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Compaction Theory


  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory



    Dr. S. K. Prasad

    Professor of Civil Engineering

    S. J. College of Engineering, Mysore

    1.0 Syllabus :1. Definition

    2. Principle of compaction3. Standard & Modified Proctor compaction tests

    4. Factors affecting compaction

    5. Effect of compaction on soil properties6. Field compaction control

    7. Proctor needle

    8. Compacting equipment

    9. Dynamic compaction and Vibro-flotation

    6 Hours

    2.0 Definition of Compaction

    Compaction is the process of increasing the Bulk Density of a soil or

    aggregate by driving out air. For any soil, at a given compactive effort,

    the density obtained depends on the moisture content. An Optimum

    Moisture Content exists at which it will achieve a maximum density.Compaction is the method of mechanically increasing the density of soil.

    The densification of soil is achieved by reducing air void space. During

    compaction, air content reduces, but not water content It is not possible to

    compact saturated soil. It should be noted that higher the density of soil

    mass, stronger, stiffer, more durable will be the soil mass.

    Hence, Compaction

    1) Increases density

    2) Increases strength characteristics

    3) Increases load-bearing capacity4) Decreases undesirable settlement

    5) Increases stability of slopes and embankments

    6) Decreases permeability

    7) Reduces water seepage

    8) Reduces Swelling & Shrinkage

    9) Reduces frost damage

  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    10) Reduces erosion damage

    11) Develops high negative pore pressures (suctions) increasing

    effective stress

    3.0 Applications of CompactionThe following are the situations in which compaction will improve the

    existing field condition.

    1. Compaction of foundation soil for house construction.

    2. Compaction of soil/gravel/crushed rock/asphalt in road &

    pavement construction.

    3. Compaction of soil in earth embankments.

    4. Compaction of soil behind retaining walls.

    5. Compaction of soil backfill in trenches.

    6. Dam construction

    7. Construction of clay liners for waste storage areas

    8. Ground improvement









    Weight WVolume V1

    Density b1=W/V1

    Weight WVolume V2

    Density b2=W/V2

    b2 > b1

    Loose Soil

    Compacted Soil

    Before Compaction After Compaction

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    4.0 Distinction between Compaction & Consolidation

    The following are the important distinctions between compaction and



    Man made Natural

    Expulsion of air Expulsion of pore water

    Fast process Gradual process

    Possible in dry or partially saturated soil Possible in saturated soil

    Results in increased density Results in dense packing

    5.0 Mechanism of Compaction

    Optimum Moisture Content (OMC) is the moisture content at which the

    maximum possible dry density is achieved for a particular compaction

    energy or compaction method. The corresponding dry density is calledMaximum Dry Density (MDD). Water is added to lubricate the contact

    surfaces of soil particles and improve the compressibility of the soil matrix.

    It should be noted that increase in water content increases the dry density in

    most soils up to one stage (Dry side). Water acts as lubrication. Beyond this

    level, any further increase in water (Wet side)will only add more void space,

    there by reducing the dry density. Hence OMC indicates the boundary

    Flocculent to Dis


    Closure to 100 %saturation



    Water content


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    between the dry side and wet side. Hence the compaction curve as shown in

    figure indicates the initial upward trend up to OMC and the down ward trend.

    5.1 Reasons for the shape of curve

    1. On dry side of OMC, clayey soil shows high suction, lumps are

    difficult to break or compact.

    2. Increasing the water content reduces suction, softens lumps, lubricates

    the grains for easy compaction.

    3. As water content increases, lubrication improves compaction resulting

    in higher dry density.

