Micro-Cone Penetrometer for More Concise Subsurface Layer Detection

Woojin Lee, Dong Hyun Shin, Hyung Koo Yoon, Jong Sub Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As the disturbance zone and measurement of soil properties are affected by the size of the penetrometer, a more local value may be measured by a smaller penetrometer. An ultra small Micro-Cone penetrometer with a 5 mm outer diameter is designed and manufactured to characterize soil properties with minimum disturbance during penetration tests. The tip resistance is measured by using strain gages attached near the Micro-Cone (MC) tip. A friction sleeve is adopted to effectively remove the skin friction from the tip resistance. Design concerns include the installation of strain gages, circuits, operating temperature, input voltage, penetration systems, penetration rate, sampling rate, and calibration. Application tests show that the air-clay interface, and the soil layers that consist of clay and sand are closely detected by the MC penetrometer. The cone tip resistances measured by the MC and the miniature cone with a 16 mm outer diameter are similar in clay. The strength change in sand after multiple liquefactions is clearly identified. This study shows that, with a relatively high resolution, the MC penetrometer may effectively detect the soil interface and yield the reasonable cone tip resistance.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeotechnical Testing Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Mar 9

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Korea Research Foundation Grant funded by the Korean Government (MOEHRD, Basic Research Promotion Fund, KRF-2006-311-D00218). The anonymous reviewers provided insightful comments and suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2009 by ASTM International.


  • Micro-Cone penetrometer
  • calibration chamber
  • cone tip resistance
  • layer detection
  • liquefaction
  • miniature cone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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