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EXPERIMENT NO.-03 Date: 06/08/2019





OBJECTIVE:- The objective of the test is to determine the Liquid limit that is the minimum
water content at which soil has tendency to flow.


1. Liquid limit device (

Casagrande’s apparatus)
2. Grooving tool
3. Mixing dishes
4. Oven
5. Trimming equipment-
metallic straight edge,
spatula etc
6. Balance- 0.01 gm

Fig.-3.1 Liquid Limit apparatus


The liquid limit is the moisture content at which the groove, formed by a standard tool into the
sample of soil taken in the standard cup, closes for 10 mm on being given 25 blows in a standard
manner. At this limit the soil possess low shear strength. This is the limiting moisture content at which
the cohesive soil passes from liquid state to plastic state.


Liquid limit is significant to know the stress history and general properties of the soil met with
construction. From the results of liquid limit the compression index may be estimated. The
compression index value will help us in settlement analysis. 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 can be considered as soft if the moisture content is lesser than liquid limit. The soil is
brittle and stiffer.


1. We take about 100 gm of air-dried soil from thoroughly mixed portion of material passing 425
micron I.S sieve.
2. We mixed the distilled water is to the soil thus obtained in a mixing disc to form uniform paste. The
paste shall have a consistency that would require 30 to 35 drops of cup to cause closer of standard
groove for sufficient length.
3. Placed a portion of the paste in the cup of LIQUID LIMIT device and spread into portion with few
strokes of spatula.
4. Made the sample to a depth of 1cm at the point of maximum thickness.
5. We divide the soil in the cup into two halves at center by grooving tool.
6. Lift and drop the cup by turning crank at the rate of two revolutions per second until the two halves
of soil cake come in contact with each other for a length of about 1 cm by flow only.
7. We record the number of blows required to cause the groove close for about 1 cm.
8. A representative portion of soil is taken from the cup for water content determination.
9. We just repeat the test with different moisture contents for three times for blows between 10 and


Sample number 1 2 3 4 5
Container number 116 114 101 111 110
Weight of container 10.01 9.84 9.84 10.15 9.96
Weight of container + wet
29.34 25.85 24.12 35.29 35.41
Weight of container + dry
24.39 21.50 20.41 29.10 29.05
Weight of water 4.95 4.35 3.71 6.19 6.36
Weight of dry soil 14.38 11.66 10.57 18.95 19.09
Moisture content (%) 34.423 37.31 35.10 32.67 33.315
No. of blows 32 16 20 34 33







1 10 25 100
NUMBER OF BLOWS (N) (in log scale)

This graph is showing the relationship between water content (on y-axis) and number of blows (on x-
axis) on semi-log graph. The curve obtained is called flow curve. The moisture content
corresponding to 25 drops (blows) as read from the represents liquid limit.


Liquid limit obtain from graph=34.7 %

From graph, Flow Index of soil (IF)=(W1-W2)/log(N2/N1)=(35.7-33.8)/log(30/20)=10.79


OBJECTIVE:- The objective of the test is to determine the Plastic limit that is the minimum
water content at which soil behaving as a plastic material.


1. Porcelain dish.
2. Glass plate for rolling the specimen.
3. Air tight containers to determine the moisture content.
4. Balance- 0.01 gm sensitivity.
5. Oven

Fig.-3.2 Plastic Limit test


The plastic limit of a soil is the moisture content, expressed as a percentage of the weight of
the oven-dry soil, at the boundary between the plastic and semisolid states of consistency. It is the
moisture content at which a soil will just begin to crumble when rolled into a thread 3 mm in
diameter using a ground glass plate or other acceptable surface. Generally clay soil have high liquid
limit and plastic limit, but in case of coarse grained soil like sand and gravel have less liquid limit
and plastic limit.


Soil is used for making bricks, tiles, soil cement blocks in addition to its use as foundation for

1. We take about 20 gm thoroughly mixed portion of the material passing through 425
micron I.S. sieve.
2. We mix it thoroughly with distilled water in the evaporating dish till the soil mass
becomes plastic enough to be easily molded with fingers.
3. Taking about 10gms of this plastic soil mass and rolled it between fingers and glass plate
with just sufficient pressure to roll the mass into a threaded of uniform diameter throughout
its length. The rate of rolling to be between 60 and 90 strokes per minute.
4. Continue rolling till we get a threaded of 3 mm diameter.
5. We knead the soil sample and then roll it again.
6. We do continue the process until the thread crumbles when the diameter is 3 mm.
7. And then we collect crumbled thread in air tight container for moisture content determination.
8. We do repeat the test for 3 times and take the average of the results.


