Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

Soil Mechanics

Civil Engineering (CE) : Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

The document Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev is a part of the Civil Engineering (CE) Course Soil Mechanics.
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Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils

 

The water content of a compacted soil is expressed with reference to the OMC. Thus, soils are said to be compacted dry of optimum or wet of optimum (i.e. on the dry side or wet side of OMC). The structure of a compacted soil is not similar on both sides even when the dry density is the same, and this difference has a strong influence on the engineering characteristics.

Soil Structure
For a given compactive effort, soils have a flocculated structure on the dry side (i.e. soil particles are oriented randomly), whereas they have a dispersed structure on the wet side (i.e. particles are more oriented in a parallel arrangement perpendicular to the direction of applied stress). This is due to the well-developed adsorbed water layer (water film) surrounding each particle on the wet side. 
 

Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

 

Swelling
Due to a higher water deficiency and partially developed water films in the dry side, when given access to water, the soil will soak in much more water and then swell more.

Shrinkage 
During drying, soils compacted in the wet side tend to show more shrinkage than those compacted in the dry side. In the wet side, the more orderly orientation of particles allows them to pack more efficiently.

Construction Pore Water Pressure
The compaction of man-made deposits proceeds layer by layer, and pore water pressures are induced in the previous layers. Soils compacted wet of optimum will have higher pore water pressures compared to soils compacted dry of optimum, which have initially negative pore water pressure. 

Permeability 
The randomly oriented soil in the dry side exhibits the same permeability in all directions, whereas the dispersed soil in the wet side is more permeable along particle orientation than across particle orientation.

Compressibility
At low applied stresses, the dry compacted soil is less compressible on account of its truss-like arrangement of particles whereas the wet compacted soil is more compressible.

 

Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

The stress-strain curve of the dry compacted soil rises to a peak and drops down when the flocculated structure collapses. At high applied stresses, the initially flocculated and the initially dispersed soil samples will have similar structures, and they exhibit similar compressibility and strength. 

 

Field Compaction and Specifications

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.

Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

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. 

End-Product Specifications
In end-product specifications, the required field dry density is specified as a percentage of the laboratory maximum dry density, usually 90% to 95%. The target parameters are specified based on laboratory test results.

Engineering Behaviour of Compacted Soils Civil Engineering (CE) Notes | EduRev

he field water content working range is usually within ± 2% of the laboratory optimum moisture content. 

It is necessary to control the moisture content so that it is near the chosen value. From the borrow pit, if the soil is dry, water is sprinkled and mixed thoroughly before compacting. If the soil is too wet, it is excavated in advance and dried.

In the field, compaction is done in successive horizontal layers. After each layer has been compacted, the water content and the in-situ density are determined at several random locations. These are then compared with the laboratory OMC and MDD using either of these two methods: the sand replacement method, or the core cutter method.

 

Method Specifications
A procedure for the site is specified giving:

  • Type and weight of compaction equipment
  • Maximum soil layer thickness
  • Number of passes for each layer

They are useful for large projects. This requires a prior knowledge of working with the borrow soils to be used.


Field Compaction Equipment 
There is a wide range of compaction equipment. The compaction achieved will depend on the thickness of lift (or layer), the type of roller, the no. of passes of the roller, and the intensity of pressure on the soil. The selection of equipment depends on the soil type as indicated.

 

Equipment 
 

Most suitable soils

Least suitable soils

Smooth steel drum rollers (static or vibratory)

Well-graded sand-gravel, crushed rock, asphalt

Uniform sands, silty sands, soft clays

Pneumatic tyred rollers 
 

Most coarse and fine soils

Very soft clays

Sheepsfoot rollers

Fine grained soils, sands and gravels with > 20% fines

Uniform gravels, very coarse soils

Grid rollers

Weathered rock, well-graded coarse soils

Uniform materials, silty clays, clays

Vibrating plates 
 

Coarse soils with 4 to 8% fines

 

Tampers and rammers
 

All soil types

 

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