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Drilling and Sampling of Soil and Rock

John Huang, Ph.D., PE and John Poullain, PE

This four hour online course discusses the commonly used equipment and procedures for drilling, methods for sampling and recovering soil samples and rock cores. Visual examination and other techniques used during drilling and sample recovery are considered. The types of equipment and drilling methods covered in the course include solid stem, hollow stem augers, rotating wash, bucket augers, hand auger boring and exploration pit excavations. Guidelines for a wide variety of samplers including split barrel, thin wall Shelby tubes, continuous push, pitcher tube and continuous soil auger are discussed as well as the storage, handling and selection of specimen samples. Basic soil behavior and factors such as water table are considered in the selection of appropriate drilling and sampling methods to satisfy a project's design requirements. Also considered is quality assurance and safety requirements for drilling and sampling operations The AASHTO and ASTM designations for the most frequently used drilling methods and equipment are provided.

Because of the large variety of soils and a large variety of applied soil mechanics problems there is also a large variety of soil and rock exploration and sampling methods for determining the engineering properties of soils. Before the boring program can be requested the design engineer must define the purpose for the exploration program and the testing program for himself and field and laboratory personnel. Accurate observations and operations of the exploration equipment are of great importance. The equipment must be properly maintained, otherwise the sampling results will be valueless and result in poor design and construction.

This course should serve as a guide for soil and rock exploration to assure that the required samples and other geological data are properly obtained for the construction project. The advantages and limitations of soil and rock drilling equipment, coring equipment and samplers are discussed and sketches are presented to better understand the equipment and component functions. The importance of quality assurance for subsurface exploration and sampling is stressed and considers the proper storage, handling and selection of soil and rock specimens for testing programs. This course should serve as a guide for selecting proper drilling methods needed to determine the characteristics of subgrade soil formations and rock in order to protect against potential problems, settlement, liquefaction, ground movement and litigation.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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NY PE & PLS: You must choose courses that are technical in nature or related to matters of laws and ethics contributing to the health and welfare of the public. NY Board does not accept courses related to office management, risk management, leadership, marketing, accounting, financial planning, real estate, and basic CAD. Specific course topics that are on the borderline and are not acceptable by the NY Board have been noted under the course description on our website.