Sunteți pe pagina 1din 15

CHAPTER 6

SOIL CLASSIFICATION SCHEMES

A classification scheme provides a method of identifying soils in a particular group that would likely exhibit similar
characteristics. Soil classification is used to specify a certain soil type that is best suitable for a given application. There
are several classification schemes available. Each was devised for a specific use. For example, the American Association
of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) developed one scheme that classifies soils according to their
usefulness in roads and highways while the Unified Soil Classification System (USCS) was originally developed for use in
airfield construction but was later modified for general use.

Unified Soil Classification System

The USCS is neither too elaborate nor too simplistic. The USCS uses symbols for the particle size groups. These symbols
and their representations are: G - Gravel, S – Sand, M – Silt, and C – Clay. These are combined with other symbols
expressing gradation characteristics: W for well graded, and P for poorly graded – and plasticity characteristics – H for
high and L for low, and a symbol, O, indicating the presence of organic material. A typical classification of CL means a
clay soil with low plasticity, while SP means a poorly graded sand. The flowchart shown in Figs. 3.11.a, b provide a
systematic means of classifying a soil according to the USCS. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
flowcharts linking the group symbols with group names are shown in Figs. 3.12a, b.

Experimental results from soils tested from different parts of the world were plotted on a graph of plasticity index
(ordinate) versus liquid limit (abscissa). It was found that clays, silts, and organic soils lie in distinct regions of the graph.
A line defined by the equation
𝑃𝐼 = 0.73(𝐿𝐿 − 20)%

called the “A-line” delineates the boundaries between clays (above the line) and silts and organic soils (below the line)
as shown in Fig. 3.13. A second line, the U-line expressed as

𝑃𝐼 = 0.9(𝐿𝐿 − 8)

Defines the upper limit of the correlation between plasticity index and liquid limit. If the results of your soil tests fall
above the U-line, you should be suspicious of your results and repeat your tests.

FIG. 3.11a
FIG 3.11b
AASHTO Soil Classification System

Is used to determine the suitability of soils for earthworks, embankments, and road bed material (subgrade-natural
material below a constructed pavement, sub base – a layer of soil above the subgrade, and base – a layer of soil above
the sub base that offers high stability to distribute wheel loads). According to AASHTO granular soils are soils in which
35% or less are finer than the No.200 sieve (0.075mm). Silt-clay soils are soils in which more than 35% are finer than the
No.200 sieve. (Table 3.6)

The AASHTO system classifies soils into seven major groups, A-1 through A-7. The first three groups, A-1 through A-3 are
granular (coarse-grained) soils while the last four groups, A-4 through A-7, are silt-clay (fine-grained) soils (Table 3.7). Silt
and clay soils are located within the plasticity chart as shown in Fig.3.14.

A group index (GI) value is appended in parentheses to the main group to provide a measure of quality of soil as highway
subgrade material. The group index is given as:

𝐺𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑝 𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑥: 𝐺𝐼 = (𝐹 − 35)(𝑂. 2 + 0.005(𝐿𝐿 − 40)) + 0.01(𝐹 − 15)(𝑃𝐼 − 10)

While F is percent passing No. 200 sieve and the other terms have been defined before. The GI index is reported to the
nearest whole number (2.4 reported as 2, 2.5 reported as 3) and if GI < 0, it is set to 0.

GI for groups A-1-a, A-1-b, A-2-4, A-2-5, and A-3 is zero. For groups A-2-6 and A-2-7, the partial group index equation

𝐺𝐼 = 0.001(𝐹 − 15)(𝑃𝐼 − 10)

Is used. The higher the group index the lower the quality of the soil as subgrade material. The GI should not exceed 20
for any groups of A-4 through A-7.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

USDA Triangular Textural Classification Chart


EXAMPLES:

1. Particle size analyses were carried out on two soils-Soil A and Soil B-and the particle size distribution curves are shown
in Fig. E3.8. The Atterberg limits for the two soils are:

SOIL LL PL
A 26 19
B Non Plastic Non Plastic

 Classify these soils according to the Unified Soil Classification Scheme.


 Is either of the soils organic?

SOLUTION:

Step 1: Determine the percentages of each soil type from the particle size distribution curve.

