Evaluating the potential for replacing the nuclear density gauge using nonnuclear alternative devices and methods

Janine Abyad, Ayman W. Ali, Yusuf Mehta, Manuel Celaya, Fangliang Chen, Giri Venkiteela, Daniel Offenbacker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was initiated with the aim of replacing the nuclear density gauge (NDG) with nonnuclear alternative methods that can be used as acceptance tools during the compaction of soils and dense graded aggregates (i.e., unbound pavement layers). To fulfill this objective, a laboratory procedure for compacting large samples was developed. This procedure facilitated testing using three nonnuclear devices: Briaud compaction device (BCD), light weight falling deflectometer (LWD), and dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP). Four types of aggregates, two subgrade soils, one dense graded aggregate, and one recycled concrete aggregates, were selected to comprehensively cover a wide range of subgrade and base/subbase materials typically used in the State of New Jersey (NJ). Each device was evaluated for accuracy and repeatability. The sensitivity of the results measured from each device to moisture content, compaction effort applied, and testing time was also evaluated. Based on testing results, it was found that the DCP was most sensitive to detecting changes in the measured parameters. The results also indicated that the DCP was the most suitable device for replacing the NDG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Civil Engineering Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 30 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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