Plate load test is a field test, which is performed to determine the ultimate bearing capacity of soil and the probable settlement under a given load. This test is very popular for selection and design of shallow foundation.

Advantages of Plate Load Test

The advantages of Plate Load Test are discussed below-

  • Being able to understand the foundation behavior under loading conditions.
  • Evaluation of bearing capacity of soil at a certain depth and prediction of settlement for a certain load.
  • Shallow foundation can be calculated considering the allowable bearing capacity, which can be predicted from the plate load test.
  • Time and cost-efficient.
  • Easy to perform.
  • Reliable.

Limitations of Plate Load Test

For gathering the necessary information regarding the design of a shallow foundation, the plate load test is very useful, but it has the following limitations.

  • The test predicts the behavior of soil located at a depth less than twice the depth of the width of the bearing plate. But in practical condition, the influence zone of a foundation is up to a much greater depth.
  • The plate load test is performed for a short time period, so it cannot predict the settlement for a longer period, especially for cohesive soil.
  • The bearing capacity for clayey soil is almost similar to the bearing capacity obtained from the plate load test, but in the case of dense sandy soil, the plate load test provides a conservative value. The actual capacity obtained for dense sandy soil is higher than the results from the plate load test.
  • The settlement for losing sandy soil is usually greater than the settlement indicated by the plate bearing test.


Please note that the information in is designed to provide general information on the topics presented. The information provided should not be used as a substitute for professional services.


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