Laser measurement of soil shrinkage

Testing a soil sample using the SHRINKiT system.

To help our research which seeks to reduce the millions of pounds lost every year to the effects of soil shrinkage, the BGS is involved in a wide ranging research project to determine the 'shrink-swell' properties of clay rocks.

For such work to be of long-lasting value, we need to use standardised experimental techniques that produce consistent, reproducible and meaningful results. Unfortunately, the standard test, originally devised in the 1950s, used liquid mercury. Not only was this very dangerous, it also produced unreliable results.

To tackle this problem, BGS have developed SHRINKiT - an automated measurement system to safely and reliably measure the shrinkage properties of soils. SHRINKiT, uses an automated laser to measure the pattern of volume change as a sample is dried on a moving platform.

For further information contact: