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Dynamic consolidation

Dynamic consolidation is a method of compacting soil deposits using a falling weight. It is used to speed up expected soil-settlement at an thus increase the load-bearing capacity of the soil without the use of extra back filing and settlement time. The weight used varies from 10 to 18 tons. The height from which the weight is dropped varies between 5 and 20 metres. This depends on the thickness of the soil layer that is to be compacted and the desired compactionrate of the soil. The weight is dropped multiple times on each compaction location. The shock waves cause movement of the grains and subsequent settlement. The area can be levelled to perform a second or third compaction round. For the 2nd cycle, the soil is compacted in between the compaction locations of the first cycle. The interval between the two individual phases depends on the rate at which the overstressed water drains away. The quality of soil improvement is checked by means of interim conepenetration tests and monitoring of the pore pressure. 


Dynamic consolidation is used to create expected settlement at an accelerated speed. The technique is used for foundations of motorways, airports, storage tanks, quaywalls and storage yards. It is also used for soil improvement to enable foundations without piling. Various types of soil, landfill locations, rubble, etc., can be consolidated using this technique.

Ambient factors

  • Cannot be applied in built-up environments due the production of shock waves and vibrations.
  • A relatively cheap way of realising soil improvement at larger depths.
  • Clearance required.
  • The groundwater level must be at least 2.0 metres below ground level during compaction.

Pros and Cons

  • Not vibration-free.
  • Ground level must be levelled afterwards and compacted using a compactor-plate.
  • Foundation possible without piles.



Name of project


Amsterdam, Trial foundation Tank Vopak

Vopak Terminal Westpoort

Alkmaar, Viaduct N242

Heijmans Beton- en Waterbouw

Rotterdam Maasvlakte, Coal storage EMO