The consolidation testing provides the necessary information to determine the amount and the rate of compression of a given soil. The determination of the preconsolidation pressure of the soil is of great importance in the design of foundations.
The main objective of this investigation is to present a comparative study of the generally available consolidation testing methods. Controlled gradient (CGT), constant rate of strain (CRS) and conventional incremental loading (STD) consolidation tests were carried out. Two different types of clay are employed , one is a very soft marine clay, known as Champlain Sea or Leda clay, the other is a man-made, nonexpansive Kaolin clay having medium plasticity. Results of 22 standard oedometer tests, 20 Rowe cell tests,12 Anteus apparatus tests and 6 KO triaxial compression tests on both clays are presented and discussed. A comparative study is conducted between the results from these different consolidation tests on both clays. Based on the test results, the controlled gradient consolidation test using the Rowe cell with a softer diaphragm is the most suitable laboratory technique for Leda clay. The conventional oedometer consolidation test presents shortcomings and the KO triaxial compression test is rather time consuming.