Penetrometers Determine The Strength Of Materials

Posted on: 28 February 2017


A penetrometer is a device to test the strength of a material. A penetrometer has a pointed cone on one end and a handle on the other end. If you wish to know the density and moisture content of a particular material, you can press the pointed cone end into that material by turning the handle. The penetrometer will then give a numeric value to the material that determines if it is of optimal strength. Each material tested will have its own scale of ideal density and moisture content. For an accurate reading, several measurements must be taken of the material being tested. 

A penetrometer is available as either a pocket-size or a full-size instrument. Here are some of the materials that can be tested by a penetrometer: 

Plants - You can use a pocket penetrometer to test trees and plants to see if they are getting adequate water. After testing, you can adjust the irrigation methods for those trees and plants to maximize growing conditions. 

Fruits and Vegetables:  A pocket penetrometer can be used to test the firmness and ripeness of fruits and vegetables and the condition of their roots and leaves. With a penetrometer, you can test apples, avocados, pears, peaches, tomatoes, yams, onions, potatoes, and other soft and hard fruits and vegetables. You can use the readings from a pocket penetrometer to tell when these fruits and vegetables are of good quality and ripe enough to harvest and send to market. 

Soils On Farms and In Gardens:  A pocket-size or full-size penetrometer can be used to test different soils for their organic humus, sand, clay, gravel, and water content. If you are growing fruits and vegetables, you can use this reading to adjust the composition of the soils being tested by adding more compost, mulch, organic fertilizer, and/or water. 

Soils on Construction Sites:  You can use a full-size penetrometer to determine if the soil on a construction site is strong enough to be used as a base to construct buildings, pavements, and roads. Several readings can be taken at different depths in order to get an accurate analysis of the soil being considered for this purpose. With a penetrometer, you can test the construction site soil to make sure that it will be strong enough to hold the proposed buildings and roads without settling or sinking after completion. 

Roads:  With a pocket-sized or full-size penetrometer, you can test existing roads to determine the hardness and depth of the asphalt paving that was used to construct the road. You can also use a penetrometer to analyze if the composition of the asphalt paving is strong enough to withstand anticipated traffic in that area.  

Once you have tested the strength of the materials that you are using, you can then decide how to adjust and treat those materials for their ideal growth and utilization. With thorough penetrometer testing, you can be sure that your projects will be strong, stable, and of the highest quality.