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Department: Infrastructure and Review No.
Geomatic Engineering Effective Date 03.01.12
Amendment
Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
Date

1.0 Objectives
The sieve analysis determines the grain size distribution curve of soil sample by passing them
through a stack of sieves of decreasing mesh opening sizes and by measuring the weight retained
on each sieve. The sieve analysis is generally applied to the soil fraction larger than 0.063 mm.

2.0 Learning Outcomes


At the end of this experiment, students are able to:
2.1 Understanding the methods used to determine the size of soil particles in the laboratory.
2.2 Carried out the calculation processes used in the particle size determination.
2.3 Understanding the methods used to determine the consistency properties of fine grained soils
in the laboratory.
2.4 Carried out the calculation and plotting processes used in consistency limit methods of
classification.
2.5 Appreciated the way in which particle size and consistency properties are used to classify and
predict the probable behavior of soils and also to indicate the type of tests needed to assess
their engineering characteristics.

3.0 Background
BS1377: Part 2: 9.3 Section 4.6.1 for Sieving Dry: Simple is to be applied
BS1377: Part 2: 9.3 Section 4.6.2 for Sieving Dry: Composite
BS1377: Part 2: 9.3 Section 4.6.3 for Sieving Dry: Very Coarse Soils
Sieving can be performed in either wet or dry conditions. Dry sieving is used only for soil with a
negligible amount of plastic fines such as gravels and clean sands, whereas wet sieving is applied
to soils with plastic fines. According to the British Standard, dry sieving may be carried out only
with materials for which this procedure gives the same results as the wet-sieving procedure. This
means that it is applicable only to clean granular materials, which usually implies clean sandy or
gravelly soils that is, soils containing negligible amounts of particles of silt or clay sizes.
Normally the wet-sieving procedure should be followed for all soils. If particles of medium gravel
size or larger are present in significant amounts, the initial size of the sample required may be
such that riffling is necessary at some stage to reduce the sample to a manageable size for fine
sieving.
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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In addition, it allows either wet or dry sieving to be used, but the wet method is preferred. After
oven drying, the test sample mass is determined before been separated into two parts, the first
comprises that retained on a 20 mm sieve and the second that passing 20 mm. That greater than 20
mm is dry sieves, while that smaller is wet sieve prior to being re-sieved dry. The sieves used
generally choose from the range (in mm) of 75, 63, 50, 37.5, 28, 20, 14, 10, 63.5, 3.35, 2, 1.18,
0.6, 0.425, 0.3, 0.212, 0.15 and 0.063. The mass retained on each sieve is recorded, from which
the percentage of the sample passing each sieve can be calculated. Material passing the 0.063 mm
sieve is retained for a fine particle analysis, if the amount justifies the further test. According to
Das and Sobhan (2004:page 57) where they stated the particle-size distribution curve shows not
only the range of particle sizes present in a soil, but also the type of distribution of various-size
particles. Such types of distributions are demonstrated in Figure 1.0.

Figure 1 Different Types of Particle Size Distribution Curves (Das and Sobhan, 2014)

4.0 Test Equipments


4.1 A series of standard sieves with opening ranging from 75 mm to 0.063 mm including a cover
plate and bottom pan.
4.2 Test sieve having the following aperture size 10 mm, 6 mm, 1 mm, 0.6 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.15
mm, and 0.063 mm.
4.3 Mechanical sieve shaker.
4.4 Balances sensitive 0.5 g.
4.5 Soft wire brush.

Figure 2 shows a set of sieves in a shaker used for conducting the test in the laboratory.
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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Figure 2 A Typical Sieves Pan

5.0 Procedures
5.1 Oven dry the sample, allow it to cool and measure its weight.
5.2 Select a stack of sieves suitable to the soil being tested. A stack of six or seven sieves is
generally sufficient for most soils and applications. The top sieve soil should have an opening
slightly larger than the largest particles. Arrange the stack of sieves so that the largest mesh
opening is at the top and the smallest is at the bottom.
5.3 Attach a pan at the bottom of the sieve stack. Pour the sample on the top sieve. Add the cover
plate to avoid dust and loss of particles while shaking.
5.4 Place the stack of sieves in the mechanical shaker and shake for about 10 min or until
additional shaking does not produce appreciable changes in the amounts of material retained
on each sieve.
5.5 Remove the stack of sieves from the shaker. Beginning with the top sieve, transfer its
contents to a piece of the paper or a larger recipient. Carefully empty the sieve without losing
any material, and use a brush to remove grains stuck in its mesh opening. Measure the weight
of soil retained on each sieve and notes the corresponding sieve mesh opening and number.
5.6 Repeat step 5.5 for each sieve. As a preliminary check, the weights retained on all the sieves
and the bottom pan are added, and their sum is compared to the initial sample weight. Both
weights should be within about 1% if the difference is greater than 1% too much material
was lost and weighing and or sieves should be repeated.

