Calibration chambers are frequently used to verify, adapt, or both verify and adapt empirical relations between different state variables and in situ test results. Virtual calibration chambers (VCC) built with 3D discrete element models may be used to extend and partially substitute costly physical testing series. VCC are used here to explore the mechanics of flat dilatometer penetration and expansion. Results obtained for a simulation of physical tests in Ticino sand are presented. Blade tip resistance during penetration is in good agreement with the experiments. A piston-like design is used for the blade so that larger displacements may be applied than it is possible with a membrane. Initial piston pressures in the expansion curves are very low, strongly affected by the scaled-up grain sizes. Despite that difficulty, expansion curves may be easily interpreted to recover dilatometer moduli ED close to those observed in the physical experiments. Particle-scale examination of the results allows a firmer understanding of the current limitations and future potential of the technique. Copyright ASTM International. All rights reserved, 2018/16/07. Downloaded by UPC, pursuant to Author/Copyright Owner Agreement. No further reproduction authorized.