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Determination of the Optimum Moisture Content and the Maximum Dry Unit Weight

of Compaction Using Standard Proctor Test

The purpose of this report is to determine the maximum dry unit weight of compaction

and optimum moisture content of a soil sample using Standard Proctor Test. These values

are essential in determining the maximum moisture needed to achieve the highest strength

characteristics of soils in the construction of engineering structures. It has been

determined that the optimum moisture content of the soil sample is 22.7% and the

maximum dry unit weight of compaction is 15.77 kN/m3.

Group Mates:

Renz Gian Cavida

Ephraim Madanguit

Christian Paul Maranan

Roland Mondano Jr.

Marc Neil Rabin

Date Submitted: November 4, 2015

I.

Objectives

Determine the optimum moisture content of the soil sample using Standard

Proctor Test.

Determine the maximum dry unit weight of the soil sample using Standard

Proctor Test.

II.

III.

Materials

Soil Sample

Mold

Rammer

Weighing Scale

Oven

Sieve #4

Mixing Pan

Containers

Methodology

Record the

mass of mold.

Record the

mass of

specimen +

mold.

Yes

Obtain a representative

portion of the compacted

specimen and determine

the moist mass and ovendried mass.

the mold and compact it with

25 blows using a rammer. Do

this for three layers.

extend >6 mm

above the top of the

mold.

No

increasing water content until mass of

specimen + mold of trial i is less than that of

trial i-1.

Discard the

trial.

IV.

Compaction Curve

Mmd = 4509.5 g

V = 939.537 cm3

Trial

Mt (g)

6020

6132.5

6203

6223.5

6350.5

6334

Mc (g)

8.5

9.18

8.84

10.4

8.2

Mcms (g)

73.5

50.5

75.62

66.52

75.54

82.33

Mcds (g)

68.92

45.86

66.72

58.52

63.81

65.24

w (%)

7.52

12.42

15.47

16.10

21.96

29.96

m (g/cm3)

1.61

1.73

1.80

1.82

1.96

1.94

d (g/cm3)

1.50

1.54

1.56

1.57

1.61

1.49

d (kN/m3)

14.66

15.07

15.31

15.41

15.76

14.65

Table 1: Raw and Calculated Data for required values of compaction curve

V = volume of mold

Mt = mass of mold and soil specimen

Mc = mass of container

Mcms = mass of container and moist representative portion of soil specimen

Mcds = mass of container and oven-dried representative portion of soil specimen

w = water content

m = moist density of compacted soil specimen

d = dry density of compacted soil specimen

d = dry unit weight of compacted soil specimen

Equations used:

The average dry unit weight calculated was 15.14 kN/m3. Additionaly, from the sieve

analysis performed in previous experiment, it was determined that the soil is composed

mostly of sand. Using the table (Das, 2010), we classify the soil as loose uniform sand with

an estimate void ratio, e, of 0.8.

Figure 1: Void ratio, moisture content and dry unit weight of typical soils (Das, 2010)

Using the equation,

Gs = 2.78.

Calculating the completely saturated water content,

Trial

gammad

14.66

15.07

15.31

15.41

15.76

14.65

wsat

30.78

28.98

27.97

27.55

26.15

30.83

16

y = -23.428x + 21.869

15.8

Compaction Curve

15.6

15.4

100% Saturation

Curve

15.2

Poly. (Compaction

Curve)

15

14.8

14.6

Linear (100%

Saturation Curve)

14.4

0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

Diffentiating best fit equation of the compaction curve and equating it to zero, the optimum

moisture content of the soil sample is determined to be 22.7%. Substituting this value to the

best fit equation of the compaction curve, the maximum dry unit weight is determined to be

15.77 kN/m3.

V.

It can be observed that as the moisture content is increased and the same compaction

effort is used, i.e. 25 blows per layer, the dry unit weight is increased. This happens

because water acts as a softening agent which makes the soil particles slip and move to a

more dense position (Das, 2010).

However, when certain moisture content is reached, any addition to the moisture content

will decrease the dry unit weight of the soil. This occurs because the water takes the space

that could have been taken by the soil particles (Das, 2010). The moisture content in

which the maximum dry density is achieved is the optimum moisture content. It was

determined that the optimum moisture content of the soil sample is 22.7% and the

maximum dry density is 15.77 kN/m3.

It can be observed there is no point in the compaction curve to the right of the 100%

saturation curve which is expected in accord to theory. Also, the shape of the wet side of

the optimum of the compaction curve follows the shape of the 100% saturation curve.

Compaction also has effect on hydraulic conductivity and strength. As the soil increases

its unit weight by compaction, the hydraulic conductivity decreases because the pore

spaces are taken by soil particles. The minimum hydraulic conductivity occurs at the

optimum moisture content. Beyond the optimum moisture content, the hydraulic

conductivity increases because the pore spaces are taken by water instead of the soil

particles (Das, 2010). Compaction increases the strength of soils if compacted on the dry

side of the optimum because of the increase in dry unit weight, thus, its bearing capacity

and decreases the potential settlement of structures built on the soil. The opposite happens

if the soil is compacted on the wet side of the optimum.

VI.

Conclusion

Through the Standard Proctor Test, it has been determined that the optimum moisture

content of the soil sample obtained from the field is 22.7% and the maximum dry unit

weight is 15.77 kN/m3.

VII.

References

Soil Using Standard Effort (12 400 ft-lbf/ft3 (600 kN-m/m3)), ASTM International,

West Conshohocken, PA, 2010, www.astm.org

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