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Soil Compaction

Soil Compaction

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Published by Good Note

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Published by: Good Note on Apr 11, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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a basic handbook
What is soil?
Soil is formed in place or deposited by various forcesof nature—such as glaciers, wind, lakes and rivers—residually or organically. Following are importantelements in soil compaction:
Soil type
Soil moisture content
Compaction effort required
Why compact?
There are five principle reasons to compact soil:
Increases load-bearing capacity
Prevents soil settlement and frost damage
Provides stability
Reduces water seepage, swelling and contraction
Reduces settling of soil
Types of compaction
There are four types of compaction effort on soil orasphalt:
Soil Compaction
Soil compaction is defined as the method of mechanically increasingthe density of soil. In construction, this is a significant part of the buildingprocess. If performed improperly, settlement of the soil could occurand result in unnecessarymaintenance costs orstructure failure. Almost alltypes of building sites andconstruction projects utilizemechanical compactiontechniques.
These different types of effort are found in the twoprinciple types of compaction force: static andvibratory.
Static force
is simply the deadweight of the machine,applying downward force on the soil surface, com-pressing the soil particles. The only way to changethe effective compaction force is by adding orsubtracting the weight of the machine. Static com-paction is confined to upper soil layers and is limitedto any appreciable depth. Kneading and pressure aretwo examples of static compaction.
Vibratory force
uses a mechanism, usually engine-driven, to create a downward force in addition to themachine’s static weight. The vibrating mechanism isusually a rotating eccentric weight or piston/springcombination (in rammers). The compactors deliver arapid sequence of blows (impacts) to the surface,thereby affecting the top layers as well as deeperlayers. Vibration moves through the material, settingparticles in motion and moving them closer togetherfor the highest density possible. Based on thematerials being compacted, a certain amount of forcemust be used to overcome the cohesive nature of particular particles.
Loose Soil (poor load support)Compacted Soil (improved load support)
Figure 1
Figure 2 
These illustrations show the results of improper compaction and how proper compaction can ensure a longer structural life,eliminating future foundation problems.
Soil Types and Conditions
Every soil type behaves differently with respect tomaximum density and optimum moisture. There-fore, each soil type has its own unique requirementsand controls both in the field and for testing pur-poses. Soil types are commonly classified by grainsize, determined by passing the soil through a seriesof sieves to screen or separate the different grainsizes. [See Figure 3]Soil classification is categorized into 15 groups, asystem set up by AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials). Soilsfound in nature are almost always a combination of soil types. A
soil consists of a wide rangeof particle sizes with the smaller particles fillingvoids between larger particles. The result is a densestructure that lends itself well to compaction. A soilsmakeup determines the best compaction method touse.There are three basic soil groups:
Organic (this soil is not suitable for compactionand will not be discussed here)

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