Soils and Materials Testing

Soils and Materials Testing

Merit Engineering has an advanced laboratory with certified technicians that can quickly and accurately analyze a wide range of materials.

Soils Testing

  • Sieve Analysis
  • Modified Proctor Compaction
  • Moisture Content
  • California Bearing Ratio
  • Soils Classification
  • Plastic and Liquid Limits
  • Sand Equivalent
  • Consolidation
  • Density Testing with a Nuclear Density Gauge
  • Dynamic Cone Penetration
  • Test Pits
  • Proof Rolling
  • Auger Bit Drilling and Sampling
  • Soil Bearing Testing

Asphalt Testing

  • Rise Density for Asphalt Concrete Pavement
  • Density Testing with Nuclear Density Gauge

Concrete and Grout Testing

  • Strength
  • Slump
  • Air Content
  • Temperature

Drilled Pier with Rock Socket Foundation System for WWU’s new buildings

For the most recent two major buildings on WWU (Western Washington University) campus, Student Recreational Center (~$26,000,000 construction value) and Communications Facility (~$40,000,000 construction value) buildings, more than 300 piers were installed for each building. The drilled pier with rock socket has capacity almost twice or three times higher than traditional piles ended on top of bedrock without penetration into bedrock. Therefore, significant savings have been realized for both of the project. The piers derive capacities from both friction and cohesion between the pier and the surround bedrock, while in the past, rock cohesion was not considered in design perhaps for no existing solution that includes the effect of cohesion.

Bedrock Profiles with the aid of Modern Computer Software Modeling

In the past, WWU had experienced significant difficulties during construction dealing with unforeseeable subsurface conditions. Almost every project encountered changing order due to finding of unknown subsurface condition, in particular the depth of bedrock was found much deeper than expected. The so unique characteristics of bedrock profile at the WWU campus is perhaps due to the glacial geology, which shaped the ground in several tens of thousand years ago. The profile on the campus is so unique that in one place bedrock is outcropping while 2 fee away, bedrock may dip into 20 feet below. Therefore, accurately determining the bedrock profile is a key factor in cost control during construction and maintaining predictable construction schedule. Many efforts with various methods had been tried with no success until Merit Engineering starting work with the university. Merit Engineering employed computer software technique into bedrock profile modeling incorporating field test results successfully predicted bedrock profile. Until now, the method has been tried in three major projects: Haggard Hall Renovation (~$20,000,000 construction value); Student Recreational Center; and Communications Facility. All three projects proved the very success of the modeling results. No unknown subsurface conditions (especially the depth of bedrock) were encountered in all three projects, so there were no change order due to surprising subsurface conditions. Therefore, significant savings and predictable schedule have been achieved.