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UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033

DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING


GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
EXPERIMENT NO. 1
LIQUID AND PLASTIC LIMIT TESTS
OBJECTIVE:
(a) To determine liquid limit, (b) To determine plastic limit, (c) To classify the soil, (d) To find flow index, (e) To
find toughness index.
SPECIFICATIONS:
This test is done to determine liquid limit of soil as per IS: 2720(Part 5)-1985. After receiving the soil sample it is
dried in air or in oven (maintained at a temperature of 600C). If clods are there in soil sample then it is broken
with the help of wooden mallet. The soil passing 425 micron sieve is used in this test.
EQUIPMENTS REQUIRED:
(a) A mechanical liquid limit apparatus (Casagrande type) with grooving tools.
(b) Evaporating dishes, wash bottle etc.
(c) Balance accurate to 0.01 g.
(d) Airtight container to determine water content.
(e) Oven to maintain temperature at 105 0 C to 1100 C.
(f) Sieve (425 micron). (g) Spatula, (h) Desiccator and other accessories.
THEORY:
Liquid limit is the moisture content that defines where the soil changes from a plastic to a viscous fluid state.
Other limits will be discussed during corresponding
experiments.
PRECAUTIONS:
1. Soil used for liquid limit determination should not be oven dried prior to testing.
2. In LL test the groove should be closed by the flow of soil and not by slippage between the soil and the cup.
3. After mixing the water to the soil sample , sufficient time should be given to permeate the water throughout
out the soil mass.
4. Wet soil taken in the container for moisture content determination should not be left open in the air, the
container with soil sample should either be placed in desiccators or immediately be weighed.
5. After performing each test the cup and grooving tool must be cleaned.
6. The number of blows should be just enough to close the groove.
7. The number of blows should be between 10 and 40.
PROCEDURE:
(a) A representative sample of mass of about 120 gm passing through 425 IS sieve is taken for the test. Mix the
soil in an evaporating dish with distilled water to form a uniform paste.
(b) Adjust the cup of the device so that the fall of the cup on to the hard rubber base is 10 mm.
(c) Transfer the portion of the paste to the cup of liquid limit device. Allow some time for the soil to have uniform
distribution of water.
(d) Level the soil topsoil so that the maximum depth of soil is 12 mm. A channel of 11 mm wide at the top, 2 mm
at the bottom and 8 mm deep is cut by the grooving tool. The grooving tool is held normal to the cup and the
groove is cut through the sample along the symmetrical axis of the top.
(e) The handle of the device is turned at a rate of about 2 revolutions per second and the number of blows
necessary to close the groove along the bottom distance of 12 mm is counted. A sample of soil which closes
the groove is collected.
(f) The soil in the cup is re-mixed thoroughly (adding some more soil if required) some quantity of water which
changes the consistency of soil, repeat the process. At least 4 tests should be conducted by adjusting the water
contents of the soil in the cup in such a way that the number of blows required to close the groove may fall
within the range of 5 to 40 blows. A plot of water content against the log of blows is made as shown in figure.
The water content at 25 blows gives the liquid limit.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL

Table: Number of blows vs Water Content


Trial No. 1 2 3 4
w1 w2 w3 w4
No of blows (N)
Weight of Container (W1)
Weight of Container + Wet soil (W2)
Weight of Container + dry soil (W3)
Water content w=(W2-W3)/(W3-W1)
Water content, w = (w1+w2+w3+w4)/4

GRAPH:
A semi-log plot of Number of blows Vs water Content is drawn from the table data.

RESULT: From the graph drawn, flow index If =( w1-w2)/log (N2/N1)= --------- and Liquid Limit=----------%

VERIFICATION/VALIDATION:
If the natural moisture content of soil is closer to liquid limit, the soil can be considered as soft if the moisture
content is lesser than liquids limit, the soil is brittle and stiffer. Hence if the points on the graph are obtained
scattered, we need to draw the linear curve at the mean. Flow index indicates the rate at which the soil looses
shearing resistance with an increase in the water content.
Soil Type Liquid limit
Sand -
Silt 30-40
Clay 40 -150
CONCLUSION:
As per the procedure the experiment is carried out. For 25 blows, water content is _____%.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
EXPERIMENT NO. 1
NATURAL WATER CONTENT

EXPERIMENT NO. 2
PARTICAL SIZE DISTRIBUTION (SIEVE ANALYSIS)