Constinuent Soil A Soil B


Percent of Particle Greater than 0.075mm 12 80
Gravel Fraction % 0 16
Sand Fraction % 12 64
Silt Fraction % 59 20
Clay Fraction % 29 0

Step 2: Use the flowchart. (Figs. 3.11.a,b)

Step Soil A Soil B


1 % < No. 200 = 59 + 29 = 88% % < No. 200 = 20% (silt)
2 % sand > % gravel % sand > 15%
3 Gravel < 15% Fines = ML
4 Group Symbol = ML Gravel = 16%
5 Group Name = Sandy Silt Group Symbol = SM
6 - Group Name = Silty Sand with Gravel
Step 3: Plot the Atterberg limits on the plasticity chart.

𝑆𝑜𝑖𝑙 𝐴: 𝑃𝐼 = 26 − 19 = 7%

The point (26,7) falls above the A-Line, the soil is inorganic.

Soil B: Nonplastic and inorganic.

2. Classify Soil A and B in previous example according to the AASHTO System. Which soil is better for a subgrade?

Step 1: Make a table of values.

Soil A Soil B
No. 10 100 70
No. 40 100 40
No. 200 88 20
LL % 26 NP
PL % 19 NP

Step 2: Determine percent passing No. 200 sieve

Step Soil A Soil B


1 88% passing No. 200 20% Passing No. 200
2 > 35% passing No. 200 < 35% passing No. 200
3 Silty-Clay Granular
Step 3: Solve for Group Index

Soil A:

𝐺𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑝 𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑥 = 𝐺𝐼 = (𝐹 − 35)(0.2 + 0.005(𝐿𝐿 − 40)) + 0.01(𝐹 − 15)(𝑃𝐼 − 10)

𝐺𝐼 = (88 − 35)(0.2 + 0.005(26 − 40)) + 0.01(88 − 15)(8 − 10) = 5.4 = 𝟓. 𝟎

Soil B:

𝐺𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑝 𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑥 = 𝑁𝑜𝑛 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑐 = 𝐺𝐼 = 𝟎


Step 4: Use table 3.7 to classify the soils.

Soil A is A-4 (5). Note: The value in parentheses is GI.

Soil B is A-1-b (stone fragments, gravel, and sand)

Step 5: Decide which soil is better for a subgrade material.

Soil B (A-1-b) is an excellent material for a subgrade. Soil A is fair to poor. Soil B is then the preferable material.

3. A soil has the following particle-size distribution:

Gravel 20%
Sand 10%
Silt 30%
Clay 40%
Classify the soil according to USDA textural classification system.
Solution:

Modified percentages of sand, silt, and clay:

% 𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑑 10
𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑑 % 𝑠𝑎𝑛𝑑 = = = 12.5%
100 − % 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 100 − 20

% 𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑡 30
𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑑 % 𝑠𝑖𝑙𝑡 = = = 37.5%
100 − % 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 100 − 20

% 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑦 40
𝑀𝑜𝑑𝑖𝑓𝑖𝑒𝑑 % 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑦 = = = 50.0%
100 − % 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 100 − 20

The lines correspond to each percentages on the clay region thus, the soil is clay.

2. Classify the following soils by the AASHTO Classification System

Description Soil A Soil B Soil C


Percent finer than No.10 Sieve 83 100 48
Percent finer than No.40 Sieve 48 92 28
Percent finer than No.200 Sieve 20 86 6
Liquid Limit 20 70 -
Plasticity Index 5 32 Nonplastic

Solution:
Soil A:

Percent passing No. 200 = 20% < 35%


The soil is either A-1, A-3, or A-2
% Passing No. 10 = 83% > 50, it is not A-1-a
% Passing No. 40 = 48 < 50
% Passing No. 200 = 20 < 25
Thus, the soil is A-1-b, with G.I. = 0
A-1-b (0)
Soil B:

Percent passing No. 200 = 86% > 35%


The soil is either A-4, A-5, A-6, or A-7
LL = 70 > 40, it is not A-4
PI = 30 > 10, it is not A-5
LL = 70 > 40, it is not A-6
LL – 30 = 40
PI < LL – 30, the soil is A-7-5
GI = (86-35)(0.2+0.005(70-40))+0.01(86-15)(32-10) = 33.47 use 33
Therefore the soil is A-7-5(33)

