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HIGHWAY MATERIALS
The highway materials consist of soils, aggregates, bituminous materials, and
portland cement.

SOILS
The types of soils based upon how they are formed consist of residual soils, aeolian
soils, glacial soils and sedimentary soils. Soils may also be described as inorganic
or organic soils.
Certain general soil types are of importance to the highway engineer. “sand” and
“gravel’ are coarse-grained soil types possessing little or no cohesion and with the
particle size ranging from 80mm for coarse gravel to 0.08mm for fine sand. The
term “gravel” is usually applied to natural pit, river, or bank gravels consisting
largely of rounded particles; crushed gravel or crushed stone, is the term applied
to the products of crushing larger rocks into gravel sizes.
Silt is the term applied to fine-grained soils of low to medium plasticity, the size
being between sand and clay. Clays have very fine grains of 0.002mm or finer and
possess medium to high plasticity. Loam is an agricultural term used to describe a
soil that is generally fairly well graded from coarse to fine. They may be called
sandy loam, silty loam or clay loam, depending on the size of the predominating
soil fraction. Loess is a fine-grained aeolian soil with nearly uniform grain size
and low density. Muck is soft silt or clay, very high in organic content, which is
usually found in river or lake bottoms. Peat is a soil composed of partially
decomposed vegetable matter. Its high water content, woody nature and high
compressibility make it undesirable foundation material.
BASIC SOIL PROPERTIES
Soil engineer is supposed to be familiar with basic soil properties. Soils are quite
complex in nature both physically and chemically unlike other engineering
materials such as steel, wood and concrete. Also soil deposits are extremely
heterogeneous in character.

The sieve No. Mechanical Analysis: Sieve analysis is performed on soils such as clean sand or a soil that may be separated from the coarser particles. with a high value of the PI indicating a high degree of cohesion. . Atterberg Limits: Liquid limit (LL) is defined as the minimum moisture content at which the soil will flow under the application of a very small shear force. 5. 2.1. It is a measure of cohesiveness. The plastic limit (PL) is defined as the minimum moisture content at which the soil remains in a plastic condition.074 mm square is used for this purpose. 4. liquid limit and plasticity index. 200 which has openings 0. Evaluation of soils within each group is made by means of a “group index” which is a value calculated from an empirical formula. Moisture Content Specific Gravity Unit Weight Shearing Resistance Other Soil Properties  Permeability  Capillarity  Shrinkage  Swelling  Compressibility  Elasticity SOIL CLASSIFICATION FOR HIGHWAY PURPOSES The soil classification is a tool which helps in the determination of soil action and behavior. AASHTO Classification System: It classifies soils into seven groups based on laboratory determination of particlesize distribution. The objective of soil classification is to predict the sub-grade performance of a given soil on the basis of a few simple tests performed on the soil in a disturbed condition. 3. The plasticity index (PI) is defined as the difference between the liquid limit and plastic limit.

bases and pavements may result from frost action which means freezing and thawing during the winter and spring seasons. earthen dams and similar structures. aerial photographs. design and construction include geological and topographic maps and reports. This was stated by R. bases. and the results of previous soil surveys in the area. A group index of 0 indicates a ‘good’ sub-grade material and group index of 20 or greater indicates a ‘very poor’ sub-grade material. So the pavement and base may then fail under wheel loads. The sub-grade soil expands during freezing temperatures. When a sudden rise in temperature or ‘thaw’ occurs. the accumulated ice may melt rapidly. .074mm (#200). The phenomena of freezing are called ‘frost heave’ and it occurs due to shallow water table and a frost-susceptible soil.01(F -15)(PI . MOISTURE-DENSITY RELATIONSHIPS Every soil has an optimum moisture content at which the soil attains maximum density under a given compactive effort.2 + 0. agricultural soil maps and reports. As a consequence. excess moisture content may be trapped under the pavement and sharp reduction in shearing strength may result.Group Index: The group index is calculated from the following formula: Group index = (F – 35)[0. FROST ACTION IN SOILS Severe damage to sub-grades. expressed as whole number LL = liquid limit PI = plasticity index The group index should be reported to the nearest whole number. because water expands as it freezes. R. Proctor in 1933 and forms the basis for the modern construction process for sub-grades.005(LL – 40)] + 0. The phenomena of thawing is called ‘spring breakup’. SOIL SURVEYS FOR HIGHWAY PURPOSES The sources of information for highway location.10) Where F= percentage passing 0. embankments.

and the internal abrasive effects of repeated loadings.Certain preventive measures are commonly employed to eliminate or minimize frost damage. and backfill. Aggregates are also used in combination with a cementing material to form concretes for bases.The aggregate is immersed in a saturated solution of sodium or magnesium sulfate for a certain period. It simulates the weathering of aggregates that occurs in nature. [ . Durability or Resistance to Weathering: The durability of aggregates is measured by a soundness test. the polishing effects of traffic. The most common solution to the problem is to remove soils subject to frost action and replace them with suitable granular backfill to the depth of the frost line. wearing surfaces and drainage structures. The most important properties of aggregates used for highway construction are given below:Particle Size and Gradation: Aggregates having different particle sizes in combination with a cementing material are used for preparing aggregate mix. The most commonly used measure of the hardness of aggregates is the Los Angeles abrasion test. sub-bases. The other solution may be by lowering the water table by installing drainage facilities in areas where frost action is likely to happen. AGGREGATES The term aggregate refers to granular mineral particles that are widely used for highway bases. Resistance to Wear: Materials used in the highway pavements should be hard and resist wear due to the loading from compaction equipment. sub-bases.