EXPERIMENT NO. 1
PLASTIC LIMIT OF THE SOIL
The plastic limit of fine-grained soil is the water content of the soil below which it ceases to be plastic. It begins
to crumble when rolled into threads of 3mm diameter.
SPECIFICATIONS: This test is done to determine the plastic limit of soil as per IS:2720 (Part 5)–1985. Take out
30g of air-dried soil from a thoroughly mixed sample of the soil passing through 425μm IS Sieve. Mix the soilm IS Sieve. Mix the soil
with distilled water in an evaporating dish and leave the soil mass for 24hrs.
EQUIPMENTS REQUIRED: (a) Porcelain evaporating dish, (b) Flat glass plate, (c) Balance accurate to 0.01 g.
d) Drying oven, maintained at 110 ± 5°C (230 ± 9°F).
(e) Weighing dishes, non-absorbent, with lids.
(f) Flexible spatula, blade approximately 102 mm (4 in.) long × 19 mm (0.75 in.) wide.
THEORY:The plastic limit is the moisture content that defines where the soil changes from a semi-solid to a
plastic state. It may also be defined as that water content at which soil starts crumbling when rolled into threads
of 3mm diameter. Use the paste from liquid limit test and begin drying. May add dry soil or spread on plate and
air dry.
PRECAUTIONS: 1. Soil used for plastic limit determination should not be oven dried prior to testing.
2. After mixing the water to the soil sample , sufficient time should be given to permeate the water throughout
out the soil mass.
3. Wet soil taken in the container for moisture content determination should not be left open. The container with
soil sample should either be placed in desiccators or immediately be weighed.
PROCEDURE: (a) Select a representative sample of fine-grained soil of about 20 g or more passing through
420 IS sieve. Mix it with distilled water thoroughly on a glass plate such that the palm of the soil can be rolled
into a thread of 3 mm diameter. Allow some time for the proper distribution mixed with water.
(b) Take about 10 g of this wet sail and roll it into a thread on a glass plate with the palm of the hand. The rolling
must be such that it forms a uniform thread of 3 mm diameter. If the thread cracks before attaining 3 mm
diameter, and add little more water, knead it and roll again. If the rolling can be done to diameter less than 3
mm, mix some dry soil, knead it to remove same extra moisture in the soil. This process has to continue till the
sample crumbles just at about 3 mm diameter. Collect the crumbled soil (at least 6 g) and measure its water
content.
(c) Repeat the process to get at least three water content determination (after they have been in the oven at
least 16 hours)..
(d) The average of water content so obtained is the plastic limit of the soil.
Table: Water content of 3 mm soil
Trial No. 1 2 3 4
w1 w2 w3 w4
No of blows (N)
Weight of Container (W1)
Weight of Container + Wet soil (W2)
Weight of Container + dry soil (W3)
Water content w=(W2-W3)/(W3-W1)
Water content, w = (w1+w2+w3+w4)/4
RESULT: The Plastic limit of soil (average water content) is_______. Plasticity index, Ip= wl - wp=--------------.
VERIFICATION/VALIDATIONS: Following table list the standard values:
Soil Type wl wp Ip
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
Sand Non-Plastic
Silt 30-40 20-25 10-15
Clay 40-150 25-50 15-100

CONCLUSION: The plastic limit of the soil = ____ and plasticity index = ____ The type of soil is _____.
EXPERIMENT NO. 03
DETERMINATION OF MAXIMUM DRY DENSITY AND OPTIMUM MOISTURE CONTENT
BY STANDARD PROCTOR COMPACTION METHOD
OBJECTIVE: to determine moisture content –dry density relationship by standard proctor test.
Compaction is the application of mechanical energy to a soil so as to rearrange its particles and reduce the void
ratio. It is applied to improve the properties of an existing soil or in the process of placing fill such as in the
construction of embankments, road bases, runways, earth dams, and reinforced earth walls. Compaction is also
used to prepare a level surface during construction of buildings. There is usually no change in the water content
and in the size of the individual soil particles.
SPECIFICATIONS: The experiment is conducted as per IS 2720-7(1980).
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED:
1. Proctor mould having a capacity of 944 cc with an internal diameter of 10.2 cm and a height of 11.6 cm. The
mould shall have a detachable collar assembly and a detachable base plate.
2. Rammer: A mechanical operated metal rammer having a 5.08 cm diameter face and a weight of 2.5 kg. The
rammer shall be equipped with a suitable arrangement to control the height of drop to a free fall of 30 cm.
3. Sample extruder, mixing tools such as mixing pan, spoon, towel, and spatula.
4. A balance of 15 kg capacity, Sensitive balance, Straight edge, Graduated cylinder, Moisture tins.
THEORY: The objectives of compaction are:
(a) To increase soil shear strength and therefore its bearing capacity.
(b) To reduce subsequent settlement under working loads.
(c) To reduce soil permeability making it more difficult for water to flow through
To assess the degree of compaction, it is necessary to use the dry unit weight, which is an indicator of
compactness of solid soil particles in a given volume. The laboratory testing is meant to establish the maximum
dry density that can be attained for a given soil with a standard amount of compactive effort.
1. Bulk density pt = (M2-M1)/V
2. Dry density pd = pt/(1 + w)
3. Dry density pd for zero air voids line. pd = GPw/(1 + (wG/S))
Where, M1 = mass of mould used for proctor test, M2 = mass of mould + compacted soil.
M = mass of wet soil. V = volume of mould. w = density of water. G = Specific gravity of soils.
W = water content. S = degree of saturation.
PRECAUTIONS: 1. Thoroughly breakup the sample by running it through the screen before compacting it in the
mould.
2. Pound within a moisture range from optimum to 4 percent below optimum. The closer to optimum the
moisture content is, the more accurate the test will be.
3. Make sure the clamp on each mold section is tight.
4. Make sure the wing nuts on the base plate are secured with equal tension.
5. Place the mould on a solid block that is supported on firm soil or pavement.
6. Hold the rammer vertically so that it will fall freely.
7. Drop the 25 kg rammer weight freely
8. Use exactly 25 blows on each layer.
9. Place 3 equal layers in the mold
PROCEDURE: (a) Select a representative soil sample of about 25 kg. The material used for the test must be
finer than 20 mm sieve. Air-dry sample.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
(b) Add sufficient water to the sample (about 7 % for sandy soils and 10 % for clay soils), which will be less than
the estimated optimum moisture content. Mix the soil thoroughly and keep this in an airtight container for a
period of 20 hours.
(c) Fix the mould to the base plate after cleaning its inside surface. Find the mss of the mould with the base
plate (M1). (d) Attach the extension collar to the mould.
(e) Take about 2.5 kg of soil in an air tight container and compact it in the mould in three equal layers each layer
is compacted by giving 25 blows by the hammer weighing 2.6 kg and dropping from a height of 310 mm. The
compaction must be uniform over the whole area, and a spatula scratches each layer before adding another
layer. The filling must be such that the last layer projects into the collar by about 5 mm. After the completion of
compaction, remove the collar and remove the excess soil with the help of a straight edge. Find the mass of the
mould with the base plate and the soil (M2). Remove the soil from the mould by making use of an ejector and
take a representative sample for water content determination.
(f) Carry out the tests 3 to 4 times by repeating the steps from (e) onwards. Each time use a fresh soil sample.
layer.

