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# Lab Report #3

Determination of the Optimum Moisture Content and the Maximum Dry Unit Weight
of Compaction Using Standard Proctor Test

The purpose of this report is to determine the maximum dry unit weight of compaction
and optimum moisture content of a soil sample using Standard Proctor Test. These values
are essential in determining the maximum moisture needed to achieve the highest strength
characteristics of soils in the construction of engineering structures. It has been
determined that the optimum moisture content of the soil sample is 22.7% and the
maximum dry unit weight of compaction is 15.77 kN/m3.

## Submitted by: Julius Rey D. Baniqued

Group Mates:
Renz Gian Cavida
Christian Paul Maranan
Roland Mondano Jr.
Marc Neil Rabin

## Date Performed: October 21, 2015

Date Submitted: November 4, 2015

I.

Objectives

Determine the optimum moisture content of the soil sample using Standard
Proctor Test.

Determine the maximum dry unit weight of the soil sample using Standard
Proctor Test.

II.

III.

Materials

Soil Sample

Mold

Rammer

Weighing Scale

Oven

Sieve #4

Mixing Pan

Containers

Methodology
Record the
mass of mold.

Record the
mass of
specimen +
mold.

Yes

Obtain a representative
portion of the compacted
specimen and determine
the moist mass and ovendried mass.

## Place one layer of wet soil in

the mold and compact it with
25 blows using a rammer. Do
this for three layers.

## Soil does not

extend >6 mm
above the top of the
mold.

No

## Repeat procedure using another set of soil in

increasing water content until mass of
specimen + mold of trial i is less than that of
trial i-1.

trial.

IV.

## Data and Results

Compaction Curve
Mmd = 4509.5 g
V = 939.537 cm3
Trial

Mt (g)

6020

6132.5

6203

6223.5

6350.5

6334

Mc (g)

8.5

9.18

8.84

10.4

8.2

Mcms (g)

73.5

50.5

75.62

66.52

75.54

82.33

Mcds (g)

68.92

45.86

66.72

58.52

63.81

65.24

w (%)

7.52

12.42

15.47

16.10

21.96

29.96

m (g/cm3)

1.61

1.73

1.80

1.82

1.96

1.94

d (g/cm3)

1.50

1.54

1.56

1.57

1.61

1.49

d (kN/m3)

14.66

15.07

15.31

15.41

15.76

14.65

Table 1: Raw and Calculated Data for required values of compaction curve

## Mmd = mass of mold

V = volume of mold
Mt = mass of mold and soil specimen
Mc = mass of container
Mcms = mass of container and moist representative portion of soil specimen
Mcds = mass of container and oven-dried representative portion of soil specimen
w = water content
m = moist density of compacted soil specimen
d = dry density of compacted soil specimen
d = dry unit weight of compacted soil specimen
Equations used:

## 100% Saturation Curve

The average dry unit weight calculated was 15.14 kN/m3. Additionaly, from the sieve
analysis performed in previous experiment, it was determined that the soil is composed
mostly of sand. Using the table (Das, 2010), we classify the soil as loose uniform sand with
an estimate void ratio, e, of 0.8.

Figure 1: Void ratio, moisture content and dry unit weight of typical soils (Das, 2010)
Using the equation,

Gs = 2.78.
Calculating the completely saturated water content,

Trial

14.66

15.07

15.31

15.41

15.76

14.65

wsat

30.78

28.98

27.97

27.55

26.15

30.83

## Table 2: Values for 100% Saturation Curve

16

y = -23.428x + 21.869

15.8

Compaction Curve

15.6
15.4

100% Saturation
Curve

15.2

Poly. (Compaction
Curve)

15
14.8
14.6

Linear (100%
Saturation Curve)

14.4
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

## Figure 2: Compaction and 100% Saturation Curve

0.35

Diffentiating best fit equation of the compaction curve and equating it to zero, the optimum
moisture content of the soil sample is determined to be 22.7%. Substituting this value to the
best fit equation of the compaction curve, the maximum dry unit weight is determined to be
15.77 kN/m3.
V.

## Analysis and Discussion

It can be observed that as the moisture content is increased and the same compaction
effort is used, i.e. 25 blows per layer, the dry unit weight is increased. This happens
because water acts as a softening agent which makes the soil particles slip and move to a
more dense position (Das, 2010).

However, when certain moisture content is reached, any addition to the moisture content
will decrease the dry unit weight of the soil. This occurs because the water takes the space
that could have been taken by the soil particles (Das, 2010). The moisture content in
which the maximum dry density is achieved is the optimum moisture content. It was
determined that the optimum moisture content of the soil sample is 22.7% and the
maximum dry density is 15.77 kN/m3.

It can be observed there is no point in the compaction curve to the right of the 100%
saturation curve which is expected in accord to theory. Also, the shape of the wet side of
the optimum of the compaction curve follows the shape of the 100% saturation curve.

Compaction also has effect on hydraulic conductivity and strength. As the soil increases
its unit weight by compaction, the hydraulic conductivity decreases because the pore
spaces are taken by soil particles. The minimum hydraulic conductivity occurs at the
optimum moisture content. Beyond the optimum moisture content, the hydraulic
conductivity increases because the pore spaces are taken by water instead of the soil
particles (Das, 2010). Compaction increases the strength of soils if compacted on the dry
side of the optimum because of the increase in dry unit weight, thus, its bearing capacity
and decreases the potential settlement of structures built on the soil. The opposite happens
if the soil is compacted on the wet side of the optimum.

VI.

Conclusion
Through the Standard Proctor Test, it has been determined that the optimum moisture
content of the soil sample obtained from the field is 22.7% and the maximum dry unit
weight is 15.77 kN/m3.

VII.

References

## ASTM D698-12e2, Standard Test Methods for Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of

Soil Using Standard Effort (12 400 ft-lbf/ft3 (600 kN-m/m3)), ASTM International,
West Conshohocken, PA, 2010, www.astm.org