Pressuremeter Tests in Fort William, Scotland

  • Project : HPDs in Fort William, Scotland
  • Date :2023
  • Location :UK
  • Type of Testing :High Pressure Dilatometer Testing (HPD)

We completed pressuremeter tests for a project at the Lochaber Aluminium Smelter Facility in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Scotland. High Pressure Dilatometer (HPD) testing was required to inform the design and construction of new buildings and structures associated with extending the existing facility.

The material tested on this site was medium strong to strong Pelite and Semipelite, which was ideally suited to the use of our High Pressure Dilatometer (HPD) equipment. The high strength and fractured nature of the rock meant the testing was challenging and great care had to be taken to ensure quality data was obtained whilst ensuring the equipment didn’t get damaged. This was reflected by the maximum test pressures recorded, with the highest test reaching in excess of 18MPa. A total of 6 tests were carried out over 3 boreholes to a maximum depth of 13.50 metres below ground level.

The site also had access restrictions due to how soft the ground was at the borehole locations. To overcome this, the pressuremeter test was run semi-remotely. To achieve this, the HPD itself was transported to the borehole location with the drilling rig and equipment. The pressuremeter testing van was then parked on a dirt road as close as possible to the drilling rig, typically around 50m away. The pressuremeter hose umbilical was then run out between the van and the borehole and testing was carried out. This limited the amount of additional equipment that needed to be taken over the soft ground.

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