OBSERVATIONS AND TABULATION: The following observations were made on the compaction of a soil by
standard proctor test. Six tests were carried out on the selected samples of soil by varying the water content.
Water contents of samples of each test were found out by the procedure explained earlier. The test results are
tabulated in table: Weight of Soil for varying water content
Mould Diameter ………... cm, Height ………… cm, Volume ………. cc, Weight ………… gm
Density
Determination No. 1 2 3 4 5 6
Weight of water added, Ww (gm)
Weight of mould + compacted soil (gm)
Weight of compacted soil, W (gm)
Average moisture content, w %
Bulk density(gm /cc) = W / (Mould volume)
Dry density (gm/cc) = Bulk density/(1+w)
Water content
Container No.
Wt. of container (gm) = Wc
Wt. Of container + wet soil (gm) = W1
Wt. Of container + dry soil (gm) = W2
Watercontent, w = (W2–W1)/(W1–Wc)x100%
Note: Plot dry density vs. moisture content and find out the max dry density and optimum moisture for the soil.
Also, mark the 100 % and 80 % saturation lines.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
GENERAL REMARKS: The peak point of the compaction curve: The peak point of the compaction curve is the point with the
maximum dry density dry density ρd d max. Corresponding to the maximum dry density ρd d max is a water content known as the
optimum water content (also known as the optimum moisture content, OMC).
Note that the maximum dry density is only a maximum for a specific compactive effort and method of compaction. This does not
necessarily reflect the maximum dry density that can be obtained in the field. Zero air voids curve: The curve represents the
fully saturated condition (S = 100 %). (It cannot be reached by compaction).

EXPERIMENT NO. 04
CALIFORNIA BEARING RATIO TEST
OBJECTIVE: To determine the California bearing ratio by conducting a load penetration test in the laboratory.
APPARATUS:
1. Cylindrical mould (capacity 2250 cm3) with inside diameter 150 mm and height 175 mm, provided with a
detachable extension collar 50 mm height and a detachable perforated base plate 10 mm thick. (mould, base
plate, stay rod and wing nut confirming to 4.1,4.3 and 4.4 of IS:9669-1980, Collar confirming to 4.2 of IS: 9669-
1980).
2. Spacer disc 148 mm in dia and 47.7 mm in height along with handle. Spacer Disc confirming to 4.4 of IS:
9669-1980
3. Metal rammers: Weight 2.6 kg with a drop of 310 mm (or) weight 4.89 kg a drop 450 mm. Metal rammer
confirming to IS: 9189-1979
4. Weights: One annular metal weight and several slotted weights weighing 2.5 kg each, 147 mm in dia, with a
central hole 53 mm in diameter. Expansion measuring apparatus with the adjustable stem, perforated plates,
tripod confirming and to weights confirming to 4.4 of IS: 9669-1980.
5. Loading machine: With a capacity of at least 5000 kg and equipped with a movable head or base that travels
at an uniform rate of 1.25 mm/min, for use in forcing the penetration plunger in to the specimen. Complete with
load indicating device.
6. Metal penetration piston (plunger) 50 mm diameter and minimum of 100 mm in length. Penetration plunger
confirming to 4.4 of IS: 9669-1980.
7. Two dial gauges reading to 0.01 mm.
8. Sieves. 4.75 mm and 20 mm I.S. Sieves. (IS sieves 37.50 or 22.50 or 19mm and 4.75mm)
9. Miscellaneous apparatus, such as a mixing bowl, straight edge, scales soaking tank or pan, drying oven, filter
paper and containers.
DEFINITION OF C.B.R.
It is the ratio of force per unit area required to penetrate a soil mass with standard circular piston of 50 mm
diameter at the rate of 1.25 mm/min to that required for the corresponding penetration of a standard material.
C.B.R. = Test load/Standard load x 100
THEORY AND SCOPE:
The California Bearing Ratio (C.B.R.) test was developed by California Division of Highway as a method of
classifying and evaluating soil sub-grade and base course materials for flexible pavements. The test is empirical
and the results cannot be related accurately with any fundamental property of the material. The CBR is a
measure of resistance of a material to penetration of standard plunger under controlled density and moisture
conditions. The CBR test may be conducted in re-moulded or undisturbed specimen in the laboratory. The test
is simple and has been extensively investigated for field correlations of flexible pavement thickness
requirement. The test is conducted by causing a cylindrical plunger of some diameter to penetrate a pavement
component material at 1.25 mm/minute. The loads, for 2.5 mm and 5 mm are recorded. This load is
expressed as a percentage of standard load value at a respective deformation level to obtain C.B.R. value. The
values are given in the table. The following table gives the standard loads adopted for different penetrations for
the standard material with a C.B.R. value of 100%.
Penetration of plunger (mm) Standard load (kg) Unit standard load,(kg/cm2)
2.5 1370 70
5 2055 150
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
7.5 2630 134
10 3180 162
12.5 3600 183
As per IRC recommendation the minimum value of C.B.R. required for a sub-grade should be 8%. The
procedure is standardized by Indian Standards Institution in two different categories. The first being Test of
Soils in laboratory, determination of CBR, IS:2720 (Part 16)-1979. The second being Methods of Test for
soils, field determination of CBR, IS:2720 (Part 31).
The test may be performed on undisturbed specimens and on remoulded specimens which may be compacted
either statically or dynamically.
PREPARATION OF TEST SPECIMEN
Undisturbed specimen: Attach the cutting edge to the mould and push it gently into the ground. Remove the
soil from the outside of the mould which is pushed in. When the mould is full of soil, remove it from weighing the
soil with the mould or by any field method near the spot. Determine the density
Remoulded specimen: Prepare the remoulded specimen at Proctors maximum dry density or any other
density at which C.B.R> is required. Maintain the specimen at optimum moisture content or the field moisture as
required. The material used should pass 20 mm I.S. sieve but it should be retained on 4.75 mm I.S. sieve.
Prepare the specimen either by dynamic compaction or by static compaction.
Dynamic Compaction
Take about 4.5 to 5.5 kg of soil and mix thoroughly with the required water. Fix the extension collar and the
base plate to the mould. Insert the spacer disc over the base (See Fig.38). Place the filter paper on the top of
the spacer disc.
Compact the mix soil in the mould using either light compaction or heavy compaction. For light compaction,
compact the soil in 3 equal layers, each layer being given 55 blows by the 2.6 kg rammer. For heavy
compaction compact the soil in 5 layers, 56 blows to each layer by the 4.89 kg rammer.
Remove the collar and trim off soil. Turn the mould upside down and remove the base plate and the displacer
disc. Weigh the mould with compacted soil and determine the bulk density and dry density. Put filter paper on
the top of the compacted soil (collar side) and clamp the perforated base plate on to it.
Static Compaction
Calculate the weight of the wet soil at the required water content to give the desired density when occupying the
standard specimen volume in the mould from the expression.
W = desired dry density x (1+w) V
Where, W = Weight of the wet soil, w = desired water content, V = volume of the specimen in the mould = 2250
cm3 (as per the mould available in laboratory).
Take the weight W (calculated as above) of the mix soil and place it in the mould. Place a filter paper and the
displacer disc on the top of soil. Keep the mould assembly in static loading frame and compact by pressing the
displacer disc till the level of disc reaches the top of the mould. Keep the load for some time and then release
the load. Remove the displacer disc.
The test may be conducted for both soaked as well as unsoaked conditions.
If the sample is to be soaked, in both cases of compaction, put a filter paper on the top of the soil and place the
adjustable stem and perforated plate on the top of filter paper. Put annular weights to produce a surcharge
equal to weight of base material and pavement expected in actual construction. Each 2.5 kg weight is
equivalent to 7 cm construction. A minimum of two weights should be put.
Immerse the mould assembly and weights in a tank of water and soak it for 96 hours. Remove the mould from
tank.Note the consolidation of the specimen.

