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CEE 434
FALL 2007

I. Factors Affecting Compaction

II. Shallow Field Compaction
III. Specifications
IV. Assessment
V. Other Soil Improvement Techniques
I. Factors Affecting Compaction

a) Soil Type
b) Moisture Content
c) Thickness of lift
d) Degree of compaction (intensity of pressure &
the coverage area)
e) Number of passes
Compaction Curves for Spectrum of Soil Types

ED Monahan, 1994
From: Lambe, 1958
From: Greenfield & Shen

From: D’Appolonia, et al. 1969

From: D’Appolonia, et al. 1969
II. Shallow Field Compaction

Air Air

Water Water Water

Solids Solids Solids

Natural Condition Being Hauled In Compacted Fill

Excavation, Transportation, and Compaction Stages of Construction

From: Caterpillar, 1993
Smooth Wheel Rollers

• 100% coverage (under

the wheels)
• Contact pressure = 45 to
55 psi
• Sandy & clayey soils
Pneumatic Rubber-Tired Rollers

• 4 to 6 (tires) in a row
• Contact pressure = 85 to
100 psi
• 70 to 80% coverage
• Sandy & clayey soils
Sheepsfoot Rollers

• Projection area =
4 to 13 in2
• Contact pressure =
200 to 1000 psi
• Clayey Soils
Vibratory Rollers
Vibration – by rotating
off-centers weights
Handheld ones for
limited access areas
Granular soils

• Degree of Compaction
R(%) = CR (%)= [(d)field /(d)max-lab]x100%

• Typical Spec’s

(d)field = CR(%) x (d)max-lab


• In terms of relative density:

R(%) = CR(%) = {R0/[1-Dr(1-R0)]}
where: R0 = (d)min /(d)max

• Empirical relationship:
R = 80 + 0.2 Dr (for granular soils)
Relative Compaction – Relative Density Relationships

-K.L. Lee, 1971

Sand Cone Method
• ASTM D-1556
• Glass (or plastic) jar with
a metal cone
• Ottawa sand (known wt.
& vol.)
• Dig a hole – weigh the soil
and obtain w(%)
• Fill the hole with sand
• Determine the new wt. &
• Eventually,
• d = (dry wt. of excavated
soil)/vol. of hole
Rubber Balloon Method

• ASTM D-2167
• Similar to above
• Vol. is measured
utilizing a rubber
balloon filled with water
Nuclear Method

• Emits gamma rays

• Detects how the gamma
rays travel thru soil
• Amounts of gamma rays
detected correlate with
the unit weight of soil
V. Other Soil Improvement Techniques

1. Dynamic Deep Compaction

2. Vibroflotation
3. Vibropier
4. Compaction Grouting
5. Lime Stabilization
6. Blasting
1. Dynamic Deep Compaction
- pounding the ground by a heavy weight
Suitable for granular soils, land fills
and karst terrain with sink holes.

solution cavities in
Pounder (Tamper) limestone

Crater created by the impact

(to be backfilled)
From: N. Sivakugan
Dynamic Compaction

Pounder (Tamper)
Mass = 5-30 tons
Drop = 10-30 m
From: N. Sivakugan
2. Vibroflotation

Practiced in several forms:

 vibro–compaction
 stone columns
 vibro-replacement

Vibroflot (vibrating unit)

Length = 2 – 3 m
Diameter = 0.3 – 0.5 m
Mass = 2 tons
(lowered into the ground Suitable for granular soils
and vibrated)
From: N. Sivakugan
Stone Columns

vibrator makes a
hole backfilled ..and compacted Densely compacted
hole in the weak stone column
3. Vibropier

1. Install grout pipes using drilling/driving techniques

2. Interject mortar-like grout through pipes – displaces the
surrounding soil… repeat!
3. Injection in stages continues…
Grouting stiffens and strengthens the soil layer by increasing its
density, increasing the lateral stresses, and acting as a

A truck sprays lime powder uniformly on the ground surface after it has been
graded, but before it is compacted. The area is divided into sections by the
wooden stakes to help guide the operators. The amount of lime depends on
the soil characteristics, but is typically a few percent of the treated soil's dry
This self-loading scraper is equipped with mixers inside its bucket. It
scrapes up soil that has already been sprayed with lime, mixes it
within its bucket, and then spreads it back over the ground surface.
A rear view of the same scraper. The mixing blades can be seen
under the rear end of the bucket.
The caterpillar on the left grades the treated areas and compacts
the soil with its sheepsfoot rollers. A water truck (white, distant
center of photo) sprays the soil with water to achieve the target
water content prior to compaction.
6. Blasting

Fireworks? Aftermath of blasting

For densifying granular soils

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