Soil C:

Percent passing No. 200 = 6% < 35%, it is A-1, A-3, or A-2


% Passing No. 200 = 6% < 50
% Passing No. 40 = 28% < 30
% Passing No. 10 = 48 < 50
Thus the soil is A-1-a and GI = 0
A-1-a(0)

4. The table below shows the laboratory results of the sieve analysis of a sample. Plot the grain size curve of the soil. The
soil has a liquid limit of 35% and plasticity index of 26%. Classify the soil according to:

 USCS
 USDA
 AASHTO

Size (mm) Weight Retained


0.25 18.96
0.149 33.18
0.074 45.03
0.052 54.51
0.02 42.66
0.01 11.85
0.004 4.74
0.001 4.74
Pan 21.33
SOLUTION:

Diameter (mm) Mass Retained % Retained Ʃ(% Retained) % Finer


(grams) Mr (Mr/M) x
100
0.25 18.96 8.00 8.00 92.00
0.149 33.18 14.00 22.00 78.00
0.074 45.03 19.00 41.00 59.00
0.052 54.51 23.00 64.00 36.00
0.02 42.66 18.00 82.00 18.00
0.01 11.85 5.00 87.00 13.00
0.004 4.74 2.00 89.00 11.00
0.001 4.74 2.00 91.00 9.00
Pan 21.33 9.00 100.00 0
TOTAL 237 100

a) USCS

Percent Passing No. 200 Sieve (0.074) = 59% > 50%

Therefore, the soil is FINE-GRAINED

LL = 35% < 50% (ML, CL, or OL)

From plasticity chart, with LL = 35% and PI = 26%, the soil is CL.
b) USDA

Percent Sand (2.0mm to 0.05mm in diameter) = 100 – 33 = 67%

Percent Silt (0.05mm to 0.002mm) = 33 – 10 = 23%

Percent Clay = 10%


From the chart shown, the soil is sandy loam

c) ASSHTO

Percent passing No. 200 sieve (0.074mm) = 59% > 35%

“Silt-Clay materials’’.

The soil cannot be A-4 because its PI = 26% > 10%

The soil cannot be A-5 because its LL = 35% > 41%

The soil is A-6

Solving for GI:

𝐺𝐼 = (𝐹 − 35)(0.2 + 0.005(𝐿𝐿 − 40)) + 0.01(𝐹 − 15)(𝑃𝐼 − 10)

𝐺𝐼 = (59 − 35)(0.2 + 0.005(35 − 40)) + 0.01(59 − 15)(26 − 10)

𝑮𝑰 = 𝟏𝟏. 𝟐𝟒

Thus, the soil is A-6(11)


5. The table below shows the laboratory results of the sieve analysis of a sample.

Determine the following:

a) Determine the nearest value of the effective size.

b) Determine the nearest value of the coefficient of uniformity, Cu.

c) Classify the soil according to the USCS.

Sieve No. Diameter (mm) Percent Passing %


4 4.76 90
8 2.38 64
10 2.00 58
20 0.84 35
40 0.42 22
60 0.25 15
100 0.149 10

200 0.074 4

𝐷10 = 0.149𝑚𝑚

𝐷60 = 2.2𝑚𝑚

𝐷60 2.2
𝐶𝑢 = = = 𝟏𝟒. 𝟖
𝐷10 0.149

𝐷30 = 0.63𝑚𝑚

0.632
𝐶𝑐 = = 𝟏. 𝟐𝟏
0.149 𝑥 2.2

𝑪𝒍𝒂𝒔𝒔𝒊𝒇𝒊𝒄𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒐𝒇 𝑺𝒐𝒊𝒍

𝑃𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑣𝑒𝑙 (𝑟𝑒𝑡𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛#4 𝑠𝑖𝑒𝑣𝑒) = 100% − 90% = 10%

𝑆𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝐶𝑢 > 6, 𝐶𝑐 𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑛 1 𝑎𝑛𝑑 3, 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑜𝑖𝑙 𝑖𝑠 𝑺𝑾 (𝑾𝒆𝒍𝒍 𝒈𝒓𝒂𝒅𝒆𝒅 𝒔𝒂𝒏𝒅)