Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Buchanan, Michael Shane

Committee Member

Smith, Donald M.

Committee Member

Freeman, Reed B.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only


Civil Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


Current military criteria for characterizing soils and unbound pavement structural layers rely on either California bearing ratio (CBR) values or elastic moduli as backcalculated from the falling weight deflectometer (FWD). The primary objective of this investigation was to assess the ability of portable devices such as the GeoGauge, portable falling weight deflectometer (PFWD), and dynamic cone penetrometer (DCP) to accurately characterize subgrade and granular base materials in 16 test areas in terms of CBR or moduli values at Waterways Experiment Station (WES) in Vicksburg, MS, which serves as the headquarters for the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). Comparisons of these measurements to those obtained using standard evaluation equipment such as the FWD and field CBR tests were used to rank the usefulness of each device. The rankings were based on statistical analyses through the characterization of repeatability and development of relationships between the portable devices and traditional devices. As a result, the DCP was recommended for soil strength estimation (CBR) for fine-grained materials while the GeoGauge and PFWD are recommended for estimation of the moduli values in coarse-grained materials.