Compaction Procedures for Different Types of Soils

The embankments are constructed with locally available soils, provided it fulfils the specified requirements. Procedure of compaction to be adopted will depend on the type of soil being used in construction. General guidelines to deal with compaction of various types of soils for attaining optimum dry density/relative density at minimum effort, have been briefly given as under:

Compaction of Soils
Compaction of Soils

Compaction of Cohesion Less Gravely and Sandy Soil:

i) Sandy & gravely soils should be compacted with vibratory rollers. If fines are less in these types of soils, it can be compacted with minimum number of passes of vibratory rollers without strict control of moisture to achieve desired Relative Density. With higher percentage fines, sandy and gravely soils need to be brought to OMC level to get effective compaction. Uniformly graded sand and gravel are difficult to be compacted. Top layer of sand and gravel remains loose in vibrating compaction. Therefore, in final pass the roller should move smoothly without vibration. Dry densities attained in field trials normally should be around MDD/ specified Relative Density as obtained from laboratory tests and should form the basis for specification and quality control.

ii) Poorly graded sand and gravel with Cu < 2.0, should not be used in earthwork for the banks to safeguard against liquefaction under moving loads or especially due to earthquake tremor. Generally, fine sand is prone to liquefaction.

Compaction of Silty – Clayey Soils:

Silty soil is a fine-grained soil. These can be plastic or non-plastic depending upon the clay content in it. Silts and fine sands with high water content have a tendency to undergo liquefaction under vibrating rolling due to the pore water pressure generated by mechanical work. Silty soils can be compacted satisfactorily near about OMC either with smooth rollers or vibratory rollers. Vibratory roller will give high degree of compaction and higher lift. Compaction of silty clays will have to be handled in a manner similar to clays.

Compaction of Clays:

i) Water content plays very important role in compaction of clays. Main objective of compacting clays is to achieve uniform mass of soil with no voids between the lumps of clays. If moisture content is too high, roller tends to sink into the soil and if too low the chunks would not yield to rolling by rollers. Appropriate water content i.e. OMC of the soil is in the range of about plastic limit plus two percent. Sheepsfoot rollers are most effective in breaking the clods and filling large spaces.

ii) Thickness of layer should not be more than depth of feet of roller plus 50 mm. Pad foot vibratory roller with drum module weight of 7tonne( total static weight of 11 tons) for a lift thickness of 30 cm is found quite effective for compaction of clays. For better results, initial rolling with static pad foot roller followed by 15 tons vibratory roller can be tried. In case of such soils, the MDD and OMC, as determined in the Laboratory may not be very relevant and therefore achievable MDD and practicable moisture content at which such soils can be compacted effectively should be determined by conducting field trials.

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