Measuring the contact pressure between a structure and the surrounding ground is essential for the analysis and design of different geotechnical engineering systems (e.g. foundations, underground tunnels, buried pipes, vertical shafts and retaining walls). Several devices and techniques have been recently developed to facilitate the measurement and monitoring of contact soil pressure. These devices range from stiff pressure cells that measure the soil pressure against a structure at specific locations to flexible tactile sensors that can track the pressure changes continuously over a large contact area. This paper presents a review of selected devices and techniques commonly used to measure contact pressure in different soil-structure interaction problems. Selected US and international patents of relevance to contact pressure measurement in geotechnical engineering are referenced. A comparison between the different measurement techniques with respect to their applicability and limitations is also presented.
Keywords: Soil pressure cell, contact pressure transducer, recent patents, pneumatic pressure devices, tactile sensors, fiber optic sensors
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