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Surface Shear Test Apparatus
Surface Shear Test Apparatus

Surface shear test apparatus


The surface shear stress apparatus manually measures top soil friction of an undisturbed soil sample and displays the results digitally. The equipment is suitable for soil samples with a diameter of 3.94 (100 mm).

  • Easy manual operation
  • Accurate measurement principle and digital read-out
  • Developed in cooperation with Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel
  • Excellent price-quality ratio
  • Sample size Ø 4.06 x 3.94 in (103 x 100 mm)
  • Allows for the determination of shear strength using a modified Mohr-Coulomb’s equation
  • Especially suitable for education application


The determination of very thin soil layers, such as soil crusts, requires very sensitive and very accurate equipment. In addition, the equipment should allow very small vertical stress application during measurement. Our surface shear test apparatus meets these requirements. Included in the set are:

  • Erosion test apparatus
  • Weights 50-2000 gr
  • Various accessories

The apparatus was developed in cooperation with Christian Albrechts University Kiel in Germany, a leading institution in soil compaction research. Read the interview with Prof. Horn of Kiel University for more information. 

Shear strength measurement 

Altered soil functions, in particular reduced hydraulic conductivities and impeded aeration, influence the topsoil layers. This has an important effect on vulnerability to erosion, in particular.

Soil stability is a decisive factor for erosion risk reduction. Soil stability is determined by shear resistance or the angle of internal friction, depending on or varying through soil-water pressure and humus content. Soil shear resistance will increase with increasing organic carbon content. Air-dry soil state samples will result in the smallest resistance to shearing in comparison with the range of water content applied. The effect of bulk density on soil shear strength depends on the water content and is distinct for a higher range of vertical loads.


  • Erosion
  • Geotechnical engineering
  • Geo-Hydrologic research    
  • Basic material research

User groups

  • Laboratories
  • Universities
  • Research institutes
  • Educational institutes

Specifications - weight

Weight container: for about 40 g - 1.08 hPa

  • Weight 1: 50 g - 1.35 hPa
  • Weight 2: 100 g - 2.70 hPa
  • Weight 3: 200 g - 5.40 hPa
  • Weight 4: 500 g - 13.51 hPa
  • Weight 5: 1000 g - 27.01 hPa
  • Weight 6: 2000 g - 54.02 hPa


Surface shear test apparatus
Soil sample rings diameter 4.06 x 3.94 in (103 x 100 mm), height 1.18 in (30 mm)
Shear container diameter 2.7 in (68 mm)
Roughness abrasive P-40 (special proven quality)
Shear speed manual
Shear force Range digital scale: 0 – 5000 g
Resolution 5 g
Dimensions 19.9 x 9.5 x 8.3 in (50.5 x 24 x 21cm)
Weight total set approximately 22 lbs (10 kg)
Kory Enneking

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