TEST FOR SWELLING


1. This test is optional and may be omitted if not necessary.
2. Determine the initial height of specimen (h) in mm.
3. Mount the expansion-measuring device along with the tripod on the edge of the mould and record the initial
dial gauge reading (ds).
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
4. Keep this set up as such undisturbed for 96 hours noting down the readings every
day against the time of reading.
5. Maintain a constant water level through out the period of soaking.
6. Note the final reading of the dial gauge at the end of soaking period (dh).
Calculations for Swelling
df -ds
 Expansion ratio = ----------- x 100 Expansion ratio = ----------- x 100
h
ds = Initial dial gauge reading in mm
df = final dial gauge reading in mm
h = initial height of specimen in mm

PROCEDURE FOR PENETRATION TEST


Place the mould assembly with the surcharge weights on the penetration test machine. (Figure below). Seat
the penetration piston at the center of the specimen with the smallest possible load, but in no case in excess of
4 kg so that full contact of the piston on the sample is established. Set the stress and strain dial gauge to read
zero. Apply the load on the piston so that the penetration rate is about 1.25 mm/min.

For Penetration Test


1. Calibration factor of the proving ring 1 Div. = kg
2. Surcharge weight used (kg) =
3. Least count of penetration dial, 1Div. = mm
Penetration of plunger,mm Load dial reading, Divisions Load, kg
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
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DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
3.0
4.0
5.0
7.5
10.0
12.5

