You are on page 1of 21

Geology 229 Engineering Geology Lecture 12

Elementary Soil Mechanics (cont. 2) (West, Ch. 7)

Outline of this Lecture

1. Compaction/Consolidation

Soil densification include compaction and consolidation. Densification compaction + consolidation Compaction is one kind of densification that is realized by rearrangement of soil particles without outflow of water. It is realized by application of mechanic energy. It does not involve fluid flow, but with moisture changing. Consolidation is another kind of densification with fluid flow away. Consolidation is primarily for clayey soils. Water is squeezed out from its pores under load.

The engineering purpose of compaction is to increase the materials density. 1. Compaction effort, 2. soil type and gradation, 3. moisture content, and 4. dry density are the 4 control factors to the extent of compaction.

Increase permeability and decrease compressibility

Lower compressibility Higher compressibility

West, Figure 7.11 Plasticity Chart

Standard Proctor Test Compaction Effort is calculated with the following parameters
Mold volume = 1/30 cubic foot Compact in 3 layers 25 blows/layer 5.5 lb hammer 12" drop
cylindrical container hammer

Dry of optimum

wet of optimum

Total or wet density :

Mt Ms + Mw = = Vt Vt Ms s = Vs

Solid density s dry density d

Ms d = , QVt > Vs d < s Vt

Also we have

Ms Mt Mw Mt Mw M wM s = d = = = = w d Vt Vt Vt Vt M sVt so that

d + w d = and

d =

1+ w

The purpose of conducting the Proctor test is for finding out the optimal water content and guide the compaction project in the field. Practically, you know the water content w, you measure the wet density , and then calculate the dry density. Sure you can also bake the sample and directly measure the dry density d.

Zero-air-void density: At certain water content, what is the density called if there is no air in the voids

Gs w ( z.a.v) = 1 + wGs


Vs = 1

s = M s / Vs , then M s = Vs s = Vs Gs w w = M w / M s , then M w = w M s = wGs w , by Vs = 1 M w = Vw w , or Vw = M w / w = wGs w / w = wGs

dry w Gs (1 + w) wGs Mt = = = = 1 + w Vt (1 + w) (1 + w)(1 + wGs ) 1 + wGs

Zero-air-void density: At certain water content, what is the density called if there is no air in the voids

Gs w ( z.a.v) = 1 + wGs


It is clear that in the above equation, specific gravity of the solid and the water density are constant, the zero-air-void density is inversely proportional to water content w. For a given soil and water content the best possible compaction is represented by the zero-air-voids curve. The actual compaction curve will always be below. For dry soils the unit weight increases as water is added to the soil because the water lubricates the particles making compaction easier. As more water is added and the water content is larger than the optimum value, the void spaces become filled with water so further compaction is not possible because water is a kind like incompressible fluid. This is illustrated by the shape of the zero-air-voids curve which decreases as water content increases.

Now we can make another description of compaction in the engineering sense: Compaction is for making the optimum density as close as the zero-air-void as possible

Also we can conclude that more compaction effort make the optimum density closed to (zav) by the fact of the 2 linear lines have different slopes.

Compaction curves for different soils with the same compact effort (West, Figure 7.19); fine grain soil needs more water to reach optimum and coarse grain soil needs less water to reach optimum.

In contrast to compaction, consolidation is the reduction in volume of clayey soil under external loading as water drained out from pores.
water solid Vv=Vw=e0 Vs=1 water solid e

H e = , then H 0 1 + e0

e H = H 0 1 + e0

Apparently, consolidation is the reason for surface subsidence in areas of groundwater or other crustal fluid over-draw.

Compaction Equipment A. Types of Action * Ramming * Vibration * Static Rollers

B. Ramming

Rammers have a low frequency (800 blows/minute), and a higher stroke (1.5" to 3.5 height). As the machine operates the ramming action breaks down the soil, pushes the particles closer together, and forces air out of the voids.

C. Vibration

Vibratory machines are distinguished by their high frequency (2,000 to 6,000 blows/minute) and a low amplitude. The vibratory action sets the soil particles in motion, which rearranges them into a denser packing.

Types of Rollers
1. Smooth Wheel Rollers or Smooth Drum Rollers are suitable for thin layers, and for finishing operations. 2. Pneumatic Rubber-Tired Rollers have a series of rubber tires side-by-side instead of a smooth drum. Compaction is achieved by a combination of weight and kneading action. 3. Sheepsfoot Rollers are drums with a large number of "sheepsfoot" projections. They are most effective in compacting clayey soils. The initial pass in the field compacts the lower portion of the lift, with subsequent passes compacting the middle and upper portions. The roller is said to "walk out" as the soil is compacted and the feet do not penetrate as deeply as the initial pass. 4. Vibratory Rollers work well in compacting granular soils. Vibratory action can be used with smooth drum, rubber tired, or sheepsfoot rollers.

Field Compaction A. Relative Compaction Relative compaction is a way of comparing compaction on the construction site with the laboratory compaction results. It is defined as:

Field Compaction (cont.)

B. Water Content In the field it has been found that soils compact better at water contents on the dry side of the optimum water content. C. Determination of Dry Unit Weight in the Field Two methods in common use today to determine units weights and water contents in the field are: the Sand Cone Method, ASTM D-1556 the nuclear and non-nuclear density meters.