6.0 Analysis and Discussions


6.1 The Sieve Analysis
In this section, a sample of analysis and brief discussion on the dry sieve results is to be presented
herein. Table 1 summarises a calculations of dry sample of 450 g soils. While Figure 3 illustrates
the plotted of the particle size distribution curve.
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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Table 1

Sieve Mass Cumulative Mass Percent


Size (mm) Retained (g) Retained (g) Finer
[1] [2] [3] [4]

4.75 0 0 = (450 0)
2.00 21.6 = 0 + 21.6 = 21.6 = (450 21.6) 450 = 95.2%
0.850 49.5 = 21.6 + 49.5 = 71.1 = (450 71.1) 450 = 84.2%
0.425 102.6 = 71.1 + 102.6 = 173.7 = (450 173.7) 450 = 61.4%
0.250 89.1 = 173.7 + 89.1 = 262.8 = (450 262.8) 450 = 41.6%
0.150 95.6 = 262.8 + 95.6 = 358.4 = (450 358.4) 450 = 20.4%
0.063 60.4 = 358.4 + 60.4 = 418.8 = (450 418.8) 450 = 6.9%
Pan 31.2 = 418.8 + 31.2 = 450
= 450 = M

the percent finer, in column [4], is calculated based on the equation showed below
M [3] 450 [3]
100% 100%
M 450

Figure 3
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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A particle-size distribution curve can be used to determine the following four parameters for the
plotted particle size distribution curve, as showed in Figure 3, is presented in Figure 4, where the
effective sizes of 10% finer, 30% finer, and 60% finer, are allocated in the similar figure in Figure
4, where there are labelled as D10, D30, and D60.

Figure 4
6.2 The Gradation Analysis
Hence, the effective sizes, D, the uniformity coefficient, Cu, and the coefficient of gradation, CC,
are calculated as shown below.
D10 0.41 mm
D30 0.19 mm
D60 0.09 mm
D60 0.41
Cu = 4.56 5
D10 0.09
D30
2
0.19 2
CC = 0.97 1
D10 D60 0.41 0.09

Based on Look (2007), the gradation of soils of combination between the uniformity coefficient
Cu 5 uniform soils
Cu > 5 well graded of soils
Cu 4 well graded with the distribution of gravels particle
and also the coefficient of gradation
CC = 1 to 3 well graded of soils
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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based on the calculated Cu and CC values calculated above, it can be defined that the soil sample
can be classified as the well graded of soils.

6.2 The Percentages of Gravel, Sand, Silt, and Clay according to The MIT System
From the plot shown in Figure 3, the percentages of each particles are as calculated in Table 2
below.
Table 2

Particle Sizes (mm) Percentages


Gravel 60 to 2 100% 78.4% = 21.6%
Sand 2 to 0.06 78.4%
Silt 0.06 to 0.002 0%
Clay < 0.002 0%

in general, the typical soil classification based on the particles percentages showed in Table 2,
the soil sample can be classified as Gravelly Sand.

6.3 The Soil Classifications

6.3.1 The British Soil Classification System


from APPENDIX 1A, moving from the left to the right side, its the Coarse Soils where less than
35% of the material is finer than 0.06 mm. As summarised in Table 2, the finer material is 0%.

then, between the Sands and Gravels parts, the Sands is applied where more than 50% of coarse
material is of sand size (finer than 2 mm). As summarised in Table 2, the sand particle is 78.4%.

as summarised in section 6.2, the gradation analysis is calculated stated as the soil is well graded
of soils. Finally, based on BSCS, the sample is coded as SW where the sample is well graded
SAND.

