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Volumes of Earthwork

Volumes of Earthwork
Done after the horizontal and vertical alignment
have been decided and slope-stake data generated.
Different methods are employed depending on the
nature of the excavation and the data.
Because of the repetitive nature of computations for
earthwork, calculation by electronic computer is
highly desirable.

Volumes of Earthwork
Methods of Volume Computations:
Average End Area Method
Prismoidal Method
- Prismoidal Correction
- Earthwork Curvature Correction
Finite Elements Method
Grid Method

Common method of determining volumes of

excavation along the line of highways, railroads,
canals.

l
V A1 A2
2

Average End Area Method

Formula is valid only when A1 = A2 but is
approximate when A1 A2.
As one of the areas approaches 0, as on running
from cut to fill on side-hill work, a maximum error
of 50% would occur if the formulas were followed
literally. In this case, however, the volume is usually
calculated as a pyramid; that is:

Volume

1
area of base length
3
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Prismoidal Method

V l A1 4 Am A2
6
where
l is the distance between end sections
A1 , A2 are the areas of the end sections
Am is the area halfway between the end sections, determined by
averaging the corresponding linear dimensions of the end sections and
NOTby averaging the end areas A1and A2

Prismoidal Method
Its use is justified only if cross-sections are taken at
short intervals, if small surface deviations are
observed, and if the areas of the cross-sections differ
widely.
It yields smaller values than those computed from
average end areas.
For excavation under contract, the basis of
computation should be understood in advance;
otherwise, the contractor may claim (and obtain) the
benefit of the common method of average end areas.

Prismoidal Correction

The difference between the volume computed by average end areas and that
computed by the prismoidal formula
General Formula: Vc = (l/3)(A1+A2-2Am)

For prismoids defined by 3-level sections can be shown to be:

l
c0 c1 d0 d1
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where cv volume correction
cV

c0 center height at one end section

c1 center height at the other end section
d 0 distance between slope stakes at the end section where the center height is c0
d1 distance between slope stakes at the other end section

It is subtracted algebraically from the volume as determined by the Average

End Area Method to give the more nearly correct volume as determined by
the Prismoidal formula.
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Earthwork Curvature
Correction
Pappus Theorem: A plane area revolved about an axis generates a volume
equal to the product of the revolving area and the path generated by the
center of gravity of the revolving area.
Vcorr

V1 V2
l
A

1 2 e
2
2

R e1
V1 A1
l
R

R e2
V2 A2
l
R

e1 , e2 eccentricities of A1 and A2
R radius of curvature
Ce: + if excess area is on the outside of the curve

- if the excess area is inside

Ce

l
e1 A1 e2 A2
2R

Earthwork Curvature
Correction
rA r A
To get the centroid

r3 A3 r4 A4
A1 A2 A3 A4

1 1

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EXAMPLE
Assume that the center line containing stations 115+00 and
116+00 is at 10o circular curve arc definition that turns to
the left. Calculate the curvature correction to the earthwork
volume between these two stations. The roadbed width is
20.00 meters.
Station 115+00
c4.00 c5.00 c6.00 c9.00 c12.00
16.00 3.00 0.00 14.00 28.00
Station 116+00
c2.00 c2.50 c3.00 c5.50 c8.00
13.00 6.50 0.00 11.00 22.00
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SOLUTION

CL
115+000

12.0
28.0
9.0
14.0

6.0
0.0

5.0
-3.0
4.0
-16.0

a3

a5
a4

a2

a6

a1
0.0
10.0

0.0
-10.0

116+000

5.5
11.0

8.0
22.0

a5
2.0
-13.0

3.0
0.0

2.5
-6.5
a2
a1
0.0
-10.0

a3

a4

a6
0.0
10.0

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SOLUTION
1. Solve for the centroid of
each cross-section.

