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Technical paper: The Panda lightweight penetrometer for soil investigation and monitoring material compaction

DD Langton, Soil Solution. This paper was first published in GE’s September 1999 edition.


Dr Roland Gourves, the principal lecturer in soil mechanics at CUST, Blaise Pascal University, Clermont-Ferrand, France has designed and been developing the Panda (a lightweight handheld dynamic cone penetrometer for testing soils and materials) since 1991. It has become widely used and accepted across France, parts of central Europe and in small numbers around the world.

Since its initial development, the Panda has been continuously developed to be used to test the compaction of fill in earthworks, through software analysis as well as in site investigation. Trials have been carried out at nine sites across the UK (both working sites as well as Building Research Establishment test bed sites) to clarify the usefulness and reliability of the software analysis and correlations for use in the UK. 

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