6.3.2 Classification of Highway Subgrade Materials (AASHTO)


from APPENDIXES II or III, moving from the left to the right side, the sample is clearly NOT
classified as A-1, A-2, A-4 to A-7. This is due to the sieve analysis (%passing) No. 40 (0.425 mm)
is 100% and its falls under A-3 which is 51%. Therefore, usual types of significant constituent
materials is a fine sands, and the general subgrade rating is excellent to good.
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Test Title: Dry Sieve Analysis 03.01.12
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6.3.3 Unified Soil Classification System (USCS)


from APPENDIXES IV or V, moving from the left to the right side, its the Coarse Grained
Soils where 50% retained on 0.075 mm. As summarised in Table 2, the finer material is 0%.

then, between the Sands and Gravels parts, the Sands is applied where 50% coarse fraction
retained on 4.75 mm. As summarised in Table 2, the sand particle is 78.4%.

as summarised in section 6.2, the gradation analysis is calculated stated as the soil is well graded
of soils. Finally, based on BSCS, the sample is coded as SW where the sample is Clean Sands
with a Well Graded Sands .

7.0 Data Sheet


Blank data sheet is attached in Table 3, and followed by the gradation data.

8.0 Questions

8.1 What is the purpose of grain size analysis?


8.2 Under what conditions should you use wet sieving instead of dry sieving?
8.3 What is the smallest and largest mesh openings used in practice for determining grain size
distribution?
8.4 Is it possible to carry out a sieve analysis on a sample of clay?
8.5 Classify the type of soil that you use in the laboratory according to BSCS, AASHTO, and
USCS.
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Table 3

Sieve Mass Cumulative Mass Percent


Size (mm) Retained (g) Retained (g) Finer
[1] [2] [3] [4]

M =

the percent finer, in column [4], is calculated based on the equation showed below
M [3]
100%
M
D10 (mm)
D30 (mm)
D60 (mm)
D60
Cu =
D10
D30
2

CC =
D10 D60
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100
10
1
Sieve Size (mm)
0.1
0.01
0.001
90

80

70

60

50

40

30

20

10

0
100

Percent Finer
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Test Title: APPENDIX IA BSCS 03.01.12
Date

Soil Groups Subgroups and Laboratory Identification


GRAVEL and SAND may be qualified
Sandy Fines (% Liquid
Group SubGroup
less than Limit Name
GRAVEL and Gravelly SAND, etc. Symbol Symbol
0.06 mm) (%)
where appropriate
GW GW Well graded GRAVEL
more than 50% of coarse material is of gravel size (coarser than 2 mm)

Slightly silty or clayey G 0~5 Poorly graded / Uniform


GP GPu GPg
/ Gap graded GRAVEL

Well graded / Poorly


Silty GRAVEL GM GWM GPM
graded silty GRAVEL
GF 5 ~ 15
Well graded / Poorly
Clayey GRAVEL GC GWC GPC
graded clayey GRAVEL
GRAVELS

Very silty GRAVEL;


GML, etc
subdivide as for GC

Very silty GRAVEL GM Very clayey GRAVEL


GCL 35
(clay of low;
less than 35% of the material is finer than 0.06 mm

GF 15 ~ 35
GCI 35 ~ 50 intermediate;

GCH 50 ~ 70 high;

Very Clayey GRAVEL GC GCV 70 ~ 90 very high;


COARSE SOILS

GCE > 90 extremely high plasticity)

SW SW Well graded SAND


Slightly silty or clayey Poorly graded /
more than 50% of coarse material is of sand size (finer than 2 mm)

S 0~5
SAND SP SPu SPg Uniform / Gap graded
SAND

Well graded / Poorly


Silty SAND SM SWM SPM
graded silty SAND
SF 5 ~ 15
Well graded / Poorly
Clayey SAND SC SWC SPC
graded clayey SAND
SANDS

Very silty SAND,


SM SML, etc
subdivided as for SC

Very silty SAND Very clayey SAND (clay


SCL 35
of low;
SF 15 ~ 35
SCI 35 ~ 50 intermediate;

SC SCH 50 ~ 70 high;

Very clayey SAND SCV 70 ~ 90 very high;

SCE > 90 extremely high plasticity)


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Test Title: APPENDIX IB BSCS 03.01.12
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Soil Groups Subgroups and Laboratory Identification

GRAVEL and SAND may be qualified


Sandy Fines (% Liquid
Group SubGroup
less than Limit Name
Symbol Symbol
GRAVEL and Gravelly SAND, etc. 0.06 mm) (%)
where appropriate