1. Each batch of soil is (of atleast 5.5kg for granular soils and 4.5 to 5kg weight for fine grained soils) mixed
with water upto the optimum moisture content or the field moisture content if specified so.
2. The spacer disc is placed at the bottom of the mould over the base plate and a coarse filter paper is placed
over the spacer disc.
3. The moist soil sample is to be compacted over this in the mould by adopting either the I.S. light compaction
or the I.S. heavy compaction.
4. After compacting the last layer, the collar is removed and the excess soil above the top of the mould is
evenly trimmed off by means of straight edges.
5. The clamps are removed and the mould with the compacted soil is lifted leaving below the base plate and
the spacer disc is removed.
6. A filter paper is placed on the base plate, the mould with compacted soil is inverted and placed in position
over the base plate and clamps of the base plate are tightened.
7. Weights of 2.5 to 5kg are placed over the soil sample in the mould. Then the whole mould is placed in
water tank for soaking.
8. A swelling measuring device consisting of tripod and the dial gauge are placed on top edge of the mould
and the spindle of the dial gauge is placed touching the top of the sample. The initial dial gauge reading is
recorded and the test set up is kept undisturbed in the water tank to allow soaking of the soil specimen for
four full days or 96 hours.
9. After 96 hours of soaking, the mould with specimen is clamped over the base plate and the same
surcharge weights are placed on the specimen centrally such that the penetration test can be conducted.
The mould with base plate is placed under penetration plunger of the loading machine.
10. The penetration plunger is seated at the centre of the specimen and is brought in contact with the top
surface of the soil sample by applying a seating load of 4.0 kg.
11. The dial gauge for the measuring the penetration values of the plunger is fitted in position. The dial gauge
of the proving ring and the penetration dial gauge are set to zero.
12. The load is applied through the penetration plunger at a uniform rate of 1.25 mm/minute. The load readings
are recorded at penetration readings of 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 7.5, 10.0, 12.5 mm
penetration. The maximum load value and the corresponding penetration value are recorded.
13. After the final reading, the load is released and the mould is removed from the loading machine. The
proving ring calibration factor is noted so that the load dial values can be converted into load in kg.
14. The load values noted for each penetration level are divided by the area of the loading plunger
(19.635cm2) to obtain the pressure.
15. A graph is plotted by penetration in mm on x-axis and the pressure in kg/cm2 on y -axis. Then the unit
pressure values corresponding to 2.5 and 5.0 mm penetration values are found from the graph. Then the
CBR value is calculated from the formula: CBR in % =
Unitpressu recarriedb ysoilsampl eatdefined penetratio nlevel
 100
Unitpressu recarriedb ys tan dardcrushe dstonesata bovepenetr ationlevel
The CBR values at 2.5mm and 5.0mm penetrations are calculated for each specimen from the corresponding
graphs. Generally the CBR value at 2.5mm penetration if higher and the value are adopted. However if higher
CBR value is obtained at 5.0mm penetration, the test is to be repeated to verify the results. If the value at
5.0mm penetration is again higher, this is adopted as the CBR value of the soil sample.
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
CALCULATION OF CBR FROM LOAD PENETRATION CURVE
Plot the load penetration curve in natural scale, load on Y - axis and penetration on X-axis as shown in Figure.
If the curve is uniformly convex upwards although the initial portion of the curve may be concave upwards due
to surface irregularities make correction by drawing a tangent to the upper curve at the point of contra flexure as
below:

Figure: Load vs. Penetration curve


Take the intersection point of the tangent and the X – axis as the origin. Calculate the CBR values for
penetration of 2.50 mm and 5.00 mm. Corresponding to the penetration value at which CBR is to be desired,
take the corrected load values from the load penetration curve and calculate the CBR from the equation
PT x Cf
California Bearing Ratio = ------------- x 100.
PS
PT = Corrected unit test load corresponding to the chosen penetration from load
penetration curve
PS = Total standard load for the same depth of penetration, which can be taken
from the Table below
Cf = Proving ring correction factor.

REPORT:
Report the CBR value to the nearest second decimal.
Take the average of three test specimens as the CBR value of the test.
Generally, the CBR value at 2.50mm penetration will be greater than that at 5.00mm penetration and in such
case take the value at 2.50mm as the CBR value.
If the CBR value corresponding to a penetration of 5.00mm exceeds that of 2.50mm,repeat the test.
If the identical results follow, take the value corresponding to 5.00mm as the CBR value.

RESULT: The CBR value of the given soil sample is _________________%.

PRECAUTIONS: (1) Clean the holes of the base plate and that of perforated disc thoroughly.
(2) Align the surcharge weight with the plunger so that the plunger penetrates freely in to the soil.
IMPORTANT NOTE: At least three samples should be tested on each 1 type of soil at the same density and
moisture content. If the maximum variation in CBR valves of the three specimens exceeds the specified limits,
the design CBR should be the average of at least six samples (The specified limits of maximum variation in
CBR are 3 for CBR values up to 10,5 for values 10 to 30 and 10 for values 30 to 60%).
UNIVERSITY INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY RGPV BHOPAL-462033
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL ENGINEERING
GEO-TECHNICAL ENGINEERING LAB MANUAL
The top 50-cm of sub grad should be compacted at least up to 95 to 100 percent of proctor density.
An estimate of the traffic to be carried by the road pavement at the end of expected life should be made keeping
in view the existing traffic and probable growth in traffic due to change in the land use. Pavements of major
roads should be designed at least for 10days life period and the following formula may be used in such cases
for traffic prediction. A = P(1+r)(n+10).
Where A = Number of heavy vehicles per day for design (laden Weight>3 tonnes)
P = number of heavy vehicles per day at least count

r = annual rate of increase of heavy vehicles.


n = number of years between the last count and the year of completion of construction.
The value of P in the formula should be the seven day average of heavy vehicles found from 24 hour counts. If
a reliable value of growth factor r is not available, a value of 7.5% may be assumed for roads in rural areas.
The traffic for the design is considered in units of heavy vehicles (of laden weight exceeding 3 tons) per day in
both directions and are divided into seven categories A to G. The suitable design curve should be chosen from
the table given in the design chart (fig). The design thickness is considered for single axle loads upto 8,200 kg
and random axle loads upto 14,500 kg. For higher axle loads the thickness values should be further increased.
(This is improvement over earlier mentioned values of 8160 kg and 4080 kg)
When sub-base course materials contain substantial proportion of aggregates of size above 20 mm, the CBR
value of these materials would not be valid for the design of subsequent layers above them. This layers of
wearing course such as surface dressing or open graded premixed carpet up to 2.5 cm thickness should not be
counted towards the total thickness of pavement as they do not increase the structural capacity as the
pavement.

