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Pavements & Structures

TEST METHOD

WA 131.1

APPARENT PARTICLE DENSITY: SOIL


SCOPE
This method describes the procedure for the determination of the apparent particle density of
soils and granular pavement materials using a density bottle and water displacement.
DEFINITION
The Apparent Particle Density is the mass of soil particles per unit volume. The volume shall
be that of the impermeable portion.
APPARATUS
1.

Fine Grained Soil: Density Bottle Method

1.1

Density bottle approximately 100ml capacity. A suitable design is shown in Figure 1.

1.2

Balance of at least 200g capacity readable and accurate to at least 0.001g.

1.3

Water bath of sufficient depth to immerse the density bottle to its neck and
thermostatically controlled to maintain a temperature of 25oC 0.1oC.

1.4

Kerosene.

1.5

A means of obtaining a vacuum.

1.6

Filter paper.

1.7

Dessicator.

2.

Fine Grained Soil: Density Jar Method.

2.1

Density jar with brass screw on conical top approximately 1L capacity. A suitable
design is shown in Figure 2.

2.2

Balance of at least 3kg capacity readable and accurate to at least 0.1g.

2.3

A means of obtaining a vacuum.

2.4

Dessicator.

3.

Medium and Coarse Grained Soil: Wire Basket Method.

3.1

Wire basket to hold the test increment and suspended from the balance for mass
determination whilst the test increment is immersed in the water trough.
Balance of at least 5kg capacity readable and accurate to at least 1g.

3.2

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3.3

Water trough with an overflow device for maintaining a constant water level.

4.

Thermometer covering the range OoC to 100oC readable and accurate to at least 0.1oC.

5.

A thermostatically controlled oven with good air ventilation capable of maintaining a


temperature within the range of 105oC to 110oC (Note a).

6.

Worksheet, MRD 1178 (optional).

CALIBRATION
A calibration test for each density bottle or jar shall be carried out. The calibration need not
be repeated before each density determination.
1.

Mass of Kerosene in Density Bottle.

1.1

Determine the density (k) of the kerosene at 25.0oC 0.1oC in accordance with Test
Method WA 714.1.

1.2

Determine the mass (m1), to at least the nearest 0.001g, of the clean dry density bottle.

1.3

Fill the density bottle to the lower part of the ground glass neck with kerosene that is
at a temperature slightly below 25oC.

1.4

Insert the stopper in the density bottle taking care to avoid trapping air bubbles in the
neck of the bottle and so that the excess kerosene is expelled through the stopper's
capillary.

1.5

Immerse the density bottle in the water bath that is at a temperature of 25.0oC 0.1oC.
The depth of immersion should be such that the level of water in the bath is
approximately 5mm below the top of the density bottle.

1.6

Allow the density bottle to remain in the water bath for at least 30 minutes (Note b).

1.7

Wipe the top of the stopper with one stroke of the filter paper.

1.8

Remove the density bottle from the water bath and dry it with the minimum of
handling (Note c).

1.9

Determine the mass (m2), to at least the nearest 0.001g, of the density bottle plus
kerosene.

1.10

Calculate the mass of kerosene to fill the density bottle using the formula:
mk = m2 - m1
mk = mass of kerosene to fill the density bottle in grams
m1 = mass of density bottle in grams
m2 = mass of density bottle plus kerosene in grams.
Repeat Procedure 1.2 to 1.10. Where the range of the two values is greater than
0.005g, discard the results and repeat the calibration.
where

1.11

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TEST METHOD

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1.12

Average the results obtained from the acceptable tests.

2.

Mass of Water in Density Jar

2.1

Determine the mass (m3), to at least the nearest 0.1g, of the clean dry density jar.

2.2

Note the position that the brass conical top has been screwed on to the density jar
(Note d).

2.3

Fill the density jar with potable water taking care to avoid trapping air bubbles in the
density jar.

2.4

Determine the mass (m4), to at least the nearest 0.1g, of the density jar plus water.

2.5

Determine the temperature of the water to at least the nearest 1oC (Note e).

2.6

Calculate the mass of water to fill the density jar using the formula:

where
where
where

mw

= m4 - m3

mw
m3
m4

= mass of water to fill the density jar in grams


= mass of density jar in grams
= mass of density jar plus water in grams

2.7

Repeat Procedure 2.1 to 2.6. Where the range of the two values is greater than 0.5g
discard the results and repeat the calibration.

2.8

Average the results obtained from the acceptable tests.

PROCEDURE
1.

Fine Grained Soil

This method is only applicable to those materials with 100% passing the 2.36mm aperture
sieve.
1.1

Obtain a test sample taken in accordance with Test Method WA 100.1.

1.2

Obtain a test increment from the test sample that has been prepared in accordance with
Test Method WA 105.1.

1.3

Place the test increment in an oven (Note a) at a temperature of 105oC to 110oC and
dry the test increment (Note f).

1.4

Density Bottle Method.