Gravelly SILT: subdivide


MG MLG, etc
as for CG

Gravelly SILT Gravelly CLAY of low


CLG 35
Gravelly or sandy SILTS & CLAYS

plasticity

FG CIG 35 to 65 35 ~ 50 of intermediate plasticity


35% to 65% fines

CG CHG 50 ~ 70 of high plasticity


more than 35% of the material is finer than 0.06 mm

CVG 70 ~ 90 of very high plasticity


Gravelly CLAY
of extremely high
CEG > 90
plasticity
FINE SOILS

Sandy SILT; subdivide as


Sandy SILT MS MLS, etc
for CG
FS 35 to 65
Sandy CLAY; subdivide
Sandy CLAY CD CLS, etc
as for CG

SILT: subdivide as for


SILT (MSOIL) M ML, etc
CG
65% to 100% fines

CL 35 CLAY of low plasticity


SILTS & CLAYS

CI 35 ~ 50 of intermediate plasticity
F 65 to 100
C CH 50 ~ 70 of high plasticity
CLAY
CV 70 ~ 90 of very high plasticity

of extremely high
CE > 90
plasticity

Organic matter suspected to be a


significant constituent.
ORGANIC
Descriptive letter O suffixed to any group or sub-group symbol.
SOILS
Example MHO. Organic SILT of
high plasticity.

PEAT Pt Peat soils consist predominantly of plant remains which may be fibrous or amorphous.
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Test Title: APPENDIX II - AASHTO 03.01.12
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GRANULAR MATERIALS
General Classification
(35% or less of total sample passing 0.075 mm)

A-1 A-2
Group Classification A-3
A-1-a A-1-b A-2-4 A-2-5 A-2-6 A-2-7

Sieve Analysis (% passing)

No. 10 (2.00 mm) 50

No. 40 (0.425 mm) 30 50 51

No. 200 (0.075 mm) 15 25 10 35 35 35 35

Characteristics of Fraction
Passing No. 40 (0.425 mm)

Liquid Limit, wL 40 41 40 40

Plasticity Index, IP 6 NP 10 10 11 11

Usual Types of Significant Stone Fragments, Fine


Silty or Clayey Gravel and Sand
Constituent Materials Gravel, and Sand Sand

General Subgrade Rating Excellent to Good

SILT-CLAY MATERIALS
General Classification
(more than 35% of total sample passing 0.075 mm)

A-7
Group Classification A-4 A-5 A-6 A-7-5a
A-7-6b

Sieve Analysis (% passing)

No. 10 (2.00 mm)

No. 40 (0.425 mm)

No. 200 (0.075 mm) 36 36 36 36

Characteristics of Fraction
Passing No. 40 (0.425 mm)

Liquid Limit, wL 40 41 40 41

Plasticity Index, IP 10 10 11 11

Usual Types of Significant


Silty Soils Clayey Soils
Constituent Materials

General Subgrade Rating Fair to Poor


a
A-7-5: IP wL 30; bA-7-6: IP > wL 30.
1
no Highly Organic yes

2
yes %Passing 0.075 mm 25 no

3
%Passing 2.00 mm 50

yes no

4
%Passing 0.425 mm 30
& 5
%Passing 0.075 mm 15 no %Passing 0.425 mm 50
&
IP 6
yes no
Engineering

6 7
%Passing 0.075 mm 25 %Passing 0.075 mm 10
& &
Department: Infrastructure and

IP 6 Fines are NonPlastic 8


Faculty: Civil and Environmental

IP 10
Geomatic Engineering

Test Title: APPENDIX III - AASHTO

yes yes no yes no

9 10 11
IP 10 wL 40 wL 40
Date
Edition

yes no yes yes no yes no


Page No.

Review No.

Amendment

12 13 14
Effective Date

wL 40 wL 40 IP wL 30

yes no yes no yes no


13/16

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03.01.12

A1a A1b A24 A25 A26 A27 A3 A4 A5 A6 A75 A76 A8


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Test Title: APPENDIX IV USCS 03.01.12
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GW Well Graded Gravels CU > 4; and CC = 1 to 3


Clean
Poorly Graded Not meeting both criteria for
Gravels
( 50% coarse fraction retained

(c) 5% to 12% passing 0.075 mm, use of dual symbols as GWGM, SPSC
GP
Gravels GW
Atterbergs
on 4.75 mm)

