Compaction Multimeter

The successful implementation of a non-nuclear, in-situ, mechanical performance evaluation test device requires satisfying the current information needs of practice in a system-wide context. Unavoidably, the device must be able to provide reliable density and moisture content measurements to fit within the established construction control regulatory framework. A nonnuclear device that measures density and moisture content accurately, rapidly, robustly and that can be as portable as an NDG will still face some institutional inertia related to lack of familiarity by technicians and contractors but would be the most likely candidate to replace the NDG. However, limiting such device to the determination of these two parameters (i.e., density and moisture content) will do nothing to advance the state of the practice in the in-situ mechanical characterization of compacted aggregates. Thus, the real need lies in the development of a transitional device that can measure density, moisture content, strength, and stiffness. By providing side-by-side measurements of all properties, such a device could adapt to the current construction specifications without requiring changes to the business as usual. Inspectors and contractors would have access to real time density and moisture content data in the field, so that they can still be able to use the pass-fail criteria with which they are familiar, and strength and stiffness data can also be recorded and made available to engineers and designers. Over time, the compiled data set could be used to develop progressive modifications to the regulatory framework, effectively phasing out density and moisture content evaluation criteria in favor of mechanical performance standards. The research team hypothesizes that a prototype of a ‘compaction multimeter’ device can be developed by combining available compatible sensors and technologies. Furthermore, the introduction of redundancy in the measurement (i.e., multiple different sensors measuring the same physical parameter) can substantially enhance the accuracy and robustness of the device. The incorporation of automation in the deployment, measuring, logging, analysis, and sharing of results can help reduce technician training requirements, provide immediate contractor feedback during construction, and incorporate seamlessly with ongoing efforts for information integration. Thus, the objective of this project is to develop a compaction multimeter prototype. The device would be capable of measuring directly the density, water content, strength and stiffness of a compacted soil, and require minimal material specific calibration.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $ 120000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    New Mexico State University

    Las Cruces, NM  United States  88003
  • Principal Investigators:

    Cortes, Douglas

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757545
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Nov 11 2020 9:39AM