W = Density of water Bulk specific gravity. clay balls. GB = Where M D /V B W VB = Total volumes of the aggregates. aggregates that show little or no decrease in strength due to film stripping are called hydrophobic (water-hating) aggregates. and other objectionable material. Other Properties of Aggregates: Specifications for aggregates used in bituminous mixes usually require the the aggregates to be clean. The difference between the apparent and bulk specific gravities accounts for the water-permeable voids of the aggregates. Aggregates that show this tendency to a marked detrimental degree are called hydrophilic (water-loving) aggregates. . tough.Specific Gravity and Absorption: The specific gravity of a solid is the ratio of its mass to that of an equal volume of distilled water at a specific temperature. including the volume of absorbed water. durable in nature. and free of flat or elongated pieces. dust. Apparent specific gravity. Chemical Stability of Aggregates: Some of the aggregates are good at absorbing water which contributes to film stripping in the asphalt mix. GA = Where M D /V N W MD = Dry mass of the aggregate VN = Net volume of the aggregates. Film stripping causes decrease of shearing resistance (cohesion or strength) in the asphalt mix. Conversely. excluding the volume of absorbed water.

the rate of curing of cutback asphalt can vary from a minutes to several days. to improve the oil resistance of asphalt surfaces. whereas tars are usually brown-black in colour. Bituminous materials consist primarily of bitumen.Similarly. the volatile solvent evaporates. Bituminous materials are divided into two broad categories: ASPHALTS and TARS. After a cutback asphalt is exposed to air. chert. This is called curing of cutback asphalt. and the asphalt in the mixture regains its original form. Following are three types of cutback asphalt and the solvent used: Cutback Asphalt Solvent Rapid-curing (RC) Gasolene or Naptha . In America the product is called asphalt and outside America. such as fog seals. according to ASDTM D8. aggregates used in portland cement mixes must be clean and free of deleterious substances such as clay lumps. it is often called bitumen. Depending upon the volatility of the solvent used. is mixed with volatile solvents to transform into liquid form which is called “cutback asphalt”. Asphalts have no odour. Asphalt is dissloved in petroleum oils whereas tars are not. silt and other organic impurities. Tars are residues from the destructive distillation of organic substances such as coal or wood. Cutback Asphalt: Asphalt cement which is in the state of a semi-solid at room temperature. They are also available as natural deposits called “native asphalt”. which. and less susceptible to temperature than tars. which have a pungent odour and react to weathering and temperature. Asphalts are black in colour. BITUMINOUS MATERIALS Bituminous materials are used extensively for roadway construction. are more resistant to weathering. The terms asphalt and bitumen are mostly interchangeable to mean both natural and manufactured forms of substance. as well as their relatively low cost. Therefore. because of their excellent binding or cementing power and their waterproofing properties. Asphalts are residues from the refinery of crude oils. is a black or dark-coloured solid composed chiefly of high molecular-weight hydrocarbons. tars are used to seal asphalt concrete surfaces. It is soluble in carbon disulphide.

The emulsifying agent imparts the electric charges (cationic or anionic) to the surface of the asphalt particles. the asphalt particles do not join together. . Emulsified asphalt is in liquid state and has low viscosity at the ambient temperature. particularly when used with moist aggregates or in wet weather. Due to these factors. water. and an emulsifying agent. The emulsifying asphalt is quite stable and could have a shelf life of several months. it ‘sets’ or ‘breaks’ because the asphalt globules react with the surface they are in contact with and join together. When an emulsified asphalt is exposed to the air. alone or mixed with an aggregate. The anionic type contains electronegatively charged asphalt globules. squeezing out the water between them.Medium-curing (MC) Kerosene Slow-curing (SC) Road oil Emulsified Asphalt: Emulsified asphalt is a mixture of asphalt cement. It can be used without additional heat. Emulsified asphalt has advantages in construction. medium-setting (MS) and slow-setting (SS). Three grades for each anionic and cationic emulsified asphalts are available commercially. depending upon the emulsified agent used. The two most common types of emulsified asphalts are anionic and cationic. which causes them to repel one another. and the cationic type contains electropositively charged asphalt globules. The anionic emulsions are effective in coating electropositive aggregates such as limestone. The cationic emulsion reacts favourably with an electronegative aggregate such as highly siliceous aggregates. emulsified asphalt is more energy-efficient and less costly than cutback asphalt. rapid-setting (RS). These three constituents are fed simultaneously into a colloid mill to produce extremely small globules of asphalt cement which are suspended in the water.

Name of Test Purity of asphalt cement Solubility in trichloroethylene Water Consistency Kinematic Viscosity Absolute Viscosity Penetration Softening Point (ring-and-ball method) Ductility Ductility Volatility Distillation of cutback asphaltic products Loss on heating Thin-film oven test Flash point (Cleveland open cup) Flash point (Tag open cup) Tests for emulsified asphalts AASHTO Designatio n ASTM Designatio n T44 D4042 T55 D95 T201 T202 T49 D2170 D2171 D5 T53 D36 T51 D113 T78 D402 T47 T179 D6 D1754 T48 D92 T79 T59 D244 Laboratory Tests of Bituminous Materials Used in Road Construction .