CBR TEST OF SOIL-10+ MOST IMPORTANT NOTES TO REMEMBER


Suryakanta | June 20, 2014 | Soil, Tests On Soil | 14 Comments
California Bearing Ratio or CBR test is the ratio of the force per unit area required to penetrate a soil mass with
a standard circular piston of 50 mm dia, at the rate of 1.25 mm/min to that of force required to penetrate sample
of compacted stone having CBR of 100%.

CBR test Equipments


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The standard load corresponding to 2.5 mm and 5 mm penetration of the plunger into the standard sample is
reported to be 1370 kg and 2055 kg respectively.
CBR test may be conducted in the laboratory either on remoulded or undisturbed soil specimens. CBR test can
also be conducted in the field.
CBR test is done both on the soaked and unsoaked samples. Soaking of specimen simulate the worst field
condition that a subgrade soil can be subjected to, similar to monsoon and post-monsoon conditions.
Both during soaking and penetration test, the specimen is covered with equal surcharge weights to simulate the
effect of overlying pavement or the particular layer under construction. Each surcharge slotted weight, 147 mm
in dia with a central hole of 53 mm in dia and weighing 2.5 kg is considered approximately equivalent to 6.5 cm
of construction.
The initial portion of the load-penetration curve of CBR test is generally convex upward. But sometimes the
initial portion becomes concave upward. This is due to one or more of the following reasons.
o Top layer of soaked soil is too soft or slushy after soaking in water
o The top surface of the soil specimen is not even
o The penetration plunger of the loading machine is not vertical resulting in the bottom surface of plunger not
being horizontal and not fully in contact with top surface of the specimen.
The initial concavity in the curve indicates that during the initial application of load, the plunger penetrated at a
more rapid rate and later further penetration values are consistent with respect to the load applied.
Generally the CBR value at 2.5 mm penetration is higher and this value is adopted as the CBR value of the soil
sample. However if higher CBR value is obtained at 5.0 mm penetration, the CBR test is to be repeated to verify
the result. If CBR value at 5.0 mm penetration is higher in the repeat test also, this higher value is adopted as
the CBR value of the soil sample.
Presence of coarse grained particles would result in poor reproducibility of result. Therefore material passing 20
mm sieve is only used in the test.
CBR test is an empirical test method and cannot be related accurately with any fundamental or physical
property of the soil or pavement material tested.
Indian Road Congress (IRC) has standardized the guidelines for the design of flexible pavements based on
CBR test (vide IRC-37) and this method is being followed for the design of flexible pavements for all the
categories of roads in India.
As per IRC guidelines whenever possible the remoulded specimens for CBR test should be prepared by static
compaction otherwise by dynamic compaction so as to achieve the desired dry density.
Often it is required to determine the CBR value of a soil compacted at some other desired percentage of MDD,
other than the MDD value as per heavy (modified) or light (standard) compaction. For example as per MORTH,
the soil sub grades of highways are to be compacted in the field to 97% of MDD by heavy compaction obtained
in the laboratory. In this case compaction test may be carried out by applying different number of blows per
layer (say 25, 40 & 55 blows/layer) and a graph is plotted with number of blows/layer vs the dry density
achieved. From this graph it is possible to determine the number of blows required to obtain any desired value
or percentage of dry density by interpolation and then to conduct CBR test on specimen compacted
accordingly.
According to IRC:37-2001, if the maximum variation in CBR values between the three specimens tested in the
laboratory exceed the permissible variation in CBR values for different ranges (as given in the table below), the
CBR test should be repeated on additional three specimens and the average value of six specimens is to be
adopted as the CBR value.
Maximum permissible variation in CBR values between 3 individual test value
CBR value (%)
(±, %)
<5 1
5 – 10 2
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11 – 30 3
31 or above 5

I R C RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE CBR METHOD OF DESIGN