    4. Now nearly impossible to drive out the last of the air further

    increase in water content results in reduced dry density (curve follows

    down parallel to the maximum possible density curve the Zero Air

    Voids curve)

    5. MDD and OMC depend on the compaction energy and are not unique

    soil properties

    6. For sand, suction at low water contents also prevents compaction (but

    not if completely dry)

    7. In cohesionless soils, MDD is achieved either when completely dry,

    or when completely saturated

    8. At low water content, grains are held together by suction (water at

    grain contacts only)

    9. This prevents compaction10.Laboratory test for MDD on sand requires fully saturated sample, and

    involves vibration

    Bulking of sand


    Water content

    Surface TensionParticle Repulsion

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    Problem 1A laboratory compaction test on soil having specific gravity of 2.7 gave a

    maximum dry density of 18 kN/m3and a water content of 15 %. Determine

    the degree of saturation, air content and percentage air void at the maximum

    dry density. What would be the theoretical maximum dry densitycorresponding to zero air voids at the optimum water content?


    G = 2.7

    d= 18 kN/m3

    = 15 %

    Step 1 : Determination of Void Ratio

    Step 2 : Determination of Degree of saturation

    Step 3 : Determination of Air Content

    Step 4 : Determination of Percent Air Voids

  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    Problem 2A cohesive soil yields a MDD of 18 kN/m

    3 at an OMC of 16 % during

    standard Proctors Test. If G = 2.65, what is the degree of saturation? What

    is the MDD it can further be compacted to?

    DataMDD = 18 kN/m


    OMC = 16 %

    G = 2.65

    Step 1 : Determination of Void Ratio

    Step 2 : Determination of Degree of saturation

    Step 3 : Determination of Theoretical MDD corresponding to

    Zero Air Void

    6.0 Laboratory Test on Compaction

    1. Standard Proctors Test2. Modified Proctors Test

  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    6.1 Objectives of Laboratory Compaction Tests1. To simulate field condition

    2. To provide data for placement conditions in field

    3. To determine proper amount of mixing water


    To determine the density in field

    The fundamentals of compaction of fine-grained soils are relatively new.

    R.R. Proctor in the early 1930s was building dams for the old Bureau of

    Waterworks and Supply in Los Angeles, and he developed the principles of

    compaction in a series of articles in Engineering News-Record. In his honor,

    the standard laboratory compaction test which he developed is commonly

    called the Standard Proctor Test.


    Refer IS 2720 Part VII 1987Apparatus

    1. Cylindrical metal mould with detachable base plate (having internal

    diameter 101.6 mm, internal height 116.8 mm and internal volume

    945000 mm3)

    2. Collar of 50 mm effective height

    3. Rammer of weight 2.5 kgf (25 N) with a height of fall of 304.8 mm

  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    Procedure1. About 3 kg of dry

    4.75 mm sieve is t

    2. The quantity of w

    Corse grained soil3. Mould without ba

    4. The inner surfaces

    5. Water and soil are

    6. Soil is placed in m

    25 blows in each l

    and height of drop

    7. After each layer, t

    between layers.

    8. The height of top l

    slightly protrudes9. Excess soil is scra

    10.Mould and soil ar

    11.A representative s

    of water content.

    12.The procedure is r

    13.The number of tri

    trend of bulk dens

    soil, with all lumps pulverized and passi


    ter to be added in the first trial is decide

    and more for Fine grained soil).e plate & collar is weighed (W1).

    of mould, base plate and collar are greas

    thoroughly mixed.

    ould and compacted in three uniform lay

    ayer. Blows are maintained uniform and

    is controlled.

    p surface is scratched to maintain integr

    ayer is so controlled that after compacti

    n to collar.ped.

    weighed (W2).

    mple from the middle is kept for the det

    epeated with increasing water content.

    ls shall be at least 6 with a few after the


    g through

    . (Less for


    ers, with



    n, soil



  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    Trial Number

    Volume of mould

    Weight of mould (W1


    Weight of mould + soil (

    Weight of wet soil

    Bulk density of soil

    Weight of cup

    Weight of cup + wet soil

    Weight of cup + dry soil

    Water Content

    Dry density of soil

    Dry density correspondi

    1 2 3 4 5


    g to ZAV


  • 5/20/2018 Compaction Theory


    6.3 Modified CompactiIn early days, compac

    improvement in knowle

    necessity in field. Hence

    developed during Worldbetter represent the com

    6.4 Distinction bet

    Standard Proctor


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