A series of plate load tests were conducted at the experimental farm of the University of
Pretoria. The test areas were levelled by means of three surface preparation methods namely,
i) a thin layer of plaster of Paris; ii) a thin layer of well-graded sand and iii) by using only
hand tools. In addition, a modified plate load test was designed to eliminate the effect of
bedding errors that occur during these tests. Telescopic probes were used to measure the
relative displacement at two points below the centre of the plate. The main objective of this
research project was to first quantify the bedding errors that occur during plate load tests.
Secondly, to evaluate the three different surface preparation methods used in plate load tests
to achieve a levelled and smooth test surface, and lastly to evaluate the effectiveness of using
telescopic probes in routine plate load tests to eliminate the effects of bedding errors. The
stiffness values, determined from the vertical displacement of the plate, were compared with
the internal stiffness values determined by means of the telescopic probes. All stiffness values
were compared with continuous surface wave (CSW) measurements performed on the same
material. The test apparatus, methods and results are discussed in this dissertation.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2013.