Frank Georg Schulz | TERRATEST

Light Weight Deflectometer: Multi-Utility Device for Construction Industry

Oct 20th 2015 at 12:40 AM

The use of light weight deflectometers for construction design and quality control, material investigation, and evaluation of earthworks, road construction, and similar types of projects is continuously increasing around the world. There have in fact been countless reviews on the effectiveness and limitations of LWDs as a field evaluation tool. Most of which have many positive things to say about these devices, despite its restrictions, when it comes to some road assessment and earthwork scenarios. Nevertheless, LWDs prove to be a flexible tool that has a bright future as a major tool for quality control and material investigation for different types of construction and engineering projects.

Portable falling weight devices have been visible in the highway construction industry for quite some time (they have been widely used in Europe over the past 15 years). Now that LWDs are becoming more mainstream, a lot of construction professionals wonder whether they should upgrade their testing devices and leave their old testing methods behind. LWDs are more modern and promise faster, more precise, and reliable results. Fortunately for construction professionals, countless evidences supporting the value of LWDs as a multi-use device for earthworks and constructions are available from various research bodies, universities, and agencies who took the time to examine and evaluate exactly what these devices can offer. These studies are proof enough that light falling weight deflectometers are indeed valuable additions to your ensemble of testing devices that can help you ensure quality control in your design and construction projects.

Heavy-weight FWDs may not be suitable for routine assessment of pavement surfaces and roads during construction. This is especially true when access for towing trailers and vehicles is restricted or when the frequency and scale of testing make it impractical and uneconomic to use a traditional device. More than its cost, the over-sophistication of FWDs renders these devices less useful when it comes to testing subgrades and weaker foundation layers, which are usually subject to in-service stresses at the lower end of the stress range.

Light weight deflectometer devices offer versatility as a portable stiffness measuring tool. It continues to gain traction in the construction industry as it becomes increasingly used to test different types of materials and construction sites such as in-service and thinly surfaced roads. It is widely being used as a substitute for heavier and more robust falling weight devices, as it allows for easier testing of difficult to reach testing locations and surfaces.

About The Author:
TERRATEST GmbH is world leader in development and manufacturing of Light Weight Deflectometers for dynamic load plate test. They offer the world’s first light weight deflectometer “TERRATEST 5000 BLU” with Bluetooth and voice navigation. For more information about their products visit their website!

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