Piston Sampler (Surface Type)

Surface Sampler (PSS) for Saturated Sands


  • Collecting soil profiles from water-saturated sites is difficult due to vehicle inaccessibility – sampling equipment has to be hand-operated and easy to carry.
  • When disturbed, saturated sands become a slurry and slump from conventional sand augers. Sampling holes collapse so profile integrity is lost.


To sample saturated sands from a site at Kingscliff, NSW, a “wet sand sampler” was designed.

The sampler consists of a stainless steel tube, a sealed piston and a movable, weight-bearing platform.

The sampler is driven into the sand by withdrawing the piston and standing on the platform.

As the sampler is drawn into the ground, the platform can me moved up the tube. When the sampler is at the final sampling depth, the piston is secured and the sampler (and core) lifted from the ground.

Samples are removed from the tube by fitting a sleeve to the sampler and releasing the piston – the sampler is shaken so the core sections slide down to fill the sleeve.

At the Kingscliff site a two metre, ten centimetre diameter tube was used. The sampler provided discrete samples from known depths, was lightweight and operated and carried (with samples) by two people.

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