Dutch cell test apparatus: measuring soil properties

Themes: Structural Engineering


In order to be able to build safely with and/or on top of soil, its geotechnical properties need to be measured. Buismans Dutch cell test apparatus is the predecessor of current devices used for these measurements.


A soil sample is surrounded by water in a closed cell. A vertical load generates a vertical deformation and increase in the cell pressure. These parameters indicate important soil properties such as the maximum allowable load.


Inspired by the father of soil mechanics Karl Terzaghi and urged by the landslide in Weesp in 1918, Buisman introduced the field of soil mechanics in the Netherlands in the nineteen twenties. He developed the Dutch cell test apparatus in 1938.

Prof. ir. Albert Keverling Buisman †