Some of the important points recommended by IRC for the CBR method of design (IRC:37 -1970) are given
below:
The CBR tests should be performed on remoulded soils in the laboratory. In – Site tests are not recommended
for design purpose. The specimens should be prepared by static compaction where ever possible and other
wise by dynamic compaction. The standard tesst procedure should be strictly adhered to.
For the design of new roads the sub grade soil sample should be compacted at OMC to proctor density
whenever suitable compaction equipment is available to achieve this density in the fields; otherwise the soil
sample may be compacted to the dry density expected to be achieved in the field. In the case of existing roads,
the sample should be compacted to field density of sub graded soil (at OMC or at a field moisture content.)
In new constructions the CBR test samples may be soaked in water for four days period before testing.
However in areas with arid climate or when the annual rain fall is less than 50 cm and the water table is too
deep to affect the sub grade adversely and when thick and impermeable bituminous surfacing is provided, it is
not necessary to soak the soil specimen before carrying out the CBR test. Wherever possible the most adverse
moisture condition of the sub grade should be determined from the field study.
At least three samples should be tested on each 1 type of soil at the same density and moisture content. If the
maximum variation in CBR valves of the three specimens exceeds the specified limits, the design CBR should
be the average of atleast six samples (The specified limits of maximum variation in CBR are 3 for CBR values
up to 10,5 for values 10 to 30 and 10 for values 30 to 60%)
The top 50-cm of sub grad should be compacted at least up to 95 to 100 percent of proctor density.
An estimate of the traffic to be carried by the road pavement at the end of expected life should be made keeping
in view the existing traffic and probable growth in traffic due to change in the land use. Pavements of major
roads should be designed at least for 10days life period and the following formula may be used in such cases
for traffic prediction.
A = P(1+r)(n+10).
Where A = Number of heavy vehicles per day for design (laden Weight>3 tonnes)
P = number of heavy vehicles per day at least count
r = annual rate of increase of heavy vehicles.
n = number of years between the last count and the year of completion of construction.
The value of P in the formula should be the seven day average of heavy vehicles found from 24 hour counts. If
a reliable value of growth factor r is not available, a value of 7.5% may be assumed for roads in rural areas.
The traffic for the design is considered in units of heavy vehicles (of laden weight exceeding 3 tons) per day in
both directions and are divided into seven categories A to G. The suitable design curve should be chosen from
the table given in the design chart (fig). The design thickness is considered for single axle loads upto 8,200 kg
and random axle loads upto 14,500 kg. For higher axle loads the thickness values should be further increased.
(This is improvement over earlier mentioned values of 8160 kg and 4080 kg)
When sub-base course materials contain substantial proportion of aggregates of size above 20 mm, the CBR
value of these materials would not be valid for the design of subsequent layers above them. This layers of
wearing course such as surface dressing or open graded premixed carpet up to 2.5 cm thickness should not be
counted towards the total thickness of pavement as they do not increase the structural capacity as the
pavement.
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The dry density in g/cc corresponding to the maximum point on the moisture content/dry density curve should
be reported as the maximum dry density to the nearest 0.01. The percentage moisture content corresponding to
the maximum dry density on the moisture content/dry density curve should be reported as the optimum
moisture content and quoted to the nearest 0.2 for values below 5 percent, to the nearest 0.5 for values from 5
to 10 percent and to the nearest whole number for values exceeding 10 percent.

Subgrade The subgrade should be compacted to 97% of the dry density achieved with heavy compaction
(modified proctor density) as per IS:2720 (Part 8). For Expressways, National Highways and State Highways,
the material used for subgrade construction should have the dry density of not less than 1.75 gm/cc.

For determining the CBR value, the standard test procedure described in IS:2720 (Part 16) should be strictly
adhered to. The test must always be performed on remoulded samples of soils in the laboratory It is
recommended that the samples be soaked in water for four days prior to testing In situ CBR test is not
recommended

Sub-base course Granular Sub-base (GSB) materials conforming to clause 401 of MORT&H specifications for
road and bridge works is recommended The sub-base material should have minimum CBR of 20% for
cumulative traffic up to 2 msa and 30% for traffic exceeding 2 msa. The material should be tested for CBR at
the dry density and moisture content expected in the field. The thickness of sub-base should not be less than
150 mm for design traffic less than 10 msa and 200 mm for design traffic of 10 msa and above.

Preferably the subgrade soil should have a CBR of 2% If the CBR<2%, the design should be based on a CBR
of 2% and a capping layer of 150 mm thickness of material with a minimum CBR of 10% shall be provided in
addition to the subbase Where stage construction is adopted, the thickness of sub-base shall be provided for
ultimate pavement section for the full design life.

Base course The recommended minimum thickness of granular base is 225 mm for traffic upto 2 msa and 250
mm for traffic exceeding 2 msa. For heavily trafficked roads, use of WMM base laid by paver finisher or motor
grader is recommended. Where WBM construction should be adopted in the base course for roads carrying
traffic more than 10 msa, the thickness of WBM shall be increased from 250 mm to 300 mm.

A new four lane divided highway is to be constructed on a subgrade of CBR 1.8 %. The ADT of truck traffic
based on the last count was 8000. The directional split of traffic is 55:45. Vehicle damage factor based on axle
load survey was 4.0. Design a suitable pavement section for a design life of 15 years. The last traffic count was
taken 1 year back and the project would be completed in 2 years from now. Growth rate of traffic = 7%.

California bearing ratio typical values


What are the typical CBR values?
The harder the material, the higher the CBR value. A CBR value of 2% is usually found for clay, high-quality
sub-base will have CBR values between 80% and 100%, and some sands may have values around 10%.

General Soil Type USC Soil TypeCBR Range


Coarse-grained soilsGW 40 – 80
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GP 30 – 60
GM 20 – 60
GC 20 – 40
SW 20 – 40
SM 10 – 40
SP 10 – 40
SC 5 – 20
ML 15 or less
CL LL < 50% 15 or less
OL 5 or less
Fine-grained soils
MH 10 or less
CH LL > 50% 15 or less
OH 5 or less

How is the CBR value calculated?


The unit load (pressure) on the plunger for 2.54 mm or 5.08 mm of penetration is divided by the unit load of the
standard material and the result is multiplied by 100.
The bearing capacity of the standard material is considered as a reference value for this test. That’s why the
CBR values are percentages, indicating the strength of a granular material in relation to the standard material.

In India IRC: 37–2012 is used for design of flexible pavements. It gives design charts for pavement on the basis
of CBR value for subgrade material ranging from 3% to 15%. However for subbase layer, MR (modulus of
resilience) value is now considered.

CBR value more than 5 is suitable in most of the cases.

