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A cylindrical core cutter is a seamless steel tube. For determination of the dry
density of the soil, the cutter is pressed into the soil mass so that it is filled
with the soil. The cutter filled with the soil is lifted up. The mass of the soil in
the cutter is determined. The dry density is obtained as

Where M= mass of the wet soil in the cutter

V= internal volume of the cutter

w= water content.


1. Cylindrical core cutter, 100mm internal diameter and 130mm long

2. Steel rammer, mass 9kg, overall length with the foot and staff about

3. Steel dolley, 25mm high and 100mm internal diameter

4. Weighing balance, accuracy 1g.

5. Palette knife

6. Straight edge, steel rule etc


1. Determine the internal diameter and height of the core cutter to the
nearest 0.25mm

2. Determine the mass (M1) of the cutter to the nearest gram.

3. Expose a small area of the soil to be tested. Level the surface, about
300mm square in area.

4. Place the dolley over the top of the core cutter and press the core cutter
into the soil mass using the rammer. Stop the pressing when about 15mm of
the dolley protrudes above the soil surface.

5. Remove the soil surrounding the core cutter, and take out the core cutter.
Soil soil would project from the lower end of the cutter.

6. Remove the dolley. Trim the tip and bottom surface of the core cutter
carefully using a straight edge.

7. Weigh the core cutter filled with the soil to the nearest gram (M2).

8. Remove the core of the soil from the cutter. Take a representative sample
for the water content determination.

9. Determine the water content.

Observation and calculations:
Sl. Observations an Calculations Determination No.
1 2 3
1 Core cutter No.

2 Internal diameter

3 Internal height

4 Mass of empty core cutter (M1)

5 Mass of core cutter with soils


6 M=M2 M1

7 Volume of cutter V

8 Water content

9 Dry density using formula


Dry density of the soil= ________g/ml.

2. Determine The In-Situ Dry Density Of Soil By Core

Cutter Method

This test is done to determine the in-situ dry density of soil by core cutter
method as per IS: 2720 (Part XXIX) 1975.The apparatus needed for this
test is
i) Cylindrical core cutter
ii) Steel dolley
iii) Steel rammer
iv) Balance, with an accuracy of 1g
v) Straightedge
vi) Square metal tray 300mm x 300mm x 40mm
vii) Trowel

Procedure Determine The In-Situ Dry Density Of Soil By Core Cutter

i) The internal volume (V) of the core cutter in cc should be calculated from
its dimensions which should be measured to the nearest 0.25mm.

ii) The core cutter should be weighed to the nearest gram (W1).

iii) A small area, approximately 30cm square of the soil layer to be tested
should be exposed and levelled. The steel dolly should be placed on top of
the cutter and the latter should be rammed down vertically into the soil layer
until only about 15mm of the dolly protrudes above the surface, care being
taken not to rock the cutter. The cutter should then be dug out of the
surrounding soil, care being taken to allow some soil to project from the
lower end of the cutter. The ends of the soil core should then be trimmed flat
in level with the ends of the cutter by means of the straightedge.

iv) The cutter containing the soil core should be weighed to the nearest gram

v) The soil core should be removed from the cutter and a representative
sample should be placed in an air-tight container and its water content (w)

Bulk density of the soil g cc Y = [W2 W1]/ V g/cc
Dry density of the soil g cc Yd = 100Y/[100+w] g/cc

Average of at least three determinations should be reported to the second

place of decimal in g/cc.
A sample proforma for the record of the test results is given below
METHOD (IS-27270-PART-29)


To determine the field density of soil by core cutter method


IS-2720-Part-29-Determination of dry density of soil in place by the core-

cutter method


1. Cylindrical core cutter

2. Steel rammer

3. Steel dolly

4. Balance

5. Steel rule

6. Spade or pickaxe

7. Straight edge

8. Knife
Core cutter, Dolly & Rammer


1. Measure the height (h) and internal diameter (d) of the core cutter and
apply grease to the inside of the core cutter

2. Weigh the empty core cutter (W1)

3. Clean and level the place where density is to be determined.

4. Drive the core cutter, with a steel dolly on its top, into the soil to its
full depth with the help of a steel rammer.

5. Excavate the soil around the cutter with a crow bar and gently lift the
cutter without disturbing the soil in it.

6. Trim the top and bottom surfaces of the sample and clean the outside
surface of the cutter.

7. Weigh the core cutter with soil (W2)

8. Remove the soil from the core cutter, using a sample ejector and take
representative soil sample from it to determine the moisture content.


1. Core cutter method of determining the field density of soil is only

suitable for fine grained soil (Silts and clay). This is because collection
of undisturbed soil sample from a coarse grained soil is difficult and
hence the field properties, including unit weight, cannot be maintained
in a core sample

2. Core cutter should be driven into the ground till the steel dolly
penetrates into the ground half way only so as to avoid compaction of
the soil in the core.

3. Before lifting the core cutter, soil around the cutter should be removed
to minimize the disturbances.


Calculate wet unit weight (wet) of the soil using the following relationship
wet = (W2-W1)/V


W1 = Empty weight of core cutter

W2 = Weight of core cutter + soil

V = Volume of core cutter (d2h/4)

D = Inner diameter of core cutter

H = Height of core cutter

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