Container No. 115 105

Wt. of container,W1 10.18 9.88
Wt. of container + wet sample,W2 14.62 13.82
Wt. of container + dry sample,W3 13.83 13.09
Wt. of dry sample = W3 - W1 3.65 3.21

Wt. of water in the soil = W2- W3 0.79 0.73

Water content (%) = (W2-W3) /

21.64 22.74
(W3 - W1)  100

Average Plastic Limit(WP)=22.19 %

Plasticity Index (Ip) = (LL - PL) = (34.7-22.19)% =12.51 %

Toughness Index (IP/IF)=12.51/10.79=1.16

Compression index of soil = 0.009 × (𝑊𝑙 -10) = 0.009 ×(34.7-10)=0.222


OBJECTIVE:- The objective of the test is to determine the Shrinkage limit that is the
maximum water content at which a reduction in water content will not cause decrease in volume of
the soil mass.


1. Shrinkage dish, circular and made up of non-corrosive metal.

2. Mercury
3. Oven
4. Balance-0.01 gm sensitivity.

Fig.-3.3 Shrinkage Limit apparatus


As the soil loses moisture, either in its natural environment, or by artificial means in laboratory
it changes from liquid state to plastic state, from plastic state to semi-solid state and then to solid
state. Volume changes also occur with changes in water content. But there is particular limit at which
any moisture change does not cause soil any volume change.


Soils which undergo large volume changes with change in water content may be troublesome.
Volume changes may not be equal.
A shrinkage limit test should be performed on a soil.
1. To obtain a quantitative indication of how much change in moisture can occur before any
appreciable volume changes occurs
2. To obtain an indication of change in volume.
The shrinkage limit is useful in areas where soils undergo large volume changes when going through
wet and dry cycles (as in case of earth dams).


Preparation of soil paste

1. We take about 100 gm of soil sample from a thoroughly mixed portion of the material
passing through 425micron I.S. sieve.
2. We take about 30 gm the above soil sample in the evaporating dish and thoroughly mixed
with distilled water and made a creamy paste.
Filling the shrinkage dish
1. We measure the weight of dish with wet sample.
2. Air- dry the wet soil cake for 24hrs, until the color of the pat turns from dark to light and
then allowed for oven dry for 24 hours.
3. After Removing the dried disk of the soil from oven, cool it in a desiccator. Then obtain
the weight of the dish with dry sample.
4. Determine the volume of shrinkage dish which is evidently equal to volume of the wet
soil as follows. Place the shrinkage dish in an evaporating dish and fill the dish with
mercury till it overflows slightly. Press it with plain glass plate firmly on its top to
remove excess mercury. Pour the mercury from the shrinkage dish into a measuring jar
and find the volume of the shrinkage dish directly. Record this volume as the volume of
the wet soil pat.
Volume of the Dry Soil Pat
1. We measure the volume of dry soil pat by removing the pat from the shrinkage dish and
immersing it in the glass cup full of mercury in the following manner.
2. Place the glass cup in a larger one and fill the glass cup to overflowing with mercury.
Remove the excess mercury by covering the cup with glass plate with prongs and
pressing it. See that no air bubbles are entrapped. Wipe out the outside of the glass cup to
remove the adhering mercury. Then, place it in another larger dish, which is, clean and
empty carefully.
3. Place the dry soil pat on the mercury. It floats submerge it with the pronged glass plate
which is again made flush with top of the cup. The mercury spills over into the larger
plate. Pour the mercury that is displayed by the soil pat into the measuring jar and find the
volume of the soil pat directly.


By mercury displacement method

1 Weight of dry soil pat(gm) 12.44

2 Weight of trey(gm) 52.87
3 Weight of trey + mercury(gm) 146.24
4 Weight of mercury(gm) 93.37
5 Volume of soil mass(cc)=(Mass of mercury/Density of mercury) 6.865
6 Unit weight of soil solid=(weight of dry soil/volume of soil) gm/cc 1.812
7 Specific Gravity of soil 2.625
8 Shrinkage limit=(unit wt. of water/ unit wt. of solid)-(1/specific gravity of soil) (%) 17.092

1. While mixing of soil with water, we should be very much careful.
2. We have to cut the sample by grooving tool properly.
3. We should take care about the number of blows per second.
4. Handling of Casagrande’s apparatus with care.


As the plasticity index of soil is 12.51 (7<PI<17).so, the soil is clay with medium
plasticity and plasticity index lies below the U- line of casagrende’s modified
plasticity chart and above the A-line so, the soil sample is Illite or Montmorillonite
based clay. As a result swelling may occur in this soil sample. That is why Activity
number should be determined.