanical penetrometer
with supplementary sensors (including the temperature sensor being extremely important in permafrost)
and devices making it possible to evaluate the additional parameters of soil or to control CPT procedure.
Besides, Russian design of the mechanical penetrometer does not make it possible to determine local
side friction resistance, since it lacks the friction sleeve. Thus, the mechanical penetrometer is not generally used by Russian surveyors (Ryzhkov & Isaev 2010). The similar situation has emerged in world
practice (Lunne et al. 2004). For example, in the collected papers of the 2nd International Symposium
on CPT - CPT`10 (Huntington Beach, USA. 2010) one can hardly find any publications on mechanical
One of the crucial issues for TCPT in permafrost soils is the complexity of penetrometer pushing1.
To tackle the problem, the following must be needed:
A. It is necessary to use heavy CPT rigs with pushing thrust capacity of not less than 100 kN. The rigs
mounted in all-terrain vehicles are preferred in the Northern regions since they allow the specified
pushing thrust to be ensured ignoring anchors (it is often quite difficult to anchor in permafrost soil)
just owing to all-terrain vehicle mass and high cross-country ability in difficult to access territories.
B. It is necessary to reduce the length of unsupported push rod projecting above the ground surface because of instability hazard (in CPT in standard soil conditions the procedure usually stops by this
reason). It is to be done with a hydraulic clamping device (e.g., mounted in Russian CPT rig 832) or special guide casing.
C. If necessary, to use combined penetration (the test is carried out with the help of a boring machine
making it possible to drill out barely passable permafrost soil layers alternately and to push the penetrometer).
D. It is necessary to mount a friction reducer above the cone tip; its diameter 10 to 20 mm larger than
the penetrometer; it is placed not nearer than 300 mm from the friction sleeve to avoid extra errors
in measuring unit sleeve friction resistance.

Wider application of CPT in permafrost soil is considerably restricted due to a psychological factor a persistent myth on
CPT failure in permafrost. At the beginning of 1980s when the author was on an arctic expedition, he faced the absolute disbelief in its success. He agreed to bet with a CPT rig operator and promised to perform Gypsy dance on the rig roof in case
the expedition was a success.

Testing technique requirements. TCPT procedure is to be done by pushing the penetrometer at constant speed of 0.5 0.1 m/min accompanied with periodical stops at depth (the recommended interval is
0.5 to 1 m) when the procedure is converted into a relaxation-creep regime (penetrometer stabilization) accompanied by penetrometer icing and soil resistance parametric variation in time. The penetrometer being ice-bound, the stabilization is over.
The standard, higher speed of penetration 1.2 0.3m/min is not taken into account in Building
Codes because of frozen soil strength, and hence penetrometer damage hazards. Penetration speed accuracy specified in Building Codes depends on rheological properties of soil and its sensibility to the speed
of penetration.
Introduced specification for relaxation-creep CPT makes it possible to obtain valuable information
on soil types, conditions and rheological properties ignoring CPT procedure prolongation (periodical
stops of the penetrometer are needed to measure soil natural temperature). This testing technique is not
absolutely new. Laboratory tests for frozen soils in the relaxation-creep regime, often called dynamometrical tests, were carried out in the USSR in 1960s. Approximately at that time relaxation-creep CPT
in thawed soils started simultaneously with CPT rig (-832) development and implementation (Ryzhkov
& Isaev 2010).
TCPT results and data registering. During the test procedure described above the following parameters are to be measured and registered: unit cone resistance and unit sleeve friction resistance at
pushing the penetrometer (qcv & fsv), unit cone resistance and unit sleeve friction resistance at relaxationcreep CPT (qcs & fss) and unit cone resistance at the beginning of pushing after relaxation-creep CPT and
unit sleeve friction resistance in i-layer of soil (qci & fsi); unit cone temperature at pushing relaxationcreep (Tc & Tcs); cone depth and velocity (Vc); time after relaxation-creep TCPT beginning ts.
The Set of Rules lacks specifications to modes and periodicity of CPT results and data registering.
The specifications are to be chosen in accordance with the Intergovernmental standard GOST 199122012 guides, stating that at pushing the penetrometer with constant speed, the values of qcv , fsv & Tcv
need to be continuously registered or at intervals of 0.1m in penetration depth. At relaxation-creep
TCPT the values of qcs , fss & Tcs need to be registered at the time previous to penetration stopping; at the
beginning of relaxation-creep TCPT; in 0.5 min; from the 1st to the 10th min and then in every 2 min.
Measuring natural temperature of frozen soils Tn is possible by means of the cone temperature sensor Tcs, during relaxation-creep TCPT. For practical purposes the accepted accuracy is when Tcs does not
exceed 0.05 C in the last 5 min., i.e. the penetrometer has attained soil natural temperature. Up to date,
the temperature of frozen and thawed soils has been measured by the only technique in the arranged
thermometric holes in accordance with GOST 25358-82.
Determining soil conditions (thawed or frozen). Soil natural temperature awareness is not enough
for determining soil physical properties. It is important to be aware of initial temperature of soil freezing
which depends upon a number of factors lithology, salinity, etc. Thus, feasibility to determine soil
conditions by diagrams drawn after comparison of test holes drilling and TCPT results based on local
experience has been introduced into Building Codes. In lack of local experience for clayey plastic frozen
unsalted and non-peaty soils it is admitted to use the diagram qcv qcv/qcs given in the Set of Rules.
Here, clayey plastic frozen soils possess higher time strength and rheological properties.
Other features based on TCPT data, but not included in the considered standards can help surveyors
to identify soil conditions:
A. In passing from thawed to frozen soil and vice versa one can notice sharp change in dynamic unit
cone resistances qcv.
B. In testing clayey plastic frozen soils at the beginning of relaxation-creep TCPT, unit sleeve friction
resistance fss increases for a few minutes (it is non-typical for thawed clays); the phenomenon is
caused by intensive icing of the friction sleeve and this process prevails over relaxation of soil.
C. Pushing the cone into thawed and solid frozen soils is accompanied by their warming up to 10 & 1