Its 3-6 in subgrade


40-100 in base or subbase
Depending on the road classifications

Table 3: Typical CBR values for various soils

Material description CBR


Thumb penetration into the wet clay soil
Easy <1
Possible 1
Difficult 2
Impossible 3+
A trace of a footprint left by a walking man 1
SC: clayey sand 10-20
CL: lean clays, sandy clays, gravelly clays 5-15
ML: silts, sandy silts 5-15
OL: organic silts, lean organic clays 4-8
CH: fat clays 3-5
MH: plastic silts 4-8
OH: fat organic clays 3-5

Source: Rollings and Rollings, 1996.


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Procedure for Standard Proctor Test
The procedure for carrying out the standard Proctor test are as follows.
1. Collect the soil sample weighing 3kg. The sample must be 3kg after air drying it. Usually, this soil will be
pulverized soil that passes through 4.75mm sieve. If the soil is coarse grained type, the water is added such
that its water content comes to 4%.
If the soil is fine grained, water is added to make its water content to 8%. The water content of the sample after
addition must be less than the optimum water content.
The soil after addition of water is mixed thoroughly and covered with a wet cloth. This sample is kept aside for
15 to 30 minutes for undergoing maturing process. The table-1 below shows the range of optimum water
content for different soil types
Table.1: Optimum Water Content Range for Different Soil Types
Sand Sand silt or silty sand Silt Clay

6 to 10% 8 to 12% 12 to 16% 14 to 20%


2. Next, the apparatus is prepared by cleaning the mold thoroughly. The mold have to be dried and greased
lightly. The mass of the mold with base plate and without collar is weighed. Let it me (Wm).
3. The mold placed over solid base plate is then filled with prepared matured soil to one third of the height. This
layer will take 25 blows with the rammer. The rammer has a free fall height of 310 mm.

Effect of soil type


Well-graded granular soils can be compacted to higher densities than uniform or silty soils.
Clays of high plasticity may have water contents over 30% and achieve similar densities (and therefore
strengths) to those of lower plasticity with water contents below 20%.
As the % of fines and the plasticity of a soil increses, the compaction curve becomes flatter and therefore less
sensitive to moisture content. Equally, the maximum dry density will be relatively low.

End-result specifications
Target parameters are specified based on laboratory test results:

Optimum water content working range, i.e. ± 2%


Optimum air-voids content tolerance, i.e. ± 1.5%
For soils wetter than wopt, the target Av can be used, e.g.
10% for bulk earthworks
5% for important work
The end-result method is unsuitable for very wet or variable conditions.
Compaction as a construction process
Compaction is employed in the construction of road bases, runways, earth dams, embankments and reinforced
earth walls. In some cases, compaction may be used to prepare a level surface for building construction.
Soil is placed in layers, typically 75 mm to 450 mm thick. Each layer is compacted to a specified standard using
rollers, vibrators or rammers.
Refer also to Types of compaction plant and Specification and quality control

Compaction purposes and processes


Objectives of compaction
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Compaction can be applied to improve the properties of an existing soil or in the process of placing fill. The
main objectives are to:
increase shear strength and therefore bearing capacity
increase stiffness and therefore reduce future settlement
decrease voids ratio and so permeability, thus reducing potential frost heave

On the basis of relative density, sands and gravels can be grouped into different categories:

Relative
density (%) Classification
< 15 Very loose
15-35 Loose
35-65 Medium
65-85 Dense
> 85 Very dense
It is not possible to determine the dry density from the value of the relative density. The reason is that the
values of the maximum and minimum dry densities (or void ratios) depend on the gradation and angularity of
the soil grains.

To control soil properties in the field during earthwork construction, it is usual to specify the degree of
compaction (also known as the relative compaction). This specification is usually that a certain percentage of
the maximum dry density, as found from a laboratory test (Light or Heavy Compaction), must be achieved. For
example, it could be specified that field dry densities must be greater than 95% of the maximum dry density
(MDD) as determined from a laboratory test. Target values for the range of water content near the optimum
moisture content (OMC) to be adopted at the site can then be decided, as shown in the figure.

For this reason, it is important to have a good control over moisture content during compaction of soil layers in
the field. It is then up to the field contractor to select the thickness of each soil lift (layer of soil added) and the
type of field equipment in order to achieve the specified amount of compaction. The standard of field
compaction is usually controlled through either end-product specifications or method specifications.

TYPICAL TEST RESULTS


Typical maximum density and optimum moisture that can be expected as the result of
a standard compaction test (AASHTO T 99) are given below (Table 5.1). A modifi ed
compaction test (AASHTO T 180) will yield 10 to 15 percent higher maximum densities
and 20 to 30 percent lower optimum moisture due to the greater compactive effort used
(as described in Table 5.2).
TABLE 5.1
Typical Values of Maximum Density and Optimum Moisture for Common Types
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of Soil (using AASHTO T 99)
Unifi ed Soil Soil Description
Range of Max.
Densities
kg/m3 (lbs/ft3)
Range of
Optimum
Moisture
(%)
CH Highly Plastic Clays 1200-1680 (75-105) 19-36
CL Silty Clays 1520-1920 (95-120) 12-24
ML Silts and Clayey Silts 1520-1920 (95-120) 12-24
SC Clayey Sands 1680-2000 (105-125) 11-19
SM Silty Sands 1760-2000 (110-125) 11-16
SP Poorly-graded Sands 1600-1920 (100-120) 12-21
SW Well-graded Sands 1760-2080 (110-130) 9-16
GC Clayey Gravel w/sands 1840-2080 (115-130) 9-14
GP Poorly-graded gravels 1840-2000 (115-125) 11-14
GW Well-graded Gravels 2000-2160 (125-135) 8-11