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SOLUTION
1. Solve for the centroid of
each cross-section

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SOLUTION
2. Solve for the curvature correction

Ce

l
e1 A1 e2 A2
2R

Ce = ___(100) [ (5.54)(207) + (4.95)(102.5)]

2 (573)
Ce = 144.34 cubic meters

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SOLUTION
3. Solve for the corrected volume

V = 0.5 (A1 + A2) l

V = 0.5 (207 + 102.5) (100)
V =15475 cubic meters
V corrected = V + Ce
V corrected = 15,475 + 144.34
V corrected = 15619.34 cubic meters

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For station 0+000 to

0+020, use AEAM.
For station 0+020 to
0+040, uses AEAM
for fill, pyramid for
cut.
For station 0+040 to
0+060, use AEAM for
cut, pyramid for fill.
For station 0+060 to
0+080, use AEAM.
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Volume in Transitional Areas

Determine x using similar triangles and calculate the volume of cut and fill
using the formula for the pyramid.
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EXAMPLE
Table below contains cross-section data. Compute the
volumes of cut and fill in this transitional area from 30+00
to 30+40 by the end area method and then using the
prismoidal correction. The units are meters. The roadbed
width is 21.00 meters in cut and 18 meters in fill with 1:2
side slopes. Station Surface Grade
Left
CL
Right
Elevation Elevation

30+00

149.56

154.57

30+09.75

152.87

155.07

30+21.50

155.69

155.69

30+28.45

158.20

156.05

30+40

164.10

156.65

-9.10
27.20
0.00
9.00
2.64
15.78
4.10
18.70
4.15
18.80

-5.00
0.00
- 2.20
0.00
0.00
0.00
2.15
2.15
0.00
0.00
2.15
7.45
0.00

-3.60
16.20
-2.28
13.56
-2.35
13.70
0.00
10.50
3.84
18.18
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SOLUTION
30+40
30+28.45
30+21.50

30+09.75
30+00

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SOLUTION

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SOLUTION

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SOLUTION

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Computed as the sum of volumes of a large number

of elements, the volume of each element is
calculated by multiplying the area of a longitudinal
section in the direction of the centerline by the
width of the element.

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L = length along the center line

L0 = the corresponding length of a line at an offset e
A = cross-sectional area
R = centerline radius of curvature
w = width of an element in plan
H = height of such elements
e = the plan distance from the center line to an offset line in plan

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Volume by Finite Elements

For straight lines: L0 L

L0 L 1
R

For straight-line and circular-curve

segments:

Volume of an element:

1
Al L0 H1 H 2
2

V Al w

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Volume by Finite Elements

The sum of all positive element volumes is the
required fill, and that of all negative element
volumes is the cut quantity.
The smaller w is, the more accurate is the
computed volume.
Implemented on computer programs.

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Grid Method
The Grid method calculates
volumes using a grid
overlaid on the two surfaces
that comprise the current
stratum. The size of the grid
cells is dependent on the M
and N size that you specify
when you set up the site.
This method calculates the
volumes by using the
Prismoidal volume of all
grids and summarizing.

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Error Propagation in Volume

Computation
Recall: Propagated errors errors in a computed
quantity are propagated from errors in the basic
measured quantities; garbage in, garbage out
If y=f(x1,x2,,xn) then:

y 2
y 2 y 2
x1
xn
x2 ...
x1
x2
xn
2
y

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Error Propagation in Volume

Computation
For a three-level section A 1 c d L d R w cL cR
2
4
in cut:
Estimated variance in the area A:
2

A 2 A 2 A 2 A 2 A 2
2
A c
dL
dR
cL
cR

c

L
R
L
R
assuming that c2 c2L c2R and d2L d2R d2
2

1
w
A c d L d R cL cR
2
4
d d
c
c
w
w
A2 L R c2 d2 d2 c2 c2
2
2
4
4
2
2

d
w2 2 c 2 2

2
L
R
A
c d
8
2
2

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Computation
l
V A1 A2
2

Volume by AEAM:

Estimated variance in the volume V:

2

2 2V V2 V 2 2 V 2

A2
l
l A A1
A

ll A1 A1 2A2 A2 2
2
Propagated error in computed
2
2

2
2
volume
22 A
2
2
2

A
l

2
2
2
1
2
V2A
A2

A21 A2 l 22 Al AA1 2

2
A l l A1 A1 A
2A2
2 2
2 2
A1 A2 2 l
2
2
2
A

A1
A2
l
2
2

22
VV

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Area

A2

A/A
(%)

c0.90
7.80

8.6

0.016

0.12

1.4

c1.20
8.4

17.5

Left
slope
stake

CL

Right
slope
stake

c0.30
6.55

c0.70
0.00

c0.60
7.20

c1.55
0.00

c1.50
9.10

c.3.54
0.00

c2.74
11.6

c.183
9.80

c4.24
0.00

c2.74
11.4

49.4

58.7

0.018

0.030

0.030

0.13

0.17

0.17

V/V
(%)

261

1.85

0.7

669

2.25

0.30

1081

2.58

0.2

0.7

0.3

0.3

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