1.4.1 Determine the mass (m1), to at least the nearest 0.001g, of the clean dry density bottle.
1.4.2 Using sample division, obtain a reduced test increment of approximately 100g.
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1.4.3 Place the reduced test increment in the density bottle and replace the stopper.
1.4.4 Determine the mass (m5), to at least the nearest 0.001g, of the density bottle plus test
increment.
1.4.5 Fill the density bottle to approximately two-thirds full with kerosene.
1.4.6 Agitate the density bottle and contents carefully by inclining and rolling backwards
and forwards until air in the test increment has been displaced. Do not expose the soil
to air during this operation.
1.4.7 Place the density bottle in the dessicator and apply a vacuum to the dessicator.
1.4.8 Repeat Procedure 1.4.6 to 1.4.7 as required until all air in the test increment has been
displaced.
1.4.9 Fill the density bottle to the lower part of the ground glass neck of the density bottle
with kerosene that is at a temperature slightly below 25oC.
1.4.10 Insert the stopper in the density bottle taking care to avoid trapping air bubbles in the
neck of the density bottle and so that the excess kerosene is expelled (Note g) through
the stopper's capillary.
1.4.11 Immerse the density bottle in the water bath that is at a temperature of 25oC 0.1oC.
The depth of immersion should be such that the level of water in the bath is
approximately 5mm below the top of the density bottle.
1.4.12 Allow the density bottle to remain in the water bath for at least 30 minutes (Note b).
1.4.13 Wipe the top of the stopper with one stroke of the filter paper.
1.4.14 Remove the density bottle from the water bath and dry it with the minimum of
handling (Note c).
1.4.15 Determine the mass (m6), to at least the nearest 0.001g, of the density bottle plus test
increment plus kerosene.
1.4.16 Repeat Procedure 1.4.1 to 1.4.15 on at least one further test increment obtained from
the same test sample.
1.5

Density Jar Method

1.5.1 Determine the mass (m3), to at least the nearest 0.1g, of the clean dry density jar.
1.5.2 Place the test increment in the density jar and replace the brass conical top.
1.5.3 Determine the mass (m7), to at least the nearest 0.1g, of the density jar plus test
increment.
1.5.4 Fill the density jar to approximately two-thirds full with potable water.
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1.5.5 Agitate the density jar and contents carefully by inclining and rolling backwards and
forwards until air in the test increment has been displaced. Do not expose the soil to
air during this operation.
1.5.6 Place the density jar in the dessicator and apply a vacuum to the dessicator.
1.5.7 Repeat Procedure 1.5.5 to 1.5.6 as required until all air in the test increment has been
displaced.
1.5.8 Fill the density jar with potable water taking care to avoid trapping air bubbles.
1.5.9 Determine the mass (m8), to at least the nearest 0.1g, of the density jar plus test
increment plus water.
1.5.10 Repeat Procedure 1.5.1 to 1.5.9 on at least one further test increment obtained from
the same test sample.
2.

Medium and Coarse Grained Soil

2.1

Obtain a test sample taken in accordance with Test Method WA 100.1.

2.2

Determine the percentage passing the 2.36mm aperture sieve in accordance with Test
Method WA 115.1.

2.3

Obtain the retained 2.36mm and passing 2.36mm aperture sieve test increments from
the test sample that has been prepared in accordance with Test Method WA 105.1.

2.4

Place the two test increments in an oven (Note a) at a temperature of 105oC to 110oC
and dry the test increments (Note f).

2.5

Determine the density of the passing 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment in
accordance with Procedure 1.4 or 1.5.

2.6

Determine the mass (m9), to at least the nearest 1g, of the retained 2.36mm aperture
sieve test increment.

2.7

Immerse the retained 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment in potable water at room
temperature for at least 24 hours.

2.8

Fill the water trough to the overflow level with potable water.

2.9

Immerse the wire basket in the water trough and allow the water level to stabilise.

2.10

Determine the mass (m10), to at least the nearest 1g, of the wire basket whilst
immersed in water.
Remove the wire basket from the water trough and place the saturated test increment
in it.

2.11
2.12

Immerse the wire basket and test increment in the water trough taking care to avoid
trapping air bubbles and allow the water level to stabilise.

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TEST METHOD

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2.13

Determine the mass (m11), to at least the nearest 1g, of the wire basket plus test
increment whilst immersed in water.

2.14

Determine the temperature (Note h), to at least the nearest 1oC, of the water.

2.15

Repeat Procedure 2.6 to 2.14 on at least one further test increment obtained from the
same test sample.

CALCULATIONS
1.