Silty limits below


Gravel

GM
Gravels A-line, or Atterbergs
Gravels IP < 4 limits in

(b) More than 12% passing 0.075 mm: GM, GC, SM, SC
with

(a) Less than 5% passing 0.075 mm: GW, GP, SW, SP


( 50% retained on 0.075 mm)

Fines Atterbergs hatched area


Coarse Grained Soils

Clayey limits above GMGC


GC
Gravels A-line, or
IP > 7
SW Well Graded Sands CU > 6; and CC = 1 to 3
Clean
Poorly Graded Not meeting both criteria for
Sands
( 50% coarse fraction retained

SP
Sands SW
Atterbergs
on 4.75 mm)

Silty limits below


SM
Sand

Sands A-line, or Atterbergs


Sands IP < 4 limits in
with
% of Fines

Fines Atterbergs hatched area


Clayey limits above SMSC
SC
Sands A-line, or
IP > 7
Inorganic Silts, M, of IP
ML
Low, L, Plasticity
70 CE
Inorganic Clays, C,
Silts and Clays
( 50% retained on 0.075 mm)

CL of Low, L, to 60
Liquid Limits 50%
Medium, M, Plasticity Cohesionless Soil
CV
Fine Grained Soils

50
ME
Organic Silts of
OL 40
Low Plasticity CH
MV
30
Inorganic Silts, M, of
MH
High, H, Plasticity 20 CI
MH

Inorganic Clays, C, 10
Silts and Clays CH CL
of High, H, Plasticity MI
Liquid Limits 50% 0 ML

Organic Clays of 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100


OH Medium to High
Plasticity wL

Peat, Muck, and


Highly Organic Soils Pt other Highly Visual-Manual Identification
Organic Soils
CL 70% pass 0.075 mm 85% pass 0.075 mm Lean Clay

70% ~ 84% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel Lean Clay with Sand

%Sand < %Gravel Lean Clay with Gravel

50% ~ 69% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel <15% Gravel Sandy lean Clay

15% Gravel Sandy lean Clay with Gravel

%Sand < %Gravel <15% Sand Gravelly lean Clay

15% Sand Gravelly lean Clay with Sand

wL < 50% CLML 70% pass 0.075 mm 85% pass 0.075 mm Silty Clay

70% ~ 84% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel Silty Clay with Sand

%Sand < %Gravel Silty Clay with Gravel

50% ~ 69% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel <15% Gravel Sandy Silty Clay
Engineering

15% Gravel Sandy Silty Clay with Gravel

%Sand < %Gravel <15% Sand Gravelly Silty Clay


Department: Infrastructure and

15% Sand Gravelly Silty Clay with Sand


Faculty: Civil and Environmental

Test Title: APPENDIX VA USCS


Geomatic Engineering

START
ML 70% pass 0.075 mm 85% pass 0.075 mm Silt

70% ~ 84% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel Silt with Sand


Date

%Sand < %Gravel Silt with Gravel


Edition
Page No.

50% ~ 69% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel <15% Gravel Sandy Silt
Review No.

Amendment
Effective Date

15% Gravel Sandy Silt with Gravel

%Sand < %Gravel <15% Sand Gravelly Silt

15% Sand Gravelly Silt with Sand


15/16

wL 50% PART 2
03.01.12

03.01.12
wL < 50% PART 1

CH 70% pass 0.075 mm 85% pass 0.075 mm Fat Clay

70% ~ 84% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel Fat Clay with Sand

%Sand < %Gravel Fat Clay with Gravel

50% ~ 69% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel <15% Gravel Sandy fat Clay

15% Gravel Sandy fat Clay with Gravel


START wL 50%
%Sand < %Gravel <15% Sand Gravelly fat Clay
Engineering

15% Sand Gravelly lean Clay with Sand


Department: Infrastructure and
Faculty: Civil and Environmental

Test Title: APPENDIX VB USCS

70% pass 0.075 mm 85% pass 0.075 mm Elastic Silt


Geomatic Engineering

MH

70% ~ 84% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel Elastic Silt with Sand

%Sand < %Gravel Elastic Silt with Gravel


Date

50% ~ 69% pass 0.075 mm %Sand %Gravel <15% Gravel Sandy elastic Silt
Edition
Page No.

15% Gravel Sandy elastic Silt with Gravel


Review No.

Amendment
Effective Date

%Sand < %Gravel <15% Sand Gravelly elastic Silt

15% Sand Gravelly elastic Silt with Sand


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