respectively. While pushing the cone penetrometer into plastic frozen soil is often accompanied
by a pseudoabnormal effect of penetrometer cooling (up to 0.5 ). Therefore, if soil temperature
is below zero, the effect shows that the soil is frozen, but not cooled. The feature is particularly important for salted soil studying.
Determining mechanical properties of plastic frozen soils. The standard makes it possible to determine a long-term value of equivalent cohesion eq and compressive modulus of deformation of plastic

frozen soil Ef. The standard gives the empirical dependencies eq = 1 (qcv) Ef = 2 (qcv) in a tabular
style. In calculated soil temperature Tm,z,e the corrected values of eq & Ef are to be determined when
multiplying them by correction temperature factors calculated by the empirical dependencies Ceq(T) & Ef
(). For these purposes one can use the corrected values of qcv, calculated by the empirical dependencies qcv (T).
If one knows the equivalent cohesion eq, then it is possible to evaluate other features of plastic frozen soil strengthening properties. Let us consider these possibilities.
Pure cohesion of plastic frozen soils can be evaluated by the well-known dependency (Tsytovich 1973)
= M (eq),


where M = correction factor, equal M = 1 (at < 5), M = 0.615 (at = 10), M = 0.285 (at = 20).
Long-term strength of frozen soil in uniaxial compression Rc can be evaluated by the formula given
in the SP 25.13330.2012:
Rc = 2eq.


Determining particular value of ultimate pile basement resistance to vertical load. In accordance
with the SP 25.13330.2012, driven pile basement resistance in frozen soils Fu after CPT data is evaluated by the formula
Fu = k (RA + af Raf,i Aaf,i),


where k = coefficient of difference in permafrost soils during TCPT procedure and life cycle of the designed structure; R = 1qcv = unit ultimate cone resistance of frozen soil under pile basement, 1= transition coefficient; = cross-sectional area of a pile; af = coefficient depending on freezing area; Raf,i = 2
fsi = unit long-term resistance of frozen soil to unit pile side bearing capacity in i-layer of soil, 2 = transition coefficient from leader hole to pile cross-sections; af,i = freezing surface area of frozen soil ilayer with pile side surface.
TCPT results are useful when designing groundwork and other types of foundations. For example,
when using the dependency eq = 1 (qcv), one can evaluate unit long-term design pile end bearing capacity R for frozen soils under driven cast-in place piles, driven piles, movable piles or under isolated
R = 5,7eq /g + I d,


where g = reliability coefficient of soil, I = design value of unit weight of soil, d = depth of foundation.
In 2013, a new edition of the Russian standard on the test soils by CPT (GOST 19912-2012) was published. As a result, Russian and International standards became significantly closer. However, among
them there are also differences. For example, in the Russian standard friction sleeve length is considerably more and is 310 mm. In order to overcome penetrometer damage in hardsolid soils, it is allowed to
pushimmerse the penetrometer at a reduced speed of 0.5 m/min, etc.
In Russia and abroad different scientific-technical CPT schools have been formed. For example, unlike foreign geotechnical practice in Russian Sets of Rules qc is also used to determine the friction angle
and cohesion of soil, fs to determine pile side bearing capacity (SP 24.13330.2012) and properties of
soil (SP 47.13330.2012).
In Russia, 65 % of the total land area occupies permafrost. Therefore, the appearance in 2012 on the
use of Russian norm TCPT in permafrost section in SP 25.13330.2012 is extremely important. The
norm allows to define: the natural temperature and condition (thawed or frozen) of soil, mechanical
properties of plastic frozen soil and pile bearing capacity.


I thank Dr V.P. Petrukhin and Dr I.B. Ryzhkov for reviewing the paper and giving valuable advice.
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