Fine Grained Soil

1.1

Density Bottle Method

1.1.1 Calculate the mass of the test increment using the formula:
where

mT1
mT1
m1
m5

=
=
=
=

m5 - m1
mass of test increment in grams
mass of density bottle in grams
mass of density bottle plus test increment in grams

1.1.2 Calculate the volume of the test increment using the formula:

where

vT1

vT1
mk
m5
m6

=
=
=
=
=

m - (m 6 - m 5 )
k

volume of test increment in cm3


average mass of kerosene to fill density bottle in grams
mass of density bottle plus test increment in grams
mass of density bottle plus test increment plus kerosene in grams
density of kerosene at 25.0oC 0.1oC in g/cm3

1.1.3 Calculate the density of the test increment using the formula:

where

m T1

= density of test increment in g/cm3


= mass of test increment in grams
= volume of test increment in cm3

mT1
vT1

v T1

1.1.4 Repeat Calculation 1.1.1 to 1.1.3 for the other test increment. Where the range of the two
densities is greater than 0.030 g/cm3 discard the results and repeat the test.
1.1.5 Average the densities obtained from the acceptable tests. This average is the apparent
particle density.
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1.2

TEST METHOD

WA 131.1

Density Jar Method

1.2.1 Calculate the mass of the test increment using the formula:
where

mT1
mT1
m3
m7

=
=
=
=

m7 - m3
mass of test increment in grams
mass of density jar in grams
mass of density jar plus test increment in grams.

1.2.2 Calculate the volume of the test increment using the formula:

where

vT1

vT1
mw
m7
m8

=
=
=
=
=

Temp
oC
0
20
40
60
80
100

0
1.000
0.998
0.992
0.983
0.972
0.958

m w - (m 8 - m 7 )

volume of test increment in cm3


average mass of water to fill density jar in grams
mass of density jar plus test increment in grams
mass of density jar plus test increment plus water in grams
Density of water at test temperature in g/cm3 and in
accordance with Table 1.

2
1.000
0.998
0.991
0.982
0.970

4
1.000
0.997
0.991
0.981
0.969

6
1.000
0.997
0.990
0.980
0.968

8
1.000
0.996
0.989
0.979
0.967

10
1.000
0.996
0.988
0.978
0.965

12
0.000
0.995
0.987
0.977
0.964

14
0.999
0.994
0.986
0.976
0.963

16
0.999
0.994
0.985
0.974
0.961

18
0.999
0.993
0.984
0.973
0.960

1.2.3 Calculate the density of the test increment using the formula:

where

mT1
v T1

= density of test increment in g/cm3


= mass of test increment in grams
= volume of test increment in cm3

mT1
vT1

1.2.4 Repeat calculation 1.2.1 to 1.2.3 for the other test increment. Where the range of the two
densities is greater than 0.030 g/cm3 discard the results and repeat the test.
1.2.5 Average the densities obtained from acceptable tests. This average is the apparent
particle density.
2.
Medium Coarse Grained Soil
2.1

Calculate the apparent particle density of the passing 2.36mm aperture sieve test
increments in accordance with Calculation 1.

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2.2

TEST METHOD

Calculate the volume of the retained 2.36mm aperture sieve rest increment using the
formula:
vT1

where vT1
m9
m10
m11

=
=
=
=
=

2.3

WA 131.1

m9 - (m11 - m10 )

volume of test increment in cm3


mass of test increment in grams
mass of wire basket whilst immersed in water in grams
mass of wire basket plus test increment immersed in water in grams
density of water at test temperature in g/cm3 and in accordance
with Table 1.

Calculate the density of the retained 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment using the
formula:
m9
vT1
where s (+ 2.36mm) = density of retained 2.36mm aperture sieve
test increment in g/cm3
m9 = mass of test increment in grams
vT1 = volume of test increment in cm3

s (+ 2.36mm) =

2.4

Calculate the density of the test sample using the formula:

ST

100
100 - X
+
(+2.36mm)
S

where ST

= Density of test sample in


s
= density of passing 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment
in g/cm3
s (+2.36mm) = density of retained 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment g/cm3
X = percentage of test sample passing a 2.36mm aperture sieve
as determined by Test Method WA 115.1

2.5

Repeat Calculation 2.2 to 2.4 for the other retained 2.36mm aperture sieve test increment.
Where the range of the two densities is greater than 0.030g/cm3 discard the results and
repeat the test.

2.6

Average the densities obtained from acceptable tests. This average is the apparent
particle density.

REPORTING

Report the apparent particle density to the nearest 0.001 g/cm3.


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NOTES
(a)

Alternatively a microwave oven may be used.

(b)

The time of immersion is dependent upon the temperature of the contents of the density bottle. The time of
immersion should be such that the contents have stabilised at the test temperature.

(c)

Preferably the air temperature to which the density bottle is exposed should be below 25oC. The top of the
stopper shall not be re-dried even if a small droplet of kerosene forms due to the expansion.

(d)

The brass conical top shall be screwed to this position for all subsequent density determinations.

(e)

Subsequent density determinations should be carried out within 2oC of this temperature.

(f)

The test increment shall be deemed to be dry when the difference between successive determinations of the
mass of the cooled test increment after re-drying in an oven at a temperature of 105oC to 110oC for
periods of 4 hours does not exceed 0.1 percent of the original mass of the test increment. When using a
microwave oven the test increment shall be re-dried for periods of one minute for clays and two minutes
for all other materials.

(g)

Care should be taken to minimise any loss of fines in suspension during this operation.

(h)

The temperature of the water should be within 2oC of the temperature at which the apparent particle
density of the passing 2.36mm sieve fraction test increment was determined.

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FIGURE1: 100 ml DENSITY BOTTLE

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FIGURE 2: 1 LITRE DENSITY JAR

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